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7. Lake Dore, Shaw Woods & Pond

Lake Dore Tour | A quick look at birding locations.Township Park | Good for viewing the northeast end of the lake.Bohemian Waxwings | October visitor to berry bushes.Biederman Park | Good canoe access to marsh in southwest.Biederman Park birding | Good for viewing the west side of the lake.Warren's Bay Boat Launch | Good for viewing southeast end of lake.COLO | Usually one nest on Lake Dore.Entrance Shaw Woods | The Shaw family homestead just south of here.Coltsfoot, Tussilago farfara | Found near the entrance.Shaw Woods Road Sign | This is the backside, more deciduous.Hepatica | Flowers in Spring.Basswood road pond | A good spot for Red-shouldered Hawk and Barred Owl.Shaw Pond | Created on the Snake River by the dam at the south end.Widow Skimmer | Found in July at culvert on Burnt Bridge Rd.

Lake Dore
Lake Dore attracts a good diversity of birds, especially in the Spring and Fall migrations.  The lake is about 3 km. by 5 km., just small enough that much of the lake can be scoped.  The map illustrates the best viewing spots, but you will notice others as you travel on the shore-hugging roads.  Stopping along Hwy 41 is not recommended as it is usually too busy. There are 3 public boat launches: 1 on Township Park Road (northeast corner), 1 at Warren's Bay on Smith's Bay Road (south end), 1 at Biederman Park (west side).

Observed on Lake Dore have been Harlequin Duck, Eurasian Wigeon, King Eider, Red-necked and Red Phalarope, Pomarine and Parasitic Jaeger, Razorbill, Franklin's Gull, Black-headed Gull, Little Gull, Ivory Gull, Black-legged Kitiwake.  You can see why birders love this lake!

Lake birding starts at Spring ice break-up in April as waterfowl and gulls start to appear.  Mallards, Common Mergansers, Common Goldeneye and Ring-billed and Herring Gulls start to move in.  Common Loons, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, and others soon appear.

Lake Dore remains a staging area for migrants until late May.  Common Loons are always visible, reaching high numbers in mid July and even into October.  Only 1 or 2 pairs nest in the marshy southwest corner, though, while the other loons are feeding opportunists.  In fact, gulls, grebes and ducks occur in large numbers on Lake Dore for this reason... and Double-crested Cormorants.  Red-throated Loon is rare in May and October/November but possible.  Horned Grebe and Red-necked Grebe are uncommon in Spring but migrate through the area in good numbers from September into October.  Tundra Swan is rare in the Fall.  Snow Goose is uncommon, flocks of Brant are possible near mid-May and occasionally in October.  Northern sea ducks are more common in late October into November, but can be seen in May.  Needless to say, you have a better chance of seeing greater numbers of birds if you have a spotting scope. The lake usually freezes in early December.

Using the map, you will visit a number of good viewing spots.  The following is a circle tour of Lake Dore.

1 - Wilberforce Township Park has a shallow sand beach, lunch shelter, children’s playground, privies,  ball diamond and a boat launch just south on Township Park Road.

2 – Scheuneman Lane has a Bank Swallow colony.  It is on the north side just before the dead end.

3 – Biederman Park has a boat launch, privies and picnic gazebo.  This is a good spot to launch a canoe for exploring the marshy SW corner of the lake (#6).  Osprey nest in the marsh as do Common Loons and Common Terns.

4 – Limestone Road (dead end) is worth checking for birds, butterflies and dragonflies.  You should park and walk unless it looks in good shape.  It is 700 metres to the second bridge, after which you can do a 3-point turn.  Blackburnian and other warblers occur here as well as Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Listen for its "quick-three-beers” at the second bridge.  Also found here is nesting Eastern Phoebe.  The damselfly, Violet Dancer, should be found here also and various dragonflies.

5 – Spring Creek crosses Royal Pines Road and creates a small wetland.  Sedge Wren has been found here, but the best time for the species is evening or at night in June.

6 – Marsh viewing.  Lake Dore Tent and Trailer Park is worth a visit to walk their nature trail for birds and plants as well as a good vantage point to view the marsh in late October until freeze-up.  There is a small day use fee.  American Coot is regular at this time as well as various puddle and diving ducks and Horned and Red-necked Grebes.

7, 8, 9 – These are viewing spots along the shore.  #7 is a boat launch.  North of #8 is a cemetery where you can check the cedars in migration.  #9 is along a stretch of Point Church Road where harwoods can host migrants such as Tennessee, Blackpoll, Black-throated Blue and Cape May Warblers.  Also listen for Golden-crowned Kinglets (possible in October), White-breasted Nuthatch.  There are a few spots with visibility along Point Church Road where you can pull over and check the lake.

The Shaw Woods

The Shaw Woods is worth a visit. It is 100 acres or so, but a walk through the trail will give you an idea of the look and feel of the original Ottawa Valley forest.  The entrance is at the two wooden signs about 800 metres east of Hwy. 41 on Bulger Road, located at 2065 Bulger Road.  A little parking area is available near the signs.  There are a number of connecting trails that take you through the woods. Blackburnian Warbler, Red-shouldered Hawk, Hermit Thrush, Brown Creeper and Barred Owl nest in the woods, as well as other warblers, vireos, thrushes and Winter Wren.

For a trail guide and map of Shaw Woods click here.

The Shaw Pond 

The Shaw Pond across Bulger Road from the woods offers a different mix of species, such as Belted Kingfisher, Hooded Merganser, Great Blue Heron and possibly a Bald Eagle.  Also, various dragonflies can be found, including Widow Skimmer, Eastern Pondhawk, Twelve-spotted Skimmer and Eastern Forktail.  There are two access points to the pond:  Burnt Bridge Road at the north end and the little driveway to the dam at the south end.

On Burnt Bridge Road you can park near Bulger Road on the grassy shoulder or drive to just before the bridge  (300m.).  You can explore Burnt Brdge Road all the way to Mountain Road (<1.5 km.) west of Micksburg.  This is usually not driveable.  Poisin Ivy is common.  You may encounter Great-crested Flycatcher, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, American Redstart, Red-eyed Vireo and other birds.  Butterfly encounters could be American Painted Lady, Red Admiral, White Admiral, European Skipper (early July), Long Dash, Hobomok, Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (until early July) and Dun Skipper.

If you choose to explore the dam at the south end of the pond, the reedy shore of the pond at the dam should be explored for spreadwings (damsels).  After crossing over the dam, you can pick up a trail which runs downriver but eventually will loop back and up the hill on the side of the east pond.  The view from the top is nice.  This trail will be improved if a proposed education centre is built for the Shaw Woods.

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