Rattray Marsh Conservation Area: December 2020

Rattray Marsh is the last remaining coastal wetland in the western basin of Lake Ontario. The area, which features a rare natural cobble beach, was saved from being turned into a marina in 1972 by Credit Valley Conservation.

It was a lovely 11 degree December morning and, though the marsh water levels are very low, there were a few birds including this bathing Blue Jay:

Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Canada Goose
Mallard (male)
Great Blue Heron
American Robin
American Robin
American Goldfinches
Cedar Waxwings
Cedar Waxwings
Ring-billed Gulls
Ring-billed Gull
Cooper’s Hawk

Some botany:

Oriental Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta)
Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)
White Oak (Quercus alba) leaves
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Red-osier (Cornus sericea)
Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora)
Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Spindletree (Euonymus europaea)


There is a wind where the rose was,
Cold rain where sweet grass was,
And clouds like sheep
Stream o’er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was.            – Walter de la Mare (1873–1956)

Miles Hearn

4 thoughts on “Rattray Marsh Conservation Area: December 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    I love this place! I hope it is recovering from the look of massacre that attended the necessary cutting down of the ash trees which was occurring when I saw it last . Thanks, Miles!

  2. gail adams

    Delightful pictures of the area . Such a surprise to see as many birds and such bright berries etc hidden amongst that brown landscape.

  3. Jan Steen

    I grew up in a house on Lake Ontario adjacent to the Rattray estate. When Col. Rattray died developers wanted to build houses and turn the marsh into a yacht basin. Thankfully a neighbor Dr. Miriam Hussey, a woman ahead of her time with environmental issues, fought development. Although some houses were built much of the land and all of the marsh was preserved. There is a plaque to Dr. Hussey recognizing her efforts to preserve this area at the Old Poplar Rd entrance to Rattray.

  4. Gloria James

    At first glance the marsh looks bleak and dreary but the buds are ready for the spring season. Without leaves the configurations of the different trees is really highlighted. We have to thank those who opposed the building of a marina in such a unique marsh.


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