Morris Lake North (HRM-C8)

Dartmouth proper is dotted with small green spaces that affords a birder the possibility of finding lingering Fall birds as well as interesting species that attempt to over-winter. The North end of Morris Lake within the Portland Estates Subdivision often hosts interesting ducks in Fall. Ring-necked Duck, Wood Duck, Bufflehead, Coots, Pintail and Scaup often stay here until ice seizes the open water. What most don't realize though is that the water from Ellenvale Run between the Tennis Courts and the Elementary school never freezes even in the coldest days of January. If you pick a frigid morning in mid-winter or late in the day, ducks of several species pack into this very small still water where it is possible to see a hundred or more ducks, mostly Mallards within a few feet of Portland Hills Drive. Occasionally, there will be Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Wigeon and Green-winged Teal mixed in with the Mallards and Black Ducks. Several and oddly coloured hybrids also come here from Cole Harbour or Eastern Passage when most other freshwater has frozen. This is a roosting area in Winter for many of the ducks so earlier in the morning or before dusk is best.

In Dartmouth, take Portland Street to Portland Estates Blvd, turn right at the traffic lights. Follow the boulevard to the stop sign. You will see the water pumping station and tennis courts directly ahead. Turn left and then before the entrance to the school of the right is an unpaved road to the boat launch at Morris Lake. Once through the gate, immediately on the left is a small pool of open water and stream where the ducks congregate. If Morris Lake is ice-free, follow the un-paved road to the beach and scope the water of Morris Lake for waterfowl. The community has built trails that go along the shores of Morris Lake and is a lovely walk at almost any time of the year however not particularly abundant with birdlife.

Contributed by Dave Currie.

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