At the edge of the Escarpment, north of Grimsby, Beamer Memorial Conservation Area is an ideal location for viewing the annual spring raptor migration over the Niagara Peninsula.
Birds of prey, such as, hawks, eagles, and falcons migrate in the daylight and depend a great deal on lift from the air. The unique topography of the area lends itself perfectly to aid in raptor migration. In the Escarpment’s Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, two sources provide the lift that raptors seek. Strong updrafts develop from winds off the lake which impact the Escarpment cliffs, and _Èthermals’ form when nearby farm fields warm in the sun. Weary from their long migration, which includes circumventing the lake, raptors glide almost effortlessly on the updrafts or thermals. They migrate west toward the head of the lake near Hamilton.
The annual hawk migration is monitored by Niagara Peninsula Hawkwatch (link to an external site.) March 1 through May 15, members of Hawkwatch battle almost any weather to conduct daily counts and identification of birds of prey. Birders may count over 1,000 birds on a good day.
A permanent sign displays silhouettes of birds of prey in flight. During migration, a list is posted with daily and seasonal totals. The information gathered at Beamer, combined with data from other hawk-watching areas in North America and Mexico, is used to track long-term population fluctuations. Beamer Memorial C.A. was recently designated an Important Bird Area (IBA).
Along the Escarpment at Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, Bruce Trail provides panoramic views of Grimsby and Lake Ontario. Four lookouts are scenic stopping points along the crest of the Escarpment. The Lookout Trail leads to incredible views, which include the 23-metre falls over the Escarpment.
To get to Beamer Memorial Conservation Area, take the QEW to Exit 71/72, Christie Street (Mountain Road). At the top of the Escarpment turn right on Ridge Road, go 1.6 km to Quarry Road, turn right and proceed to the parking lot.