Picture the scene. After a good night’s sleep in your comfy room at Espace 4 Saisons, the sun is kissing you awake so you decide to take your morning coffee by the open window (or better still, on your private balcony!) Outside, you can hear the twittering of birds as they herald the start of day…

Situated at the foot of Mount Orford, which looms over the Mount Orford National Park, the Espace 4 Saisons resort is an ideal venue for birdwatching. The forested countryside provides a home for such species as forest wrens, black-capped chickadees, and yellow-crowned warblers. You do need a keen eye to spot them, but you’ll certainly hear their songs.

If you like to observe our feathered friends, you might like to know that there are four key places to birdwatch in our region, within an hour’s drive (or less) from the hotel.

Marais de la Rivière-aux-Cerises (5 minutes)

Rivière-aux-Cerises marsh in Magog shelters a variety of wildlife, including birds. The marsh is right beside the Versō hotel (our “sister” property), and as you stroll along the boardwalk, part of a network of walking trails, you’ll hear the distinctive, two-note whistle of chickadees. Canada geese and ducks are common sights, and you might even spot a great blue heron soaring into the sky. 

Dozens of avian species have been observed (and documented) in the marsh, including many types of sparrows, red-winged blackbirds and colourful, belted kingfishers. A complete list can be found here.

Île du Marais (16 minutes)

©Balise Québec

The Petit Lac Magog marsh is a recreational area in Sainte-Catherine-de-Hatley, popular with walkers, joggers, and birdwatchers. You can observe birds here all year round, but they are particularly numerous in the autumn and spring during the migratory seasons. At those times of year, you can spot peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and other birds of prey.

Here’s the complete list.

Sentier Nature Tomifobia (20 minutes)

©Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est

This 19-km, multipurpose Nature Trail in Ayer’s Cliff is primarily used by hikers and cyclists in the summer, and cross-country skiers in the winter… But there are birds galore!

You could easily encounter a brilliant goldfinch, a scarlet cardinal, a blue jay, a great horned owl, a red-tailed hawk or even a wood thrush—just some of the 140 or so different species that have been recorded there.

Keep your binoculars at the ready! A list of birds observed along the Tomifobia Nature Trail can be found here.

Étang Burbank (55 minutes)

©Le Collectif

Although it’s a bit further from Espace 4 Saisons, this beautiful, natural area is well worth the drive! Walking along the trails, which are interspersed with footbridges and lookout towers, you’ll be able to spot nuthatches, turtle doves and buntings—among other species.

What’s more, every fall, the Burbank pond hosts a migratory bird festival. It includes a number of activities aimed at all age groups, one of the most spectacular being huge flocks of snow geese, heading south to warmer climes.

Do some preparatory research!

While you’re planning your birdwatching trip to the Eastern Townships, check out the following websites, which list sightings of different species. You can also download the eBird app, which allows you to share information with other birdwatchers. 

Three useful sources

Recensement des oiseaux observables dans la région de Memphrémagog – eBird

Liste annotée des oiseaux des Cantons-de-l’Est – Denis Lepage

Carte interactive d’observation des oiseaux en Estrie – SLOE

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