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St. Joseph Island Fauna

Young doe in the grass. • Credit: Sheri Minardi
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St. Joseph Island Fauna

The Best Place to Be Close to Nature

St. Joseph Island is a wildlife paradise for the outdoor enthusiast, bird watcher, hunter and photographer.

St. Joseph Island is located on the North part of Lake Huron and boasts a rich history.

St. Joseph Island is teaming with wildlife, birds, reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the island along the coast or inland in smaller lakes and ponds.

Driving along Highway 548 you can see a multitude of deer along the road. The deer love to eat along the side of the highway early in the morning or later at night when it is cooler and to get away from the flies. The Island is a popular spot to hunt deer in the fall. The St. Joseph Hunters and Anglers' (SJIHA) mission is to promote fish and wildlife conservation through education programs and activities related to conservation issues.

TwinFawnswithDoe sheriminardiTwin fawns with doe. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
DoeinGrass sheriminardiDoe in grass. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

Fishing is also popular on St. Joseph Island. People of all ages and seasons fish on St. Joseph Island. Fish Derbies run in the winter. The Ernie Eddy Memorial Fish Derby is a must for young children on Twin Lakes.

If bird watching is for you, you will not be disappointed on the Island. Loons, eagles, owls, songbirds, osprey, caspian terns, blue jays, turkey vultures and many species of ducks inhabit both the coastal waters and inland lakes. The Wallwork Nature Reserve is Ontario Nature's most northern nature reserve is part of the Jocko Bay Provincially Significant Wetland. The St. Joseph Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary is located on the southern tip of the Island. Another wonderful spot to bird watch and to take photos is the Fort St. Joseph National Historic Site. Here you can see over 100 species of birds from water foul to raptors! Nothing beats the sound of the loons calling late at night or early in the morning. Watch out for the wild turkeys crossing the roads.

BlueJayinTree sheriminardiBlue Jay in a tree. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
LoonsSpreadWings sheriminardiLoons spread wings. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
SpottedSandPiperonLog sheriminardiSpotted Sandpiper on log. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
Bald Eagle on Dead Limb.Bald Eagle on a dead limb. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
Barred Owl Backside.Barred Owl backside. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
CaspianTerninFlight2 sheriminardiCaspian Tern in flight. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
EasternKingbird sheriminardiEastern Kingbird. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
EasternMeadowlark sheriminardi(Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography

Reptiles and amphibians are in abundance. The bullfrogs can be heard along the shorelines at night or even can be heard as you pass ponds and swamps while driving. Be careful not to run over the turtles as they cross the road. Big snappers can be seen crossing the road or painted turtles sunning themselves on logs or peeking at you from within the water.

Bullfrog head.Bull Frog head. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

Dragonflies and butterflies are beautiful to watch all summer long. Milkweed aligns the roads which the monarch butterflies eat. The dragonflies flit here and there eating the mosquitoes which is a welcome sight!

MosquitoAfterRain sheriminardiMosquito after rain. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

Bears inhabit the Island but are not much of a bother. There are many dumps for them to visit and an abundance of berries to eat. Occasionally, you will see them at the dump, crossing the roads or just sunning themselves in a grassy field.

LittleIslandBear sheriminardiLittle island bear. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

Beavers are in abundance once again on the Island. They can be seen on the smaller lakes and ponds in the early morning or later evening out swimming, eating seaweed and pulling branches towards their lodges. There is even a campground named after them on Twin Lakes: Busy Beaver Campground. They are sure busy beavers and exciting to watch and photograph!

BeaverwithFreshBranch sheriminardiBeaver with fresh branch. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
RabbitsinTwinLakesYard sheriminardiRabbits in Twin Lakes yard. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

Moose have been spotted on the Island but it is a rare sighting. My husband and the neighbours have spotted a few but I have not had such luck. The moose, coyotes and wolves are a rare sighting. The wolves though can be heard most nights howling in the distance. Red fox, rabbits, sandhill cranes, blue herons, and raccoons are spotted often on the Island.

RacoonKitonaLimb sheriminardiRacoon Kit on a limb. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
GreatBlueHeroninFlight5 sheriminardiGreat Blue Heron in flight. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)
SandhillCraneinSwamp sheriminardiSandhill Crane in swamp. (Photo credit: Sheri Minardi Photography)

I have been to many places to look for animals to photograph but St. Joseph Island is by far the best place to be close to nature and never be "skunked". It is rich in history but even more so, it is rich with wildlife. For the love of the animals visit St. Joseph Island. You won't be disappointed.

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