Riverview Bike Park, located in Voyageur Park, Devon Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary,

Location: 7 km north of Devon. Go north on Hwy 60, turn left (west) on Woodbend Road, then turn left (south) on Sanctuary Road.

Info: Open year-round. Donations are appreciated. Boardwalk and trails are easy for people of all skill levels to navigate. Picnic area. Interpretive signage.

The Clifford E. Lee Nature Sanctuary is a 141-hectare nature preserve of marshes, meadows, and pine and aspen woodland. It is a pleasant walk into the sanctuary on a boardwalk that leads to well-defined trails and sturdy viewing platforms on and near the water. More than 100 species of birds have been sighted here; spring and fall are the best times for observing a variety of species. You are likely to see several types of ducks, including mallards, American coots, and red-necked grebes. Look for American bitterns, ruffed grouse, broad-winged hawks, and Canada geese. Red-winged and yellow-headed blackbirds frequent the cattails, while tree swallows and purple martins are attracted to nesting boxes.

Bird feeders at various locations bring chickadees, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and other birds quite close to viewing areas. (One mild February day during a walk along the Pine Knoll Trail, I experienced the pleasure of black-capped chickadees landing on my hand. The first one appeared uninvited, though it was much appreciated. Others came when I held out a few sunflower seeds from one of the feeders. Perhaps they become tame as a result of frequent visitors to the area.)

Those who enjoy wildflowers will especially take pleasure in the sanctuary from May through August. Look for my favourite early June bloomers, lily-of-the-valley and wintergreen, and also watch for the yellow petals of flowering lady’s slippers along the meadow’s border around the Father’s Day weekend. Many other species bloom in July, with the showy fringed gentians and evening primrose appearing in July and August.


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