An urban magnet for migrating warblers with a beautiful, panoramic view of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon.
By May Haga | Published: 4/22/2013
I bird Gabriel Dumont Park because it’s a beautiful spot with a panoramic view of the magnificent South Saskatchewan River. The park was once a fill site, and while it is owned by the city, it has been restored to a natural state under the auspices of the Meewasin Valley Authority, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the natural resources and cultural heritage of the South Saskatchewan River Valley. Since the mid-1980s, half an acre (more than 2,000 square meters) of native trees, shrubs, and grasses have been planted and now thrive. A riverside marsh was added in 2000, and the major work was completed in 2001. It is now an esthetically pleasing, bird-friendly natural area.
In the spring, look for migrant warblers such as Tennessee, Magnolia, Cape May, Wilson’s, Canada, Northern Waterthrush, and American Redstart. If you are really lucky, you might find a Connecticut Warbler.
My favorite time of year is autumn, when the foliage turns color and fall migrants refuel on the abundant berries and bugs before resuming their journeys south. — May Haga
May Haga leads and helps plan field trips for the Saskatoon Nature Society. Her photograph of a Dark-eyed Junco appeared in Fieldcraft in our February issue.
At a Glance
Click on coordinates below to view map:
River valley, river, berry shrubs, wild roses, aspens, maples, and other deciduous trees, and evergreens.
About two miles (three km) of wheelchair-accessible trails. More trails wind through the woods and close to the river; some are steep.
Year-round: Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven. Spring: Tennessee, Orange-crowned, Magnolia, Cape May, Yellow-rumped, Blackpoll, Wilson’s, and Canada Warblers, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, White-throated and White-crowned Sparrows. Summer: Spotted Sandpiper, Osprey (occasional), Yellow Warbler, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Spotted Towhee, Brown Thrasher, Song, Chipping, and Clay-colored Sparrows, Red-eyed and Warbling Vireos, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker. Fall: Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Franklin’s Gull, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Harris’s Sparrow (uncommon). Winter: Common Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Bald Eagle, Bohemian Waxwing, Common Redpoll, and (occasionally) American Robin, Townsend’s Solitaire, and Varied Thrush.
When to go
May to October.
Restrooms, drinking fountains, benches.
City park. No fees. Hours: 7:30-10, April 1 through August 31; 7:30-8, September 1 through March 31. The No. 11 city bus stops just outside the park gates. A walkway that leads into the park at 8th St. and Saskatchewan Crescent West is always open.
Bring a spotting scope to view birds on the river.
For more info
150 Whiteswan Dr. Riverside park on the north side of Saskatoon. Good spot for warblers.
On Spadina Crescent East between Duchess St. and 33rd St. East. A reliable viewing spot for American White Pelicans from spring to mid-September. Meewasin Valley Authority holds a contest every spring to guess the arrival date of the first pelican.