Transit of Venus from Canada’s bird-watching paradise

venus_gazing_point_pelee_lineup_west_beach_peter_mcmahonI was lucky enough to be invited to view the Transit of Venus (next one’s in 2117 in case you missed this one) at Point Pelee National Park – one of North America’s premiere birdwatching locales and a recently-minted dark sky preserve.

After hours of white knuckle weather forecasts, the skies cleared and we got to see the beautiful sight of the second planet from our Sun crossing 100 million km in front of our local star.

What’s more, because of our location in this migratory bird-watching haven, we ended up with the added treat of seeing thousands of swallows, warblers, and other species flit occasionally in front of our telescope views.

bird_sunset_on_lake_erie_venus_transit_point_pelee_peter_mcmahonI can’t even begin to remember how many people took in this sight on the sandy shores of Lake Erie, here at the southernmost tip of mainland Canada.


Thanks to Dan Dufour from the Park, Paul Pratt and others from the Windsor Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for letting me come and play in their sandbox for this once-in-100-year event.

The park is so far south, members of the Windsor Centre have successfully photographed the southern-hemisphere star cluster Omega Centauri from Point Pelee.


It’s also the only place anywhere near Windsor/Detroit where you can see the Milky Way.

After the Sun & Venus had set in this avian & astronomy eco-preserve, we took in fine telescope views of Mars and Saturn, including the ringed planet’s giant moon Titan.

I’ll post more photos here soon from this trip, as well as a preview of the Sky News column I’ll be writing on this incredible stargazing jewel.

(Below: Venus transits the setting sun behind a windmill on the horizon near Lake Erie. Photo by Peter McMahon from Point Pelee National Park, Ontario)

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