Trail Talk – April 18, 2018

Spring was a tease on Thursday April 12th so I expect that some trails (such as Lobb’s) will have patches of ice for a while. I’m eagerly awaiting seeing spring flowers, violets and coltsfoot usually being the first to appear after skunk cabbage.

On April 8th I enjoyed a sunny afternoon walk near the Bayfield river seeing a lot more birds than usual robins, rough legged hawks, goldfinches, red winged blackbird, downy woodpecker red bellied woodpecker, blue jay, common mergansers, juncos and a cardinal.

On the Woodlands Arboretum trail the pond was free of ice and I was surprised to see two mergansers and three goldeneyes when normally there is no bird life. The other surprise was seeing two buffle heads on the Maitland river while walking the Lobb trail, usually I only see mergansers and golden eyes. Roger Goddard’s birds walks on May 10th and 17th are timed for the return of insect eating birds, such as warblers.

One interesting fact I learned at the Trail Rangers meeting was that the group clearing phragmites found one that had a root 53 ft long! No wonder they are so hard to eradicate and that often a herbicide has to be used.

On the River Line section on April 8th the skunk cabbage had hardly changed since March 1st (see Trail Talk – March 7, 2018) and the small gnomes at 33.5 km looked a lot like the skunk cabbage poking up through the snow.

On April 8th the flock (game?) of about 25 mute swans in Stratford were piped down to the river before a large crowd.

I have not seen as many deer tracks as usual, but there have been lots of fox and squirrel tracks and some wild turkey tacks. Brian McCulloch talked of a lady who was looking for her dog in the Maitland Woods and was told by a hiker that he had seen a dog with a turkey in its mouth on the road. There were many horse tracks on the Sugar Bush trails, where they have chewed up the softer parts of the trails.

Note that the Eastern end of the Bayfield Woodlands Trail is closed for Hunting Season from April 25th to May 31st including the eastern entrance from David Street. A new loop has been created but the maps have not yet been changed to reflect these changes.

Upcoming Hike and Meetings

Saturday April 21st 9:00 AM River Line to Sharpes Creek Line 35.6 to 29.9 km Moderately Fast pace. Expect to take about 2 hours

Although this is under six km, it quite often takes close to two hours to hike due to the many hills on this section of the Maitland trail.; Meet at 9:00 AM at 80918 Sharpes Creek Line, and then car pool to River Line.

Contact Patrick Capper, 519.606.0016

Saturday April 21st 11:00 AM Goderich Shore Line Clean up

Meet at 11:00 AM at N Harbour Road at the rock or the picnic shelter at the main beach. Bring gloves and a mug for hot drinks , door prizes awarded.

Sponsored by the Lake The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation tel: 226.421.3029

Sunday April 22nd, 2:00 PM Bayfield River Valley Trail Clean up event

Meet at Clan Gregor Square, where you will be provided with safety vests and garbage bags. Choose your own route to walk, picking up litter and recyclables throughout the Village, parks and surrounding areas.

Lobb’s Wildflower Hike

Saturday, April 28 – 1:30 PM Level 2, Leisurely Pace ~2+ hrs

Leader Faye Ribey; 519.524.2070. Details see Maitland Trail website.

Mid-Week Hikes

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9:00 AM. Contact Al Sanders at

The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:15 AM at the Betty Cardno Centre in Clinton and hike for 1.5 hours to 2 hours, one group at a moderate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Contact

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk, email me Patrick Capper at