Trail Talk – August 15, 2018

One insect in our garden that is probably on our trails but rarely seen is a Katydid. It is part of the grasshopper family. It will tend to hop or jump away but as a last resort may bite. There are True Katydids, Round headed Katydids and Angular-winged Katydids. I think the one in my photo is a True Katydid. Katydids can often be heard at night, they are distinguished from grasshoppers by their much longer antennae.

There was a very large (3.5” long) caterpillar on our path, a Cercopia moth caterpillar, which then started to climb up the maple tree going across our Fairy door. This caterpillar eats maple, apple and birch leaves and builds a large cocoon. The moth is North America’s largest native moth with a wingspan of up to 6” (The Luna Moth’s wingspan is usually under 5”). The cecropia moths only reproduce, lacking functional mouthparts or digestive system. Therefore, they survive a maximum of about two weeks.

There are many different honeysuckles and I thought it would be easy to find out which species have red berries and which have orange berries, however my research discovered complications. There are two main types: climbing vines and shrubs. I’ve mostly seen shrubs, which are supposed to have red or occasionally blue or black berries depending on the species. However one reference mentions that the lonicera tatarica in a cultivated form may have yellow or orange berries. Three shrub honeysuckles (Amur, Morrow and Tatarian) are alien and invasive as they can form dense stands that suppress native tree seedlings and may release toxic compounds that inhibit other plants. The native honeysuckles have solid piths while the non-native ones, which came from Asia or Europe, have hollow piths. The photo is of two honeysuckle cuttings, one with orange berries and the other with red berries and darker green leaves, both have hollow stems with blunt twigs so are probably tatarian. The purple flower in the photo is another alien invasive-spotted knapweed. I placed the group on our brush fence for the photo.Next spring when honeysuckle flowers show I may be able to better identify them based on the two different flower types.

Seven hikers enjoyed the Goderich Fireman’s breakfast on August 5th and hiked the full Maitland Woods loop, and were rewarded by seeing the cardinal flowers in bloom (the only local place I have seen them) and saw a Snapping turtle at the edge of the pond.

On my other walks I saw a small turtle dive into the Bayfield river at the trestle, the first time I have seen a turtle there, and on another day further along the trail I spotted two deer leaping away.

Last year I saw the first puffball on August 17th when it was already 8” diameter, and in 2016 I saw the first one on the 26th so by the time you read this you should to be on the lookout for puffballs, and other fungi that are sprouting up at this time of year.

Upcoming Hikes

August 18th 1:00 PM River walk at the Falls Reserve. About 3 hours.

Park at Falls Reserve entrance using your Maitland Trail Membership card for free admission. We will hike down to the falls and walk in the river for about an hour before hiking back to the entrance. Bring refreshments and suitable shoes to change into when walking in the river. (Will be cancelled if the water level is high). Contact: Patrick Capper 519.606.0016

Auguat 26th 8:00 PM join the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association on a night hike on the Woodland Trail

Saturday Sept 29th to Sunday Sept 30th 2 day MTA El Camino registration is now open See the Signal Star August 8th or www.maitlandtrail.ca/mta-el-camino-2018

Midweek Hikes

The Tuesday Trompers walk for about an hour at a moderate to slow pace starting at 9:00 AM. Contact Al Sanders at allan.sanders@hurontel.on.ca

The Wednesday hikes start at 9:00 AM for 1.5 to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Contact pcapper99@gmail.com

The Friday L.I.F.E. hikers usually meet at 8:10 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 cphillips@onecaresupport.ca

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.