Trail Talk – May 30, 2018

The Thursday May 10th birding outing had fourteen bird watchers out seeking our feathered friends. Common birds sighted included turkey vultures, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds, mallards, ring-billed gulls, herring gulls, robins, grackles, swallows. Also sighted were an oriole building its nest close to the GART, a redstart, flicker, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-breasted, merganser, kinglets, great-blue-eastern heron and an unidentified warbler. On Friday morning I found the snowy owl still at the corner of Porters Hill line and Black Point road.

The Friday hike on the GART had the unusual sight of a beaver sitting on its tail near the trail- well away from the river. The only other time I have seen a beaver well away from water was several years ago walking on the bank well above the Bayfield river at dark I rounded a corner and startled a beaver who scuttled away down the bank. I don’t know which of us was more surprised.

There were quite a few windfalls after the windy Thursday. If you find a windfall blocking the trail please report the problem and make careful note of the location. The Maitland Trail has posts at every km, which help to pin down where location and note how far the problem is to other points such as bridges, boardwalks and creeks. It is frustrating to carry a heavy chain saw and gear into the trail and then find out that the problem is not on that part of the trail.

When looking at flowers and birds, it pays to look closely even at what at first seems obvious. That flock of gulls may include an uncommon variety. I am reminded of a birder who had a visitor from Britain and saw some chickadees, when the visitor looked he discovered a boreal chickadee among the black capped chickadees. Chickadees may take sun flower seeds out of your hand in the Maitland Woods or Lobbs trail if you are patient enough.  I keep looking at trilliums in case they are not the common white trillium but a painted trillium (with red blaze in the centre) or a nodding trillium. White trilliums turn pink with age and can now be seen along the trails.

On the Tuesday Tromp May 22nd I counted 111 Jack-in-the-pulpits. Most had purplish brown flats, but some were green. If you check them do so with a small stick so that you do not leave your scent etc. on the plant. The other sight was of a white squirrel. There are quite a few white squirrels in Exeter and some in the Clinton and the Seaforth areas, and I saw one recently on Stone School Line near Thompson Road.

May apples are now in blossom, the leaves, roots and seeds are poisonous, the apple when yellow (not green) is edible if the seeds are scooped out and is said to have a sweet sour grape pear flavor.

Careful of poison ivy which is now up, it takes several forms including a vine that slings to tree trunks. The most common form is shown which typically has the middle leaf with a longer stalk. The itch can be reduced with the juice if Touch-me-not.

It is lovely to see cherry and apple trees with flowers, and black locusts, catalpas etc. will soon also have flowers.

Note that the Bayfield Woodlands Trail reopens on June 1st.

The section of trail between 44 and 46 km has been reopened.

There is a reroute at 34.8 km at Horse’s Folly hill as the trail has been undercut by erosion.

Upcoming Hikes

Sunday June 3rd Morris Tract to Benmiller 1:30 PM Moderate pace about 2 hours. Call Carolyn Brown by 10:30 519-524-5181 for meeting point and car pooling information.

Sunday June 10th 1:30 PM 3 hours cycle the GART from Goderich to Auburn and back. Leader Cecile Prud’homme at

Sunday June 17th 9:00 AM Taylor and Mavis Trails at Stanley complex Varna with option of driving to Bannockburn for the trail there. Total time about 2 hours. Leader Patrick Capper

Saturday September 29th to Sunday September 30th; 2 day MTA El Camino registration is now open. Cost $25 adults $10 if under 18 details:

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

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