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Trail Talk 308 - April 17, 2024

There was a very disturbing report from a landowner, who met two dog walkers with off leash dogs. When the landowner asked them to put the dogs onto a leash, one did not as they had no leash, and also refused to return to their vehicle the way they came.  This is the sort of totally unacceptable behavior that can result in the trail being closed and being rerouted for long distances onto roads.  Unleashed dogs can disrupt ground nesting birds and some may catch wildlife.  I also know of a person who as a child was bitten by a dog, so is now terrified of meeting any dog no matter how friendly.


On Sunday April 7th, I hiked the Millennium trail.  Near Mill Road, I saw my first spring butterfly – a Mourning Cloak, which did not stay for a photograph.  There was a Daphne shrub in bloom and later a beautiful patch of Greek anemones, a non-native garden plant.   There were also a few windfalls on the trail, but fortunately easy to step over. I am sure there will be other windfalls on our trails.


On Tuesday April 9th, there were even more signs of spring - a Red Admiral butterfly that flew into our greenhouse, a Woolly Bear Caterpillar (these morph into an Isabella Tiger moth – which is orange with black spots) and three green frogs.  At first I did not see any, then one leaped into the pond and then I finally spotted two well-camouflaged frogs on the bank.

             In the Evening, we went to Hullett Sugar Bush and, as expected, heard spring peepers.  While I was standing at the edge of the pond they were very loud, but, as usual, I was unable to see any. The only one I have ever seen was at Huron Hospice, when it was well away from the pond. We also saw a couple of red admirals, which were about half the size of the one seen in our garden.


On Monday April 8th, Thyra and I drove down to Fingal Wildlife Management Area which is an interesting place to visit and to watch the total eclipse.  There were few clouds and not too many people there.  The eclipse resulted in a dusk which was not as dark as I had expected. Afterwards, we hiked around the wildlife area which included a good arboretum and we saw several small flocks of Golden-crowned Kinglets which is a new bird for me.  This kinglet has a crown similar to a white crowned sparrow, but looks more similar to a warbler than a sparrow.  


On our Wednesday hike on April 10th, we saw Bloodroot starting to bloom, Hepatica, Blue Cohosh, violets, a Red Admiral and a Garter snake that was unusually aggressive looking.



Saturday April 20th 9 am join Anne Melady for a hike on private property at 7277 Highway 8 just East of St Columban.  Walk through this delightful property of farm fields, across the railway tracks and back to the bush and a cabin. The walk takes you along the Bayfield River and up through the bush of old growth and recently planted bush. There will be a trip to the Dublin Restaurant after the hike. For more information and to confirm your attendance, please contact Anne Melady at This is a Level 1, leisure pace, 1.5 - 2 hours.

            Saturday April 20th 1 pm join the BRVTA hike for “Secrets of the Woods” hike for all ages on the Sawmill Trail conducted by Michele Martin and Janneke Vorsteveld.

            Saturday April 20th for those in top shape join the World Wildlife Fund for a fundraiser climb of the 1776 steps up the CN Tower!

 All participants taking part in the Maitland Trail events should sign the waiver for 2024, preferably the online version.

            Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday to hike for about an hour. If you wish to be on this email list, send an email to

            Midweek Hikers hike for 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays, contact Patrick Capper.

Both groups meet at 9 a.m. and are open to non-members provided they sign the MTA On-line waiver.

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



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