Nearly all our trails should be open, although washroom facilities will be closed. The exceptions I am aware of are the GART closure from Hwy 21 to the end near Auburn, for trimming brush. This is expected to take until about June 11th. The Maitland Trail from about 9.6 to 10.5 km is closed until the end of June.
I was expecting to see lots of apple blossoms, but found that although some apple trees had lots of blossoms, other apple trees have none, having been affected by a late frost. Many of the crab apple trees near Huron View on highway 4 have only a few blossoms this year.
One night I had a dream involving an eagle, and remember that it weighed 9 lbs. I had no idea if this was anywhere near a typical eagle’s weight. It resulted in my looking up the typical weight of different wild bird species, based on the Sibley guide which does point out that weight can vary by +- 30%. The heaviest birds are the Condor and Trumpeter Swan at 23 lbs, A mute swan at 22lbs, a male turkey at 16.2 lbs, a Whooping crane at 15 lbs, a tundra swan at 13.7lbs, a short tailed albatross at 12.8 lbs, a common crane 12.1lbs, a sandhill crane 10.6 lbs, a golden eagle at 10.0lbs, a Canada goose at 9.8 lbs, a bald eagle at 9.5 lbs. The lightest birds are a humming bird at 0.1 oz, a blue gray gnatcatcher at 0.21, a wilson’s warbler at 0.27 and a wren at 0.39 ounzes.
I have seen several American toads this year, mostly small ones, and on May 28th finally saw a green frog at the edge of the Maitland River. I report my frog, toad and turtle sightings to the Toronto Zoo (torontozoo.com/adoptapond). 492 frogs and 1415 turtle sightings were reported in 2019. The small toad in the garden was well camouflaged. At the railway trestle occasionally I have seen one or two fish in the Bayfield rive, but so far have not seen any minnows or small fish there, so I was glad to see some minnows in the Maitland river when hiking at Lobbs. There was a nice collection of Dryad’s saddle fungus on a stump at Lobb’s.
I hiked the trails in the Saratogo area. There is now a parking area at 37840 Hawkins Road with a sign indicating Moreland Tract (a Huron County Forest Tract). I saw a midland painted turtle at the pond and a pileated woodpecker near there, the first one I have seen in quite some time.
More spring flowers are now appearing, such as wild geranium, starry false Solomon’s seal, false Solomon’s seal, columbine, may- apple, white baneberry, snake root, Dame’s rocket and, a new one for me,- spring cress, which was at the Clinton Conservation area. The honeysuckles and elderberry are also now in blossom. Many of the trilliums have now turned pink, which often happens as they age. The yellow lady’s slipper orchids will be out by the time you read this, as I have seen them with flower buds.
Check the websites to be sure that the trails are still open. Known closures are the GART from Hwy 21 to Auburn for about a week and the Maitland Trail from 9.6 to 10.5 km to about the end of June.
Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others. The reroute round the cottage at 45.3 km has been completed and had added about an extra 2km to the Maitland Trail.There are no scheduled Maitland Trail Association or Bayfield River Valley Association or LIFE hikes.
If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at firstname.lastname@example.org.