Trail Talk 125 July 1st 2020

A Monarch butterfly

On Thursday June 18th we saw what we believe was a Monarch butterfly the first of the year, and on Saturday at Varna, I saw a monarch that stopped long enough for me to get a photograph.  It was on the small side for a monarch and luckily my photo came out well.  As there was no black line across the hind wing I am confident it was a monarch and not a viceroy which has a very similar appearance.

There was a Virginia Ctenucha moth in the garden on Monday, and then I saw one on the Front road trail on Tuesday evening.  It is a moth that is commonly seen in the daytime.

Virginia Ctenucha moth

On CBC there was a talk about how cities have planted male trees as these don’t produce so much “litter” such as keys. However the male trees produce pollen which makes things worse for people with allergies to pollen.  Apparently trees can be Dioecious , i.e trees are either male or female , species include ash , poplars, aspens , boxelder, spice bush and ginkgo, or monoecious which means that they can have male and female parts on the same tree. Red maples (scarlet maple, swamp maple, soft maple) are polygamodioecious as they can have both male and female flowers on the same tree or all a male or all female flowers and can switch gender, – you thought humans were complicated.

I find it interesting how some species have several common names.  In Sault Ste Marie I was told the tree(acer negundo) in my garden was an Ashleaf maple, then in Huron County I heard it called Manitoba maple, and when in Michigan it is called a boxelder.  My 1966 British tree book refers to it as Box Elder, the 1968 book Trees of North America call it Boxelder, the 1974 Peterson guide calls it Ashleaf maple(Box Elder), the 2003 Trees of Carolinian Forest refer to it as Manitoba maple (and not a true Carolinian tree), the 2009 Sibley Tree guide refers to it as Boxelder (Manitoba maple, Ashleaf maple, Threeleaf maple).


The showy lady’s slipper orchids were blooming in the Hullett wildlife area, they are a very pretty sight. On Wednesday June 24th three Michigan lilies at the Clinton Conservation area showing red buds so by the time you read this they should be in full bloom.

Some plants are quite inconspicuous until they flower or fruit.  Hiking on a trail you may see lots of white petals and then realize that there are black locust trees there dropping petals onto the trail.  Bladdernuts are also easy to miss until they have lots of green bladders on them.

There have been some unfortunate incidents in the Maitland Woods with some fires from campers that got out of control.


A bear has been sighted at Point Farms and on the GART near Westmount line.

Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others.

All area trails are expected to be open, except for the Maitland Trail between 9.6 and 10.2 km.

Lobbs may be closed sometime for logging.

The reroute round the cottage at 45.3 km has been completed and has added about an extra 2km to the Maitland Trail.

There are no scheduled Maitland Trail Association or Bayfield River Valley Association or LIFE hikes. The Tuesday Trompers have restarted as of June 23rd when there were nine hikers out.

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