The past week has been an insect week. I saw a Hickory Tussock moth caterpillar on the grass on the Woodlands Nature trail, a Giant Leopard moth caterpillar (a totally black caterpillar) on the Front Road trail and a praying mantis near the Boundary/Robert Edgar bridge. The Giant Leopard moth is a very large white moth covered with black spots, is nocturnal and emerges in spring, although I have never seen one. The praying mantis is the first one I have seen, I spotted it because it looked as though a piece of grass was moving on its own, According to the experts it is a European Praying Mantis, there is also a Chinese and North American version. A brown marmorated stink bug was on our door, this is another invasive insect from Asia.
On the Front road trail there is a huge pile of Norway spruce cones with over 2000 in the pile, which must have been a lot of work for a squirrel. ON Wednesday morning at the start of the Taylor trail there were 40 turkey vultures flying overhead, which is the most I have ever seen together in our area.
Reading “Nature’s Best Hope” by D. Tallamy, has been very interesting. He makes an excellent case for native versus introduced species. For example the fat content is 50% in berries from native shrubs such as Viburnum Arrowwood, but there is less than 1% fat in autumn olive and honeysuckle berries. Birds need fat for their migration or to help them survive our winter. Native trees support a far larger insect population than introduced tree species. A study found that in Portland Oregon 90% of the urban trees were not native to the area. I checked the Goderich Court house park trees and found roughly 50% were native.
Tallamy suggests that if each American landowner converted half their lawn to native plant communities it would create a 20 million acre park, creating biological corridors as well as saving on fertilizer, water and creating a carbon sink. (Our garden has a large wild patch and we never fertilize or water the lawn section, which we are now reducing, and we are removing the European honeysuckle, buckthorns and spotted knapweed). The Maitland Valley Conservation authority have recently removed buckthorns from Wawanosh , and I know the Nature Conservancy has programs to reduce invasives such as garlic mustard and Scots pines.
Many landowners are planting trees in poor areas and at field edges, unfortunately there are a few farmers who treat all trees and shrubs as an impediment to having more space to grow crops.
If you are wondering why the distance markers on the GART are different from the G2G km markers by about 1.6 km , the reason is the GART zero is based on the location of the CPR station before it was moved, while the G2G signs are bases on ending at Rotary Cove.
By the time you read this Chewy will have celebrated his 14th birthday on Oct 4th with a hike on his favourite trail which is Lobbs- it has nice wide paths which he finds with his poor eyesight much easier than narrow tracks
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority are running a “Get Outdoors Bingo” contest from October 1st to 29th . For details go to https://www.abca/post/?ID=1106
Notes Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others
Turkey Hunting season is Oct 1-31st for bow hunting, Oct 13-25th for gun hunting, when the Bayfield Woodland trail will be closed.
The Woodland Arboretum Nature trail is closed across the bridge at the pond for an unknown time.
The Maitland Woods trail section from A to B will be closed for a while for the #6 bridge replacement.
There is now a reroute on Maitland Trail between 9.6 and 10.2 km. This directs hikers from 12.6 km onto the Black Hole road until rejoining the old trail at 8.8 km
The logging at Lobbs is now not expected until after the Soybean crop has been harvested.
Saturday October 18th at 9 a.m. Hike the Hullett Sugar Bush trails. Meet at 80602 Wildlife Line for a hike of about 1 ½. Bring your own pen to sign the waiver sheet. Leader Patrick Capper.
Saturday Oct 25th at 2 p.m. Join the Bayfield Trail Association for a hike at Naftel’s
Tuesday Trompers meet at 9 a.m. every week at different trails for a one hour hike.
Uneven day hikers meet at 8:30a.m. for 1 ½ to 2 hour hike on Wednesday or Thursday whichever has an odd date, e.g Thursday October 15th Contact pcapper.
If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at email@example.com.