Trail Talk 162 March 17th 2021

What trail is this bridge on?

How well do you know the Huron County Trails? Which trail is this bridge on?

Last week’s photo was of a tree on the Maitland Trail just west of the Robertson Tract and not far from an Outhouse.  I like doing this part of the trail, either starting at Bridge road near Auburn or parking at the end of Pinery Line to access the trail.  If you take a 200m blue trail to Pinery Line and then the Robertson Tract trail that used to be used by snow machines, you can make a bit of a loop until you are back on the Maitland Trail.   There are nice views of the Maitland river, however watch out for poison ivy on the new section of the trail that is in the Robertson tract paralleling Pinery Line.

Four days of mild weather softened up the trails.  Lobb trail is well packed that it will become more icy and there should be few if any problems of breaking through the crust.

This is the time of year to see some birds move into our area.  The most spectacular are the tundra swans. About 500 were seen on March 1st off Lakeshore road. For the Lambton County Museum swan reports

https://www.lambtonmuseums.ca/en/lambton-heritage-museum/tundra-swan-migration-calendar.aspx

On March 11th thousands of swans were seen near Greenway South of Grand Bend).   The earliest date of seeing  swans there was on Feb 3rd 2012 and the latest was  on March 28th in 2008.  Small flocks are often seen on Scott road north of Huron County road 25. Thyra saw a few flying over near Clinton on March 10th.

In Canada there are three swan species, the mute swan, as can be seen in Stratford, has an orange beak.  The tundra(also called Whistling)  and Trumpeter swans are very similar. The tundra swan is much more common than the trumpeter . The trumpeter is longer (60 v 45 inches) and the trumpeter is less vocal and much lower pitched than the tundra swan.

Canada Geese on the Bayfield river

Eighteen hikers enjoyed  the Bayfield Woodland trail outing on Sunday March 7th to celebrate International Women’s Day. The steps down from the David Street entrance had been cleared of snow.  On Tuesday March 9th 16 Trompers were out at Lobb trail. On Thursday 10 Uneven hikers put their icers to good use on the Lobb trail, which had many icy sections.  Although the Maitland River was well up, it had not yet flooded the trail.

Locally I have seen several pairs of Canada Geese on the Maitland and Bayfield Rivers. On Monday March 8th  there were five common mergansers (but no golden eye) on the Maitland river at Lobbs.   Since then I have not seen any ducks on the river, probably because the water is so murky. At home we have seen a red wing blackbird and grackles for the first time this year.  On March 10th on the G2G near Auburn we saw a small flock of robins and also a flock  of red winged blackbirds. A few spring flowers  have appeared,  some snowdrops and some early crocus.  Another sign of spring in our garden was a visit to the bird feeder by a raccoon on March 8th.

The Lobb trail and Maitland Woods trail are particularly bad for dog poop on and adjacent to the trails. Perhaps a sign such as the one in New Zealand reported by Robin Bennett would encourage more dog owners to scoop the poop.

This is the time of year when icers are usually needed and, if you stray slightly off the beaten path, you are likely to sink in quite a bit.

There is a big move planned.  The Maitland Trail Trailer presently at the North end of the Columbus parking lot will be moved before the middle of May to the South West corner, due to a land sale.

Notes:  Hikers are expected to be socially distant from others.

The Tuesday Trompers and Uneven hikers are back to a normal schedule.  Please be sure to sign on the online waiver which is good for the whole year. Go the Maitland Trail website and click on Scheduled Hikes and Waivers and fill out the on line waiver form.

The Bayfield River Valley Trail Association hikes on the Taylor and Mavis trails on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m.

Saturday March 20th at 2 p.m. on the Bannockburn trail     Bayfield Trail will lead a hike along with Denise Iszczuk, Education Specialist with ABCA .

Trails are all open but icers are advisable. It is always good to get out and enjoy nature

The Woodlands Nature trail is still probably closed past the bridge due to uncleared storm damage.

If you have questions or something of interest for Trail Talk email me Patrick Capper at pcapper99@gmail.com.