Trail Talk 177 July 7th 2021

A female widow skimmer
A Great Spangled Fritillary

On Friday June 25th I had an interesting walk at Bannockburn Tract.  I noticed some yellow flower, St.  Johnswort, Tickseed sunflower, Black-eyed Susan and Rubecia.  I saw a killdeer and three birds that I later identified as spotted sandpipers, they were constantly bobbing their rumps.  I wondered what the shrub was with bright yellow flowers,  and, when looking through my binoculars, realized they were five goldfinches perched on the top of the shrub. There were many butterflies, about a dozen crescentspots , one monarch and one great spangled fritillary. Dragonflies and damselflies are now a common sight, the photo of the female widow skimmer was taken after it could not find its way out of our greenhouse.  I captured and released as I often have to do with crescentspot butterflies.

On Saturday I finally saw the flicker that has been around our garden.  It was a very busy female flicker pecking at the grass.  At the Clinton Conservation area some of the Michigan lilies are in bloom, and I saw two birds fly away, one had a flash of blue so was either a bluebird or indigo bunting and one was a fairly large bird with yellow legs that might have been a green heron, but I could not add either to my species count, similarly for the duck I briefly saw flying along the Maitland river.

A Michigan Lily

On Monday I reached the milestone of seeing 40 bird species since May 18th seeing a Green Heron, a Brown headed Cowbird and some Mallards.  The species seen were:  American Crow, American Goldfinch, American Redstart, American Robin, Baltimore Oriole, Belted Kingfisher, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Brown-headed Cowbird, Canada Goose, Chipping Sparrow, Common Grackle, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, European Starling, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Hairy Woodpecker, Herring Gull, House Sparrow, House Wren, Killdeer, Mallard, Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Northern Flicker, Red-bellied Woodpecker,  Red-tailed Hawk, Ring-billed Gull, Rock Pigeon, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ruffed Grouse, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Sandhill Crane, Spotted Sandpiper, Tree Swallow, Turkey Vulture, Warbling Vireo, White-breasted Nuthatch,  Wild Turkey.   I found it interesting when checking in the Sibley Guide to Birds that species such as a Robin should be called an American Robin, leaving only two of my fifty species with only one name, i,e, Killdeer and Mallard.

The species I most often saw was the Downy Woodpecker,  a family take turns at our peanut feeder and there is nearly always at least one there.  The other regularly seen birds are the Common Grackle, Red-winged Blackbird and American Robin. I often saw other birds before May 18th such as Bald Eagle, Common Merganser,  Double-crested Cormorant, Golden Eye, Slate-colored Junco, House Finch, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Tundra Swan, so hope to bring the count up to 50 before May 18th 2022.

Roger Goddard pointed out that 312 species of bird have at one time or another been seen at the Pinery Provincial Park.which is a very impressive number.

Our chipmunks, red squirrels and rabbits have learnt that they have nothing to fear from Thyra, Chewy or me.  One Red squirrel enjoyed having a picnic just a few feet from where we were sitting.

On my drive into Goderich on Monday I saw a dead deer at the side of Huron Road, a reminder to be on the lookout for deer when driving.

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

Bayfield River Valley Trail Association Hikes:

Saturday July 10th  11 a.m. Bayfield Tree Hike Leisurely walk through Bayfield, meet at Clan Gregor pavilion. Expect to take about 90 minutes

Sunday July 18th  2 p.m. Woodland Trail hike, meet at the David Street entrance. Trail has some hills, expect to take about 90 minutes.

Maitland Trail reroute- There is a short reroute at River Line when heading upstream towards Boundary (B. Edgar) bridge. The trail entry point is now100m further North on River line. This adds just over 200m to the length of the Maitland Trail

Our Provincial Parks have free day use entry from Monday through Thursday until September 2nd.

Tuesday Trompers and Uneven Hikers have restarted with up to 25 hikers.  June 29th and June 30th had 6 hikers. To be added to the Trompers list contact Al Sanders at Trompers hike at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays for about 1 hour.  Contact Patrick Capper to be added to the Uneven hikers list. We hike for 1 1/2 to 2 hours on Wednesday or Thursday at 9 a.m. whichever is the odd date.

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