Trail Talk 178 July 14th 2021

You never knows what you might see in the garden or on the trail. On June 30th I went out with Chewy at 9:30 dusk and saw fireflies flashing away.  I had never seen so many of them, so I walked round our paths and saw over 200 flashing fireflies, they were as low as on the ground and as high as about eight feet.  The only places where there were none was in a dark group of pines or cedars.  Fireflies, also known as lightningbugs are beetles and are unique in that they can flash their lights on and off, other luminescent insects glow continuously.  The strange thing was that on the following nights there were no sign of fireflies until July 4th when I counted over 250.  I concluded that they were American fireflies who got the wrong date for Canada day.

On July 1st we found a garter snake skin on top of a compost heap, that I measured at 39 inches, apparently garter snakes can reach 55 inches long.

Bedstraw Hawk-moth caterpillar
A small Bush Katydid

On July 2nd while waiting for some other hikers at 38045 Little lakes Road we saw an odd looking caterpillar, it was not in “Backyard -Some Caterpillars of Ontario” but through iNaturalist I found out it was a Bedstraw Hawk-moth also known as a Galium Sphinx moth caterpillar.  I was amazed to find that the Little Lakes, which I had not seen for over a year, were covered with masses of American White Waterlilies (also called Fragrant Water-lily). These are native so not considered invasive! We saw lots of butterflies along the trail/road but no Monarchs, and most did not stay still long enough to make a positive identification, except for a few Mourning Cloaks, Cabbage whites and a Tiger Swallowtail.

Two other butterflies I have seen and identified on the trail are a Large Wood-nymph at Hullett, and a Northern Pearly-eye at Point Farms. At Point Farms a green insect landed on my pack and only after looking at a side view photo I realized it was a young Katydid.

A Deptford Pink

I keep seeing plants that are new to me, including a Scentless Mayweed (called Scentless Chamomile in my Wildflower book), a Deptford Pink, and an Agrimony.

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

Bayfield River Valley Trail Association Hike:

Sunday July 18th  2 p.m. Woodland Trail hike, meet at the David Street entrance. The trail has some hills, so 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.

The km markers from 20 onwards have been adjusted to better reflect the actual distances due to reroutes and a more accurate GPS system, the total trail is now 51.6 km long.

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.  On July 6th 16 Trompers hiked the Naftel’s Creek trail and on July 7th eight “Uneven” hikers hiked the Maitland trail at the Auburn end. New hikers are welcome, and are required to sign the Maitland trail waiver.  The easiest way is to sign the online waiver at  under scheduled hikes and waivers.  To be added to the Trompers notices contact all sanders at  To be added to the  hikes on Wednesdays or Thursdays contact Patrick Capper. Both groups meet at 9 a.m., the Trompers hike for about 1 hour, the Uneven hikers hike from 1 ½ to 2 hours.

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