Trail Talk 213 March 30th 2022

In the last trail talk, the bench was one of three benches in the John and Marylo Graham Nature Conservancy Property.  This used to be part of the Goud property and the Maitland Trail Association was very relieved that the Nature Conservancy bought the part of the property that included the Maitland Trail.  I believe the earlier owners were the Millers. Off to the side of the trail are two gravestones, one for  Ira Ivan Miller Feb 19 1925-Sept 13 1975 and another for his son Jonathan Paul Miller Jan 10 1951-May 19 1971.

An early Periwinkle

On the following Tuesday March 22nd I saw a turkey vulture flying overhead- the first one seen this year. I have also seen some periwinkle blossoms, and expect to see some coltsfoot before too long, as they are also one of the earliest spring flowers.  Red winged blackbirds are now a common sight along with robins, Canada geese, gulls and crows. I was surprised that some red winged blackbirds were quite close to the GART even when people were close.

George Cantin and Rick Poisson looking at a windfall on the Mavis Trail

On Tuesday the Trompers had planned a hike on the Goderich Boardwalk, however much of it was coated with ice, and even the Menesetung bridge was hazardous with a thin coating of ice which had partly melted when I hiked there at 11 a.m. The Sifto loop had only small patches of fresh snow/ice.

On Wednesday March 23rd three “Uneven” hikers managed well timed hikes between the rain showers.  On the Mavis trail we found an ash tree that had fallen across the trail during the night.  Then we had to change the plan to hike Bannockburn Tract as the Bannockburn Line was closed South of Pavilion road, so instead we hiked the Bannockburn Trails.  I was happy to find them in better shape than expected with only a very short patch of ice that could not be avoided, the rest of the trail being bare or with short stretches of avoidable ice.

The trails are generally in good shape apart from wet and muddy areas and there is still a very deep snow drift of over 6 feet at the top of the hill on the Maitland trail at 31.5 km.

A Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillar

On a hike on Front road trail slightly to the side of the trail was a dead opossum, only the second one I have seen.  Thyra was not sure it was actually dead so I returned two days later and found it was still where we had seen it.  The first opossum I saw was a live one at the edge of the GART.  On Thursday March 24th just before setting out for a hike,  I saw my first spring caterpillar by our garage.  Reporting through iNaturalist indicated it was a Giant Leopard Moth caterpillar.

No swans were reported by the Lambton Museum on March 21st and only one on March 22nd so it seems they have all moved North.

Notes:

Saturday April 9th, 2pm   A Bayfield River Valley Trail Hike .   Agriculture and Nature in Harmony, Linfield Wildlife Area, with farmer Wayne Cantelon and ABCA Lands Manager Nathan Schoelier

Sunday April 10th 1.30 p.m. Hike the Morris Tract and River Bend area Maitland trails with Patrick Capper .  We expect to take about 2 ½ hours if the weather is good, or just over an hour if the weather is poor.  This section has two big hills to go up and down, but is in a lovely forested area.
Saturday April 16th, 11am A Bayfield River Valley Trail Hike .  The Woods are Waking Up, Woodland Trail, with environmentalist Michele Martin
The Hullett blue trail parking lot at 80602 was still closed on March 29th as some of the logs had not yet been removed.

The Wawanosh Nature Centre trails are now open to the public.

The Falls Reserve is closed until the end of May, except for the Maitland Trail’s main trail with white blazes and the blue blazed trail.  This is due to work on installing a new septic system.

Tuesday Tromper’s  meet at 9 a.m.on Tuesdays to hike for about an hour. To be added to the email indicating where the next Tuesday Hike is contact mta@maitland.ca

Uneven Hikers hike for 1 ½ to 2 hours on Wednesdays or Thursdays, contact Patrick Capper. Both groups meet at 9 a.m.  and are open to non-members provided they sign the MTA on-line waiver.

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