Turtles at Braham Tract in Spring

Two species of turtles were seen at the Braham tract this spring.

Blanding’s turtle observed near the southeast corner of the marsh. (credit: Reta Preece)

Thanks to a neighbour, Reta Preece, who used our report-a-sighting online form, we know a Blanding’s turtle was laying eggs at the marsh.

 

Snapping turtle laying eggs in parking lot of Braham Tract (11-Jun-2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

As well, a snapping turtle was observed on June 11 attempting to lay eggs in the parking lot.

The report-a-sightings form is easy to use and we love to get your submissions!

Summer Bird Count – Jun 11, 2016

Margaret Bain once again did the bird count at Braham tract. She writes:
We had hoped for sunnier weather after last year’s Summer Count, but instead we got heavy rain and high winds for our Saturday morning start! After we had parked carefully to avoid the large Snapping Turtle laying eggs at the edge of the gravel parking area, the rain lessened, but it remained very windy for most of the day, and this did discourage bird song especially among the small flycatchers and warblers. A Virginia Rail and a Pied-billed Grebe called from the marsh, though we didn’t see either of them. A persistently cooing Least Bittern sounded quite close too, but remained invisible. On a scouting expedition in late May a Black-billed Cuckoo had flown past while I sat at the picnic table at the edge of the marsh, but sadly this was not repeated on Count Day. Red-winged Blackbirds and grackles ignored the rain of course and were as loud and disputatious as ever. The Tree Swallows too seemed quite happy in the rain, feeding actively around the nest boxes. The nearby grassy fields looked lush and healthy – two Eastern Meadowlarks flew low over the windswept grasses but we couldn’t find any Bobolinks, though later in other areas of our Count section they were in good numbers. Sparrows, flycatchers, and warblers must have been present in higher numbers than we could detect because of the stormy morning, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to come back later for a second chance.
In spite of the weather we did hear or see a good variety of bird life in and around Lone Pine Marsh again this year – especially reassuring as surrounding agricultural fields creep ever larger with more hedgerows and shelter trees disappearing every time we visit.

List of birds:

Canada Goose 24 flying over
Wood Duck only 1 adult female seen this year
Mallard none here this year!
Pied-billed Grebe one calling loudly from marsh
Least Bittern one very vocal at near edge of cattails, but not seen
Green Heron one flyover
Turkey Vulture 2 overhead
Virginia Rail 1 calling in SE corner of marsh
Ring-billed Gull small numbers steadily flying over
Mourning Dove several on hydro wires
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 in small tree in roadside front yard
Northern Flicker 2 heard
Great Crested Flycatcher 2 heard in woods north of marsh
Eastern Kingbird 1 on edge of field
Warbling Vireo 3 in trees along road – seem common this spring
Red-eyed Vireo several singing in trees along road and around marsh
Blue Jay 2 or 3
American Crow several in fields and flying over
Common Raven 1 flying along hydro line, chased by 2 noisy crows
Tree Swallow up to 10 in flight and several entering nest boxes
Barn Swallow one pair
Black-capped Chickadee several in treed areas
House Wren 2 singing along road
Marsh Wren a few singing from edge of cattails far out in the marsh
Veery 1 calling from woods at the north end
American Robin numerous
Gray Catbird 2 mewing in roadside vegetation
Brown Thrasher one singing from treetop
European Starling small flocks here and there
Mourning Warbler one singing in the distance
Common Yellowthroat at least 2 heard around edge of marsh
Yellow Warbler 2 or 3 in meadow and marsh edges
Chipping Sparrow several on roadside verges
Savannah Sparrow 2 at edge of field
Song Sparrow several in small trees and bushes
Swamp Sparrow numerous on south side of marsh
Northern Cardinal one male at roadside
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 or 3 singing from taller trees
Indigo Bunting fewer than usual – many trees at field edges recently felled
Red-winged Blackbird numerous in cattails
Eastern Meadowlark 2 flying low over grassy field NW of marsh
Common Grackle 10+ on west side of marsh
Brown-headed Cowbird only a few this year
American Goldfinch several flying over

Odonates at Braham Tract – Jun 7, 2016

I visited the marsh at Braham Tract today and walked north along the creek. I stopped to visit the beaver dam but the highlight was the many Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) that I saw in the meadow near the creek. Using Ontario Nature’s online Odonate guide, I identified five species.
I hope you enjoy these photos (all are cropped – I was not able to get that close to the flighty insects).

Male common baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male common baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta) on milkweed (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta) on milkweed (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Female twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Female twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Male sedge sprite (Nehalennia irene) on goldenrod (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Male bluet (Enallagma sp.) on a leaf (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male bluet (Enallagma sp.) on a leaf (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Male chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia) on the picnic table (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia) on the picnic table (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

 

Mating sedge sprites (Nehalennia irene) (Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Mating sedge sprites (Nehalennia irene) (Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

Wilkinson Spring Flower Walk – May 14, 2016

Members assess the beaver dam along Pogue Rd. (credit: Dalila Seckar)

On a drizzly Saturday morning, eleven members met at the end of Pogue Road to walk around the Wilkinson property. We first walked north along the road allowance to visit the marsh and enjoy the beavers’ handiwork before walking the loop by the sugar shack.

Jack-in-the-pulpit growing with a clump of grass. (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Jack-in-the-pulpit growing with a clump of grass. (credit: Dalila Seckar)

We saw flowering plants including trilliums (red and white), marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), toothwort (Cardamine diphylla), serviceberry (Ameliancher sp.), heartleaved foam flower (Tiarella cordifolia), and jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum). We also saw the leaves of partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadensis), trout lily (Erythronium americanum), meadow rue (Thalictrum pubescens), and mayapples (Podophyllum peltatum).

Bear tracks in the mud at Wilkinson tract, May 14, 2016. (credit: Dalila Seckar)

In the mud of the forest, there were bear tracks.
We heard spring peepers and leopard frogs. We also saw or heard the following birds: redwing blackbird, rose-breasted grosbeak, common yellowthroat, black-and-white warbler, northern waterthrush, wood thrush, veery, tree swallow, and barn swallow.

This walk took place in conjunction with For the Love of Wood, an annual event held at the Hilton Heritage Hall (old Brighton Township office at 50 Chatten Rd.).

Summer Bird Count – Jun 6, 2015

Margaret Bain reports:
Morning was cold and very windy at Lone Pine this year, though it did warm up by late afternoon, which is when we found a Pied-billed Grebe and heard the Least Bittern calling for several minutes, though we only caught a quick glimpse of it at the edge of the cattails. Apart from the usual hordes of Red-winged Blackbirds and grackles, the marsh was very quiet – we could not find a single rail, nor any coots or gallinules, and only a few Marsh Wrens were singing. A beautiful Great Egret flew in just as we had decided we wouldn’t see one that day. Swallows were active around the nest boxes so there must have been plenty of insects in spite of the chilly weather. But we were very disappointed not to see any Bobolinks or meadowlarks even though the grassland looked lush and healthy. No bluebirds this year, and we missed the Hooded Warbler in the woods just north of Lone Pine, where there was very little birdsong in the windswept trees. The best bird of our visit was probably the unexpected American Woodcock which startled us, suddenly flushing from under our feet as we first approached the marsh.
The cold north winds undoubtedly kept many birds under cover this year so we’ll hope for sunnier, warmer weather for the next Summer Count!

List of birds:

Canada Goose 2 adults with 4 half-grown young
Wood Duck 5 adults, 4 young
Mallard only 3 in the marsh
Pied-billed Grebe calling loudly from marsh
Least Bittern very vocal at edge of cattails – seen only briefly
Great Blue Heron one flying over the marsh
Great Egret one flying in from the south
Green Heron one flyover
Turkey Vulture 3 in flight
Red-tailed Hawk soaring overhead
American Woodcock flushed from edge of marsh
Ring-billed Gull flock foraging in ploughed field and small numbers flying over
Mourning Dove several on hydro wires
Northern Flicker 1
Eastern Wood-Pewee 1 singing in woods at north edge of marsh
Alder Flycatcher 2 singing from edge of marsh
Great Crested Flycatcher 1 calling loudly at north end of marsh
Eastern Kingbird 3 in open areas
Warbling Vireo one singing in trees along road
Red-eyed Vireo several singing in trees along road and around marsh
Blue Jay 2 or 3
American Crow several in fields and flying over
Tree Swallow 8-10 near and entering nestboxes
Barn Swallow one pair
Black-capped Chickadee several in treed areas
House Wren 2 singing along road
Marsh Wren a few singing out in the marsh
Veery 1 calling from woods at the north end
American Robin fairly numerous
Gray Catbird 2 mewing in roadside vegetation
Brown Thrasher one singing from treetop
European Starling small flocks here and there
Ovenbird one singing in the distance
Mourning Warbler one singing in hedgerow
Common Yellowthroat at least 3 singing at marsh edge
American Redstart one heard
Yellow Warbler 2 or 3 in meadow and marsh edges
Chestnut-sided Warbler one male seen
Chipping Sparrow several on roadside verges
Savannah Sparrow 2 at edge of field
Song Sparrow several in small trees and bushes
Swamp Sparrow numerous on south side of marsh
Northern Cardinal one male at roadside
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 or 3 singing from taller trees
Indigo Bunting fewer than usual
Red-winged Blackbird numerous in cattails
Common Grackle lots everywhere
Brown-headed Cowbird only a few this year
Baltimore Oriole 2 singing in roadside gardens
American Goldfinch several flying over