Trail Talk 25

The Goderich Signal-Star - - News -

On Thurs­day July 19 at the bot­tom of River Line I sur­prised three Great Blue Eastern Herons, I be­lieve two were ju­ve­niles, I don’t re­call hav­ing ever see­ing more than one to­gether.

On Mon­day July 23 I hiked in from Sharpes Creek Line into the Na­ture Con­ser­vancy area and sur­prised a rab­bit and a wild turkey and I also found a clean golf ball – a long way from any golf course. There is soap­wort grow­ing near the trail, it has five petals and looks like a phlox. How­ever, it is an alien plant of the car­na­tion fam­ily, also known as bounc­ing bet. By chop­ping up the leaves and boil­ing the leaves or roots in wa­ter a lath­ery liq­uid can be pro­duced for a mild liq­uid soap suit­able for clean­ing del­i­cate fab­rics. Bounc­ing Bet is an old-fash­ioned nick­name for a wash­er­woman. Wort is an old English name for a plant, hence soap­wort, bell­wort, tooth­wort, St. Johnswort.

On Mon­day we had a ci­cada in the green­house, a large in­sect (about 2cm long) that lives in trees and there­fore is more of­ten heard than seen. They sing in the heat of the day and also at night and their song, which is only made by the males, is a loud buzz pro­duced by vi­brat­ing drum­like tym­bals (a cor­ru­gated ex­oskele­tal struc­ture), rapidly. There is an­other fam­ily of ci­cadas that ap­pear in large num­bers on a 13 or 17-year cy­cle. Spot­ted Joe-Pye weed is com­mon in the wet ar­eas near the trails. Folk­lore tells that a na­tive, “Joe Pye” used this plant to cure fevers. Al­though black squir­rels are a com­mon sight here, they were never seen in Wash­ing­ton D.C. un­til Canada swopped eight black squir­rels from Ron­deau Pro­vin­cial park for some gray squir­rels in 1902, and then more in 1906.

Many vis­i­tors are sur­prised to see black squir­rels in the U.S.A. cap­i­tal as they are usu­ally only seen in the more north­ern parts of the United States. Ac­cord­ing to “A Field Guide to Mam­mals”, the black squir­rels is a melanocytic colour phase of the Eastern gray squir­rel as is the lo­cal white squir­rel. The lo­cal white squir­rels are not al­bi­nos just a colour vari­a­tion of the gray squir­rel.

The other com­mon squir­rel is the red squir­rel, which is quite a bit smaller, and the Eastern fox squir­rel (a large gray or brown squir­rel with a very bushy tail bor­dered with white tipped hairs). Thus, both the black and the white squir­rels are gray squir­rels and many lo­cal gray squir­rels are Eastern fox squir­rels. (fox squir­rels have a big­ger 10-15“head and body than gray squir­rels 8-10”). We have also seen a black squir­rel in our gar­den that has a white tail. The noc­tur­nal fly­ing squir­rel might also be in our area, but I am un­fa­mil­iar with them. One in­sect you may see on milk­weed, other than a Monarch but­ter­fly, is a red milk­weed bee­tle (Te­traopes tetroph­thal­mus) it also man­ages to get some pro­tec­tion by in­cor­po­rat­ing tox­ins from the milk­weed into their bod­ies.

UP­COM­ING HIKES: Sunday Au­gust 5 at 8 a.m - Hike the Mait­land Woods af­ter eat­ing a pan­cake break­fast at the Goderich Fire Sta­tion. Meet at 8 a.m. in the Knights of Colum­bus park­ing lot at eh trail en­trance near­est to the trailer. We then walk on the trail to the fire sta­tion, have break­fast and then fin­ish the Mait­land woods loop at a leisurely pace. Lead­ers Al San­ders and Pa­trick Cap­per. Sunday Au­gust 5 at 7:15 p.m Port Al­bert

A pa­rade of bag­pipers and drum­mers makes a grand en­trance across the foot­bridge to the area in front of the gen­eral store where a crowd of peo­ple wait in an­tic­i­pa­tion. Then they pro­ceed down the road to the main beach with ev­ery­one fol­low­ing.

Ev­ery year has a theme if you wish to aug­ment the fun by cre­at­ing a cos­tume. This year it is SHREK. At the beach the band plays un­til sun­set then walks into the wa­ter while fin­ish­ing with Amaz­ing Grace. Meet in the fish­eries park­ing lot just be­low the bridge to sign in and you may have time to grab food, ice cream or a drink at our funky gen­eral store be­fore the main event. Con­tact: Anne Storey (519) 529 3050 to reg­is­ter. Au­gust 18 at 1 p.m. - River walk at the Falls Re­serve. Au­gust 26 at 8 p.m. join the Bay­field River Val­ley Trail As­so­ci­a­tion on a night hike on the Wood­land Trail Satur­day Sept 29/Sunday Sept 30 - 2 day MTA El Camino reg­is­tra­tion is now open Cost $25 adults $10 if under 18 de­tail www. mait­land­trail.ca/mta-el­camino-2018

MID WEEK HIKES:

The Tues­day Trompers walk for about an hour at a mod­er­ate to slow pace start­ing at 9 a.m. Con­tact Al San­ders at allan.san­ders@huron­tel.on.ca

The Wed­nes­day hikes start at 9 a.m. for 1 ? to 2 hours at a moderately fast pace. Con­tact pcap­per99@gmail.com

The Fri­day L.I.F.E. hik­ers usu­ally meet at 8:10 at the Betty Cardno Cen­tre in Clin­ton and hike for 1 ? hours to 2 hours, one group at a mod­er­ate the other group at a moderately fast pace. Con­tact cphillips@onecare­sup­port.ca If you have ques­tions or some­thing of in­ter­est for Trail Talk email me Pa­trick Cap­per at pcap­per99@ gmail.com.

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