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Early Sring Walks

Early Spring Walks

Karen Anderson

Early spring walks at Presqu'ile Provincial Park can be challenging weather wise. You never know whether to pack a spring coat, winter parka or rain gear. Though the temperatures forecasted may be quite warm, don't be surprised at how bone chilling cold and windy it can be down by the shoreline! Rubber boots are always a must, especially with seasonal flooding on some of the trails.

March is all about the returning migration of waterfowl, and my husband and myself enjoyed volunteering at the Waterfowl Week-end held March 16th & 17th this year. We met people from all over Ontario, Quebec and even visitors from England. Some were quick to identify the Red-breasted Mergansers, Lesser Scaups and Ring-necked Ducks, bobbing on the waves, while others less experienced were able to use the provided telescopes, visual aids and help of knowledgeable volunteers.

The ground was still covered in snow throughout most of March and it can be a time of year when there doesn't appear to be much to see, let alone photograph. However, nature always manages to catch me by surprise. While walking into the campground section where I love to wander up and around the campsites, I discovered three Cutworm Caterpillars, and a solitary Spider (which I havn't yet identified) all very much alive on the snow.

One of my favorite pastimes in early spring is to photograph tree trunks, and stumps. I am always on the lookout for interesting shapes and it's fun to discover branches that remind me of faces, animals, etc….Now the "happy face” below, can still be found on the Marsh Boardwalk trail.

 My "rattlesnake” was at the beginning of the group camping road, but has since been cut back by Park staff to prevent the road from being blocked off.

Walking the trails this past week, showed me glimpses of a warmer spring to come. Three Eastern Comma Butterflies danced in the sunlit areas of Jobes' Wood Trail occasionally chased by the larger Mourning Cloak Butterflies.

I heard the loud and very noisy drumming of what I thought had to be a Pileated Woodpecker, only to discover that it was a much smaller Hairy Woodpecker pounding furiously on a hollowed out birch tree. A small patch of bright yellow Coltsfoot, always the very first wildflower in the Park, brought a little sunshine to the spit at the end of Atkins Lane.

And finally, I took a peek at the construction of the new boardwalk at Jobes' Wood Trail being built by volunteers of the Friends of Presqu'ile and am looking forward to its completion, so that I can once again walk this favorite trail of mine.


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