I am not that much of a birder (I recognize about 50 species of bird, now, which used to be less than 20) but I do like to get out there and take on a challenge once in a while. Two years ago I took a trip to Point Pelee and then continued on to Detroit and all the way in to Nebraska taking the Amtrak California Zephyr. This year, I visited Point Pelee and Detroit again. (I’m saving my Detroit post for another day.)
First we’ll start with a pic of Canada Goose that is entirely too used to people taking its picture, on the boardwalk at Ile Bizard. I hoped the birds wouldn’t be that familiar with us at Pelee, where thousands of us flock to see them at this time of year. And thankfully, there was not that much goosey terrestrial territory at Pelee (they prefer open meadows of shorn grass near water – just the kind of territory we love to provide when we doze wetlands for our sub-standard of development). Though you will see Canada geese having proper nests
in proper wetlands. They are an aquatic bird, after all.
In the woods, where ever you go, you’ll see all manner of creatures, from snakes to moles to deer. Deer paths are readily identified as being used enough to not be an illusion, but not used enough to be human.
This plant, a low-lying ground cover that I highly recommend replacing your front lawn with in a mix with other ground cover, is in bloom. Its common name is Creeping Charlie. It withstands some traffic and mowing without losing its attractive purple tone.
And this lovely white flower, which I happen to have in patches in my front yard, I’m encouraging to grow in my backyard where there is less light and traffic. It is a white violet, and there are purple violets, and white with purple centres…
…and also a different species of yellow violets.
A very large fungus shaped like a cone grew on a snaggy tree on a low-traffic seasonal footpath…geez, I should be looking this stuff up. Does anyone else know what kind of fungus this is?
Point Pelee is the southernmost part of Canada, and is representative of an endangered ecotone – a region of similar ecology, with populations of hallmark species that interact in community. It is Carolinian Canada, and much of the Carolinian and Mixed broadleaf forest in Canada has been needlessly destroyed by agriculture and urban development.
This prickly pear cactus is one of two populations that can be found in Canada. It grows in the open savannah.
This is work that I personally would like to be involved in, as a botanist/ecologist and as a person who likes mucking about planting things. It is also something we need to do within cities and everywhere that is not a productive agricultural field or pasture. (And if we don’t do it, then we deserve to be covered in kudzu.)
Off of the woodland path, a young cottontail rabbit hid in the foliage until I stayed quiet for long enough that it came out. It browsed the small plants growing at the edge of the path, until it darted across to safety when newcomers came along.
Update on June 11th: I have located some photos taken by my trip partner, Jeff Greenwood. We saw a “lifer,” a bird rare enough to get birders coming from all over to see it:
And on the last morning (the 18th of May), Jeff found this mother robin feeding a brood of four chicks right in the sign at the Visitors’ Centre: