I’m not that much of a birder. I recognize about 50 to maybe 80 species of bird (now, which used to be less than 20) but I do like to take on a birding 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 to Nebraska taking the Amtrak California Zephyr. This year, I visited Point Pelee and Detroit again.

Regarding this feature photo, taken before departure: there was not that much goosey terrestrial territory at Pelee. They prefer open meadows of shorn grass near water – the kind of territory we love to provide with urban parks, especially when we drain and bulldoze wetlands for our “standard” of development. However, you will still see Canada geese having proper nests in proper wetlands. They are an aquatic bird, after all.

Point Pelee is the southernmost part of Canada. It is the heart of Carolinian Canada, representative of an endangered ecotone – a region of similar ecology, with populations of hallmark species that interact in an ecological community. Much of the Carolinian and Mixed broadleaf forest in Canada has been needlessly destroyed by agriculture and urban development. The swath of land between Windsor and Toronto – and even pockets all the way to Montreal – is heavily populated and are vestiges of this ecotone.

In the woods, wherever you go, you’ll see all kinds of creatures, from snakes to moles to deer. Deer paths can be identified as being used enough to not be an illusion, but not enough to be created by humans.


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.

This lovely white flower, which I happen to have in patches in my front yard, I’ve encouraged to grow in my backyard where there’s 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. I should be looking this stuff up. Does anyone else know what kind of fungus this is?

This prickly pear cactus is one of two populations found in Canada. It grows in the open savannah.

Landscape restoration is work that I’d like to be involved in, as a botanist/ecologist and as a person who likes mucking about planting things. It’s also something we need to do within cities and everywhere that is not a productive agricultural field or pasture. (And if we don’t, 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.

We also saw a “lifer,” a bird rare enough to get birders coming from all over to see it:

Kirtland's warbler

Kirtland’s warbler

And on the last morning (the 18th of May), this mother robin was feeding a brood of four chicks right in the sign at the Visitors’ Centre:

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