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

Early Summer Walk at Braham Tract – Jun 11, 2016

On June 11, members joined the board of directors of Lone Pine Marsh Sanctuary for a walk at the Braham tract. Despite warnings for thunderstorms and showers, there was no precipitation and a heat wave set in. Thanks to George Wilkinson’s mowing efforts, members were able to traverse the northern meadow loops more easily. Bobolinks and meadowlarks were observed in these grassed areas.

Doug McRae tells members about bobolinks and meadowlarks during a guided walk (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Doug McRae tells members about bobolinks and meadowlarks during a guided walk (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

At the beaver dam, dragonflies and arrowhead were observed.

Members observe dragonflies beside the creek and weir (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Members observe dragonflies beside the creek and weir (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

Members then went south to the observation deck and followed the edge of the marsh south through the shrubs (which Doug McRae had recently pruned). Ferns (sensitive and cinnamon) were lush adjacent to the trails.

Ferns and cattails on the edge of the marsh (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Ferns and cattails on the edge of the marsh (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

At the edge of the forest (where they were finally beset by mosquitoes) members stopped and Gary Bugg pointed out the new trail loop into the southern forest.

Gary Bugg points out the new trail loop into the southern woods (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Gary Bugg points out the new trail loop into the southern woods (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

Members turned back before completing the loop south forest loop due to time constraints (and remaining poison ivy on the trail).

Members walk through grass between pines and the marsh (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Members walk through grass between pines and the marsh (Braham Tract, Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

Following the walk, members had lunch and met to discuss special resolutions and hold the annual general meeting.

Introducing Lone Pine Land Trust

On June 11, the board of directors and members of Lone Pine Marsh Sanctuary met at the Braham tract for a walk of the property (and introduction to new trails) followed by lunch, a special meeting, and the annual general meeting.

Meetings under the shelter at the Braham tract with members. (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Meetings under the shelter at the Braham tract with members. (credit: Dalila Seckar)

At the Special Meeting, new by-laws were passed (with amendments) and the name was officially changed to Lone Pine Land Trust. Since the addition of the Wilkinson, Kennedy, and Munn tracts to the original marsh (Braham tract), our land ownership in the watershed of Cold and Marsh Creeks has increased to a total of 371 acres. The addition of “Land Trust” to our name immediately tells people what our organization is about. To simplify the name, we dropped “Marsh Sanctuary” from the title; we will continue to focus on acquiring wetlands and lands adjacent to the creeks and be a sanctuary to the indigenous organisms of the area.

Members observe the marsh (Braham tract) on Jun 11, 2016. (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Members observe the marsh (Braham tract) on Jun 11, 2016. (credit: Dalila Seckar)

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)

Work Party at Braham tract – Apr 23, 2016

Members pose after a morning working at the Braham tract (Apr 2016).

A small group of dedicated volunteers went to Murial’s Marsh on April 23rd. We cleared leaning branches on the trail to the viewing platform to allow equipment to access the platform (as we are replacing it this year). We also chemically controlled more invasive buckthorn along the edge of the pond. Another group of volunteers worked on the trail through the woods, clearing off branches and raking the leaves so that the trail will be easier to find.

The weather was cool in the morning but the bright sun warmed us as we worked we enjoyed our visit to the property. Many animals were seen at the marsh while we worked including Canada geese, tree swallows (that were using the bird boxes), an american toad, and a snapping turtle. The early spring flower bloodroot was also noticed growing near the edge of the meadow. We were also impressed with the beaver dam that has been built on the stream and is raising the water level of the marsh. It will cause some of the cattails to die and create more openings in the marsh for waterfowl.
It is a great time of year to visit the marsh – we recommend a visit!