I spent Thursday morning and part of the afternoon walking the trails with my friend Bob Turner at Joany’s Woods. We walked about 8 kilometers. It was overcast and the temps were around 10 C (50 F). Joany’s Woods is a tract of forested in some areas and wet bottomland in other areas about 30 minutes from my place. There is a network of trails that wind thru a variety of habitats and along the Ausauble River. Before turning onto the road to the parking area, there is a small pond. We stopped here to have a look. Two male Wood Ducks were perched near the water and flew off as we watched. There were also some warblers flitting about. A Palm Warbler, a Yellow Warbler and a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers were quite active.
Instead of driving down to the parking area, we left the van at the intersection of Elliot and Boothill Roads, and walked in from there. There is water and trees on both sides of this stretch of road. But it was quiet and we saw no birds along here. However, once on the actual hiking trail, we started to see woodpeckers. The first bird we saw was a Red-headed Woodpecker. Nearby, we saw 3 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Then a Hairy Woodpecker flew in. And a little further down the trail, we heard and then saw a Downy Woodpecker. An Eastern Towhee was singing along here also, but we never did get a look at it.
Since it has been a fairly cool spring so far, the foliage is not very far advanced. We are talking just buds for the most part. But there were a number of wildflowers in bloom. Spring Beauties, Bloodroot, March Marigolds, Skunk Cabbage and Trilliums were all to be found easily, adding nice colour to the landscape. We heard and saw a few Blue Jays and crows and Canada Geese.
We took the trail down to the river’s edge and then followed the river for quite a distance. On one side of us was the river and the other side was spruce, tamarack and white pine forests. We encountered a group of about 5 Northern Flickers together along the trail. The coniferous trees were dripping with Black-capped Chickadees and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. We newer saw any Golden-crowned, though. On another stretch of the trail, away from the river, we came across a grouping of the Hermit Thrush. We counted about 6, maybe 7 thrush here.
It was along this stretch of the trail, we came across an old Dodge Fargo, long ago wrecked and abandon. I have walked past this past this area many time and never noticed it before. There was probably too much foliage covering the vehicle then. On a couple of occasions walking along the river’s edge, we heard a Belted Kingfisher clattering away, but never did see the bird. We saw quite a number of Song Sparrows and one Swamp Sparrow along this stretch of trail, also.
At this time we began hearing a chain saw, not far away. As we moved on down the trail, we met up with the source of the chain saw sound. A friend of mine, Pete Chapman and a work-mate, Ian, were out clearing some branches and limbs that had fallen across the path. Pete is on the Board of Directors for the Talbot Land Trust and participates in a lot of clearing and trail maintenance. After a nice visit (I had not seen Pete in at least a year.), we went out separate ways.
The next bird we saw was a Winter Wren. I had a good look at it sitting out in the open before it flew off and disappeared. At this point, we were essentially heading back towards the vehicle. We stumbled across a flock of Palm Warblers, at least 4-5 birds.
Once back to the van, we decided to have another look at that pond near the entrance. The first obvious sign of bird life, were the 3 or 4 Rough-winged Swallows flying back and forth over the pond. Then we spotted a shorebird on the far side of the water.. It turned out to be a Solitary Sandpiper.
It was a great day of trail-walking and birding and I only fell once.