Fall Walk at Wilkinson Tract, Oct 10, 2015

Five members and friends gathered at the Wilkinson Tract for a fall walk on Saturday, October 10 – probably the most gorgeous day so far this fall. The morning was lovely and crisp, the sky nearly cloudless, and the fall colours were in full display.
First we walked down the length of Pogue Rd., and even though it was fall, a few Red-winged Blackbirds were still singing from the marsh and several Ruffed Grouse were drumming. We had great looks at a Pileated Woodpecker (first of five seen or heard), as well as a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds – a boreal forest breeder passing through here on migration. We explored the eastern forest noting the different types of trees here including the uncommon Blue Beech. Then with much enthusiasm we traversed the marsh on the overgrown causeway and walked through the western forest.
Highlights from the west side included seeing the last few living Butternuts on the property – an officially Endangered species that is being wiped out by an introduced blight. On a brighter note the mature hemlock/maple peninsula was stunning in fall colour and was also great for fungi, ground pine (a club moss relative), and Christmas Fern and Polypody – the two evergreen ferns on this tract.
On our way back to the parking area, as the temperature began to warm up, we saw several small parties of migrating Turkey Vultures plus a Northern Harrier and two Red-tailed Hawks.
Thank you to all for coming out to enjoy one of the properties that, through a generous donation by Pat and George Wilkinson, Lone Pine is committed to protecting.