The Wilkinson Tract

Walking in the forest in the winter (Wilkinson tract, Feb 2007). (credit: Doug McRae, Shrew Solutions Inc.)

In December 2005, Lone Pine Marsh Sanctuary accepted a generous donation of land from George and Pat Wilkinson. The property is located at County Rd. 21 and Pogue Rd., near the Braham Tract, and is connected to the marsh by a tributary of Cold Creek.

The Wilkinson Tract is a 50 acre parcel of land that has three major habitat components; a forested slope forming the western flank, a cedar/alder swamp diagonally bisecting its centre, and a more low-lying forested eastern flank. Collectively, these three sections host an impressive array of birds, reptiles, amphibians, plants, and insects.

The western forest is quite diverse with Sugar Maple and eastern hemlock forming major components but with many other species mixed in such as ash, yellow birch, balsam fir and the Endangered Butternut. It is rich in spring wildflowers and ferns. Because of the older trees present, this habitat supports nesting Barred Owl and Pileated Woodpecker. Recently at least two male Hooded Warblers – a threatened Carolinian species – have taken up summer residence.

The swampy centre is a mix of White Cedar and Speckled Alder with many small cattail lined ponds. This habitat is full of frogs – especially Spring Peeper and Green Frog – as well as Painted and Snapping Turtle. The wetland is also home to many characteristic species such as Alder Flycatcher, Tree Swallow, Common yellowthroat and Swamp Sparrow; and no swamp would be complete without Beaver and Mink.

The cooler, low lying eastern forest has lots of hemlock, White Cedar and Balsam Fir bordering the wetland, which is perfect habitat for birds like Winter Wren, White-throated Sparrow and Purple Finch. As with any conifer-dominated habitat, Red Squirrel is also common. A more impressive forest resident, which could potentially be found in any of the properties habitats, is Black Bear. Although rarely seen, their scratch marks can be seen on some of the poplars on site.