Four Seasons at the Braham Tract

A male bobolink at the Braham Tract. (credit: Leslie Abram)

by Leslie Abram
Each time I visit Lone Pine Marsh I know I am in for a surprise. My very first visit to Lone Pine Marsh was in February, and a walk in the woods revealed a Barred Owl with half a rabbit in its talons. Later in February I heard Eastern Bluebirds flying over the nest boxes. Though no bluebirds used the nest boxes this year, once spring came the boxes were occupied by 4 families of Tree Swallows and 5 families of House Wrens. One highlight of my monitoring was a canoe tour through the marsh at the end of May. We heard and saw Least Bittern, American Bittern, Great Egret, and Pied Billed Grebe. Countless Grey Tree Frogs were calling. Summer brought a high count of 35 Bobolink in the upper fields. It was fascinating to watch the males performing their display flights and calls. In late summer, insects were the stars of the show. On a late August visit to the property I was treated to the sight of hundreds of Monarch Butterflies, as well as numerous dragonflies, damselflies, and bees. My visit in October yielded a Merlin keeping a close eye on the marsh, and barely any other birds. This property is a gem, and I cannot wait to see what I find on my next visit.

Winter Walk at Lone Pine Marsh

On February 23rd, members met at the Lone Pine Marsh – Braham tract for a winter walk. It was sunny and not too cold so it made for an excellent day for a walk.

People standing in front of Lone Pine Marsh.
Members look out on the marsh at Lone Pine Marsh.

We heard bluebirds and cardinals from the parking lot while waiting for everyone to arrive.

Creek with some tracks at Lone Pine Marsh.
Creek at Lone Pine Marsh in winter.

The snow was very crunchy on top due to a thaw the previous day, followed by cool overnight temperatures. This made discerning tracks challenging. We saw caanid tracks (a fox or a local dog?), rabbit, and grouse tracks. We first went north and visited the dam at the northeast side of the property.

Willow tree and beaver dam at Lone Pine Marsh.
Beaver dam in February 2019 at Lone Pine Marsh.

On the north side of the dam, we saw an interesting fuzzy blob attached to a sapling nearby which was later identified as a cecropia moth pupa. The beavers appeared to be constructing a dam a few metres north of the human dam.

Pupa of cecropia moth.
Pupa of Hyalophora cecropia found on a sapling at Lone Pine Marsh.

We then walked south, into the small birch forest. There, beavers have been cutting many trees and a number have fallen over the path. We also saw grouse tracks in the snow.

People in birch forest at Lone Pine Marsh.
Members in the birch grove at Lone Pine Marsh.

The sun came out for our walk and we all enjoyed getting out and visiting the Lone Pine Marsh this morning!