Biological Inventories at LPLT Properties

by Paulette Hebert
A full suite of biological studies is now underway at three Lone Pine Land Trust properties.
At the Kennedy Tract, Josh Feltham, a herpetology specialist from Sir Sanford Flemming College in Lindsay will work with his team of volunteers to complete a species inventory and abundance estimates of the amphibians and reptiles at the Kennedy Tract. He will sample the different habitats along transects at specific times of the day and year. He will also be using cover boards to detect salamanders and snakes. Coverboards are thick pieces of plywood laid out strategically to attract snakes and salamanders seeking cover or warmth. The use of transects and coverboards provides standardized data which will allow LPLT to track herpetiles at the Kennedy Tract over time.
David Geale of Mariposa Butterfly Tours will be studying butterflies at the Kennedy Tract from April to July. David has photographed butterflies from around the world and has extensive knowledge of butterflies and their habitats. He is looking forward to getting started on The Kennedy Tract butterfly inventory which will allow him to focus on more local Lepidoptera.
Shrew Solutions is a consulting company led by Doug McCrae, former Board member and president of LPLT. Doug is an expert in birds and wildlife and has dedicated his life to discovering and understanding the natural world. He has worked for many years on the James Bay Shorebird project, most recently as team leader. He has assembled a team of experts in vegetation (Bill Crins), birds (Ian Shanahan) and dragonflies (Andrea Kingsley) to complete a full suite of inventories at our three newest properties (Kennedy, McColl, and DeKleer Tracts). They will be conducting standardized Breeding Bird point counts, doing raptor nest searches, and using call recordings to detect bird species that are secretive and quiet. They will also be deploying trail cameras to keep eyes on the ground all summer and to help detect mammals and nocturnal species. This will be the first time a complete study has been done at Lone Pine Land Trust properties.
Wherever possible, our experts will be documenting their finds with photographs and we are looking forward to sharing their results with you.

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.

Doe Fight at McColl Tract

The trail camera at McColl captured a magnificent “doe fight” this winter. The camera captured two does in a face off — standing on their hind legs and circling, until one backed down and moved off. An unexpected and wonderful capture!

animal mammal deer 2018

Introducing McColl Property, a new woodlot

Through the generosity of Dr. William and Judith Mills, the land trust has acquired a new 68 acre woodlot along the Old Wooler Road near Codrington. It is part of Judith’s McColl family farm which was purchased by F. H. McColl in 1934.

Early attempts at agriculture by the McColls were not very successful due to the sandy, erosion prone soils. Therefore, in the 1950’s the McColls began a tree planting program using scots and red pine. Planting continued into the 1970s and also included sections of white spruce, Norway spruce and black walnut. The forest has been maintained as a registered managed forest since 1975.
Thinning of the planted stands was carried out in 2003 and again in 2011. As a result, the regeneration of hardwoods (most notably red oak) is progressing very well. It is the goal of the land trust to allow a natural regeneration of the reforested areas to mature mixed forest.

The rear of the property is transected by the main water course of Cold Creek and features an impressive stand of 40 year old white pine. The rear section also contains an eight acre swamp.
A series of forested ridges transect the middle of the property. Between two of these ridges is a very moisture rich cedar valley which contains many seeps and vernal ponds.
In early June we were saddened to hear of Judy’s passing. She had always wished that the property be conserved in its natural state. We are honored to become stewards of her cherished property.