April 13, 2003


(Photos and report by Walter Muma)

Nine people met for a meandering walk through the early spring woods under a brilliantly clear blue sky. We didn't have a specific focus or topic for the day, but rather we simply wandered the woods, discussing and investigating whatever came up.

A short ways up the trail we found some branches that had apparently been cut as part of trail maintenance. We spent some time analyzing if these were cut with a saw or a chain saw, by a right-handed or left-handed person, how long ago, and so on.


There certainly weren't many signs of spring yet, at least in terms of plants growing. 

All we found were some hepatica buds (shown here), wild leeks (only about 3" tall), and herb robert.



Not much wildlife or tracks either. Although we did find a porcupine resting high up in a tree. And for awhile about 5 turkey vultures circled high in the blue sky, maybe looking for lunch?


Other bird highlights were a brown creeper, phoebe, and a beautiful red-tailed hawk.


We did some winter tree ID, with the usual discussions and some disagreements about species. And we discussed forest succession.

The tree shown here is butternut.

To learn more about identifying trees in winter, please see the Ontario Trees website.

We experimented with Tinder Fungus and False Tinder Fungus. Here is a coal being carried in False Tinder Fungus, lit by a magnifying lens.

To learn more about these funguses, please see the Wildwood Survival website, Wilderness Survival - Fire - Tinder Fungus section.

And we had discussions about fire-making methods.

To learn more about fire-making methods, please see the Wildwood Survival website, Wilderness Survival - Fire section.



As we rambled about, we found some fallen oak galls. More info on oak galls may be found here: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/forests/foresthealth/pests/tree/oak.pdf


All in all, a peaceful and very educational day was had by everyone. Thank you to everyone who came out and participated!

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