April 21, 2002

Hockley Valley Provincial Nature Reserve -  3rd Line

Meeting report and photos by Alexis Burnett


We started out on our Earth Day hike/sit on a beautiful spring day . It wasn't long before we found many signs of spring all around us. One of the first things that we saw was a huge nest about 25-30 feet above the ground in a white pine. We guessed that it belonged to a large raptor/owl because of the size. There didn't seem to be any birds coming and going, but it did look 'freshly' built and from later discovery (another visit), what looked to be a broad-wing hawk feather was found?
A little farther down the trail we passed by a beautiful area in the hardwood forest that was abounding with many blooming wildflowers. We stopped here and explored this small hill-side for quite some time as many people passed us on the trail. There were so many discoveries to be made that we could not go any faster!

Some of the wildflowers included:

Dutchman's breeches,



blue cohosh,

and trout lilies,

among many others. 

It felt so good to investigate these many amazing plants growing on this rich hill-side. Every one that was with us had a lot to share and we all learned from one another as we moved slowly down the trail. We came upon a number of fallen butternut trees and we speculated as to why so many of them had fallen down in the previous years? We also came across some bitternut trees and were very excited to make this discovery. There was one large tree and lots of little ones surrounding its base. It's amazing how once you become aware of something how it seems to jump out at you from that point on! 
We stopped for a short lunch break at the top of one of the hills and here we found a good spot for a rest.
Throughout the hike we were all very thankful for the the many beauties of spring that surrounded us and the splendor of creation. It seemed to be the voices of the plant world that captured most of our attention on this day and we were not short of things to discover and investigate. As we walked down the trail One of us thought that he heard a broadwing hawk and as we looked up over-head we could see two broadwings soaring on the wind making their loud piercing call. What a truly amazing sight!

After this sighting we also spotted a porcupine feeding, high up in a poplar tree. By the time we finished the loop it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided that it was time to end this beautiful day.

Although we had originally planned a sit on this day it was clear that we had accomplished that which we set out to do -- be thankful for our lives and the many beauties of creation that surrounded us throughout our walk. At the end of the day we all felt very much a part of the natural world and happy that we had the chance to make these many discoveries together on this beautiful day. 

Thanks to all those who took part. We hope to see you all again soon.


Six-spotted beetle

Wild ginger


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