January 4, 2004

Mono Cliffs 2nd line (West Side)

Meeting report & photos by Alexis Burnett

There were 4 of us that showed up for our winter tree I.D. walk through the Mono Cliffs Provincial Park. The north winds had brought some cooler temperatures over night and the ground that was saturated and muddy the day before had become hard and frozen. We started the day with a short thanksgiving asking the trees to share some of their knowledge with us.

As we moved down the trail we were greeted by two large ravens, circling and calling overhead. 


Ancient White Cedar


We discussed some of the characteristics to look for such as opposite/alternate, buds and twig size as well as bark description and habitat. There were many species that we came across. Here is a list of most of the species that we positively identified:
Sugar Maple, White and Black Ash, Alternate-leafed Dogwood, Red Osier Dogwood, White Elm, White Birch, American Beech, Large-Toothed Aspen, Trembling Aspen, Balsam-Poplar, Black Cherry, Ironwood (Hop-Hornbeam), Northern White Cedar, Eastern Hemlock, Bitternut Hickory, Butternut, Yew, Yellow Birch, Balsam Fir, Hawthorn, Scots and Jack Pine, and Norway Spruce.

American Beech bud

A gnarled old Beech


White Elm

Large-Toothed Aspen


Along our travels we also stopped by and investigated around an active beaver lodge. There were many fresh signs of feeding, fallen trees and many trails including some amazing beaver tracks that were frozen into the ice. The beaver was feeding on Yellow & White Birch, Elm, Cedar, Cherry, and Apple. This seemed to be the most active lodge out of the three in this area. Are the other two abandoned from lack of food? It seems that way.


Beaver chews

Beaver tracks


Along the creek we also came across many deer tracks, trails and scat. There was also two kinds of grouse scat that was the source of many questions. It appeared to be old and became visible again with the melting snow. At one point we all stood quietly 25 feet off the trail as a family walked directly past without noticing us. We thought how easy a deer could do this.

We came across many growths, scars, cists, fungi and lichen growing or protruding from many trees and wondered about the origins of these things and what effect they were having on the trees themselves. As usual the more we found out that we knew, the more we realized we didn't know. And the more questions we began to ask. Most going without answers.

As we returned to the cars we were once again greeted by two ravens as they flew overhead, which ended a great day. Thanks to my partners on this day and thanks to the trees for allowing us a brief glimpse into their lives.



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