This past Sunday SONSI members met at the Royal Botanical Gardens Arboretum to take in some of the fall colour and wildlife.
The Arboretum is a wonderful place to walk to access some of the RBG’s more natural trails. They go through areas of Coote’s Paradise, the Hickory Valley and around Hamilton Bay. Within a few kilometers there is a great variety of scenery from wide views across the water, deep forest, tall valleys, marsh land, open fields and manicured gardens. Though all of the seasons have something spectacular to offer, fall – as can be expected in Canada – is perhaps the most striking. This year the red colour in many of the maples was stronger than usual due to the heat and dryness of the summer. There are also about 250 species of bird passing through the RBG on their winter migration.
Our hike started with the charmingly fascinating Katsura tree which, along with being a very beautiful and unusual tree, emits a strong, burnt sugar sweet smell as its leaves turn. SONSI members had fun trying to decipher which colour of gold to yellow had the best smell and spent some time trying to catch the falling leaves in order to make a wish. Don’t be fooled if you were under the impression that SONSI is a strictly business organization.
As usual, being with even the smallest group of SONSI members is a certain way to learn something new, on this occasion members learnt about and identified native and non-native plant and tree species, two different woodpecker species, wild berries and a leopard frog to name but a few.
While there were some more unusual wildlife sightings one of the most common was doing its best to enchant. The chickadees came in swarms bringing with them a small host of other birds such as the downy woodpecker, white-breasted nuthatch and the occasional observing bluejay. Fall is a great time to feed wild birds, there is nothing quite so peaceful as having one of these tiny birds fly to your hand.
The weather was kind, providing excellent light for the look out points across the water and over the trees.
Thanks should go to everyone who attended, hopefully there will be more chances to see this area during some of the other seasons.