This weekend Trail Swag attended a Jane's Walk in Mark S. Burnham Park (Map) in Peterborough, Ontario. Originally a woodlot on the Burnham estate, it was donated to the province, and is now an Ontario Park.

Mike McMurtry and Roger Jones, of the Peterborough Field Naturalists were our guides and both were chock-full of interesting tidbits about the park.

About 35 people showed up to explore the trails that run through the 43 hectare park and learn from our walk leaders about the spring wildflowers and the age of the old forest growth. The walk started with a moment of zen to listen to, and identify local birds which differed from what we heard deeper into the forest. We heard such species such as the Nashville Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Great Crested Flycatcher, Chickadees, Black-Throated Green Warbler and a Woodpecker.


Garlic Mustard, an invasive species, which releases a chemical that chokes out plants around it (and kills butterfly eggs who mistake the plant for another).

Buckthorn, another invasive species, sometimes confused with a Dogwood.

We learned all sorts of neat things such as The Prickly Ash is mistakenly identified as an Ash tree due to the word "Ash" in the name. Sometimes when identifying plants and trees it is better to go by the technical name. We also spotted a wide range of plants such as the Blue Cohosh, which variation can't be easily identified until it flowers.

There is an Ironwood in the forest with a sign that mentions that it is 140 years old. The silly thing is... the sign isn't dated, so we have no idea as to the actual age of the tree. An interesting tidbit is that you can't guess the age of a tree by it's thickness.

Roger Jones shows us a little bit of magic. If you pull a Dogwood leaf apart very slowly, it will stay attached.

This Beech Tree is suffering from Beech Bark Disease. It will eventually kill it, however it should survive a long time.

A Garter Snake which was pretty well camouflaged, but easily spotted when rustling through the leaves.

Where was my telephoto lens when I needed it? At the crook of the tree, Mike McMurtry easily spotted an Red Admiral Butterfly with his binoculars which are quite prevalent in the area as they migrate.

Identifying an Intermediate Wood Fern.

The Trilliums were abundant and so were the first signs of black flies.

When going for a Nature walk, be sure to have a peek in places you might not ordinarily look. On the shady side of a log Mike was showing the difference between Bulblet Fern and Ostrich Fern.

The descriptive signs have been posted in the park for when you explore the park yourself and see what Nature has to offer.