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Dispatches from Petrie Island

If you'd care to pen a few words about your experiences at Petrie Island, do not hesitate to send them to here and we'll include them in the next dispatch.  All contributions are generally reviewed for appropriateness, but your experiences are what counts - so don't worry about not being a "professional naturalist" .


11 June 2003 (Jim Robertson)

I overslept this morning so I assumed I would not see much animal life at the Islands arriving at 7:30am. The brisk winds kept the flying animals (insects) away which was nice but unusual for that hour of the morning. Kept them away that is except for some of the more sheltered areas of the trails so I should have applied some bug repellent !

I saw one rabbit (not like two years ago when it was not unusual to see 10-20) , a few squirrels, the usual birds, - herons fishing for breakfast, robins, flickers etc., but I added a tern to the sightings. There was one beaver in close to shore in Turtle Pond. A few turtles were basking in the filtered sunlight.

Bill Bower, in his recent reports, mentioned only finding one turtle nest. Well something has started to spur the turtles to head for shore. The first hint was finding two "test" holes in the first sandy area - no eggs and the holes only dug down 2-3 inches. Then I found two freshly dug up nests, the yoke was still damp on the eggs. The clincher was coming across two 12" map turtles and a large 20" snapper sitting over their holes laying eggs. It was 8:15am which is normally not the time of day they are to be found as most eggs are laid at night - although last year was an exception with the 3-4 day egg laying frenzy.

It is too bad the city crews removed the large trunk that blocked (some) bikes at the start of the trail as there have been a few bikes quite far west on the island. But it was nice that the city was grading the road to the Park.

In addition to the plants mentioned in the June 3rd dispatch: - carrion plants are in bud. I found three with green stems, usually they are purple stemmed - bladder campions in bloom - wild roses in bud - highbush cranberry blooming - riverbank grape in bud - ninebark in bud - yellow water lilies - daisy fleabane blooming - bedstraw ready to break out of bud - elderberry seem to be finished blooming - strawberries blooming

The close-up of the snapper is Gwen William's shot from this morning. The other shot is one of mine from last year of a snapper laying eggs.



7 June 2003 (Bill Bower)

Very, very quiet visit to Petrie Island, Saturday, June 7, 2003. Never saw or heard a bird. Never saw a turtle or a hairy animal. When I got back to the parking lot at two o'clock my car was still the only one there. No sign of human activity anywhere, not even a fisherman out.

Strange! Well maybe not, as it was 2 a.m. and not 2 p.m. I thought I would do a midnight tour around the islands to look for turtles. It was a nice warm and damp night. But no luck. It does make for an interesting walk in the dark. Every sound at night is many times louder than in the daytime. I never saw a beaver, but judging by the number of warning splashes all over the place and out in the main river there must have been 25 beaver around. Nothing like having one make a mighty splash about 20 feet from you when you weren't aware of anything being around. Bullfrogs were especially loud. The odd June bug landing in your ear didn't do much for the nerves either.

I don't know which night the turtles will make their annual spring pilgrimage to lay eggs but it will sure be a concentrated effort. I have only found one painted turtle nest so far and it was dug up by the raccoons, twice.

Here is some trivia for ya. There are normally more fawns born of June 7th than on any other day of the year. Of course a few won't be born before August, but on average today is the peak day.




3 June 2003 (Jim Robertson)

After being out of town for two weeks, the changes were noticeable at Petrie when I went for a brisk walk along the trails this morning. The trees are virtually all in full leaf, most of the ferns are standing tall although there are still some in the last of their fiddle head stage. It was warm enough that someone was having their morning coffee reading the paper on a picnic bench at 6:15.

The water is slightly high making it difficult in one spot to walk east back along the sandy shoreline from the turtle nesting mounds.

There were no signs of turtle nesting, but they were one or two large turtle tracks coming up from the water's edge. For the first time that I can recall, there was no cross-trail traffic at the end of Muskrat Bay.

Each spring is different, bringing along the flowers and plants at different times than previous years. The flooding last year was a serious disruption to the early flowers, including preventing some from blooming. This morning's "observations" were:

In bloom/bud:
 - a few yellow iris, with more in bud 
- dogwood 
- blue violets 
- nannyberry in bud 
- solomon seal 
- jack-in-the-pulpit 
- white mustard 
- one anemone, more in bud 
- dame's rocket (white and mauve) 
- gill-over-the-ground 
- winter cress/black mustard (I plead guilty to not having looked closely enough to see which it is) 
- buckthorn in bud 
- "wild" honeysuckle by Beaver Trail

Animal activity: 
- two beavers in Muskrat Bay 
- "usual" songbirds (I am not going to embarrass myself by attempting to identify them) 
- flickers 
- one duck 
- black squirrel 
- sandpiper 
- red-wing blackbirds 
- one turtle basking on log at 6:15 am 
- three herons 
- kingfisher 
- many raccoon tracks

- a few more trees brought down by the beaver, plus dangerous dead trees brought down by two legged city employee beavers 
- the many water plants are showing signs of growth 
- milkweed plants up about 8-12" 
- poison ivy seems to be more widespread in some areas. 
- virginia creeper is very plentiful 
- one carrion plant is about 5 feet tall, a second about 3 feet.


31 May 2003 (Bill Bower)

Nice quiet morning at Petrie and not as many birds as usual. Best sightings were a Veery and a Woodcock. Some birds seem to like the FOPI signs, etc. There is a Robin nesting up under the sign at the parking lot leading to the Turtle Trail. She is only a couple feet off the ground. Further down the trail there is a Yellow Warbler building a nest in the tree with the Beaver Trail sign on it. Bad news is that a raccoon got the Wood Duck nest in the cavity by the office. Somehow the female managed to escape. Maybe next year she will pick a better spot (with a smaller hole). Or, maybe even a man made box.

It was a good morning for green frogs and turtles. Turtles were out early, even with the cloud cover. Many large Map turtles were seen basking. Still no signs of turtles nesting. Not even tracks in the sand.

Ferns are growing well or else I'm shorter than I used to be. I took a "shortcut" out at the far end of the island and ended up walking through ferns already over six feet in height. I guess all the rain is just what they needed.

The river level is way up and lots of activity on the water. Carp were thrashing about everywhere. One interesting sight was an animal swimming across the Turtle Pond from about where the first duck box is to in front of the house on the north side. Too large for a mink and it didn't swim like a muskrat. Looked something like a beaver with light colored hair in the face and head area. What could it be? Well, after a couple minutes of waiting it crawled out of the water in front of me and it was a half-grown groundhog. Being tired with no where to go it was easy to photograph. I have seen then quite far up in trees but that is the first time I have seen one take to the water, for no apparent reason (flooding maybe).

Someone buried a dead dog along the Muskrat Trail (some kids pet). I thought that was what backyards were for (?). Anyway, maybe next spring there will be some new dogwood trees sprouting up in that area.


25 May 2003 (Bill Bower)

A very busy morning indeed. If your were a bird, that is. Lots of activity in the trees with many birds building nests (Orioles, Warbling Vireos, Robins, Chickadees, and Woodpeckers). Others were right into the courtship routine and these included the Mallards, American Redstarts and the Black Terns. There is one Oriole nest on the path just past the house and the tree that was cut across the path. It is in a maple about 20 feet up over the water. I'm sure the Black Terns nest in the area. The male was carrying small fish to the female. My best sighting was a Blackpoll Warbler. This warbler is often mistaken for the Black and White Warbler.

Wood Ducks are busy and the female in the natural cavity by the office is doing nicely. She was on the nest this morning. There was a nice picture at another nesting box over by the back channel. The male Wood Duck was sitting on a limb just above the box and the female was resting at the entrance to the box. Too far away for a photo.

Turtles were basking after the sun put in an appearance. Both Painted and Map turtles were observed. I was the first one back this morning and there was no sign at all of nesting turtles. I checked all the usual spots and nothing. There are still some old egg shells around from last spring but nothing new, not even a track. Maybe it will be like 2002 when all the egg laying took place over just a few days.


15 May 2003 (Jim Robertson)

I decided to leave my camera at home this morning when I went to Petrie. One always tends to see more furry creatures etc. when you leave the camera behind. Well it worked, sort of, no otters, one ground hog, one rabbit, one chipmunk, a couple of beavers and muskrats, but one unusual animal - a short haired, friendly, great dane being taken for walk by its mistress. Wish all dogs were as well behaved and controlled as this one was !

The trees are getting greener, but the cool weather has been holding the leaves back. The grasses are up 10-12 inches, the ferns have grown some 12-18", although there are some still emerging. I could not find any jack-in-the-pulpits in their usual haunts.

There were a few geese skeins, along with red wing blackbirds, two baltimore orioles, 8-10 gold finches in a "flock", flickers, hairy woodpecker, blue jay, a few ducks, but no herons.

There are several beaver trails that are being heavily travelled at night, and many signs of turtles making forays onto shore, but no signs of egg laying yet as it is early.


10 May 2003 (Bill Bower)

A quick tour of the islands provided some interesting observations.

Counted over 40 turtles, including a very large Snapping Turtle and 10 large female Map Turtles basking.

Lots of dead sunfish and a few pike in the ponds. Probably an insufficient oxygen problem. I know the tadpoles had a bad winter while other species seem to survive with no problem. Turtles for example.

Birds of interest included a Warbling Vireo and another Osprey carrying a fairly large fish (a pike I think). Oriole was heard but not seen.

A couple young fishermen landed a huge bass (accidently) while crappie fishing, but released it unharmed. Good to see.

A big surprise came when I met Al and he mentioned that a duck had been seen flying from the natural tree cavity near the office. A closer inspection revealed 3 cold Wood Duck eggs. She will probably lay 12 to 14 eggs before incubation begins. The interesting observation came when I opened the Wood Duck box just above it in the tree and looked in at a female Wood Duck. This one was incubating an unknown number of eggs. Is one duck laying all the eggs or is a second female Wood Duck laying eggs in the lower apartment? I guess we will find out over the next few days. In 2001 the natural cavity was used. In 2002 it was the artificial nesting box that was chosen. Now what? {Please note: the ducks need quiet time, so please leave sufficient distance between you and their nesting area... and please don't go looking for the eggs ... that's a real problem for Mom...}

A raccoon was seen sleeping high in a tree just west of the office.

Hope the weather cooperates on Sunday, the 11th. (Mother's Day, and of course, Duck Day)


5 May 2003 (Jim Robertson)

There were three early morning fishermen dipping their lines this morning, and 3-4 cars along the roadways and parking areas.

A good number of birds were around: robins, chickadees, flickers, swallows, goldfinch, woodpeckers etc. About 10 yellow throated warblers were flitting about in the underbrush. A number of geese skeins were flying about looking lost. No herons were to be seen anywhere

The graffiti artists and paintballers have been visiting Petrie too.

The weeping willow trees from a distance have a lime-green colour with their buds swelling. The buds on all the trees are coming along, the pussy willows look very nice backlit in their pollen stage.

There are some small ferns starting to show their fiddle heads on the trail from the river to the road about 50 yards west of the interpretative cottage. No fiddle heads have started to show yet on the Beaver Trail, but they will be along soon.

The turtles are using their usual crossing at the end of Muskrat Bay, and the beaver have been waddling along their trails. I found a second tree that had been brought down by beavers this spring. Sure makes a change from the last two years when a significant number of trees were brought down in the spring.

On the way back to the Queensway just before the North Service Road, there was a raccoon sleeping in the crotch of a willow tree and a long tailed weasel running about in the underbrush and dead grasses below the raccoon.

Gwen sent me a picture of the bird she took this AM. This is the one I identified as a yellow throated warbler.

Looking at her picture I checked my ID and it ain't what I said. It is a Myrtle Warbler according to my book. Let everyone know I quit as a bird identifier !  


27 April 2003 (David Villeneuve)

For the first time in about 16 years, I visited the east end of the island. I stopped at the bait and tackle shop to check on my boat that winters there. Funny how boats smell of summer. There are rows of ice huts parked for the summer, that look like a suburban subdivision. Many are wired for electricity and other comforts. The water level has come up almost a foot since last week.

The peninsula east of the bait shop splits into three spits of land. The northern one, bounding the water that flows under the causeway, is the longest. The spits are separated by marshland that is home to several pairs of mallards. There is a large muskrat lodge, and I spotted a large head in the water nearby.

The east end of Petrie Island is similar to the Forbidden West End. It is mostly tall grass with fallen trees hidden underfoot. It will be almost impassable in summer when the grass grows tall. There was no evidence of recent beaver damage. At the very eastern tip, there was a big dead fish, submerged and half eaten; it was about 2 feet long and looked decidedly unappetizing.


26 April 2003 (Bill Bower)

Not a whole lot of activity at Petrie this morning. Human activity that is. One cold looking fisherman was there trying his luck with a cane pole. He probably should have stayed in his warm bed.

However, the birds were out and about. Duck sightings included Green Winged Teal, Common Merganser, Wood Duck, Mallard and Bufflehead. Several male Bufflehead were really displaying in the wetlands west of the bait shop. I pair of Pied-Billed Grebes were diving on the main river side. Several Tree Swallows were around cleaning up on the mosquitoes. At least I didn't see any, but maybe that had more to do with the cold temperature and even colder wind. The Pileated Woodpecker was around carving square Os in dead trees, and on the smaller bird side, I found one Brown Creeper measuring tree lengths from the bottom up. One fisherman that was successful was a large Osprey. I was quite close and watched it eat the entire fish (the good parts anyway) in just a few minutes. Then it headed east down river. At about the same time I disturbed a Great Horned Owl from its perch along the waters edge. I checked using my field glasses but couldn't find any sign of a nest. Just squirrel nests high in the trees.

So, sometimes you can have a successful day, even when the fish aren't biting. I quick stop at Tim's on the way home got the blood circulating again.


19 April 2003 (David Villeneuve)

I couldn't tell if it was April or November. Everything was grey and the water level was low. Even the waterfowl were not sure which way to go. The Canada geese marshaled on the north side of the Ottawa River and then headed south in groups of hundreds. Can anyone explain this?

There were a pair of mallard ducks on Muskrat Bay, and a pair of (I think) wood ducks on Turtle Pond. A beaver tried to shock and awe me with tail slaps on Muskrat Bay near the beaver lodge. I could hear a lone woodpecker, crows, and blackbirds. The red winged blackbirds are more numerous on the main shoreline near the end of Champlain, where the marshland suits them better.

The trail was high and dry, with only a few lingering patches of snow. Only the LeFort Canal prevented me from continuing along the trail.

Long Beach is quite passable. The winter has deposited a line of new sand along the waterline, that acts like a little dam.

The beavers have devastated many trees along the trail. In some places, particularly where the trail is on a narrow piece of land, the stumps outnumber the living trees. If we cannot stop the beavers, then we should consider reforesting these areas.


15 April 2003 (Jim Robertson)

Touch wood, no signs of a flood this year. The water is at midsummer level. Maybe the water is being withheld to fill the reservoirs to the north-west. It is strange to walk by tree crotches that are full of grasses from last year's floods and realize the water is some 4-5 feet lower than this time last year.

The inland water bodies are still covered with ice, albeit rotten ice, including the south channel. The trails are generally free of snow, but look out for slippery mud in places and the odd spot of deep snow still.

Other than birds and squirrels the only other animal I spotted this morning was a beaver sticking its snout in the fresh air by the "old" lodge on the Beaver Trail. There are no signs of beaver activity in the way there was the past two springs. Although there is one freshly brought down, and chewed tree, on the Muskrat trail.

A very animated killdeer was by the parking lot, perhaps she has already laid her eggs. There were many ducks about, but perhaps not as many as I remember from past years. The usual mergansers, mallards and one or two wood ducks. There were also 12 buffleheads (3 females and 9 males) on the river.

The pussy willows are out, but there seem to be fewer than in prior years. I wonder how that would happen....

There were many, many skeins of geese flying overhead. One particular skein was a display of interesting group dynamics. A large flock rose noisily from the marshes on the north side of the river and started flying due west. Three geese broke off and started to fly south. A few more geese followed the three, and then more altered course to the south flapping their wings furiously to catch up with the leaders. But about a third continued to head west. As the lead three passed the south shore over my head, one goose broke off and flew back across the river to intercept the renegade group. The west heading group obviously saw the errors of the ways and turned south to join the rest of the flock.


27 March 2003 (Jim Robertson)

If anyone needs any convincing that spring is finally here, head on down to Petrie.

The first hint is the potholes in Trim Road as it gets closer to the Islands. To experience the second hint, roll your windows down, turn off the radio and listen to all the spring birds. The last hint, or symptom, of spring is the sound of the cracking ice in the inland waters.

There are lots of red-wing blackbirds, robins flocking together in groups of 10-12, nuthatches, woodpeckers etc. It was a humourous to watch a robin skittling across the snow stop to cock its head to listen for worms. Two downy woodpeckers seemed unconcerned with my presence and allowed me to get to within 3 feet of them. But a hairy woodpecker seemed to be watching out for them, flew over from the other side of Turtle Pond and scared them away from me. While crows have been around all winter, there are many more busy "cawing". There are a few mergansers in the open water around the large culverts.

There were a few chipmunks scurrying around the western end of the Beaver Trail

The cracking sound of the ice increases as the sun's rays reach the ice and warm things up a little. The cracking is so loud and frequent that you keep looking for the large animal that is stomping through the ice.

The water level is certainly up from summer levels, but the trail has not been flooded yet. The levels are still 0.9 metres below last year's three floodings and one metre above its low point last summer. The water level has gone down about 4-6" leaving suspended sheets of ice clinging to trees and weeds. The lowest spot on the trail is just barely above the water level.

The beaver attack on the trees last fall is very much in evidence as the snow melts leaving the spiked trunks sticking up amongst the winter flattened grasses.

There are still two ice huts still out on the ice at the bend in the road approaching the sand operations. I am not sure the owners will get them in off the ice if they don't move quickly.

I mis-spoke myself in the last report. I referred to the plentiful beech seeds. There are not from beech trees, but are from basswood trees.


25 February 2003 (Jim Robertson)

From very cold to relative warmth to 10-12" of snow in 6 days. What a country we live in !

With all the fresh snow last Sunday, today was a good chance to see what activity animal/human had been going on at Petrie before the tracks are all trampled into one.

As I came down the hill from the Queensway, I noticed that someone had ploughed a road out to some of the fishing huts in the east bay. Each shack had its own ploughed driveway to its front door. Talk about the lap of luxury for some !!! The Crappie Bay and main channel huts only had deep wheel ruts going out to them.

I was wondering if anyone had been down before me to "break trail" for my skis. Thanks goodness three people had. It looked like Paul Lefort had done his usual "skate about" on cross country skis throughout a good part of the east and central parts of the Island. A set of snow shoe tracks ventured part way down Turtle Pond, but turned back. Perhaps the wearer of them found the snow too deep. Another set of snow shoes and accompanying dog tracks appeared around the end of Muskrat Bay.

I headed off into some areas where no one had been to see if I could find some animal trails. While the snow was deep it had a solid, wind blown top so it was not too bad going. The animal and/or track spotting was a failure though. As before, there were a few rabbit and squirrel tracks. One set of fox or coyote tracks were halfway down the Island. But nothing else.

There are seed pods from basswood and ash trees all over the snow. There was a bumper crop of seeds for some reason last fall on many trees, but the basswood and ash are particularly burdened. The basswood seeds look like they are sprouting out of a narrow leave, in reality it is their opened pod. They will do a maple seed imitation when falling from a tree in that they spiral down like a helicopter.

There were perhaps 2-3 chickadees at the east end, but no other birds were around. I wonder if the sharp-shinned hawk has scared them off ?

There are still some high bush cranberries left on branches waiting for hungry birds.

While the snow is deep - 3 to 4 foot drifts in spots - there is some water under the snow on top of the ice that can grab the bottom of your skis if you stop in some areas. There is also a narrow 20 foot long fissure in the ice at the west end of Turtle Pond.


20 February 2003 (Jim Robertson)

The second cold snap has gone on its way so I came out of hibernation again to check things out the Islands. (and I tell my kids how I stood a bus stop in -40° weather in Edmonton - oh how we change as we age !!!!)

The sun was just coming up, so the yellow rays raked across ground highlighting the wind-patterned snow . There were a few early morning ice fishers at their drive-to ice huts.

There were a few more birds around; a few crows, chickadees and woodpeckers including the pileated. No four legged animals greeted me, but there were lots of squirrel tracks about as well as lots of rabbit tracks across Turtle Pond. The many dog tracks made it difficult to tell if the fox and/or coyotes have been out prowling.

I noticed what might be a baltimore oriole’s nest at the junction of Muskrat Bay, South Channel and Crappie Bay. It is not hanging down as much as the one that was along the main trail two years ago, so I might be wrong.

The large hole along Beaver trail that connects to Muskrat Bay has been well used. Judging by the size of the opening I would think that otters have been using it, and maybe a beaver or two doing a ground hog imitation from Feb 2nd.

There were a few ski tracks as well as snow shoe trails, plus lots of boot tracks along the trails showing that the human visitors continue to come.


30 January 2003 (Jim Robertson)

The cold snap has dissipated so I thought I came out of hibernation and check things out the Islands.

I went in the afternoon, which meant the sun was in an odd position for this morning person !

Not only was the visitation rate up this summer, but it sure seems to be increasing this winter as well. The last few years there was a cross-country ski trail down the path and next to it a snowshoe trail. This year the ski and snow shoe trails are obliterated by boot prints. It is apparent there has been quite heavy traffic on the trails to the end of Muskrat Bay, both foot and snowshoe traffic. The frozen pond and bay surfaces are also well marked by human traffic, and snowmobile trails. While some snowmobiles have been up on the islands, it does not seem to be as bad as previous years despite the increased numbers of ice-fishers.

I skied down to the western tip of the Island and thought I had the place to myself except for 4 chickadees, two squirrels and the pileated woodpecker. But at the very end, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. There was a person sitting quite comfortably on a log, with her back soaking up the warm sun, quietly reading a book. She had walked over the ice from the Billberry area around the bottom of Tenth Line for a nice quiet read. I apologized for disturbing her.

On the way back I followed the south channel. Once you get to the eastern end of Muskrat Bay, it is a little unnerving to have cars and trucks driving by you on the ice to their fishing holes !


21 January 2003 (Marc Latrémouille)

I will be monitoring Petrie Island for the next 2 yrs as a volunteer for the Breeding Bird Atlas (see link).

My role is to identify birds that are/will be breeding in that area. Great Horned Owls are usually the first ones to start nesting (mid Feb-March) and based on info found on your site, they have been seen in previous yrs.

I was wondering if the Petrie friends would mind sending me an e-mail if you happen to notice any signs of breeding owls in that area (I have been and will be continuing to monitor for owls 'till March or so...).  Any help would be appreciated.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to view and picture a sharp-shinned hawk (west of North Service rd).


19 January 2003 (David Villeneuve)

In the name of the King of Spain, I claim these Islas Petries.  I, along with my trusty companion Tiberius, have circumnavigated the islands.  Maybe not all of Petrie, but a lot....

I walked the length of Muskrat Bay.  It is quite pretty in the winter, usually only accessible by canoe.  It was disconcerting to come around the corner and see vehicles and huts on the ice at Crappie Bay.  Another fishing operation was in the South Passage, opposite Taylor Falls Bay (see map).

We then followed the north shore westward.  There appears to be open water in the middle of the Ottawa River, but it looks solid near the shore.


18 January 2003 (Bill Bower) Duck Boxes

Results of the Ottawa Duck Club's wood duck box program can be seen here in full detail.

1. Approximately 125 Wood Duck eggs laid and 117 eggs hatched. Having ten out of twelve boxes used successfully by Wood Ducks is almost unheard of . This makes last year (spring of 2002) the most successful year the Ottawa Duck Club has ever had at Petrie Island.

2. Since we started our project at Petrie Island back in 1986/87 we have had 757 Wood Duck eggs laid in our boxes and of those 624 have hatched (15 nesting seasons).

3. A total of 12 nesting boxes are available for spring 2003 and about half of those can be seen from the nature trails.

W e had a very successful year at Petrie Island. Ten out of 12 (possible) successful nests is exceptional and a result that will be hard to duplicate. No predation in 2002, not even by human "predators". What happened to the squirrels? Didn't find a single nest. We did find the head of a duck and the body of a Yellow Shafted Flicker in Box #7, but those murders took place after there was a successful Wood Duck hatch. We found the remains of a Wood Duck in this box two years ago. Not sure who the killer is, but it could be a mink.

Gwen and Jim risked freezing lens and limb to take some photos of the nest cleaning and recording activities.


11 January 2003 (David Villeneuve)

You know it is safe to go out on the ice when you see tire tracks.  I visited to western tip of the island on skis, approaching from the shore.  There is a single large ice hut off the west end of the island, complete with chimney and other amenities.

The group of trees near the tip of Petrie Island has been blown over.  There is a huge, flat root system that is now standing vertically like a wall, measuring 7 m long and 3 m high.  The beavers, who are not to blame, have been chewing on the branches.  But the beavers are to blame for having chewed around almost all of the remaining trees within 100 m of the tip of the island.  Soon this part will just be grassland.


8 January 2003 (Jim Robertson)

We had about 3 inches of light fresh snow overnight so I though I would go check out what animal activity there had been. Well..... I guess the animals decided to stay inside their abodes and avoid the snow. There was only one track, that of a fox possibly. It obviously had been on the prowl during the night as some of the tracks were more full of snow that others. The tracks came as far east as the west end of Turtle Pond, but extend west a long way. There was a lot of cross overs at the end of Muskrat Bay, checking out the base of trees etc.

I heard a couple of chickadees by the parking lot and one woodpecker past Muskrat Bay, but that was it.

The river is slowly freezing over again, but there are still open areas in the main channel and around the culverts.

There are lots of fishing huts out in three areas. The ones in the main channel by the bend in the road are almost "drive-through huts". People drive their cars out onto the ice and park outside the hut.

There is enough snow now to cross-country ski comfortably without damaging the bottom of the skis.


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