Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2014

Boxing Day bird count in Coldspring Valley

Thanks to this annual Hamilton Naturalist Club event, the Boxing day bird count had our friend Rob Porter counting birds in Coldspring Valley. In a few hours he spotted 28 species! Rob thoughtfully provided us with his count of each species. Any one want to comment on what the types of species he spotted means with regards to the habitat available? Or what adding a marsh instead of a parking lot would be likely to do? Thanks Rob! 29 Canada Goose 1 Cooper's Hawk 4 Red-tailed Hawk - Three seen at same time, all stirred up when the Cooper's Hawk arrived. 17 Ring-billed Gull 1 Herring Gull 1 Mourning Dove 6 Red-bellied Woodpecker 14 Downy Woodpecker 3 Hairy Woodpecker 14 Blue Jay 3 American Crow 45 Black-capped Chickadee 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch 14 White-breasted Nuthatch 1 Brown Creeper 7 Carolina Wren Map of locations found: - While this may seem high, they are quite spread out along the perime

Binkley's Pond and original creek channel mapped

Well, the mystery of Binkley's Pond has been well solved, which is what happens when history gets a hand from Geography and Earth Science expert in hydrology Dr. Mike Waddington of McMaster. Here (above) is his mapping using a 2014 aerial photo and showing the original stream channel of Ancaster Creek in blue, the current channel in pink, and in green, the location of Binkley's pond. McMaster students in Dr. Waddington's class will be doing hands-on research in this area to gather more data about the hydrological history of this rare cold-water creek/habitat. The larger goal is to rescue and rehabilitate sections of the parking lot to recreate cold water marsh, adding to the overall health of the Cootes Paradise region, in a project known as McMarsh. We consider the case of Binkley's Pond a mystery officially solved, case closed! Remnant Binkley's Pond, December 2014

Who was Maria?

It's mystery day at Restore Cootes. The longest almost intact surviving trail from the former Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary (now McMaster parking lots K, M, N, O, P) was the shortest trail in the system: Maria's Walk. From the trailhead at Thorndale Crescent, Maria's walk is today only interrupted by roads built in the late 1960s to service the then new parking lots being constructed on top of the floodplain. RBG Coldspring Valley Trail Map It is a lovely trail that for some reason McMaster has attempted to block access. People of course know a good trail when they see one, and continue to flow around barriers erected by the university to make the short hike between the campus and the parking lot. Northern terminus of Maria's Walk The only other trail remnant is the trail from Lakelet Vale to the parking lot at Campus Services. It has a warning sign. Original trail remnant Lakelet Vale path, use at own risk. Could the university not give Maria

Mystery of Binkley's Pond

Mentions of Binkley's Pond in historical accounts mention it as a popular fishing spot, and a place to skate and play hockey, even as home rink for a local team.  Yet when the property came under the control of the Royal Botanical Gardens in the 1940s, by the time trail maps were drawn up for what became Coldspring Valley Nature Sanctuary, the pond was no longer mentioned as a feature. What happened? Care to guess? The Ghost of Binkley's Pond? We think so.

Oak plus turtles = habitat rehabilitation in Lot M McMaster

There's a proverb that “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Here's an oak sapling planted in the now naturalized buffer zone between Lot M parking and Ancaster creek.  In the back ground you can see the small orange flags marking newly created turtle habitat, sandy mounds where females turtles can lay eggs. The spring will reveal how well this new habitat will do. Fingers crossed for success!  Thanks to Reyna Matties for the photo.