Saturday, 17 May 2014

Sure Signs of Spring on the Benjamin Park Trail

The Benjamin Park Trail
6 May 2014

    We are very fortunate in that the Benjamin Park Trail starts right behind our house and is an area we frequently walk. At certain times of the year it can be very productive for wildlife and wild flowers and we always manage to find something of interest.

   One of the earliest butterflies to emerge from hibernation is the Mourning Cloak Nymphalis antiopa and having gone through the severest winter in several decades, I think it was an even more welcome sight than usual for all winter-weary northerners.

    No less welcome was this stunning Red Trillium Trillium sessile glowing on the forest floor.

    Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara had opened up and this fly wasted no time in seeking nectar.

    I think that a Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii or two are permanent residents of the trail, but they are adept at concealment and we were fortunate to see this individual relatively exposed. There is little doubt that the proximity of houses with bird feeders accounts for their presence, for a good supply of prey is readily available.

    My most exciting find along this trail has been a nesting pair of Eastern Screech Owls Megascops asio and this will be the subject of my next blog post.


  1. A lovely area to observe nature. Great shots! We are lucky we have The Thames Valley trail a block from our house. Lovely butterfly, and that trillium is gorgeous. I enjoying seeing the Coopers, but not in my yard, which they frequent.

  2. Lovely photos in this post!
    The Mourning cloak has become quite scarce here, unfortunately.
    It is always a great prize when we see one and if can take pics!
    The Coopers' hawk is superb on the second photo!
    Keep well, enjoy your sunday!

  3. Beautiful series of pictures, David.
    My favorite is the last picture, perfectly photographed.
    Greetings Irma

  4. What a wonderful place to have on your doorstep, David. Your beautiful images give a real feel for what it's like. I hope you are going to show us this place again a little later in the year when the leaves are on the trees?

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. We were out there this morning, Richard and took some more pictures. The trees are really starting to leaf out. I'll post some in the next day or two.

  5. Hi David and welcome to Spring/Almost Summer.

    The Cooper's Hawk certainly shares the habits of Accipiter nisus Sparrowhawk which has adopted the same technique of visiting bird tables. So much so that a UK bird table is the most productive place to get pictures of the shy and oft persecuted species.

    This is a relatively recent phenomenon here as it must be in North America also where feeding birds is also a twentieth century interest? Birds are such learners and opportunists that I hope they can adapt to the next centuries as well or we are all doomed.

    I look forward to your Screech Owls and any Pileateds you can muster.

    By the way, the Mourning Cloak is a stunner with a wonderful name.

  6. Well done! I love your flowers and butterfly. Have a nice new week.

  7. What a fantastic place. Very nice photographs. This butterfly also occurs in our country; very like it.

  8. Love, love, love the Hawk images!! Wow...if you wish, you should add your link to our weekly meme to share your wonderful images. And ANY Saturday/Sunday...feel free to add your new link when you have birds on your post.

    I loved viewing and enjoyed you taking us along on your your own backyard? How fortunate indeed.

  9. What seemed to me that great to be so close to home as what you show. Many beautiful nature You Red Trillium Trillium I find really beautiful but also your other flowers and insects, not to mention your prey!