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Felicia Syer lead the walk on the Howard Watson Nature Trail on a beautiful Saturday. We had large enough turn out that at times we blocked the trail. Tony, the chair of the Bluewater Trails committee was there, and he did a good job keeping our group from being run over by passing bikers.

Felicia highlighted many of the tall grass prairie plants that grow along the trail. This habitat is very rare in Canada and not that common in Southwestern Ontario. Here she is showing us a stiff-leaved goldenrod.

From left to right Tony, Sharon and Felicia.

Another significant plant is the wild lupine, a host plant of the now extirpated Karner Blue butterfly. We saw a plant that had just finished blooming.

One of our members returned to this plant later in the summer to gather seed. Unfortunately the plant had been mowed down and obliterated.

The people who joined our walk had a variety of interests, some wanted to identify the rare plants and others wanted to learn about what was potentially edible. Many had binoculars just in case an interesting bird happened to fly by. The Howard Watson Trail provides many benefits to the residents of Sarnia and the surrounding area. It combines recreational opportunity, a connection to nature and a habitat for native plants and animals. We should continue to protect and appreciate this asset.

Lambton Wildlife’s 25-acre Mandaumin Woods is waiting for you. It is located 14.5 kilometres east of Sarnia on Mandaumin Sideroad, 1.6 kilometres south of Confederation Street on the west side of the road – (It’s the square piece of forest on the left side of Mandaumin Road in the Google Map below).

The woodlot is a wonderful place to take a quiet walk, birdwatch, or botanize. Over 44 species of birds have been seen in or from the woodlot, from the lowly starling to the beautiful scarlet tanager. The greatest numbers are usually seen during the spring migration. As well, almost a dozen species have nested on the property, enabling the visitor to see several species throughout the summer. (more…)

Enjoy an early summer walk to see and learn about the interesting flora, including wild lupines and porcupine grass, of the Howard Watson Nature Trail. Bring your binoculars and a camera. You never know what you’ll see.

Meet at the Modeland Road parking lot by Cathcart Boulevard.