Stephen’s Gulch Conservation Area: March 18, 2020

Still not much traffic as I drove once again to the Bowmanville area.

I only know the word “gulch” from my boyhood days of rootin’ tootin’ cowboy films where towns might be called “Dead Man’s Gulch.” The dictionary tells me that a gulch is a narrow and steep-sided ravine marking the course of a fast stream.

I walked by several streams during my visit (2 degrees and cloudy) in this interesting area.

There is both lowland coniferous forest/swamp and upland deciduous forest here.

There were several definite signs of spring such as these developing buds:

Tartarian Honeysuckle (Lonicera tatarica)
Red Elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)
Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)
Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis)

I heard the muffled thumping sounds of a Ruffed Grouse and the loud drilling of a Hairy Woodpecker on a hollow branch. Both of these birds are advertising their strength and health in the hope of attracting a mate.

Other birds about were a Pileated Woodpecker, Robin, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove and several Chickadees.

Unlike yesterday there were some people on the trail, walking dogs or toddlers. We all said hello but kept the current requisite 2 metres apart.

Some Botany:

Yellow Birch (Betula alleghaniensis)
Marsh Horsetail
White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
Enchanter’s Nightshade seeds
Marginal Fern
Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Tinder Polypore
Sensitive Fern fertile frond
Basswood (Tilia americana)
Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Balsam Poplar (Populus balsamifra)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Thimbleweed (Anemone cylindrica)
Reindeer Lichen
White Spruce cone (Picea glauca)
Scouring Rush
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)

Though I do my best to avoid falling, a root on the trail caught my foot and down I went. No injuries but my camera would have suffered badly if I didn’t have this (now cracked) lens hood which took most of the blow.


There comes the sound of childish feet
And childish laughter loud and sweet,
And little hands stretch eager palms
To beg the firelight’s golden alms.     – James Berry Bensel (1903–85)

Miles Hearn

6 thoughts on “Stephen’s Gulch Conservation Area: March 18, 2020

  1. Brian Whitefield

    Many thanks Miles for tantalizing is with such beautiful shots. I swear I can smell spring in these pics.

  2. Marilyn Bunker

    So glad that you were not injured in your fall. Navigating roots is tricky.
    I enjoy your photography and learning about places to visit. Thanks for sharing.
    Stay healthy. ✌🏽Marilyn

  3. John Yates

    Thanks Miles, it has been so nice to enjoy the pictures you are posting, especially from these parks and Conservation Areas that I’ve never even heard of before! Glad to hear you didn’t suffer an injury at the time and hope you aren’t feeling aches and pains from it now today!

  4. Rosemarie Fischer

    so nice to see these pictures and the buds of all the trees and the staghorn lichen, that’s sooo neat!!!

    Rosemarie Fischer


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