Beamer Memorial Conservation Area on the Niagara Escarpment features a several- story high tower which was constructed for annual hawk migration observers and volunteers.
I spent a most interesting morning here some years ago. The more experienced and knowledgeable watchers stand on the top level. I remained on the grass as this was a learning experience for me.
Tiny specks in the sky are immediately identified and called out. I enjoyed the affectionate nicknames that various species are given.
Turkey Vulture – “TV”
Sharp-shinned Hawk – “Sharpie”
Cooper’s Hawk – “Coop”
Red-tailed Hawk – “Tail”
Red-shouldered Hawk – “Shoulder”
Broad-winged Hawk – “Wing”
Bald Eagle – “Baldie”
Niagara, being further south than Toronto, has some different plant species. Shagbark Hickory, rare around Toronto, is easy to find here:
I found two “hawkweed” species which I don’t see in Toronto:
Poison Ivy features 3 leaflets: Leaflets 3 – Quickly flee!
In Niagara, there is a small tree whose leaves strongly resemble Poison Ivy leaves.
For this reason, it has the nickname “Poison Ivy Tree”.
Common Hoptree is rare in Canada. Trees can be up to 8 m high and 15 cm in diameter.
It occurs along shorelines, on dry, rocky soils and in open woodlands. The fruit’s resemblance to hops gives Common Hoptree its name.
Eventually these produce “wafer-like” flat seedcases which remain on the tree through most of the winter.
O dwellers in the stately towns,
What come ye out to see?
This common earth, this common sky,
This water flowing free? – John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–92)