Massey Survey and the Drive to Chapleau: June 2021

The Massey (west of Sudbury) Breeding Bird Survey requires a 50 km drive on a dirt bush road to reach the starting point for 5 am. Naturally I saw no other vehicles and it was high beams the entire way.

Here are some pre-dawn photos:

The road is very narrow and the bush thick so, try as I did, I only came up with one (poor) bird photo: a White-throated Sparrow.

White-throated Sparrow

However, audio-wise, it was superb. So much variety and so many warblers – a real challenge to the ears for identification. The most difficult two are the Chestnut-sided Warbler and the Magnolia Warbler. If they stick to script they are easy to identify but now and then they wander and start to sound like each other. My grandfather, who was a master at birdsong identification, used to refer to the “undecided Chestnut-sided.”


I will identify it at the end of the poat.

Other photos from the survey:

Tiger Swallowtail
Beaver Lodge

My next survey is in Terrace Bay on Lake Superior. Driving there from Massey is about the same distance as driving from Toronto to Quebec City. Too much for one day so I headed to Chapleau and stopped numerous times (still listening to an Edison biography) to take photos.

Some botany:

Yellow Hawkweed (Hieracium caespitosum)
Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Pin Cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
Shining Willow (Salix lucida)
Starflower (Trientalis borealis)
Reindeer Lichen
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia)
Low Sweet Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)
Mountain Maple (Acer spicata)
Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
Barren-strawberry (Geum fragarioides)
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Barren-strawberry (Geum fragarioides)
Barren-strawberry (Geum fragarioides)
Doll’s Eyes (Actaea pachypoda)
Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia)
Bluebead-lily (Clintonia borealis)
Mountain Maple (Acer spicata)
Starflower (Trientalis borealis)
Barren-strawberry (Geum fragarioides)


Some of you may be thinking Rattlesnake Weed or Mouse Ear, but this plant grows beside the roads here – Dandelion.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)


It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes,
And pleasant scents the noses.          – N. P. Willis (1807-67)

Miles Hearn

7 thoughts on “Massey Survey and the Drive to Chapleau: June 2021

    1. Dilys Bowman

      What a great excuse to get up at the crack of (well, before) dawn! It’s an incentive for me to get on to Dendroica.

  1. Joyce Sparks

    Thanks for your daily reports Miles. Your photos are are a reminder that we live in a beautiful country. And since I’m not an early bird, I especially appreciate your early morning photography.

  2. Rosemary Jeanes Antze

    Beautiful photos of the landscape and plants! Thanks Miles. We usually camp at Massey on our way to Atikokan to visit, and also pass through Terrace Bay. The route via Chapleau looks interesting. It good to see another season. Safe travels!

  3. Gloria James

    Your description of your drive is a reminder of how vast northern Ontario is and the huge wilderness area that stretches to the Arctic. That’s a surprise about the dandelions. I thought that they grew only in southern Ontario especially on our front lawn! Thanks for the photos.

  4. Lisa Volkov

    Ha! I got the mystery plant! I thought–it can’t be THAT, can it? It must be one that resembles it. But then, I guess it’s what I thought, so it counts!
    Stunning nature scenes, absolutely spectacular!
    I am concerned about the ribs being visible on that horse, but I am not familiar with what is acceptable for the breed.
    Thanks, Miles!


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