Saturday Sep. 13, 2014
A rainy Saturday morning and only 11 degrees. We parked in the parking lot on Creditview Road just north of where the Credit River crosses near Britannia Road. This is the second lot north of Britannia and was home to Ephraim Steen who lived here from 1842 until he died in 1921. Ephraim also owned land on the other side of Creditview as well as the land where Riverside Park and subdivision now stand in Streetsville. This lot of land was taken over by the conservation authority in the late 1950’s and named Credit Meadows Park.
We didn’t wander too far from the cars but there is always something to see. There is frequently one or more great blue herons that like to fish on either side of the bridge. We watched one feed across the river from us. Herons in this part of the Credit are likely feeding on Blacknose Dace which are one of the most common minnows in the river.
Near the parking lot is a stand of mature trees which includes several old black walnut trees. They can live for 130 years and attain heights of 40 meters. The tree in the cover photo has had a tree fort built in it many years ago but only the ladder remains today.
Pileated Woodpeckers feed on beetle larvae and ants that live in trees. They are known to bore out large, roughly rectangular, holes in trees while searching for food. The tree in the picture below features a shelf mushroom just below the woodpecker hole. These mushrooms are also known as The Artist’s Conk. They have a soft white underside that is perfect for carving in. When they dry they become as hard as a piece of wood and can last for many years. They usually will stand up on the flat side where they grew on the tree. They can grow to be 50 cm in length by 30 cm wide.
We found a branch growing a fungi called Turkey Tail. Turkey Tail grows on fallen hardwood. This fungi is known for it’s medicinal properties especially as a supplement for conventional cancer treatment. It is helpful for overcoming the side effects of chemotherapy.
Wood frogs are easy to miss as they blend in well with their surroundings. The small specimen in the centre of the picture is only a couple of centimeters long. Wood frogs winter close to the surface and have the ability to withstand being frozen and thawed many times during the winter. They convert their body fluids to urea and glucose, both of which don’t freeze as easily as water.
Wild Grapes, also known as River Bank Grapes have been climbing the larger trees in GTA parks for many years. They can reach the tops of the largest trees and are capable of smothering the tree and killing it. The woody vine can be several inches thick where it sprouts from the ground. The vine in the picture below is about four inches thick and easily supports the weight of an adult. My picture of a Canadian Tarzan, however, will have to remain in my personal collection.
This mushroom is known as a Dung Loving Bird’s Nest. When mature they have a cap that has a few spore capsules that look like eggs in a bird’s nest. It is designed to use the force of falling rain to distribute it’s spores and can throw it’s spore capsule up to two meter’s with the force of a single raindrop. These mushrooms have already launched their spores.
The Yellow Waxcap mushroom is edible but is not recommended as there is a poisonous mushroom that looks very similar. They appear in late summer and there were many of them scattered throughout the woodlot.