We could not have had more perfect July weather for our outing to Burnt Lands Provincial Park last Saturday. Derek Dunnett and Erik Pohanka each led a group of members around the Park discussing the history, topography, fossils, trees, plants, birds, insects and other things of interest in this truly unique and very special alvar. Many of the participants indicated that they had passed by what looked like a barren scrubland for years never realizing that this was indeed a provincial park.
Many of the birds were staying hidden, protecting their nests, and the extended hot, dry conditions kept the snakes and other herps out of sight. Despite this, both groups recorded about 20 species of birds including Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee and of course, the ever-present Eastern Kingbird.
The stars of the day, however, were the butterflies. They seemed to be enjoying the heat and judging from the many photos, the participants really seemed to enjoy seeing them. There were a few dragonflies and a fabulous find of some Tiger Beetles. The occasional mystery of “Who’s feather is this? Who got eaten here? or Who’s poop (Er, I mean scat) is this?” kept the investigative level high during the leisurely paced walk.
For some participants, coming in from March Road was a new and more successful way into the park (coming in from Burnt Lands Road can sometimes be near impossible) and for many participants, I believe my invitation to nag me about an earlier Spring outing to Burnt Lands next year will surely not be forgotten as it is an ever changing environment where an amazing variety of sparrows and other occasional rare migrants can be seen at various times of the year. Different areas of the park contain different types of habitat with a variety of flora and fauna to satisfy whatever your interest. It is well worth a visit at any time of the year.
Get out and enjoy Burnt Lands Provincial Park.