October 18, 2019

Carp Barrens Trail Study Phase 2 Report Completed

Ecologist Holly Bickerton has completed Phase 2 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study. A summary of her findings is provided below.

• The single largest impact of the trail network is the incursion of human presence into a previously inaccessible and regionally significant, high quality natural area. Cyclists, hikers, dog walkers and naturalists have all been observed using these trails.
• A high number of predated turtle nests along the trail suggest that the loose soil of the trail is functioning as a habitat sink, meaning female turtles may be drawn to nest in these unsafe areas.
• Five species (one considered regionally significant) of herptiles were found under rocks on or near a trail. Snakes or their sheltering rocks may be run over by bikes. The rocks on which they depend for shelter and hibernation have been displaced throughout the area for trail or cairn construction.
• Direct impacts (trampling, compaction, erosion) were observed to populations of nine regionally significant terrestrial plant species, and non-native plants continue to be observed in higher concentration along the trail network.
• Observation of fishers and Black Bear south of Thomas Dolan Parkway demonstrate that the area has a high ecological integrity for wide-ranging mammals, which may be affected by the increased presence of humans and dogs.

Posted on October 18, 2019 11:09 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 06, 2019

5 Oct 2019 - Fungi Hike with George P. White

Mycologist George P. White led a guided hike on the Crazy Horse Trail, resulting in the discovery and identification of many fungi.

Posted on October 06, 2019 11:55 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 14, 2019

Carp Barrens Trail Study Phase 1 Report Completed

Under contract to Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH), consulting ecologist Holly Bickerton carried out Phase 1 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study in May and June. Her focus was on determining the extent of the trail network, physical impacts, and the presence of early breeding birds

Holly had volunteer help from FCH, from bryologist Cassandra Robillard (Canadian Museum of Nature), and from the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club Bird Committee. Experienced birders Bob Cermak (Committee Chair) and Bernie Ladouceur surveyed for night calling birds between 3:30am and 5:30am on one day and in late evening on another. Thank you!

Early results confirm that the Carp Barrens provide critical habitat for Species at Risk:
- Significant numbers of Eastern Whip-poor-will (Threatened) and Common Nighthawk (Special Concern) were observed. A Nighthawk nest was found near a trail. Both birds are ground nesters and easily disturbed by human traffic.
- Blanding’s turtles (Threatened) and Snapping turtles (Special Concern) were found on both north and south sides. The area is likely used by Blanding’s turtles for nests, which we will look for in Phase 2. Turtles were easily disturbed during many observations, even from a distance. Repeated disturbance of turtle basking by human traffic disrupts thermoregulation and increases energy expenditure.
- Eastern Wood Peewees (Special Concern) were heard on multiple occasions.
A number of regionally rare plants were also confirmed as was the presence of non-native species along the trails.

Holly’s costs were covered by donations from individuals, a donation from the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club, and by a research grant from the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club (OFNC). Phases 2 and 3 will be covered by a City of Ottawa grant and by the OFNC grant.

Background information about the study and its purpose are available on the Friends of the Carp Hills web site: Carp Barrens Trail Study.

Posted on July 14, 2019 11:04 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 14, 2019

Carp Hills Bog (Fen) Article

Holly Bickerton and Dan Brunton wrote an article published in OFNC's Trail and Landscape Magazine (January-March 2019, Vol 53, No. 1) titled: "Crazy Horse Bog: A Small Gem on the Carp Ridge with a New Plant Species for the City of Ottawa." There are many observations at this bog/fen from 2016 and 2017 in this project.

Posted on January 14, 2019 01:50 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 01, 2018

Bio-Inventory Results of DUC Carp Hills Property

Holly Bickerton, consulting ecologist, conducted a site assessment of Ducks Unlimited Canada's 440 acre Carp Hills property from June through September 2018. She presented a summary of her findings in a public meeting on 27 November 2018:

• She showed an aerial photo from 1954. It showed that the 40 acre portion of the property (immediately behind Glenncastle Drive) used to be a farmed field, but the remaining 400 acres was uncultivated. The 40 acre former field area had the lowest diversity and no significant species.
• Geology of the site - granitic Canadian Shield - is what creates the unique ecology of the Carp Hills. The rock is not permeable, allowing for the creation of an acidic wetland complex.
• Most common habitat is rocky upland oak forest, which is interspersed with wetlands and beaver ponds.
• She found 297 native plant species - this is high for property that is relatively homogenous. If she had been on site earlier in the spring she would have found well over 300 species.
o One - Hooker’s Orchid - is Provincially Significant.
o 15 species are Regionally Significant.
o Very high level of ecological integrity.
o 11 bird species were found that require deep, interior forest habitat (e.g. Wood Thrush, which is a Species at Risk).
o Notable for Ottawa: Tunnels of the Hairy‐tailed Mole (Parascalops breweri) were found and the Smoky Shrew (Sorex fumeus) was observed in an adjacent property.
o Blanding’s turtles and a Milksnake were observed. Future amphibian and reptile surveys need to be conducted in April and May.
o 18 Regionally Significant species were found nearby on the adjacent Crazy Horse Trail property.

Ecological highlights
o Rock barrens and treed rock barrens are rare in the Ottawa area, are undisturbed, and contained many significant species.
o Provincially Significant Wetland Complex.
o Habitat for Species at Risk - rock barrens for ground nesting birds and ponds for turtles.
o Size of the property - good forest interior, undisturbed, connection with adjacent land.

Posted on December 01, 2018 12:25 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 13, 2018

Bio-Inventory of Ducks Unlimited Canada's Property

In early 2018, Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) acquired 440 acres of land in the Carp Hills for conservation purposes. The western side of the property falls within the candidate provincially significant life science ANSI and all of the property lies within the Carp Hills provincially significant wetland complex. DUC hired ecologist Holly Bickerton to conduct a bio-inventory of the property to establish a baseline and inform placement of trails. On many of her field trips Holly has been accompanied by Dan Brunton, and they have found many uncommon and rare plants. The site also supports a thriving Blanding's turtle population.

Posted on September 13, 2018 14:23 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 21, 2018

Carp Hills Bog Mat Observations

During the week of 9 July, 2018, ecologist Holly Bickerton and noted naturalist Dan Brunton inventoried the bog/fen mat that lies adjacent to the beaver pond loop on the Crazy Horse Trail. They have kindly shared their plant list for the bog mat, where they found 46 species, 13 of which are Regionally Significant. (Note: some species listed already exist as observations in this project.)
- Lycopodiella inundata (regionally significant)
- Osmunda cinnamomea
- Osmunda regalis
- Thelypteris palustris
- Pinus strobus
- Typha latifolia
- Calamagrostis canadensis
- Glyceria borealis (uncommon)
- Glyceria canadensis (regionally significant)
- Glyceria striata
- Carex canescens (uncommon)
- Carex comosa (uncommon)
- Carex echinata (regionally significant)
- Carex lacustris (uncommon)
- Carex retrorsa
- Carex utriculata (regionally significant)
- Cladium mariscoides (regionally significant)
- Dulichium arundinaceum (uncommon)
- Eleocharis erythropoda (uncommon)
- Eleocharis palustris
- Eriophorum tenellum (regionally significant)
- Eriophorum virginicum (regionally significant)
- Scirpus cyperinus
- Calla palustris
- Juncus brevicaudatus
- Iris versicolor
- Platanthera clavellata (regionally significant)
- Pogonia ophioglossoides (regionally significant)
- Salix bebbiana
- Salix petiolaris
- Alnus incana
- Brasenia schreberi (regionally significant)
- Drosera rotundifolia (uncommon)
- Spiraea tomentosa (uncommon)
- Nemopanthus mucronatus (regionally significant)
- Triadenum fraseri
- Viola sororia (uncommon)
- Epilobium palustre (regionally significant)
- Cicuta bulbifera
- Lysimachia terrestris
- Lysimachia thyrsiflora (uncommon)
- Lycopus uniflorus
- Utricularia macrorhiza
- Utricularia minor (regionally significant)
- Galium tinctorium (uncommon)

Posted on July 21, 2018 17:14 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 29, 2017

26 Nov 2017 - Lichens on the Crazy Horse Trail

Lichenologist Dr. Troy McMullin accompanied some of the Friends of the Carp Hills board on the Crazy Horse Trail to look for two uncommon lichens and to lend his expertise to identifying some of the lichens on the trail. Troy is a research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and co-author of the book "Common Lichens of Northeastern North America." Here is a list of the lichens he observed:
Acarospora fuscata (Schrader) Arnold
Arthonia caesia (Flotow) Körber
Arthonia caudata Willey
Aspicilia cinerea (L.) Körber
Buellia sp.
Candelaria concolor (Dickson) Stein
Cladonia chlorophea group
Cladonia mitis Sandst. (fumarprocetraric acid absent)
Cladonia pyxidata (L.) Hoffm.
Cladonia rangiferina (L.) Nyl.
Cladonia rei Schaerer (fumarprotocetraric acid absent)
Cladonia turgida Hoffm.
Collema sp.
Diploschistes scruposus (Schreber) Norman
Evernia mesomorpha Nyl.
Flavoparmelia caperata (L.) Hale
Graphis scripta (L.) Ach.
Lecanora hybocarpa (Tuck.) Brodo
Lecanora thysanophora Harris
Lepraria sp. 1 (on rock)
Lepraria sp. 2 (on bark)
Leptogium cyanescens (Rabenh.) Körber
Melanelixia subaurifera (Nyl.) O. Blanco et al.
Ochrolechia arborea (Kreyer) Almb. (UV+ yellow)
Parmelia sulcata Taylor
Peltigera rufescens (Weiss) Humb.
Phaeocalicium curtisii (Tuck.) Tibell
Phaeocalicium polyporaeum (Nyl.) Tibell
Phaeophyscia pusilloides Zahlrb.) Essl.
Phaeophyscia rubropulchra (Degel.) Essl.
Physcia adscendens (Fr.) H. Olivier
Physcia millegrana Degel.
Physcia stellaris (L.) Nyl.
Physica subtilis Degel.
Physconia sp. (a different species than the one previously listed)
Placynthium nigrum (Hudson) Gray
Punctelia rudecta (Ach.) Krog
Rhizocarpon sp.
Sarcogyne regularis Körber
Scytinium lichenoides (L.) Otálora, P. M. Jørg. & Wedin (synonym = Leptogium lichenoides)
Stereocaulon sp.
Xanthomendoza fallax (Hepp ex Arnold) Søchting, et al.
Xanthoparmelia sp.

Posted on November 29, 2017 11:30 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 05, 2017

4 September 2017 - Carp Barrens

Owen Clarkin, Art Goldsmith, and I explored the north side of the granite Carp Barrens, taking a more westerly route than the exploration on 20 August. Vegetation was lush due to the wet season. The open barrens vegetation mix was similar, but with different species dominant. Red Oak (Q. rubra) was the dominant tree species, but there were also many Basswood (T. americana). Other tree species: Red Maple, White Pine, Trembling Aspen, White Ash, White Birch, and scattered Bur Oak. Diervilla lonicera was found throughout especially in the open barrens areas. This area also had more tree cover, with rich woods in the depressions supporting Sugar Maple and V. acerifolium, sometimes with small streams and ponds. We encountered a number of wetlands, and viewed the southwest side of a large beaver pond (seen on 20 August on the NE) where Art, a birder, hear a Kingfisher calling multiple times. All pond edges were ringed by Buckthorn crowding out native species like Speckled Alder. Species of note: large and mature naturally occurring Jack Pines (with regeneration), a Nodding Ladies’ Tresses orchid, Blue-Green Ground Cedar (Diphasiastrum tristachyum), Closed Bottle Gentian, Three-Way Sedge (common in the Carp Hills), and a large patch of Pink Lady’s Slippers growing in sphagnum moss.

Posted on September 05, 2017 17:42 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 21, 2017

20 Aug 2017 - Carp Barrens

Owen Clarkin, Colin Chapman, Mike Leveille, Art Goldsmith, and I explored (primarily) the north side of the Carp Barrens. Vegetation was noticeably more lush than in the last two years due to all the rain this summer. Of note on the north side were many scattered Shepardia canadensis and Cornus rugosa. Green Adder's Mouth orchids (Malaxus unifolia) were found on the north and south sides. We revisited a grove of naturally occurring Jack Pine (P. banksiana). Carex scoparia was prevalent on the north side rock barrens in damp depressions.

Posted on August 21, 2017 10:58 by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment