Scanlon Creek Conservation Area Plus Ospreys
Continuing on the theme of wild spaces I decided to visit Scanlon Creek Conservation Area this past weekend. The last time I was there was years ago with college. My last visit was in the fall where we looked for and identified particular habitats, animal scat and prints. This time, in the dead of summer I was looking to enjoy a beautiful day in nature and hoped to see some local wildlife.
Scanlon Creek Conservation Area has over 10 km of trails on 300 hectares of wetlands and a wide range of forests. Scanlon Creek is a great place year round for a casual stroll through the trails alone or with your children, hiking and biking as well as snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It also offers a range of educational programs that are designed to connect children with nature with hands on activities and interactive programs.
Among the picturesque trails are a wide assortment of highlights to seek out and find. One of the highlights is the boardwalk through the marsh which is a great habitat for a wide variety of species from beavers to herons, ducks and geese. A great find that I was thrilled to encounter was the Holland Marsh lookout, endless lush green – I couldn’t help but think how breathtaking it would be in the fall with all the colours. Much of the Holland Marsh is wetland that provides a great breeding ground as well as migratory habitat for waterfowl and is also home to a number of rare plants and animals.
There are also historical sites like the Scanlon Farm House with its classic stone house built in the 1850’s by the Scanlon family. Scanlon Creek Millstones also remain and were part of the mill that was built by the Scanlon family in 1824 on Scanlon Creek and was the first grist mill built in Simcoe county.
With such a beautiful day I thought what better way to spend it then on the trails and so I headed the 15 minutes down the road from my home to Scanlon Creek Conservation Area. Once there I was greeted by a gentleman by the name of Ken who volunteers with the ‘Friends of Scanlon Creek’. He was extremely friendly and helpful to show us certain thing on the map to look for, and made us aware of some of the changes being made to restore and better the area, like the draining of the reservoir.
Then it was off to the Head of Trails where I opted for the Kingfisher trail, which takes you on a 3 km loop around the conservation area through the marsh by boardwalk as well as past the Holland Marsh lookout. The trails meander through the lush forests with the wind rustling the trees high above and birds chirping while seemingly hidden amongst the foliage. There were a plethora of colourful insects from dragonflies to bumble bees as well as a chorus of birds like the charismatic chickadee and frogs camouflaged in the creek.
Whether you’re looking to spend a beautiful sunny day at one with nature, looking to burn some calories hiking the trails or want to enrich the lives of your children by immersing them in the wilds, Scanlon Creek Conservation Area has something for everyone at anytime of year!
I have to add that I was thrilled while on my way home I stopped when I caught sight of two osprey. One was in a man made nest, which I assume was a young or juvenile while an adult osprey sat perched in a tree across the road. It’s so exciting to see them thriving again after the ban of DDT, which caused declines in their numbers like many other birds.