Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sky Was Full of Geese

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Location: Thornapple Loop Trail @ the Royal Botanical Gardens "Berry Tract"
Getting There: Park off the side of Patterson Road, Dundas
Species of Note: Two sightings of the extremely rare Hamilton Snowshoer. (Can't remember the last time there was enough snow in Hamilton to snowshoe!) Also, the largest flock of Canadian Geese I'd ever seen.
Obscurity Rating: 4/5 - A fully signed and officially maintained trail, but no parking lot or signs to the tract make for running into a fellow hiker somewhat uncommon. It was not on Google Maps until I added it.
Data: eBird Checklist

On this day I decided to go for a full walk for the second time of Thornapple Loop in the RGB's Berry Tract. This trail takes about 25-40 minutes depending on your pace and the weather conditions. This trail is one to avoid at wetter times of the year, as it often gets pretty soggy in places that do not have plank boardwalks.

While there wasn't much bird species or anything else on the ground other than two snowshoers passing by me (snowshoes in Hamilton don't get used locally much anymore!), there was about twenty minutes of flocks of Canadian Geese (plus Mallards) flying overhead from the north towards the Dejardins Canal and West Pond. There were so many flying over, you could actually hear a wooshing rumble of wing-beats underneath the sound of constant honking!

After walking this trail and remembering about my account on Google Mapmaker, I actually came back a couple weeks later to walk the trail with a GPS tracker on, then used the data to build the trail on Google Maps. As of writing, this trail is officially published on Google Maps. But at the time I was hiking this place in December, there was nothing at all on the map, not even a reference to the conservation land.

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