Saturday, January 23, 2010

Local hikes: Neys Provincial Park

Directions (winter): Turn south off Hwy 17 at sign for Neys (48.78016, -86.58681) approximately 20 km W. of Marathon. Drive ~2 km along the road and park at the gate, just south of the train tracks. Beyond this point, the road is not plowed and one must proceed on foot, skis or snowshoes.

Distance: The return trip to the mouth of the Little Pic River is about 8.5 km.

Natural Features: The road along which we walked passed through typical coastal boreal forest. In the snow, we found tracks of Lynx,Red Fox, Gray Wolf, Pine Marten, Varying Hare, Red Squirrel and smaller rodents. The extensive sandy beach, a very popular summer attraction, is associated with silt washing out of the Little Pic River.

An associated sand dune complex, one of the largest on the north shore, has been disturbed by activities associated with POW camp and large plantings of Red Pine in the 1960's. These plantations, which lack an under-story, contrast markedly with the much more diverse and species-rich native spruce-heath-lichen community.

A more technical description from the NHIC can be read here.

Among the few birds we saw and heard during our hike were:

  • Herring Gull: 1
  • Spruce Grouse: 1
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch: 4
  • Waxwing sp: 20
  • American Robin: 25+
  • Boreal Chickadee: 6
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch: 4
  • Common Raven: 2
  • American Crow: 2
  • Gray Jay: 3

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