What does healthy habitat look like, what does it sound like?

Part 1: Willoughby Clay Plain

An endless carpet of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) greets you at the Willoughby Clay Plain wetland complex. This site is managed by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and is open for hiking and birding, though no formal trails exist. This site is a critical ecological feature on the Niagara Peninsula, and one of the largest forest fragments left in the region. The large snags and diverse understory stood out to me, but of course this habitat is home to many songbirds and other animals as well. The canopy in the southern section consists of Red and Swamp Maples, Yellow Birch, White Oak, Hickory and Beech on drier ridges. The shrub layer is mostly open, with scattered patches of Muscle-Wood and Spicebush throughout. Thickets of Grey Dogwood, Swamp Rose, and various shrub Willows border the forest, and become graminoid marshes in some areas.

For more information on Willoughby Clay Plain and Carolinian Canada Sites visit:


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