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Nature Walk – Sunnybrook Park

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West Don River

Today’s nature walk with Miles Hearn took place at Sunnybrook Park, on some lovely trails along the West Don River. It was quite cool but no rain – a beautiful day for a walk.

All through these trails there were many spindle trees (European euonymus) and Winged euonymus – the two shrubs known as “burning bush”. With so many examples around, Miles used the opportunity to make sure we could all tell which is which.

The Spindle tree has bigger blooms/berries than the Winged euonymus. If you look at the branches of the Winged euonymus, you can see “wings” running along the branch.

We saw quite a few examples of an interesting and edible mushroom, known as Hypsizygus – sometimes called the Elm oyster (although here it is generally found on the soft maples, in today’s case on Manitoba maples).hypsyzygus.jpg

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Here are a few of the other highlights from this morning’s walk…

I’m one of the few people who bring along a notebook on these walks. I do it to help me learn the plants in particular. Every time I take a photo of a plant, I add it to a list in my notebook. Typically, Miles identifies many more plants than I put on my list. I don’t try to get everything down so each list is a little subjective. When I get home, I match my photos to the names of the plants on the list and I look up each of them and try to learn a few things about each of the plants. When I started going on the nature walks I didn’t use a notebook and I found it very difficult to recall all the plants and birds Miles identified. It’s a tool which helps me learn and remember.

Each of my lists is unique to a particular walk at a particular time of year. Sometimes I think of the lists as being like poems, made up only of plant names. Here’s the list I made today:

Beggar ticks
Late goldenrod
Fleabane
Silky dogwood
Buckthorn
Red oak leaves
Spindle tree (European euonymus)
Boneset
Winged euonymus
Dog strangling vine
Manitoba maple keys
Grape vines
Herb Robert
Alternate leaved dogwood
Lopseed

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