Over twenty Trust members took advantage of the beautiful weather for our final walk of 2015 on December 5th, led by our own Trust President Bob Prescott. The walk was held at OCT’s Ice House and Reuben Pond Conservation Area, and was part of the Cape’s annual pond waterfowl census.
The walk began at the trail head of the Ice House path network, where Bob explained the history and ecology of the area. The trail head has many black locusts, which are invasive, and add excess nitrogen into the soil, leading to overzealous growth of invasive english ivy and native green briar. There were also many invasive Sycamore maples, removed by previous OCT Director Kris Ramsey with the help of AmeriCorps Cape Cod. Further down the trail are some out of place tree specimens, a small number of spruce and hemlock, which were likely planted by previous land owners as they are technically not native to Cape Cod. Another interesting ecological tidbit was about sun spots, which are basically small openings in the forest story. Turtles that likely live in Ice House Pond often prefer such sunny spots for laying eggs, as the gender of the eggs is dependent on temperature of the incubated eggs. Other trees in the area include pitch pines, white pines and both black and white oaks.
Once the walk reached Ice House Pond, birders were not disappointed. While there were some Canadian geese, the pond also hosted a small flock of buffleheads, American black ducks, hooded mergansers, some mallards and a few American widgeon. The walk then continued on around Reuben Pond and while there were no birds in the pond, the route was enjoyable nonetheless.
We at OCT hope you have a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year. Please join us in the new year for our first lecture of 2016 by Peter Trull on at 6:45 pm ,Monday January 4th at the Orleans Yacht Club. The lecture is entitled The Gray Curtain and will be centered on Trull’s latest book of the same name about seals, sharks and commercial fishing. Our next trail walk will be at Hosea’s Swamp, a white cedar swamp on Thursday, January 28th from 10:00 – 11:00 am.