Brooklin Lions Wilderness Trail > Scientific studies > Baseline study > Wildlife

4.0 Biotic conditions

4.2 Wildlife

4.2.1 Birds

More emphasis was placed on documenting birds than other wildlife. A breeding bird survey conducted on June 6, 1999 recorded breeding evidence for 102 breeding territories of 25 species which are shown in Appendix B. In total, 57 species of birds were recorded during field investigations of which 27 were confirmed or probable breeders and another 14 were possible breeders within the study area. All species are listed in Appendix B. This includes species such as Green Heron or Belted Kingfisher which definitely bred in the vicinity, but they may have been off site. The compliment of breeding birds includes common field, thicket, forest edge and a few wetland species. The most uncommon species was Green Heron which likely nests in the adjacent cedar woodlot.

Other birds recorded include foragers which breed elsewhere (e.g. Great Blue Heron, Barn Swallow), migrants (e.g. Magnolia Warbler, White-throated Sparrow) and winter visitors (e.g. Dark-eyed Junco, Tree Sparrow). The number of species which occur in the study area over the course of one year is obviously greater, especially migrants. The unusually warm and early spring of 1999 was not optimal for documenting the importance of the site for migration because most migrants moved through rapidly without lingering as they would in a more normal year. Susan Morgan and Brian Steele who live 2 km north of the study area and also along the East Lynde, recorded 76 species on their site of which 34 were additional to those recorded in Appendix B.

4.2.2 Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians

These organisms were mostly recorded through incidental observations and these are listed in Appendix C. Eight species of mammals were recorded which were all common expected. This includes wide ranging species White-tailed Deer and species with small home ranges such as Meadow Jumping Mouse. Several other mammals undoubtedly occur such as Red Fox, bats and shrews. Fresh chewing of Beaver were noted on some poplars. This summer Beavers constructed a dam and food cache on East Lynde Creek at Kent Mills, about 200 m south of the study area. The dam was eventually removed. More recently, and likely in response to the dam removal, a Beaver dam was constructed at the south end of the study area. On December 11, 1999 water in the creek was raised about 0.5 m and was backed up for about 200 m along the creek channel.

The only reptile encountered through field studies was Eastern Garter Snake. Both Midland Painted Turtle and Common Snapping Turtle have been observed in the East Lynde Creek in the vicinity of the study area (J. Hulley, pers. comm.). The storm water pond is potentially suitable habitat for both turtles, and they are likely to colonize it, coming via the creek.

Three species of amphibians breed in the Storm Pond. Even though the pond is turbid following storm events and may contain contaminants, it seems to provide a good breeding site. Tadpoles of both American Toad and Green Frog were observed on May 30. In fact Green Frogs were seen or heard on several occasions in the summer. At least a dozen large adult Leopard Frogs were observed on September 18. Green Frogs will primarily stay near the pond over the course of the growing season. American Toad and Leopard Frog, on the other hand, will leave the pond for most of the summer to forage in field or other habitats. With future residential development to the east, a greater volume of storm water may be diverted through the pond which could make it less suitable as an amphibian breeding site.

4.2.3 Fish

This stretch of East Lynde Creek is rated as a warm water fishery by CLOCA (Gartner Lee Associates 1978). CLOCA had sampled fish populations throughout the Lynde Creek watershed in 1983 where they encountered 30 species. They recorded 10 species within the study area (listed in Appendix C) including the provincially and nationally rare Red-side Dace (Gartner Lee Ltd. 1993). Presumably all of these species still occur. Red-side Dace generally requires relatively cool, shaded stretches of creek which is not well represented here (nor was it in 1983!). It was recorded near the Winchester Road bridge (where the creek is shaded by the adjacent woodlot), and just south of the study area. Within Canada, this dace has a very restricted range, occurring only in creeks which flow into the western end of Lake Ontario.

East Lynde Creek is an important migration corridor for several species of spawning fish. On April 24, 1999 White Suckers were observed moving upstream. One group of about 75 were noted resting in a deep water hole at the south end of the study area. Others were observed in the northern part of the site. Rainbow Trout likely move through in migration as they were noted some distance upstream and downstream of the site by CLOCA in 1983. The only other fish observed here in 1999 were Creek Chub and Johnny Darters. Red-bellied Dace are common in the Storm Pond.

4.2.4 Insects

The diversity of insects far outnumber all other organisms, so a complete inventory was beyond the scope of this study. Two groups were documented: butterflies and dragonflies.

A total of 28 butterflies were noted which includes nine species of skippers. Butterflies are less numerous across the site than might be expected. The only species that was ever abundant through most of the study area was Inornate Ringlet during their peak flight period in late spring. The highest number and diversity of butterflies were consistently noted in the northern part of the site: along the sanitary sewer alignment and in the upland meadow near Winchester Road. The large upland meadow west of the creek was surprisingly depauperate in butterflies.

Fourteen species of Odonata were identified including five damselflies and nine dragonflies. The larvae are aquatic, with some species living in the pond and others in the creek. All encountered lepidoptera and odonata are listed in Appendix D.

4.2.5 Wildlife Corridors

The East Lynde Creek valley which extends from the Oak Ridges Moraine to Lake Ontario is potentially an important north - south wildlife corridor. In particular, the South Slope physiographic region which includes the study area lies between the Iroquois Shoreline to the south and Oak Ridges Moraine to the north, both of which have a higher forest cover and core wildlife habitat. Maintaining north-south corridors is important to allow for movement between the two areas. Presently the study area is part of a 3 km. unbroken corridor between Winchester Road and Highway 12 (although this will be bisected by the proposed Highway 407). This valley consists of riparian meadow, thicket and woodland. North of Winchester, the valley is partially wooded through Brooklin and is crossed by five roads before it forms a longer more forested section north of Way Street.

Perhaps more important than the terrestrial link, the creek is an effective corridor for movement of fish and aquatic organisms.

Next: Existing environmental functions & implications

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