Friday, June 26, 2015

Canoe Trip

Field Trip Down Newcastle Stream

Eastern Phoebe
A group of naturalists went on a field trip down the Newcastle Stream recently.  We had visited there last winter to visit Devil's Oven.  See a previous blog posting for the story of that trip.  It was recognized at that time that this might be an interesting area to botanize.  It was!

We saw and heard the usual birds.  The most unusual sighting was of a Black-backed Woodpecker.  The Phoebe pictured above visited us as we stopped for lunch.  We also saw 2 Bald Eagles, 5 Spotted Sandpipers, 3 Turkey Vultures, 1 Broad-winged Hawk, 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, 1 Alder Flycatcher, 2 Least Flycatchers, 1 Winter Wren, Blue Jays, Robins, Ovenbirds, 1 American Redstart, 2 Common Yellowthroats, 1 White-throated Sparrow, 1 Dark-eyed Junco, Purple Finches, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 1 Chestnut-sided Warbler, and the highlight for me, a Common Merganser with her 6 babies who scurried to get out or sight.  

The scenery was gorgeous.  The cliffs and seeps that make up some of the banks of this river are beautiful.  Notice the big crack in the rock face in one of the photos below.

Newcastle Stream [photo by L Mills]

Rock Face Along Stream [photo by LMills]

Shallow Cave [photo by LMills]

Split in Rock Face

The rocks along the stream vary.  Some are rich calcareous conglomerates.  In other places there are igneous rocks and in other places there are layered sedimentary rocks.  The rare plants love the rich calcareous rock faces with seeps coming from above.  The rare fern we were looking for was there in some places, Steller's Rock Brake.

Steller's Rock Brake Cryptogramma stelleri
Cryptogramma stelleri is a very rare fern (S2) which grows in shaded, moist calcareous cliff ledges and rock faces from Newfoundland to southern Ontario, south to Pennsylvania.  This fragile fern grows 8 to 20 cm high (3-8 in).  It has separate sterile and fertile fronds and the fruiting bodies are along the rolled-under edges of the fertile pinnules.

We also found a rare Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum var stewardsonii.  As shown in the photo above, the 'jack' is white and green, with no brownish-purple.  This variety is sometimes found in the southern part of the province.  

New Brunswick has many beautiful areas.  The season is perfect for exploring afield.

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