After checking Roger’s Pond, I decided to leave the clearing and take the right-hand trail (if facing north, toward Roger Stevens Drive) which looks as though it circles the pond. I have never followed the entire trail around the pond before and was hoping to find the little log shelter I’d seen pictures of in other peoples’ galleries.
The trail immediately plunged into the woods, although in several places only a thin screen of trees separated the forest trail from the pond clearing. At no time did I see the water, but in these open spots I found a singing Chestnut-sided Warbler in all his breeding-plumage beauty and a singing Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Then the trees closed in once again and I had to navigate around several long, large puddles that took up the width of the trail. I heard at least one Ruffed Grouse drumming, and came upon a trio of Ovenbirds chipping at one another as they foraged along a downed tree. These warblers are usually difficult to see amongst the thick foliage of the forest in which they live, so it was a pleasure to find three of them in a relatively open spot.
There were lots of wildflowers growing next to the trail, including yellow and purple violets, pinkish-red columbines, and white trilliums.
I found one spot where the trail split off into two narrow paths and kept following the right-hand trail. This soon petered out, and I realized I was nowhere near the log shelter nor the pond. Just as I was about to turn around, I looked down and saw these small, pink flowers growing in the shade of a cedar. These were gaywings, a flower I’d heard of but had never seen before. I found them enchanting and crouched down to take several pictures.
Not having any idea where the log shelter might be, I turned around and went back to the pond. At one point I heard a Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Scarlet Tanager singing fairly close together and was able to compare their robin-like songs. The Scarlet Tanager’s voice is hoarse but enthusiastic, while the grosbeak’s notes are very fluid and strung together like a ribbon of sound.
Back at the clearing I found another Six-spotted Tiger Beetle posing on a log:
Six-spotted Tiger Beetle
I also noticed an azure butterfly, and a dark skipper investigating the violets along the side of the trail. From time to time he would land on the ground and spread his wings; thus I was able to identify him as a Dreamy Duskywing. Note the lack of white spots on the forewing:
I didn’t feel like walking around the pond from the clearing, so I decided it was time to leave. On my way back I encountered the small, lovely blossoms of Blue-eyed grass…
…and several Four-spotted Skimmers hunting for food in the large open area by the woods.
I didn’t see any Red-bellied or Smooth Green Snakes, but I did come across a Garter Snake resting on the gravel in the middle of the trail.
Back near the parking lot, I finally found a couple of emeralds perching. These are Beaverpond Baskettails, a common and widespread species in Ottawa which flies from late April to late June.
These dragonflies are denizens of forested areas where they can be found flying along pathways in search of small airborne insects. They can be distinguishes from the similar Common Baskettail (which is also found in our region, though I haven’t identified any to date) by the spindle shaped abdomen, strongly constricted at S3, and tiny black patch at the base of its wings.
I left the Cedar Grove Nature Trail quite happy with all my discoveries. It is so wonderful to see the dragonflies flying again!