Wild Turkey fox and sheep Cat stalking a tourtoise turtles

 

 

At Thistlestone Farm we are commited to respect our natural setting and to share

these assets with the birds and wildlife who visit and also make this their home.

 

A description of our property by a neighbour and friend (Peter) who is a retired Biologist:

 

1. Topography: The farm is a unique mix of varied terrain with gently rolling hills which are the result of the last glacial period.Two large ponds are the main water feature and are a big attraction for Canada geese, ducks and other water birds. Wooded areas on the higher ground are interspered with open pastures. On the lower area near the large ponds there is a mixture of open meadows along the the trail and dense cedar woods through which the main trail and a side trail have been cut. To the west of the farm buildings there are several acres of wet area (vernal pools) which are ideal habitat for amphibians and moisture tolerant (wetland) vegetation.

 

2. Flora: The hardwood bush on the higher ground includes stately sugar maples, ash,black cherry and several other tree species. On the lower areas near the large ponds white cedars of varying ages are interspersed with balsam, poplar eastern cottonwood, trembling aspen and willow species. The vernal pool area features winterberry holly, tamarak, alder and some white pine, spruce and hemlock on the edges, plus an abundance of mosses and other moisture loving plants. Water lilies, cattails and other aquatic plants provide food and cover in the main ponds. The surrounding meadow areas have an abundance of wild flowers such as goldenrod, asters, jewel weed, milkweed, buttercups, etc.

 

3. Fauna: Birds are attracted to the variety of habitat on the farm. The ponds are home to Canada geese, hooded mergansers which use the nesting boxes provided, green herons, blue herons and various ducks. Occasionally trumpeter swans will stop by to investigate possible nesting sites. Kingfishers and the occsasional osprey or tern will stop by to fish. Tree swallows use the nesting boxes and barn swallows nest on the barn rafters. Wild turkeys are year round residents and ruffed grouse may be seen on the edges of the wooded areas. Many other species may be seen during migrations and the nesting period.

Larger animals including deer, fox and coyotes may be spotted. The smaller ones seen on the farm include rabbits, mink, ermin, weasels, opossum, racoon etc.

The ponds are home to snapping turtles and painted turtles. The ponds and vernal pools provide ideal habitat for a wide range of amphibians such as spring peepers, wood frogs, green frogs, toads and probably salamanders. Creek chub and sunfish can be found in the large ponds.

A short side trip to the edge of the vernal pools will be rewarded with sightings of the many amphibians which breed in this area.

 

4. Trails: The main trail around the ponds provides a great opportunity to see water birds and other species attracted to the pond area. One can ofter get quite close to nesting geese via the penninsula side trail which cuts through a thick stand of cedars. A covered, screened viewing platform with tables and chairs on the trail at the west end of the pond is a great place to have a snack while watching the actiity on the water. The new hardwood trail being cut gives one a chance to wander through a more mature stand of native trees and explore the associated flora and fauna