Councillor Corinna Traill and Chairperson Brian Reid of the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee point to the sketch of the fish hatchery which operated on Wilmot Creek from 1868 -1914. Councillor Traill and Mr. Reid, along with committee vice-chair Kate Potter, explained the origins and history of the hatchery to the nearly 500 persons who visited Belmont House at the Open Doors Clarington Event on Saturday June 11th.
By all measures, Open Doors Clarington, 2016, was a huge success. This year’s event focussed entirely on the community of Newcastle. Exceptional crowds took advantage of the fine weather to visit historic properties, including Belmont House, the original home of the Wilmot family , after which both Wilmot Creek and the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area are named.
Members of the Nature Area’s Advisory Committee were on hand at Belmont House to tell visitors about Samuel Wilmot and the history of Canada’s first salmon fish hatchery – which had its beginnings in the basement of Belmont House. The following article summarizes the history of the hatchery and the role of Samuel Wilmot in establishing it.
The north viewing platform on the edge of the old growth forest is closed temporarily for repair. Watch this blog for information relating to its reopening.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Those swarms of midges that seem to be everywhere these days are not as annoying to everyone as they are to us. Hundreds of tree swallows can be seen in the skies above the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area gorging themselves on the abundant hatch and no doubt delivering even more to their nests. Many of the latter are located in the 35-40 nest boxes we maintain throughout the nature area. Tree swallows, like all swallows, are insectivores and aerial feeders. Their aerobatic manoeuvres are amazing.
The term “ midge “ does not refer to a specific taxonomic group but rather is the name given to a grouping of insects which include a variety of different flies . The most common in this part of the country are of the species Chironomidae. These are non-biting midges (also known as muffleheads in the Great Lakes region of North America according to Wikipedia ) although you might end up with a mouthful yourself if you’re not careful! Best to leave them for the swallows!
On Saturday April 9th, an enthusiastic group of committee members and volunteers converged on the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area to conduct a spring cleanup of the parking lot, trails, shorelines of the creek and Cobblestone Beach. This project was undertaken in partnership with representatives of the communities of the Port of Newcastle and Bond Head who conducted cleanups of their respective neighbourhoods. Maintenance of community amenities such as the Nature Area and indeed of our community at large is an ongoing responsibility that we all share. We were delighted and encouraged by the degree of participation from volunteers. A total of 1.24 metric tons ( 2733 pounds! ) of litter and other garbage was gathered and ultimately disposed of .
Thanks to everyone who organized and contributed to this event including our sponsors: Palmieri’s No Frills , Newcastle Home Hardware, The Village Print Shop, Kaitlin Corporation, Consumer View Marketing and the Municipality of Clarington.
Again this spring, the Samuel Wilmot Nature Area Advisory Committee has installed 40 birdhouses throughout the nature area. The houses have been constructed over the years by various groups and individuals. Many bear plaques with the builder’s name on them. We are grateful to everyone who has provided these nestboxes. Additional units are always appreciated but we would ask that anyone interested in constructing them first contact the undersigned to ensure the appropriate dimensions etc. are used. Committee members will be pleased to install them on your behalf in locations where they are most likely to be utilized.
Committee members Leo Blindenbach and Brian Reid at work.
Photo by John McFeeters, Volunteer
Each year, our committee volunteers record the degree of usage of the boxes before removing them in the fall for cleaning and necessary repair. Although designed for bluebirds, the principal “ residents” have been tree swallows. During our most recent installation effort, the swallows were circling overhead when we arrived , as if awaiting their new homes. They were sitting on top of them and checking them out within minutes.
Photo by Brian Reid
Our large martin house located in the western central portion of the Cobbledick side of the Nature Area was removed last fall for cleaning and repainting. It will be reinstalled very soon.
In the meantime watch for signs of activity around any of the nestboxes when you are out on the trails. Most are deliberately set well back from the trails but are still visible .
We would like to invite you to our annual spring cleanup event. Operation Clean Sweep Samuel Wilmot Nature Area/Port of Newcastle/Bond Head, will be held on Saturday, April 9, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon as part of the National 2016 PITCH IN Week Campaign sponsored by the Municipality of Clarington. We will meet at 10:00 a.m. in the parking lot.
Please see the poster for further details. See you there!