Flora and Fauna
You’ve seen the birds, bugs, and wildlife at the Marsh, but have you noticed the varied plant life. From the trees to aquatic plants and such common plants as raspberry canes, there are special benefits each kind of plant has at the Marsh.
The population of raspberry at the Marsh is incredible, which is a good thing because they provide so much food for the wildlife. Also, because of their displeasing thorns, they provide shelter for smaller birds or animals from larger ones. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Cedar Waxwings love raspberries, which is another reason I like seeing so many raspberries.
Red-osier Dogwood can be found in many areas of the Marsh. Easily identified by its brightly coloured bark, the Red-osier Dogwood is an excellent shelter for birds. The many branches allow small birds to hide from predators. The white berries also provide food for several species of birds and, most likely, for several species of rodents.
Mountain ash is another type of plant that is present at the Marsh. It is a fruit bearing plant which certain wildlife enjoy eating.
Thistles surprisingly have many beneficial features. The flower of the thistle is favored by some species of butterflies as a source of nectar. The American Goldfinch is also attracted to this plant because it enjoys eating its seeds. We have both the Common and Canada Thistle at the Marsh.
Another type of plant at the Marsh is High-bush Cranberry. While some people have used High-bush Cranberries to eat or in jams and jellies, too many consumed berries can cause vomiting or diarrhea. The bark and leaves can be used to make teas for pain relief or a sedative. The bark is actually referred to as cramp bark because it relieves menstrual cramps.
These are the plants I have noticed at the Marsh. Admittedly I was paying more attention to birds, but there is a great diversity of upland and wetland plant species at the Marsh.
Birds are the most studied group of wildlife at the Marsh.
Click here to see a listing of all of the bird species that have been banded at Hilliardton Marsh by year.
Reptiles and amphibians remain a relatively poorly studied group at the Marsh.
Many large mammals regularly use Hilliardton Marsh, such as black bear, deer, moose, lynx, otter, beaver, muskrat, skunk and racoon. Muskrat are particularly abundant, and there are very healthy beaver populations at the Marsh. Walk around the berms near dusk on any day in the summer or fall and you are guaranteed to see or hear both of these wetland rodents.