Natural History of the Crowe Bridge Conservation Area

Lower Crowe River valley, northeastern Seymour township,
Municipality of Trent Hills, southeast Ontario

This page links you to a presentation on a beautiful property in the public domain, a conservation area on the south (left) bank of the Crowe River just above its confluence with the larger Trent River, 12 km northeast of the town of Campbellford **.

I hope you enjoy it. The majority of the photographs are my own, but I believe that I have attributed all other illustrations, including maps and photographs, to their sources.

You may view the latest public version of the slide show HERE as a 7.5-MB, 65-slide pdf file, first posted on 03 May 2013. The 2010 (6.5 MB, 62-slide) 3rd edition, of similar image quality, is also available (posted here on 17 April 2013).

This presentation tries to present the area in a broad ecological context. More information on the flora and fauna of the CBCA can be found on this web site in the form of an informal Seymour township bird list and associated species listing, a total of around 170 species presently identified at CBCA, out of the wider total (featuring at a minimum 144 bird species: at least 585 species in total) in the whole township, as of 01 May 2024. A further 8 bird species are reported in the region, but not confirmed in Seymour itself. Both lists are, no doubt, woefully incomplete! If you are planning to visit, a local weather forecast can be found here: Environment Canada - Stirling, Ontario - 5 Day Weather Forecast.

The Bird page offers check lists for the Crowe Bridge and Seymour conservation areas and Ferris provincial park (note the letters C, S and F, respectively). The full township bird list ranges from relative rarities like bald eagle, barred owl, snowy owl and snow goose (all seen again in 2021) to species noted over 1,000 times, such as American robin and slate-coloured junco.
The Ecology (species listing) page has a check list for all species (plants, birds, etc) that we've noted at the Crowe.

About a decade ago, there was great debate and concern in the local community over the possible sale and development of part or all of this small (circa 10 hectare) but well-loved riverside corner of the region. This seems to have been resolved in a satisfactory manner, with the Municipality of Trent Hills now administering the land for the regional Crowe Valley Conservation Authority. For most visitors, the downstream water attraction at the weir is the key draw in summertime. No question, this is a wonderful feature, that drew unprecedented crowds from far away, leading to extended periods of closure during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in 2020 and 2021.

The show currently on display is a slightly more topical, updated version of the 2010 show seen previously on the "Save The Crowe" web site. Enjoy!
Graham Wilson

P.S. A wonderful personal and local history of this stretch of the lower Crowe River has been written by lifelong resident and farmer William (Bill) Petherick. See:

Petherick,W (2021) Reflections on Crowe River; past, present and future. The Tribune, 10-11, May.

Turnstone Web-site Map

Local Pages of Turnstone

Bird List for the Township

Friends of Ferris Park

Ferris Park: Natural History Walk (75 kb)

Ferris Park: Geology (185 kb)

Ecology of the Township (flora and fauna, snowfall and other notes)

Snowfall in the area, Q4-2007 through Q3-2023 (a tale of 16 winters, 125 kb)

Return to the Turnstone Home Page

See also the Rock of the Month Index for local samples of chert and fossils

* Since widespread European settlement, generally commencing in the mid-19th century, the local area south of the Canadian Shield grew as a prosperous agricultural region. Approximate population estimates (circa 2016-2020, miscellaneous sources), for towns in Trent Hills, nearby places in Hastings and Northumberland counties, and - for comparison - a few other smallish towns in southern Ontario, are as follows:

  • Campbellford, 4,800
  • Hastings, 1,100
  • Warkworth, 900
  • Stirling, 2,000
  • Marmora. 1,600
  • Madoc, 2,100
  • Tweed, 6,000
  • Brighton, 5,900
  • Cobourg, 19,400
  • Lakefield, 2,800
  • Bancroft, 4,000
  • Perth, 6,400
  • Stratford, 31,500

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Two photos of small exposures of limestone displaying dessication cracks, formed by the baking of a lime-rich, muddy shore under an Ordovician sun! Above: an August view of rough woodland sunflowers against a backdrop of shady woodland.

Snapshot: A Summer Day at the CBCA
- Tuesday, 05 August 2008

For the curious, here is a barely-edited checklist of the fauna and flora noted on a mid-morning summer's walk and swim (two of us) or paddle (the dog) at the CBCA. At least 62 species were noted, even if all were not precisely identified..... Bear in mind that most if not all of these were spotted on the upstream woodland section, as opposed to the popular swimming hole below the bridge - environmentally speaking, the less-travelled half may be the more important.

Birds (9 species): American goldfinch; American robin; catbird; great blue heron; belted kingfisher; eastern wood pewee; eastern phoebe; great crested flycatcher; and kingbird (4 kinds of flycatcher).

Various (5 species, minimum): a blue dragonfly, sp. (?); a fish, 5 cm long, very thin, olive green with orange and black near rear end (?); a white mushroom, 4 cm across, concave up, fringe of gills beneath (?); a frog (small, several individuals - not seen clearly) (?); and a big, dark green-black turtle, smooth and unmarked above, orange- red under tail, 25 cm long, probably a painted turtle.

Flowers (36 types, minimum): bergamot; birds-foot trefoil; bird vetch (wild pea); bladder campion; blueweed; bouncing Bet; butter and eggs; cardinal flower; Philadelphia fleabane (pink and white forms); Canada goldenrod; spotted knapweed; Canada thistle; chicory; common evening primrose; purple loosestrife; great mullein; bracken (pteridium aquilinum); wild mint (Mentha arvensis, field mint); panicled aster ("2-tone aster" I call it); swamp milkweed; common water-parsnip; boneset; swamp sunflower (common sneezeweed); ox-eye daisy; Queen Anne's lace; red clover; self-heal; joe-pye weed; sulphur cinquefoil; rough woodland sunflower; white sweet-clover; wild grape; wild mustard; yarrow; yellow goatsbeard; and yellow hawkweed.

Trees and shrubs (12, minimum): big-toothed aspen; eastern white cedar; hobblebush (viburnum); juniper; bur oak; northern red oak; white pine; stag's-horn sumac; hemlock; silver maple; red cedar; and sugar maple.

Not bad for a little walk by the river!

This document posted 17-20 April 2013, last update 01 May 2024