Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Groundhog Day in Wellington Woods

Judging by the absence of footprints in the snow, no resident groundhogs were out and about on the very cold morning of February 2nd. Their actions that morning, if any, occurred underground. Hence, there was no confirmation from The Woods of the widely held view that winter in The Heights will indeed continue for at least another six weeks.

Activities of smaller mammals (mice and voles and such) was evidenced indirectly by the displacement of snow above their movements underneath.

As in past winters, the attendance of birds, principally chickadees, at feeders has been the only living proof that life above ground goes on in The Woods. Two more-recently-placed hopper-type feeders now supplement the food available in the many tray-type feeders that were placed in years past.

Occasionally, crows are heard and seen in the upper branches of trees. Recently, several crows complained noisily as a small hawk flew over The Woods, landed on a utility pole to the north, then flew away. 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Increased police visibility in our neighbourhood

Mr. Hayes

Thank you for your correspondence.  We have taken your suggestions into consideration and will be implementing an increased visibility in your neighbourhood.  Any questions please contact me.



Port Hope Police Services Logo
                   Inspector Darren Strongman
                   Commander Operations
                   Port Hope Police Service
                   55 Fox Road, Port Hope, Ontario
                   905-885-8123 ext 222

Inspector Strongman

Thanks for your reply.

Though it faces many challenges, our neighbourhood of Wellington Heights is a good place to live. Even at 7 AM, people out walking their dogs will give you a smile and a "Good morning," as I was given today putting out my Blue Box. 

We know and appreciate that you and your colleagues are on our side, supporting us in meeting our challenges. 


Bill Hayes

Monday, 20 February 2017

Police efforts to engage youths in our neighbourhood

February 20, 2017

Port Hope Police Service
55 Fox Road
Port Hope

RE: A suggestion for community engagement

Dear Sir/Madam:

A recent front-page article by Dominik Wisniewski in Northumberland News spoke enthusiastically about efforts of police in Port Hope “to interact with youth and focusing on community based policing.” The editorial in the same edition of The News spoke of the importance of “making sure police are a part of the community rather than a force against it.”

I write today in support of police efforts to build community relationships, not only generally within Port Hope, which has been my town since 1984, but also particularly within my own neighbourhood, where I have lived for almost 30 years.

Some of us call our neighbourhood Wellington Heights, because it is uphill from the downtown area and Wellington Street is its backbone. The police are not strangers to us. However, except when police are on an emergency call, our neighbourhood is a drive-thru for them. Our view of officers is primarily through the windows of their patrol cars. In Wellington Heights, police practice drive-by policing.

As evidence of Port Hope Police engagement with the community, the article reported Insp. Strongman’s mention of ongoing daily foot patrols in the downtown area. I write today with a modest suggestion towards extending those foot patrols into my neighbourhood. We have a large population that includes many young people. On weekday mornings, some of these youths walk to Beatrice Strong School, some down Wellington and along Croft St. Others wait at school bus stops, older ones at the top of Wellington, younger ones part way down Wellington on the west side. My suggestion is this:

On occasion, perhaps once a month, an officer will walk along Wellington, the length of our neighbourhood, at a time when some of these youths are on their way to school.

Well, that’s it: just an idea for giving young people a chance to hear a "Hi Kids" from someone who is important to their health and safety. Thank you for providing me with this opportunity, on Family Day, to comment on a matter of importance to us all.

Very sincerely,

William Hayes

Cc: Port Hope Police Services Board
Councillor Les Andrews
Councillor Greg Burns
Reporter Dominik Wisniewski

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Some new bird feeders in Wellington Woods

Here are some views of a new bird feeders in Wellington Woods:

  • a small hopper feeder -- note the board feeder sitting in the crotch of the tree
  • a close-up view of the board feeder -- the hopper feeder is visible in the background

  • three small wooden coasters set in the crotches of trees

The principal (perhaps only) customers for the black oilseeds are chickadees.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Wellington Woods -- new feeders

Two facts had suggested to me that The Woods would benefit from new plantings:
  1. generally, the closeness of the trail to the roads that lie just outside the boundary fence
  2. specifically, my neighbour’s report (and my own observation) of dead or dying ash trees
I resolved to acquire some small tree and/or shrub seedlings for planting in the coming spring. An Internet search led me to H. Richardson Farms near Kendal, ON, which offers the following Nature and Wildlife Special seedling package for about $70:

  • 10 Siberian Peashrub
  • 10 American Mountain Ash
  • 5 White Oak
  • 5 Purple Lilac
Someone wondered whether I should “get permission” before planting anything. I doubted that my neighbour had sought permission for his summer mowing of the open area. Nor did I see a good reason to delay my plan to enrich the treed area. 

After two days absence, I made a brief visit to check the bird feeder and noticed that much of the seed had been eaten. Immediately, I drove to Gilmer's and purchased the following:
  • a second, larger, open platform seed feeder, 
  • a suet wire box feeder and a 3-pack of suet squares

It was late in the day by the time I finished hanging the new feeders, but the temperature had remained warm (for January) and my fingers had not suffered.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Wellington Woods -- a few questions answered

On a recent walk about in The Woods, I was greeted by a fellow who lives in a neighbouring apartment building. His apartment has a balcony that affords him a view not only of The Woods, but also of the farmlands north of Hwy 401 and of the treed hillside known as Choate Woods.

As luck would have it, my neighbour is far more acquainted with The Woods than I am and he passed on to me the following:
  • The small upright stone that stands near the base of a small tree at the entrance to The Woods was placed there by my neighbour, more or less on a whim -- it's not a dead family pet marker.
  • The flower basket hanging near the entrance to The Woods has been hanging in that same small tree since last summer. It had a double hanging in a nearby tree, but which is no longer there.
  • The largest deciduous trees in the open area of The Woods are ash. Some are dead and others are dying -- victims of the emerald ash borer?
  • During the summer, my neighbour mows the open area of The Woods where those ash trees stand -- The Meadow?
SO ... we have an active Woods Watch committee in the neighbourhood.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Wellington Woods -- a new project for our neighbourhood

We have a woods-like area at the top end of our neighbourhood. I've begun calling it Wellington Woods.

Our Woods is smaller (laughably smaller) than the woods and marsh that together lie at the south end of town, near the sewage treatment plant. I was out walking in The Woods three times on last Sunday. From my place on Phillips Road over to the Woods, once around it, then back again to my place takes a scant fifteen minutest. That's how small it is. However,...

I'm calling it Wellington Woods, though Wellington Meadow might be more appropriate. It is principally an open space just to the west of the Carpool Parking lot at the top of Wellington Street. The Woods is fenced on its north, west, and south sides. The east side, unfenced, is separated from the the parking lot by a border of shrubs and small trees. Entry to the Woods is easily made from the parking lot through a gap in the shrub border.

Evergreens more or less edge The Woods along the three fenced sides, while the open space is dotted with some good-sized deciduous trees.

Someone (last summer or fall?) placed a hanging basket in a small tree near the entrance. A small foot-tall stone has been set upright near the base of the tree. I'm wondering whether the stone and the basket mark the final resting site of some family's pet: a hamster? or a budgie?

[For an answer to my idle speculations and some further facts about The Woods, see the next post:  a few questions answered]

The only birds I noticed while walking The Woods were crows sitting high up in trees. Even so, I've hung a small gazebo bird feeder in a tree. Some birds may find their way to it before winter ends.

People who live in nearby apartment buildings and commuters who park in the carpool parking lot walk their dogs into the eastern edge The Woods.

The Woods and the Carpool Parking Lot appears to be the property of the the Ontario Government. There is currently no sign prohibiting neighbourhood folk from walking The Woods. We live in hope that none are in the works!

Below is a link to a folder containing a Google Earth View of The Woods and about two dozen photos of what one sees walking The Woods:
Wellington Woods
By identifying, cataloguing, and mapping the various trees and shrubs, we might develop The Woods as an arboretum!