Escott Nature Reserve
The Escott Nature Reserve
In late 2023, the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists Club was delighted to announce the recent donation of 905 acres of excellent conservation land to the club. The gift comes from long time members Deborah and Nick Escott. The considerable conservation merits of the property resulted in the donation being recognized as an “Ecogift” by the federal government.
The property is easily visible on the north side of Highway 11-17, just a few kilometers east of Pearl Lake. The parcel includes a variety of significant habitats. The most striking feature is the rugged bare rock domes with scattered Jack Pine on the western half of the property. The eastern section is largely second growth mixed and deciduous forest. The property also features an area of healthy Black Ash swamp. Black Ash is ranked as Endangered federally and Threatened provincially. The headwaters of Welch Creek are on the property, and the creek passes through a series of beaver ponds and rich riparian habitats before exiting the property under the highway. From there, the creek passes through the McTavish Wetlands (and TBFNC’s McTavish Nature Reserve), before emptying into Black Bay. Keeping the headwaters of the creek natural will help protect the water quality downstream.
A keen birder, Nick Escott was first attracted to the property by its excellent birding. Over his more than thirty years of ownership, Nick has documented a number of Species at Risk breeding there. These include Eastern Whip-poor-will (Threatened), Canada Warbler (Special Concern), Common Nighthawk (Special Concern), Evening Grosbeak (Special Concern), Olive-sided Flycatcher (Special Concern), and Eastern Wood Pewee (Special Concern).
Of interest to TBFNC members is a well-maintained private road on this property. This road is gated but will allow easy access for members on foot. The three-kilometre gravel road is open to pedestrians to enjoy the scenery, bird watching, and wildlife. TBFNC is planning a field trip to the property next year. Nick Escott has volunteered to lead the field trip and will be our initial TBFN steward for the property. In this role Nick will continue his excellent work adding more information about the birds and wildlife found in this special place.
The Club would like to thank Nick and Deborah Escott for donating this excellent conservation property to our Club. The Club is happy to protect it and keep it natural in perpetuity.