Natural & Cultural Heritage

Flora and Fauna of LCC Islands

Lake Clear, with its crystal-clear blue waters, numerous islands, and surrounding mountain landscape, is a place of rugged beauty that many of us are fortunate enough to call home. However, we share the lake and its surrounding landscape with a diversity of plants and wildlife that are essential to the natural functioning of the lake and forests and we are lucky enough to enjoy their presence. A number of excellent resources are available highlighting the interesting and important species and ecology of the lake including on the Lake Clear Property Owner’s Association (LCPOA) website ( and a report of island plants and wildlife conducted by Chris Michener ( In the following section, we focus on the amazing flora and fauna of the LCC islands: Green Island, Big and Little Twin Islands, and Lornie Foran Island.

Big Rock at Lake Clear photo credit G Green
Full bodied Warbler (c) Ezra Staengl
Black and white Warbler (c) Alixd Entremont
The Northern Watersnake is a subspecies of the Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) (c) Crowley

Green Island

Green Island is the largest of the islands owned by the LCC and is a hotspot for plant and animal diversity. Having been ravaged by a fire around the mid 1960s, the island is characterised by a secondary forest containing a mix of white birch, white spruce, balsam fir, and eastern white cedar, though a few large, older white and red pines remain across the island. The island also hosts a great variety of shrubs and wildflowers. The plant life found on Green ranges from commonly found lowbush blueberry, staghorn sumac, and eastern bracken fern to some more rare and interesting finds. During an inventory of plants on the island, Chris Michener (2000) identified marsh bedstraw, false nettle, and bulb-bearing water hemlock (a very poisonous plant), which was observed in the small wetland connecting the island’s two lagoons (find the report by Chris Michener here (

The lagoons and wetland are thriving with life and visitors could spot a variety of familiar birds such as Belted Kingfishers (listen to it’s distinctive rattling call here, Great Blue Herons, and various species of ducks. If you listen closely, you might also hear the ‘bango-like’ call of a green frog ( Bird enthusiasts may be lucky enough to spot or hear a range of songbirds while visiting Green Island including: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler (identified by its unmistakable “squeaky wheel” call –, Veery, and Swainson’s thrush. The rocky outcroppings found around the island make it a favourite spot for basking northern water snakes ( Adult water snakes can grow to a length of 60 – 110 cm but are harmless to humans.

While there is no camping permitted on Green Island, it is truly a magical place to have a picnic, swim, and enjoy the diverse plant and wildlife the island has to offer.

Big Twin Island

The larger of the two ‘Twin’ islands, is home to a variety of plant species despite its small size. The composition of tree species includes paper birch, trembling aspen, basswood, American yew, eastern white cedar, and white spruce. A variety of wildflowers can also be found on Big Twin including field pusseytoes, goldenrod, field hawkweed, common strawberry, and the beautiful pale corydalis.

Fewer bird species have been observed on Big Twin, however past surveys have noted sightings of Songs Sparrows, American Crows, and Downy Woodpeckers. The island has been home to groups of Herring Gulls in past years, but more recently has been inhabited by Double-Crested Cormorants. During a survey of island flora and fauna by Chris Michener (2000), a rare butterfly for Renfrew Country, the Satyr Comma, was also spotted on Big Twin.

Little Twin Island

The smaller of the two Twin Islands, unsurprisingly, hosts fewer species. Little Twin is a small rocky island, mostly characterised by eastern white cedar and paper birch. Wildflower species observed here include evening primrose, pale corydalis, and bitter nightshade. Little Twin has frequently been inhabited by nesting colonies of Herring Gulls.

Lornie Foran Island a.k.a. ‘Little Rock’

Lornie Foran Island is a small rocky island without any large trees, but some small shrub-like eastern white cedars and white pines. Much of the vegetation on this small island is made up of shrubs and vines (e.g., staghorn sumac, raspberries, and ragweed). Use as a Herring Gull nesting site has greatly impacted the vegetation of the island. Efforts have been made by the Lake Clear Conservancy to control the Herring Gull presence on Lornie Foran Island (See Conservation Successes tab for details).

fall foliage Lake Clear BThurgood
Big Rock at Lake Clear photo credit G Green
The Northern Watersnake is a subspecies of the Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
fall foliage Lake Clear BThurgood
Big Rock at Lake Clear photo credit G Green
The Northern Watersnake is a subspecies of the Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)
Big Rock at Lake Clear photo credit G Green
The Northern Watersnake is a subspecies of the Common Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon)

Wildlife Around Lake Clear

Apart from the LCC owned islands, a great diversity of species call Lake Clear home or can be seen passing through. Large birds of prey can be found nesting around the lake including Bald Eagles, Osprey, and Peregrine Falcons on Big Rock. The lake also supports a healthy population of loons and is a frequented stopover spot for migratory waterfowl. In particular, large aggregations of ducks and geese can be seen during the fall in Little Lake Clear and the wetland connecting it to Lake Clear. Besides the haunting call of the loon, at night you might hear nocturnal species such as duetting Barred Owls (, Great-horned Owls (, or the distinct call of the Eastern Whip-poor-will (, a federally and provincially listed species at risk. The woodlands around the lake are also home to some interesting nocturnal flying and gliding mammals including various species of bats as well as both northern and southern flying squirrels! Did you know that both species of North American flying squirrels fluoresce bright pink under ultra-violet light? Scientists do not yet understand why they do this (, but some theories are that it could be used as a mating signal or some kind of social cue.

Additional Wildlife Resources

Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre

What to do about an injured turtle – Injured Turtle – Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre
Ontario Reptiles and Amphibians Atlas

All About Birds

Ontario Bat Guide

Guide to making a bat house and other bat-friendly property ideas

Pembroke Area Field Naturalists

Featured Initiatives

Seagull Management Program – 2023

Seagull Management Program – 2023

Background -  The Lake Clear Conservancy (LCC) acquired Lornie Foran Island in 2006. Seagulls breeding on the island went from being a nuisance at that time to being a water quality problem in more recent years, as indicated by higher phosphorus and E.coli levels...

The Lake Clear Conservancy is your community land trust. Together we can preserve, maintain and improve the things we all love and enjoy - crystal clear waters, magnificent views, unspoiled islands and scenic shorelines. Clean water and unspoiled wilderness are rare; Lake Clear is a treasure. The LCC is a means for everyone who values these qualities to work together in a coordinated manner.

- Lake Clear Conservancy

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