Happy New Year to all our Club members!
And how incredibly welcome the New Year was, arriving shortly after power was at last restored. For me it was a 7-day blackout, and I know for others it was longer still. Being in a cold house in midwinter just makes me admire all the more the small birds and animals that brave the outdoors year-round. The chickadees at the feeder, puffed … Continue Reading ››
by W.D. McIlveen - Halton/North Peel Naturalist Club
The 23nd annual Christmas Bird Count that took place on December 27, 2013 will be a most memorable one. The outstanding feature of the Count will be remembered not so much for the count results as for the weather that occurred a few days earlier. That weather included freezing rain that amounted to at least three cm of ice over all exposed surfaces. The consequence of the ice was extensive breakage of tree … Continue Reading ››
Our party of two had a great outing to this urban park. It is closer than Leslie Street Spit, with a lot less walking and some really good wetland and lakeshore habitats. Our first bird of interest was a Gray Catbird near a small pond. On the pond shore we also saw a young Black-crowned Night Heron and … Continue Reading ››
There is little doubt that the winter solstice of 2013 will be one to remember for a long time to come. The situation was certainly not unprecedented for some freezing rain occurs in most winters. And the amount of rain that fell was less than that that which happened in the great ice storm of 1998 in Ontario. Yet the extent of area that was impacted and the number of people affected in 2013 might well be much … Continue Reading ››
The situation regarding invasive species is never static. Periodically we get good news mixed in with the gloomy reports of some new species that has appeared at our door. And so it is that we have some recent changes in local matters pertaining to invasive alien species.
Starting with the bad news first, the … Continue Reading ››
Our landscape is networked by roads – ribbons of death where myriad animals from butterflies to deer meet their demise. And though morbid, an objective look at this mortality can provide insight into changing animal populations.
In the 1960’s and 70’s groundhogs, aka woodchucks, were among the most frequent victims of vehicular faunacide. Their bodies littered roadsides as raccoon carcasses do today.
Groundhogs are now rare road-kill victims. No, they haven’t evolved the ability to look both ways before … Continue Reading ››
They weigh about as much as a paper clip. Dew worms dwarf them. They are, by weight, the smallest vertebrates in Ontario. But what they lack in size they more than make up in numbers. Red-backed salamanders are abundant, outnumbering all of the reptiles, rodents and birds that share their forest habitat. Densities of red-backed salamanders have been estimated as 500 to 9000 … Continue Reading ››
On my way home from our last meeting, with coyotes in mind, I was on the lookout for mammals and eyeshine in my car headlights. In the ten-minute drive, I spotted six domestic cats in fields and along the roadsides. These were the only mammals I saw that night.
So, what impact do our cats have on wildlife if they are allowed to roam free? A recent study … Continue Reading ››
The eastern migratory population of monarch butterflies is no more. Lepidopterists (butterfly and moth scientists) confirmed earlier this year, that the once familiar orange and black butterflies are essentially extinct. Their awe-inspiring north-south migrations, linking Mexico, the United States and Canada have ceased.
Most of us are old enough to remember when monarchs were a frequent sight in meadows and gardens. The monarchs’ demise was not unexpected. For decades, people in all three North American countries ratcheted up … Continue Reading ››