All posts by admin

Mimicry

by Don Scallen, Vice-President
People manage their appearance with clothing, jewelry and hair styles to present a particular image of themselves to the world. Deception is often involved. A muscled, leather-clad, tattooed man may be a powderpuff, but his fearsome exterior projects a formidable – “don’t mess with me!” – presence. Insects are masters of this bluff. There is a vast array of harmless flies and beetles for example, that have evolved to look like dangerous bees and wasps. This allows them to … Continue Reading ››

Bird sightings

photo by Ann Fraser
photo by Ann Fraser
This winter brought Tundra Swans very close to us, just south of Georgetown during April. The agricultural fields southeast of Mountainview and 10th Side Road also hosted Canada Geese, Caspian Tern, and nearby Ring necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Coot, Mallard, Redhead, and 7 Hooded Mergansers were seen on one visit by Dave Williams. Who needs Lake Ontario when … Continue Reading ››

Hairys and Downys

by Don Scallen, Vice-President
Downy Woodpecker - Illustration by Fiona Reid
Downy Woodpecker - Illustration by Fiona Reid
Hairy and Downy woodpeckers frequent backyard feeders at this time of year. Though different sizes – the hairy larger, the downy smaller – their colouration and patterning is well-nigh identical. The bills tell the tale. Hairy woodpeckers brandish large dagger- like beaks; the beaks of Downys are smaller and more chisel-like. I’ve … Continue Reading ››

Long-tailed Ducks

Long-tailed Duck (Fiona Reid_
Long-tailed Duck (Fiona Reid_
Personally I prefer their old name, Oldsquaw, but sadly it has been replaced by a more prosaic one. Nonetheless, this bird has always been a favorite of mine, a winter visitor elegantly attired at all times, and as with all the winter ducks, apparently unfazed by cold water and icy winds. Don Scallen and I had stopped off at the Travelodge Hotel … Continue Reading ››

Death of a tree

Two weeks ago one of my favourite trees was felled by a bulldozer. This tree, on Creditview Rd. in Brampton, was graced with the lovely arching form that only mature elms exhibit. Before Dutch elm disease ravaged the land this beauty was common. The few remaining mature elms are rare treasures. The lure of this elm was so powerful that I would include Creditview Road on my route to work simply to … Continue Reading ››

Tufa deposits discovered in Credit River watershed

Belfountain CA Tufa Deposit (Photo by Lynda Ruegg)
Belfountain CA Tufa Deposit (Photo by Lynda Ruegg)
In 2012, Credit Valley Conservation inventory staff discovered a provincially and nationally rare phenomenon along the Niagara Escarpment at Silver Creek and Belfountain. This discovery was of tufa, a soft rock, being actively formed at the emergence of select springs. Tufa is a variety of limestone. It differs from typical Escarpment rock formed … Continue Reading ››

Results of the 2012 Christmas Bird Count

The 22nd annual Christmas Bird Count took place on December 27, 2012. The fresh fall of snow overnight hindered or even prevented the participation of some count volunteers. Overall, there were 18 participants that took part in the field observations. Generally, the Count produced close to average results based on comparisons with previous counts. The total number of species reported was 51 and the total number of birds was 10,082. The long-term averages for those are 49.9 and 9760 respectively. The … Continue Reading ››

Cackling Geese at Fairy Lake, Acton

On December 23, 2012, Bradley Bloemendal posted the sighting of at least three Cackling Geese at Fairy Lake in Acton was on the ONTBirds hotline. Next day, I went to check out the report. At that time, there was still a fairly large area of open water on the lake. I counted 330 Canada Geese, 32 Mallards, one American Black Duck, 6 Common Mergansers, and 8 Ring-billed Gulls. I could not distinguish any Cackling Geese among the birds there but … Continue Reading ››