Category Archives: author – McIlveen

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 ››

Dust devils

Earlier this Spring on two successive days, I was driving along our gravel road and noticed a ‘dust devil’ at the same location each time. I am sure that everyone has seen such things at some point in their lives. Seeing one is not at all unusual but noting two in the manner that they occurred prompted me to prepare this little note. The conditions that must exist to form the dust devils will likely occur many times but they remain … Continue Reading ››

Weather-related Stress on Plants, 2012

So far, the year 2012 has seen some disruptions in normal weather patterns. In March, we experienced some rather warm days that caused many wild flowers to appear early, foliage on trees and shrubs to emerge early, and for amphibians to start breeding early as well. This was followed by a relatively cool April. Then in June and July there were days with high temperatures and dry conditions. This report examines some of the impacts of those weather conditions on … Continue Reading ››

Pygmy Grasshoppers

Particularly in Spring, a walk in the woods might turn up a very tiny grasshopper among the dead leaves. These are likely Pygmy Grasshoppers, not ‘baby grasshoppers’. They are also known as ‘grouse locusts’ or ‘grouse grasshoppers’ or in one case, a ‘frog groundhopper’. Pygmy Grasshoppers are members of the suborder Tetrigodea and most occur in the Family Tetrigidae. One exception is Tettigidea lateralis that occurs in the closely-allied Family Batrachideidae. The seven species that are known to occur in … Continue Reading ››

Results of Monitoring Late-flowering Plants in Halton Hills, 2002-2011

The impact of climate on the biota of an area can be manifested in a number of ways. One possible effect of global warming and climate change in general is that the growing season could be extended. We can measure temperature changes easily enough but the effect of the temperature changes may not be immediately apparent. In part, this is … Continue Reading ››

Results of the 2011 Halton Hills Christmas Count

The 21st annual Christmas Bird Count for Halton Hills was held on December 27, 2011. The weather that day was marked by a fairly constant snowfall that restricted viewing of birds and generally made for a dull day with temperatures just above the freezing mark. The results for the 2011 Count are summarized in the attached table. For comparison, the average and high numbers recorded for the previous 20 years are also included in the table. The total number of species … Continue Reading ››

Giant Swallowtails and Climate Change

Recently, one of the items covered by the news media was the change in distribution of various species owing to climate change. There are other causes for expansions of populations other than climate shifts but this discussion is limited to the global warming phenomenon. The media accounts included the recent appearance of fish species in the ocean much further north than where they normally occur. One species that was mentioned that has relevance to our own area was the Giant … Continue Reading ››