Category Archives: author

The Adaptation and Decline of Chimney Swifts

by Emily Dobson
The chimney swift is a pretty remarkable species of bird when you consider its rapid adaptation over the last century. Historically, these birds inhabited old growth forests, using cavity trees or snags (standing dead trees) with large hollows for roosting and nesting. However, the European settlement and logging practises occurring into the 1900s saw the destruction of forests across North America, and with it, the loss of vital habitat for many animals including chimney swifts. Continue Reading ››

Wood Frogs

by Don Scallen
Wood Frog female laying eggs
Wood Frog female laying eggs
Behold the wood frog, an evolutionary masterwork. A soft bodied amphibian that survives the fury of Canadian winters as far north as Old Crow in the Yukon. In that cruelest of seasons, wood frogs lie quiescent in beds of leaves, biding time until snowmelt softens their stiff bodies. They protect their delicate cellular machinery by shunting water out … Continue Reading ››

Tis’ the season for Salamanders

In spite of fluctuating temperatures, salamanders are on the move! Club members had to watch their step when they visited a vernal pond at Silver Creek Conservation Area last weekend. Salamanders were active and thick on the ground, ignoring low temperatures to conduct their annual nocturnal "spring thing". Jefferson Salamanders (a threatened species) and Spotted Salamanders were numerous on the forest floor, and a single red-backed salamander was observed out for a nocturnal stroll; a bizarre leucistic (partially pigmented) spotted … Continue Reading ››

President’s Message

Hello members new and old (and young!) It seems like this winter will never end, but spring will surely start to unfurl as the month marches on. In the meantime,  please spend a few minutes looking at some wonderful images by our club member and HNPNC secretary, Anne McDermaid, on this website. Not only will you see a gallery of her inspiring landscapes, but also some beautiful shots of waterfowl in winter. Thanks Anne! We encourage other members to share their … Continue Reading ››

Return of the Phosphorus : Algae Issue

by W.D. McIlveen On February 27, 2014, the International Joint Commission [I.J.C., 2014] released a report on the most recent algae bloom problem in Lake Erie. That report had much in common with a similar problem that existed in the Great Lakes about 50 years before. That problem was the association between phosphorus loading in the water column and the subsequent growth of algae, most conspicuously Cladophora glomerata, though blue green bacteria and other species constitute additional problems. Continue Reading ››

President’s Message

by Fiona Reid
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 ››

Results of the 2013 Halton Hills Christmas Bird Count

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 ››

Field Report: Sam Smith Park, November 16th

by Fiona Reid - President
Long-tailed Duck (Fiona Reid_
Long-tailed Duck (Fiona Reid_
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 ››

A SolstICE to Remember

by W.D. McIlveen
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 ››

One Step Forward, One Step Back – Recent Changes in Invasive Species

by W.D. McIlveen
Figure 1. Adult Hypena opulenta
Figure 1. Adult Hypena opulenta
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 ››