Category Archives: Action Item

Turtle Tally

We’re now in prime time for snapping turtle nesting. Over the next three weeks or so female snapping turtles will be seeking nest sites. This activity will be especially pronounced when it is raining at night and in the morning after that rain. Regrettably, as we all know, many turtles are killed as they seek nesting sites along roads. Moreover, many of these nest sites are raided by racoons and other mammals that have learned to search the shoulders of roads for buried eggs.

A trial club project: HNPNC members, and other interested people, are invited to send your observations of roadside turtles (snapping and others) to a project I’ve set up on iNaturalist called “Nesting Turtles of Peel and Halton Regions Ontario”. Here is the link:

To log an observation you’ll need an iNaturalist password. This is easy to set up. Photographs are also required.

You can also choose to send reports of roadside turtles directly to me at . If I’m to log the sightings on iNaturalist I’ll need a photo. However, if you don’t have a photo, please send me the information regardless.

The project will run June through July.

Here is the information required for each sighting:

Turtle species (most will be snapping turtles)

Date (in June or July)


Location (15th sideroad just west of Townline Rd. for example)

Observation Level: Confirmed” (turtle observed laying eggs on shoulder of road) “Probable” (turtle digging a nest site on shoulder of road) “Possible” (adult turtle on shoulder of road but no nesting evidence)

Why do this? With this information we can begin to build a database of nesting snapping turtles in our area (Peel/Halton). This information could help towards understanding snapping turtle abundance and distribution in our area. Knowing where the turtles are and when and where they nest could help us protect nest sites in future years.

As indicated above, this is a trial project. Let’s give it a go. It can be refined moving forward.

Related: If interested on learning how to build a simple turtle nest protector see “Help Turtles” on this Canadian Wildlife Federation website:


Don Scallen

Strategies on Recycling & Waste Reduction in Halton Hills

Opening the event addressing global waste problems, Dr. William McIlveen gave an interesting look into how humans and their environmental impacts evolved over time. Loss of habitat and species extinction relayed a sense of urgency to take collective action regarding waste reduction.
Although a pretty grim picture was painted, he ended on a positive note. There is something you can do about it.
A more detailed account of the event can be found in this month’s newsletter. Esquesing Volume 54 Number 2
Listed below the photo gallery are the resources and links to the presentations and Display Board posters from our event.

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Bill McIlveen’s Opening Act: Perspectives on Human Impacts
Fiona’s Presentation: Talking of Trash
David Suzuki Foundation: Five Ways to Recycle Less
Ecobricks: Building with Waste
The EIGHT R’s of waste: Rethink Refuse Reduce . . .
Local Businesses & Farms Helping the Environment!
Staples Recycling Program: Accepted Waste
Staples Recycling Program: More Accepted Waste
Queen of Green: Green Cleaning Recipes

Swift Watch

Bird Studies Canada is conducting SwiftWatch, a long-term monitoring program, with the goal of raising awareness about chimney swifts, a species that has declined by 95% since 1968. You can help by volunteering with the Halton SwiftWatch Program, where you will be assigned to a known roost site, and will spend one to four evenings (about 8 to 9pm) in the spring monitoring it for bird activity; May 24, May 29, June 1, June 5.
If you are interested in volunteering or learning more, please contact Emily at
More information about the SwiftWatch Program is also available here. Ontario_Swiftwatch_Protocol.pdf


     Leonard Sielecki of the University of Victoria is conducting a web-based survey on the opinions of drivers on a wildlife hazard warning system that was developed at the university.
The system was developed to give drivers more information about wildlife hazards on roads and highways. The system is designed to let drivers know how wildlife hazards change from place to place, during different times of the year on roads and highways.
The survey is an anonymous survey so no personal information, like your name, your address, or any other identifying information is requested or will be recorded. The survey takes about 5 to 7 minutes to complete. All participants will need to read an online consent form before they start the survey.
The survey is completely voluntary so please do not feel any obligation to do the survey. If during the survey you don’t want to complete the survey, you are under no obligation to do so. If you don’t want to complete the survey, just close your browser window.
If you have a driver’s licence and are 19 years of age or older, and are interested in participating in the survey, the link for the survey is below:


Your participation in this survey is greatly appreciated. If you think your friends, colleagues and acquaintances might be interested in participating in this survey, please feel free to forward this information to them. The more participants that I have in this survey, the more valid the results of the survey will be.
I would like to get as many participants for my survey as possible.

Thank you.

Leonard Sielecki
Department of Geography
University of Victoria


Hello SwiftWatch Volunteers

The chimney swifts have arrived back in Halton, and with that marks the start of the 2016 SwiftWatch season. This year, the National Roost Monitoring Blitz is on May 21, May 25, May 29, June 2 and 6. If you’re available on one or or more of these days, your observations are important to the protection of this species at risk. Additionally, if you see swifts or identify chimneys being used please let me know for future monitoring efforts.

If you are interested in volunteering and have a roost that you would like to monitor, please email me with your location. If you’d like to be assigned a roost, let me know where you’re able to monitor (Acton, Georgetown, Milton, Campbellville, Oakville, Burlington) and I’ll find one convenient for you.

swifts_chimneyThe 2016 protocols and data collection forms are available here.

Presence absence worksheet

SwiftWatch Data Form

Ontario SwiftWatch Protocal

Generally, try to be outside at least 30 minutes before sunset (up to an hour if it’s a cool or rainy night) to start recording swifts entering the chimney. Once it’s dark out and visibility is reduced, chances are all of the swifts are in for the night.

We will be hosting two Swift Night Out events this summer. Invite friends, families and community members, and bring your lawn chair, camera and binoculars:

Acton, May 15: Meet at User’s Self Storage, 59 Willow St N at 8PM

Oakville, August 8: Meet at the old 291 Reynolds Street at the old Oakville Trafalgar High School, located in the parking lot to the southeast of the hospital at 8PM

We hope to see you out this summer! 2016 SwiftWatch Flyer

Emily Dobson
Halton SwiftWatch Coordinator