Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

David Hawke is a naturalist who is well known for his outdoor writing and photography. David has worked for several agencies and organizations around Lake Simcoe. In his weekly blog, he shares his observations and insights related to our local natural environment.

Keeping away the Winter’s cold

2021 02 20 hawke woodlot2

By David Hawke — What is it about firewood that still catches our attention in these modern times? Few people use it as primary heat for the home, and even homes with fireplaces rarely actually spark them up. Yet there sits a pile of birch or ash beside the grate, neatly split and ready to go, more for aesthetics than practical use.

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Winter's delicate beauty

2021 02 13 hawke snowflakesBy David Hawke -- A single snowflake is a beautiful thing.

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Hunt for wildlife — it may be closer than you think!

2021 02 06 hawke indoor.wildlifeBy David Hawke — Seeking wildlife species is a constant quest for most of us.

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Wondering about ravens evermore

2021 01 30 hawke ravens

By David Hawke -- No doubt many of you have watched Olympic ice dancers performing their skating routine and were awed by their precise, symmetrical movements and fluid grace. I admit that they are pretty good, but definitely less impressive than a pair of ravens performing their courtship flight.

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Parks and natural areas overwhelmed by unruly visitors

2021 01 24 hawke parks

By David Hawke -- Well, here we go again. History, on a grand scale, is once more being written by the hordes of humanity. Last go-round was in the early 1800s when Europe and the United Kingdom were packed with people with nowhere to go and poor job prospects. And so, they surged to North America with the understanding that the land was basically unoccupied and opportunities for establishment and growth would be “boundless.”

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Midwinter — and we can see the light!

2021 01 16 hawke midwinter

By David Hawke -- While we collectively hunker down to get through winter (hey, it’s mid-January already), in the big cycle of life certain things do happen in wintertime. Whether the snowdrifts are piled over your car or barely over your boot-tops, natural rhythms and events are rolling out.

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Burdock inspired a catchy new material — Velcro

2021 01 09 hawke burdock          By David Hawke -- On a crisp autumn day in 1941, George de Mestral was out for a walk with his dog, Milka.

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Human nature goes under the microscope

2021 01 02 hawke why

By David Hawke -- Of the five basic questions that must be asked to truly understand anything, those being who, what, when, where and why, it’s the answer to that last one that can really make or break a conversation.

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Hares, rabbits — and how to tell the difference

2020 12 26 rabbits

By David Hawke -- One of the things I’ve noticed about converting our former pasture field into a forest has been the shift in wildlife species using the area.

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Environmental awareness, appreciation precede action

2020 12 19 enviro small

By David Hawke -- I know there are readers of this blog who are waiting impatiently for me to rip a strip off our provincial government in regards to their recent and ongoing desecration of our accepted environmental protections.

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Hemlock reveals secrets of a good life

2020 12 12 hawke hemlock

By David Hawke -- Deep within our local valleys and wet areas grow a variety of conifer trees: white cedar, balsam fir, eastern hemlock, black spruce and tamarack.

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Predators: Cruel or simply part of nature?

2020 12 05 squirrels

By David Hawke — If you have observed wildlife for any length of time, you may have realized that life for these critters can appear to be cruel and unfair; very few, if any, wild animals die of old age.

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Tracking our feathered visitors

2020 11 28 red breastednuthatch

By David Hawke -- That last blast of snow no doubt encouraged you to get the bird feeders up and filled.

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Melancholy moments as fall turns to winter

2020 11 21 hawke winterwoods

By David Hawke -- This month feels so much like a recently completed festival -- coloured leaves are gone, wildflowers have been killed by frost, Thanksgiving and Halloween are over, Indian summer has come and gone, and most of the birds, mammals and insects have either migrated or are hibernating. Nothing left but memories.

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The autumn hunt -- both a tradition and a controversy

2020 11 14 hawke hunting2

By David Hawke -- BOOM! BOOM! KA-POW!  Yep, autumn has arrived and with it comes the annual tradition -- and associated controversy -- of hunting.

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Tamaracks shine through in gold and amber

         2020 11 07 tamarack2 By David Hawke -- Nature’s annual autumn colour party was well done this year, with the local maple trees sporting posh crimsons and oranges, splashed against the more somber yellow cast.

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A wee mouse in our old house

2020 10 31 mouse2

          By David Hawke -- CLACK! Scitter-scitter. Silence. I open one eye and look at the bedside clock... 4:02am. Good, got another one, same time as yesterday's capture. The recent arrival of mice in the house has caused me to set out a trapline of defence.

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Take a closer look at migrating ducks and geese

2020 10 25 hawke ducks By David Hawke -- Birdwatching is definitely a spring thing. That’s when the birds are in their colourful breeding plumage

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Loon sighting caps autumn paddle

2020 10 17 loonsBy David Hawke -- Loons and canoes seem to go together in a proper order, like a hand in a glove type of feeling.

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Snakes scale back food to survive winter

2020 10 11 snakesBy David Hawke -- Looking back on last week's weather only confirms the suspicion that autumn is trying to descend upon us.

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