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.

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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Forest floor's fascinating fungi

2020 10 04 hawke mushroom

          By David Hawke -- As late-summer September drifts into early-autumn October there is a fair bit of excitement in the natural world. Birds are migrating, mammals are stocking up on their winter cache of food and fat, and many insects have found either a cozy place to hibernate or at least a protected spot to lay their eggs. But for many of us the thrill of autumn is found on the forest floor… it’s mushroom season!

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If a tree falls in the forest...

2020 090 27 fallentrees2

          By David Hawke -- “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” was the question introduced by George Berkeley in 1710. Surprisingly, this was in the context of perception, not forest management. Nowadays I suppose the question is, “If a tree falls on a power line, and no one has electricity, how do you call Hydro One?”

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Oh, deer -- what happened here

2020 09 19 antlers

          By David Hawke -- White-tailed deer have always lived around our farm, occasionally seen grazing in far corners of the pastures or bouncing across a meadow as they move from one woodlot to another. Nice to see, and nice to know that they are comfortable enough with our presence to continue living here. However, events are building that may cause some friction between us.

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The secret to homeschooling

2020 09 12 bee.on.goldenrod

By David Hawke -- Here’s a little word-association game that many parents are doing this year: September. School. Homeschooling. Fear.

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Spooky shapes woven by webworms

2020 09 07 webworm2

By David Hawke -- As I drove along the not-as-quiet-as-it-once-was back country road, the ghostly shapes that lined the roadside gave me the creeps. Tall trees, once resplendent in their green foliage, now appeared like mummified corpses, as they were wrapped from trunk to crown in grey-white fabric. Wow, the fall webworms are thick this year!

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  537 Hits

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