Most of us learned about trees in elementary school. We learned how to identify them mainly by the shape of their leaves and on occasion, some teachers would talk about the bark of the tree. Recently, we had an in-field workshop, led by Bob Bowles. Bob taught us there are many other ways to identify trees, especially this time of year before leaf out.
At this time of year, the pond at the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre is alive with activity. Compared with the summer months, the pond is nearly double in size due to a high water table, runoff, and the spring thaw.
Diagonal walkers, pacers or waddlers, bounders and gallopers; these are just some of the new terms we learned at our Mammal Tracking workshop last Saturday, Feb. 26. Bob Bowles led a group of outdoor enthusiasts on an expedition into the wetlands at the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre, where so many mammals make the area their winter home. The wetland is protected and shielded from a good deal of adverse weather and also predators. With everything frozen over, we were able to hike into the heart of the wetland.
We started our bird and mammal count at the nature centre just after the sun rose on Monday, Jan. 3. It was certainly a very chilly start with the temperature registering -15 Celsius. But as the day went on it brought some wonders — well worth being outdoors and participating in this very important activity.
Our previous three blogs were about wetlands and their significant role in keeping our environment healthy and combating climate change. Our children and young adults are the next generation that will experience the devastating effects of global warming if action is not taken now.
King rails (Rallus elegans), frogs (Lithobates), salamanders (Ambystoma), spotted turtles (Clemmys Guttata) and seven other turtle species, Eastern foxsnake (Pantherophis gloydi) and nine other snake species and fairy shrimp (Anostraca) — all are species at risk, threatened, endangered or of special concern in Ontario that dwell in Wetlands.
Our 'Giving Thanks For a Rainbow of Colour (and Mushrooms)' workshop, held over Thanksgiving weekend, was a success even though it rained and was overcast during most of Bob's presentation. Our participants wanted the show to go on, so large patio style umbrellas were put up to keep us dry. Jim and Donna, participants of all of Bob's workshops brought them and their act of kindness saved the day.
Some would think Tis the Season with the activity that is happening currently on social media. So much excitement and enthusiasm going on with many who are talking and sharing photographs of their latest find — you guessed it, mushrooms.
The majestic trumpeter swan can have a wingspan up to three meters and weigh between seven and 13 kilograms making these the heaviest, native waterfowl in Ontario. They were near extinction during the 1980s-1990s but with aggressive conservation efforts, this graceful bird has rebounded.