Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

The nature of collecting

2021 04 03 hawke collections

By David Hawke -- I have always been a collector of things, a penchant that started with the challenge of earning my Boy Scout badges. Started with stamps, then coins and progressed to include comic strips, bird eggs, butterflies and moths, heritage guns, motorcycles, Classic Illustrated comic books, out-of-print nature books, camera gear, Crown jars, wildlife art and whatever else caught my attention.

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Embrace Spring!

20210312 Sandy smaller

I am fortunate and thankful because I start each morning by going outside, taking the dog for a walk or to romp with other dogs at a park. The routine is always the same. It started years before the pandemic and continues now, as lockdown regulations rise and fall like the tide but still permit dog walks.
A dog embodies hope – hope that outside the door there will be a squirrel to try to chase, another dog to play with, a friendly person with treats or simply to give a quick pat on the head.
The hope is contagious, and no matter what time of year or (almost) what kind of weather, I look forward to these outings. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience changes in the weather, temperature, daylight hours and seasons.
Sometimes I am rewarded with special sights, such as a flock of snow buntings very early this Spring, apparently following the shore Lake Simcoe in their northward trip to their far-off summer home. The beautiful song and glorious burst of white feathers as they gathered in the bright blue sky to continue their journey were breathtaking.
I hope you are able to embrace Spring after this long year of isolation from people and, for many, nature.
Irene Turnbull reminds us, starting on Page 26, that we can reconnect with nature by bringing colours and elements from the outside into our homes.
At the same time, there is reason for concern about the future of nature in the Lake Simcoe area, as the Ontario government undertakes its 10-year review of the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. The Lake Simcoe area is one of the fastest-growing regions in Canada and home to 465,000 people (2016 census data does not include recent growth). Based on provincial and municipal growth plans, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority says the urban area in our watershed will increase by approximately 50-percent by 2041 — and the population will nearly double.
Unless this is taken into account when reviewing the LSPP, there is no assurance of future protection for the lake.
The Lake Simcoe Caucus is a group of Members of the Provincial Parliament whose riding boundaries surround Lake Simcoe and who have a vested interest in its protection and preservation. Which one is your MPP? Let them know you want them to protect the lake by strengthening the Lake Simcoe Protection Act. Lake Simcoe depends on them.
Stay safe. See you at the lake!

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Moses is looking for a family of his own!

Moses 2

After his previous owner fell ill, Moses came to the Ontario SPCA Provincial Education & Animal Centre in Stouffville to find a new loving home.

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Spring birds will soon be arriving here daily

2021 03 13 hawke birdsBy David Hawke — The returning migrants will soon be arriving daily, those birds that have completed their winter get-away trip and are coming home to roost, and nest.

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Early signs of Spring all around us

       2021 03 06 hawke springthings By David Hawke — As the icy breeze slipped around my coat collar, I wished that a scarf had been included in my winter wraps.

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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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Seeking the shy, elusive skink

2020 08 16 skinks

By David Hawke -- Skinks suffer from onomatopoeia, as do sloths. You will no doubt recall from English class that onomatopoeia is when a word sounds like its meaning (or maybe you skipped that class… was it worth it? Bet you're sorry now... ).

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Elusive yapping drives me barking mad

2019 10 19 Trail cam Hawke 3

By David Hawke -- The barking started at 7:30pm, loud, sharp and annoying. And it continued, non-stop for a good 30 minutes. Now, I have a saying about dogs, and that is, "The dog is probably a nice enough animal, it's the dog owner that's the problem". Yes, there are some nasty tempered dogs out there, but most of the time it seems the dog is 'misbehaving' as a result of poor training, no training, or some level of neglect from the owner.

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Winter Wildlife Olympics

2018 02 18 Deer

By David J. Hawke -- Good morning sports fans and welcome to Day 76 of the Wildlife Winter Olympic Games.

I'm Buck Boaring, your host for the day, and joining us to report from the field is Chip Underfoot. Yes, indeed, these 90-day Games are indeed proving to be as exciting as ever, with each event providing both crushing defeats and ultimate survivals. Let's go to Chip who's covering the early morning events at Bird Feeder Stadium. Chip, are you there?

          Hey Buck, Chip here, covering the early morning events at the Bird Feeder Stadium! Since dawn's early light there has been a quiet frenzy of activity as competitors ready themselves for the day's challenges! First up is the Seed Dash and Stash, and Team Chickadee have come on strong with their characteristic 'flit and grab' technique! Wow, these guys have been training every day and it's really starting to show as they manoeuvre for position around the feeder: dash in, grab a seed and flit out of the way just in time for a team mate to next make their move! This event is just underway with no clear winner yet, so back to you in the studio, Buck!

          Thanks Chip. Buck Boaring here with you providing coverage of Day 76 of the Wildlife Winter Olympic Games. We have an update on the overnight Cross Country Run event, with reports that Team Coyote and Team Red Fox have both pushed themselves to near exhaustion in their efforts to capture a reward. This is a tight one folks, as these competitors know they need to capture rewards along the way to sustain themselves to the end of this event. You may recall that last year's Games were fast and furious due to minimal snow coverage, but wow, this year has been a true test of their endurance and skills. Chip, are you there? What's happening over at Cedar Grove Coliseum?

          Yo, Buck! Chip Underfoot here, reporting live from the Cedar Grove Coliseum! It's been a morning of organized chaos here but a few winners are being made! What started as a fairly quiet day has suddenly turned wild! Team Snowshoe Hare entered the field with their usual quiet confidence when suddenly... BAM!... Team Horned Owl came out of nowhere and dominated the field! Team Hare are now playing with one member down and are hoping that Team Owl sticks to their strategy of taking just one player at a time! But you never know when some rookie owl will try for a second player in the same day, so tension remains high here at Cedar Grove Coliseum!

          Thanks for that Chip. Buck Boaring here with you, providing coverage of Day 76 of the Wildlife Winter Olympic Games. Perhaps I should mention that the beautiful Cedar Grove Coliseum was hand planted just 40 years ago to provide the venue for what we're witnessing today. I'm sure you'll agree that it has been an amazing job of habitat transformation. Let's go back to the field to join Chip Underfoot as he visits the Fence Jump venue. Chip, over to you.

          Uh, whew, hi, Chip Underfoot here as I approach the Fence Jump event at the other end of the Wildlife Winter Olympic Park! Yes, there it is! Okay, whew, let's see how this event is going! Team Deer have been tagged the favourites going into this, but Team Moose have been giving a strong showing of late! As I look along the fenceline I can see where several Deer have attempted the Fence Jump, yet only a few have actually had success! I can see contenders milling about in the thicket as if preparing for the next round!

          And Yes! One of the larger members of Team Deer is going to challenge the fence jump! He's posed, he's going to his inner place, looking across the fence! He's focusing on that magic point just on the other side of the road! He makes his approach! There's that last second pause! And yes! He clears the fence with just a brush of his hind hoof against the barbed wire!! He's floundering a bit in the roadside snowbank but it looks like he's going to make it! Whoa! Did you see that car dodge? What a player! Through that second snowbank, the final fence is within his reach! Up! Over! YES! Score one for Team Deer with that amazing final push!

          Okay Chip, thanks for that. Coming up, right here in the studio with myself, Buck Boaring, your host of the 76th Day of this year's Wildlife Winter Olympics, will be a member of Team Mouse to explain the difference between the 3-yard dash and the 15-yard dash. As you know, this is a very competitive event and some years Team Mouse comes out ahead, and other years there's the heartbeak of defeat. With all this snow this year, both Team Coyote and Team Owl have admitted that they are bit behind in their overall scoring, but are hoping that the recent thaw and freeze will create better track conditions.

          Coming up after the break, we will be providing extensive coverage of the Aerial Balance with Team Squirrel poised to be on the top of the podium, and later on the mass start of the Weed Seed Search, led again with last year's winners, Team Snow Bunting! For Chip Underfoot and all of us here at Day 76 of the Winter Wildlife Olympics, this is Buck Boaring wishing you well and reminding you to keep your guard up!

Photo: This image was taken during Team Deer's spring training camp. The Fence Jump demands tight focus and amazing agility. Disastrous results have been experienced. Photo by David Hawke

© 2018

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