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.

Milkweed — from noxious weed to environmental star

2021 07 24 hawke milkweed

By David Hawke -- It’s always interesting to look at the love-hate relationships we have with certain species of wildlife; yesterday’s enemy “suddenly” becomes today’s poster child of environmental goodness. A somewhat recent example is the common milkweed, the wildflower that’s currently in full glorious bloom across our countryside.

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LDD moth plague — continued

2021 07 17 hawke LDDparttwo

    By David J. Hawke -- I had hoped to move this week’s topic along from yet another tirade about invasive species, but woe, I found some really interesting factoids about those fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillars, the gypsy moths. If the trees in your neighbourhood are as defoliated as mine, I’m hoping this information will be worthy of your attention.

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Phragmites spreads at frightening speed

2021 07 11 hawke phragmites

By David Hawke - Now that the gypsy moth caterpillars are cocooning and no longer bombarding your patio with their poop, you may be at a loss as to what to worry about next. Not a problem, always something of concern “out there.” This week it’s all about phragmites!

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The struggle with invasive caterpillars

2021 07 03 caterpillars          By David Hawke -- This week’s column is about gypsy moths; more precisely it’s about the caterpillar stage of the gypsy moth’s life cycle.

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Snap-worthy snappers

2021 06 28 hawke snappers

By David Hawke — Throughout June you have a very good chance of seeing a female snapping turtle sitting on the shoulder of the road. Hopefully it is still alive and in one piece when you see it… because sometimes they are not.

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Hay — watch out for that bobolink nest!

2021 06 19 bobolinks

By David J. Hawke — Back in the “old days” when we attended school inside a building and had a teacher at the front of the room, June was always a difficult month to get any classwork done. In elementary grades it was a time of field trips (in my area it was always Wye Marsh, Martyr’s Shrine, Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, Huronia Village and/or Simcoe County Museum).

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A tale of murder and domestic tyranny

2021 06 12 hawke wrens

By David Hawke -- With all the media attention these days seeming to be centered around murder, mayhem, family strife and other crises, I bring you a story of the Troglodyte family, consisting of a sweet charmer of a husband who murders to please his wife, and a wife who is so demanding that her husband has to build house after house until her satisfaction is met.

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Sweet-sounding bird songs indicate a war zone

2021 06 05 hawke territory

         Ah, sweet spring… the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. What we perceive to be a peaceful, perhaps even tranquil, scene, however, is actually a war zone. Avian territorial boundaries are constantly being established, challenged, trespassed, defended and realigned. It’s a dynamic world out there!

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Anting — one of Nature's mysteries

2021 05 29 hawke antingBy David Hawke -- It’s always exciting to learn something new, even if it’s something that others have already discovered and researched.

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True Love for our trilliums

2021 05 22 trilliumsBy David Hawke -- Without a doubt one of the most easily recognized signs of spring is the blooming of the white trilliums in our local woodlots.

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Daily drum roll marks the dawn

2021 05 15 hawke sapsuckerBy David Hawke — It's 6:30 a.m. and Lea remains snuggled in her bed.

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Visually striking loons have an eerie yodelling voice

  2010 05 08 hawke loonBy David Hawke — The common loon is a bird that is familiar to most if not all of us.

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Nature's feathered clean-up crew

2021 05 01 hawke turkeyvultures

By David Hawke — The word "catharsis" means to clean or purify, a word brought forward from the ancient Greek language. This word is the root that defines an unusual group of birds, one of which we see here fairly regularly. High in the sky is Cathartes aura, perhaps better known as turkey vulture, the roadside cleaner, the remover of messy road-killed animals.

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Digging up the dirt on earthworms

2021 05 25 hawke worms

By David Hawke -- What has five hearts, no lungs, legs or eyes, and is living in your lawn and garden? Hey, no fooling you is there? Yes, you’re right… earthworms!

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Birdwatching offers a great escape this Spring

2021 04 18 hawke pintailsBy David Hawke -- The annual spring bird migration is fully underway, and with it comes the opportunity to witness this very dynamic natural event.

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Spring wildflowers bring joy and hope

2021 04 11 hawke wildflowers

By David Hawke — Spring has been sprung upon us and a number of natural things are happening right on cue. One of these events is the appearance of the spring ephemerals, that small group of wildflowers that bring joy and hope to folks like me who are not what you would call “winter people”.

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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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Nature gives tiny springtails a big job

2021 03 27 hawke springtails

By David Hawke — As the photo period (amount of daylight per day), the humidity and temperature are combining to make the days actually feel like springtime, I was enjoying a walk through the local hardwood forest. As is sometimes the case, an event of great magnitude was happening right under my feet… or should I say, under my boots, although the new insulated insoles cushioning my feet are really appreciated.

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Soaring into Spring!

2021 03 20 hawke spring2

By David Hawke -- Over the past week I have had the pleasure of being the guest speaker for a couple of community groups, the topic being Spring Things: The Natural Pace of Seasonal Change. Within the presentation I highlight numerous events that have or are happening within Nature that signal the shift from Winter to Spring.

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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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