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.

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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The goldenrod challenge: Identify that plant!

2020 08 29 goldenrods

By David Hawke -- I read somewhere, once upon a time, that "if a botanist is ever condemned to the severest punishment that the underworld can mete, the penalty will be to write a monograph accurately describing and identifying all the known goldenrods." This mythical threat is not too far off base, as more than 50 kinds of goldenrod are found in southern Ontario, and many hybridize with each other.

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Catching some life-giving rays

2020 08 22 painted turtle

By David Hawke -- Have you been catching a few rays? Soaking up the sunlight? If so, it could be said that you are turning turtle. Basking in the sunlight is a pastime enjoyed by many of us, but for turtles it can be the balance between life or death.

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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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Rain, sun, heat make it a berry good year

2020 08 08 black cap raspberry
2020 08 08 Red Raspberry
2020 08 08 Thimble berry
2020 08 08 Dwarf Raspberry

By David Hawke -- It’s berry picking time and there is often opportunity to indulge in a bit of trailside nibbling. While I am usually loath to wander into the topic of edible wild (especially mushrooms) the juicy fruits of the raspberries are unmistakable.

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Passing along the passion for wild creatures

2020 08 01 mothBy David Hawke -- Breakfast is usually shared with my grandson, 11-year old Toby, who wanders over from the farmhouse just across the yard.

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Here be dragons -- and damsels

2020 07 25 wetland

By David Hawke -- As the Grade 6 class followed me along the winding path down to the edge of the marsh we gave the appearance of a medieval troop of wood gnomes off on a quest. We were in search of dragons and damsels, predators and prey, things hidden and hiding. Long-handled dip nets bristled forth from every other student while collecting bowls were handled by those in between like careless shields. Excitement, some of it nervous, was in the air.

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Two oaks, beautiful together

2020 07 19 hawke oaksBy David Hawke -- It's hot when I get out of the car. Very hot. Wickedly hot.

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Six-step plan to deal with invasive species

2020 07 06 DSVpodsThe third of a three-part series by David Hawke concerning invasive species.

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Attacking the invaders

2020 07 06 DSVvinesBy David Hawke -- The first wave our attack on the invaders has begun! They will not survive! They will not expand their range! They will not get by us!

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Hungry invaders munch through forest canopy

         2020 06 27 gypsy moth pic By David Hawke -- The gypsies are back in town!

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The terrible death toll on our roads

2020 06 21 hawke roadkills

By David Hawke -- Road kills. We see them all the time, lying on the pavement, sometimes surrounded by fresh gore, other times well-cooked from a few days in the hot sun. These animals, who never made it to the other side, are part of a motorist's daily life -- usually we just see them, occasionally we cause them.

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Delightful time for sedge-heads

2020 06 13 sedges small

          By David Hawke -- This is an awkward time of year for one who professes to be a naturalist. The spring flowers are pretty well over, the song birds have stopped most of their singing and the woods are now dark and deep in shadows. Not that any of that is a bad thing, it just that the excitement of spring has slipped away and the lazy summer days haven’t quite arrived.

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The morel of this blog - taste with trepidation

2020 06 06 ediblewildBy David Hawke -- You can tell that we humans are hard-wired with the need to survive.

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Small, colourful warblers finally arrive

2020 05 30 warblers

By David Hawke -- If you were to chart the highs and lows of excitement for birdwatchers you would see a high peak in late March when the waterfowl migrate northwards, the ducks, geese and swans following the edge of melting ice as the lakes open up.

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Moles, voles and holes in your yard

2020 05 23 voles

By David Hawke -- There have been reports coming in of “unauthorized construction” appearing in many yards this spring: heaps of soil and haphazard tunneling have shown up regularly since the snow cover melted away. All good evidence that moles have been ‘busy as beavers’ helping you maintain a beautiful lawn. However, their messy habit of leaving soil debris may not fit with your vision of a manicured grassland.

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Support Dave in the 2020 Carden Challenge!

2020 05 23 towhee2

Hello to all the dear readers of my stories,

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The trilliums are shivering this year!

2020 05 17 trilliums

By David Hawke -- It may have just been the way the cool breeze swept over them, but I think I saw a patch of white trilliums shivering. Heavy in bud, not yet open, waiting, waiting… when will it be warm enough to burst open into radiant bloom? I mean, really, what’s up with the weather this spring?

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