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.

Naturalist Bob Whittam, much missed

2019 11 16 Bob Whittam

In the photo, Bob Whittam, then Director of the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, helps staff clean up. What's so special about that? Read on...

Continue reading
  90 Hits
  0 Comments
90 Hits
0 Comments

The Dance of the Milkweed Seeds

2019 11 09 milkweed.seed      

By David Hawke -- As October drips into November our outdoor excursions can become a tad chilly and damp, and it really does take an extra effort to appreciate the gifts of the season.

Continue reading
  64 Hits
  0 Comments
64 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  122 Hits
  0 Comments
122 Hits
0 Comments

Ruffed grouse get ready for winter

2019 10 26 Ruffed Grouse small

By David Hawke -- It's just after a rain, and I'm walking along an old logging road, my boots absolutely silent as they press against the wet layers of fallen leaves. Tall poplars line each side of the roadway, their butter-yellow leaves spread thickly on the ground before me. Brambles hang over the trail's edge and clutch at my clothing as I pass by. Occasionally a raspberry thorn catches my attention and then, with exaggerated annoyance, I stop, back up, and disengage it from my sleeve or pant leg.

Continue reading
  71 Hits
  0 Comments
71 Hits
0 Comments

Stunning colours this year - even on the forest floor

2019 10 20 Geastrum triplex Collared Earthstar 20191007 40 Acres Hawke 1

By David Hawke -- Whether your daily walk takes you around the yard, around the block or through the woods, there is a good chance that you will have noticed a mushroom or two growing by the wayside. Depending on your character, you may have looked upon said mushroom and thought: 1. Eww, something rotting is going on here; 2. Hmm, wonder if I can eat it... or maybe it's poisonous; or 3. Wow, look at the form and colour, what a beauty!

Continue reading
  94 Hits
  0 Comments
94 Hits
0 Comments

Beware of the unseen daggers!

2019 09 17 Dagger Moth Hawke

By David Hawke -- "Beware the dagger moths! Beware the tussock moths!" is the cry that is going across the land this fall, and for good reason.

Continue reading
  168 Hits
  0 Comments
168 Hits
0 Comments

Our wildlife depend heavily on forest 'mast'

2019 10 05 red oak leaves and acorns4

By David Hawke -- When a recent caller requested a column about mast production, I assumed she had me mixed up with someone else. What did I know about building sailing ships? But as the conversation went on, it became obvious that she was indeed on the right tack, as “mast” is a word to describe the fruiting bodies of trees -- acorns, beechnuts and such.

Continue reading
  218 Hits
  0 Comments
218 Hits
0 Comments

More than one kind of mantis in the meadows

2019 09 30 Praying Mantis vert

By David Hawke -- Just when you think you know everything, along comes something new.

Continue reading
  111 Hits
  0 Comments
111 Hits
0 Comments

Tracking the ebb and flow of life

2019 09 23 ducks1

By David Hawke -- Once upon a time in my personal timeline, Sept. 25 held a special meaning: it was the carved-in-stone official first day of the fall hunting season. Ducks, geese, grouse, rabbits... you name it and I and my buddies were probably licensed and loaded for it. But that was then and this is now.

Continue reading
  119 Hits
  0 Comments
119 Hits
0 Comments

Treasure your early autumn walks

2019 09 14 Spot wing Fly Gall Hawke 2

By David Hawke -- As summer winds down and autumn slowly makes its presence known, a walk out of doors can be a rewarding time. Gone is the oppressive humidity, gone are the biting insects, and instead of green, green, green surrounding you, there are now splashes of colour highlighting the scenery.

Continue reading
  150 Hits
  0 Comments
150 Hits
0 Comments

The world needs more malacologists

2019 09 08 snails

By David Hawke -- As another school year dawns upon us it would be nice to know that somewhere out there a student or two is studying hard to become a malacologist

Continue reading
  171 Hits
  0 Comments
171 Hits
0 Comments

Excellent lawn care assistants

20190810 Valk Valley Pelecinid Wasp Hawke

By David Hawke -- Did you catch my “mistake” in last week's article? Today that mistake is corrected and further information embellished for your reading pleasure.

Continue reading
  138 Hits
  0 Comments
138 Hits
0 Comments

Predator wasps are helpful, not harmful

          20190810 Valk Valley Pelecinid Wasp HawkeBy David Hawke -- There are wasps... and then there are other wasps.

Continue reading
  281 Hits
  0 Comments
281 Hits
0 Comments

Cottontails abundant and easy to see this year

20190808 Valk Valley Cottontail Rabbit Hawke 4

By David Hawke -- The vegetable garden had looked great the evening before... not so much the next morning as almost the entire row of green beans had been mowed down.

Continue reading
  133 Hits
  0 Comments
133 Hits
0 Comments

‘Smells detonate softly in our memory’

2019 08 11 Pineappleweed

By David Hawke -- As outdoorsy people, we are all no doubt aware of how important our five senses are to us: sight and sound especially for birdwatchers, while touch and taste are essential to herbalists and those with a wild food culinary bent. Yet we sometimes take the sense of smell for granted.

Continue reading
  178 Hits
  0 Comments
178 Hits
0 Comments

Not much that is ickier than a tick

2019 08 04 tick

By David Hawke -- Ticks. OMG! Can there be anything ickier to have to deal with in the out of doors?  In my 60-plus years of wandering around most every nook and cranny of the wilds of north Simcoe County I have never laid eyes on a tick... until this year. Now they seem to be everywhere! Yuck!

Continue reading
  704 Hits
  0 Comments
704 Hits
0 Comments

Be prepared for surprise encounters in the woods

2019 07 27 bearBy David Hawke -- Depending on who you are, where you are and what the situation is, encountering a black bear can elicit any range of personal responses.

Continue reading
  240 Hits
  0 Comments
240 Hits
0 Comments

Luna moths are the show-stoppers of the moth world

2019 07 20 lunamothBy David Hawke – They are big, green, elegant, and look like they belong in a tropical jungle.

Continue reading
  2600 Hits
  0 Comments
2600 Hits
0 Comments

Are you being bugged by these flies?

20190611 Adams Reserve mosquitos Hawke 2By David Hawke -- So, what's bugging you?

Continue reading
  340 Hits
  0 Comments
340 Hits
0 Comments

Protected wetland is a haven for bug-eating dragonflies

20140713 Ken Reid CA 1

By David Hawke -- As we sat by the lakeshore, basking in the setting sun, we marveled at the air show being performed in front of us. The loop-the-loops were incredible, the mid-air formations almost heart-stopping, and the assertive manoeuvres to claim air space certainly demanded respect. A bonus to this event was that there were no screaming jet engines, no withering exhaust fumes or tell-tale contrails, just a ballet of motion.

Continue reading
  359 Hits
  0 Comments
359 Hits
0 Comments

Get Your Free Subscription! Delivered Straight to
Your Inbox.

Enter your email to receive updates from us. You can unsubscribe at any time.