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.

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.

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Tips for watching the elusive butterfly

   2019 07 03 butterflies          By David Hawke -- Although birdwatching is certainly a year-round activity for naturalists,

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Orchids are the 'superstars' of wildflowers

2019 06 23 orchidsBy David Hawke -- In the world of wildflowers, orchids are the 'superstars'.

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Coy violets abound in Nature's garden

2019 06 23 violets

By David Hawke -- Each spring we (well, okay, my wife Julie) tries to "improve" the looks of the landscape around our home, the most obvious endeavor usually being the flower gardens.

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Watch for the ‘flicker’ of yellow wing feathers

2019 06 14 flicker2Here's a new one for you... "When is a woodpecker not a woodpecker? When it's a flicker!"

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Colourful wildflowers bring much more than simple joy

2019 06 03 wildflowersBy David Hawke -- Observing a springtime blossom is such a simple joy.

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Fighting for our white pines

2019 05 27 tree.resized

By David Hawke -- I pause and take a look at the daunting line of pine trees still ahead of me: "1,800 down and 400 to go."

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The showy trillium is a springtime favourite

2019 05 21 trillium

By David Hawke -- A white-tailed deer had made its presence known by a series of nipped-off trillium stems, a seasonal reminder that the deer are always out there, always hungry. Aside from human bouquet-gatherers, trilliums usually don't have too much to worry about, other than a wandering doe.

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If frogs disappear, we won't be far behind

2019 05 12 ToadTrilling

By David Hawke -- It starts with a single peep, usually on an April eve. Just a peep.

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Butterfly war in the woodlot

2019 05 05 MourningCloak

By David Hawke -- The country lane looked peaceful enough, the first true warming rays of springtime sun easily splashing down on the still damp gravel. The snow had gone, with a few small puddles of melt water all that remained to remember the winter snows. As I wandered along, little did I know that this was a scene of great anxiety, as I had just intruded on the butterfly wars.

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Declining woodcock numbers signal ecological alert

   2019 04 11 woodcock      

 

By David Hawke -- While the name 'timberdoodle' may sound wacky, it somehow seems to fit the bird whose moniker it is.

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Lake Simcoe’s opening water is magnet for migrating ducks

2019 04 10 Carden ducks

By David Hawke -- Buffleheads and ringnecks. Goldeneyes and bluebills. Hoodies and woodies.

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Sparrows mark start new season in Lake Simcoe area

2019 04 14 sparrows

By David Hawke -- The snowbanks are melting, tree sap is running, puddles are ripe for splashing and the annual springtime mess under the bird feeders is once again revealed.

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Connecting with Lake Simcoe nature

2019 03 28 Otter smallerBy David Hawke -- I have a challenge with otters.

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Perfect time to check on wilder neighbours

2019 03 30 Adams porcupineBy David Hawke – At the end of each winter, usually mid to late March, there comes a time when the snow conditions are ideal for walking, just about anywhere, without the aid of snowshoes or skis.

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We rely on Nature's fragile relationships

2019 03 24 BrownCreeper

By David Hawke -- While reading through an agricultural newspaper last week, I came upon a short article about bees and apple orchards.

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Hang in. Spring is on its way - really!

2019 03 17 wyemarsh

By David Hawke -- Maybe it's just the time of year, but each March many people, myself included, get a tad melancholy. Each day passes looking much the last... and tomorrow is shaping up to be a lot like today. Ho-hum. Is it just us, or are we missing something?

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The pileated woodpecker appears dressed to kill - bugs, not trees

2019 03 09 woodpecker1

By David Hawke -- You don't see them very often, but when you do it's a moment to remember. With their bright scarlet top-knot and striking black-and-white plumage, the pileated woodpecker is a bird that looks quite “dressed-up.”

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Why are there so many sandhill cranes in the Lake Simcoe area?

By David Hawke - As a nature-loving kind of guy I like to think that a report of a species strengthening its population is a good thing.

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Chickadees evade surprise attack

2019 02 23 chickadeeREVBy David Hawke -- About the only time a chickadee remains still is when it's dead, sleeping, or about to become dead.

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