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.

Our responsibility to stop invasives

2020 05 10 hawke invasiveBy David Hawke -- There are those who say that we humans are a part of nature, and those who say that we are separate, indeed above, nature.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Outdoorsygal
Would have been nice to see a few shots of some of these evasive species. Just a suggestion ?
Sunday, 10 May 2020 23:29
Johanna Powell
Thanks for your comment. The green plant in the photo is garlic mustard, one of the invasive plants Dave talks about, and should h... Read More
Monday, 11 May 2020 06:35
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The frog he would a wooing go

2020 05 03 frogs

By David Hawke -- With temperatures sneaking up past the freezing point, the frog he would a wooing go. Although the cool temperatures of late have delayed some aspects of spring, the amorous frogs have been jostling for position in the icy waters.

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Deer 'social distance' every Spring

2020 04 26 hawke deer

By David Hawke -- With the melting of the winter’s snow comes an important time in the life of a white-tailed deer… social distancing! For the past four months, all the deer in the area have been clustered together in a deer yard, and now it’s time for spring break!

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244 Hits
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What is that crow REALLY thinking?

2020 04 18 anthromorph

By David Hawke -- While anthropomorphism is a honkin' big word, it describes something we do, probably every day. Have you ever looked at an animal and said that "it looks like it’s hungry" or "it must be lonesome" or "it acts angry"? The transfer of a human emotion onto an animal is an anthropomorphic act.

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Mouse finds cozy bird house to wait for Spring

2020 04 04 mice

         By David Hawke -- To enjoy another day of ‘social distancing,’ I took a wander through our tree farm to inspect for winter damage and assess what work may lay ahead in regards to pruning. The snow had been dropping steadily and the remaining patches were still sturdy enough to walk on without snowshoes. The freeze-thaw cycles of March were chipping away at winter in a delightfully steady fashion.

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The dance of the hares

2020 03 29 hare

By David Hawke -- It is now well into March so I assume that you know what that means… it’s rabbit dancing season! The term ‘mad as a March hare’ was coined to describe the courtship antics of both rabbits and hares, at least for the male members of the species.

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241 Hits
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Homes on flood plains prone to Spring flooding

2020 03 21 watersheds with pic

By David Hawke -- In the coming week, if you watch the 6pm news or, if you’re still young enough to stay up, the 11pm news, I predict that one of the top stories you’ll see has to do with, not the lack of toilet paper, but the abundance of water. Spring floods are upon us once again, and the TV reporters are digging out their hip waders and will soon be seen out standing in the field as they document the spring freshet.

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Amazing chickadees adapt as temperature drops

2020 03 15 chickadees

            By David Hawke -- So, how's your code? Ma ed id still pugged up, bud at lead ma node had topped running, foe adwhile endyway. Seems everbody I knowd god a sore troat, hed code, or duh flu. Yuck.

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Mourning doves already nesting

2020 03 07 doves

By David Hawke -- As I shovelled the snow off the deck once again, moaning and groaning sounds seemed to echo throughout our valley. But this time they weren’t coming from me (I’ve learned to moan and groan silently elsewise someone near and dear to me will suggest I go see the family doctor). No, this time the sounds were coming from the nearby grove of pine trees, and hearing this call actually made me happy.

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Voracious, venomous, creepy critter

2020 03 01 scutigera

What has 30 rather long legs, runs like greased lightning, is only a couple inches long at best, eats living prey, has venom in its mouth, is able to climb walls, shuns the light, and lives in your house? A character from a Stephen King horror novel? Nope, guess again.

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Love is in the air for great horned owls

2020 02 23 owlnestBy David Hawke -- The wind rattles bare branches and damp coldness fills the night air.

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What lurks beyond the patio's glow?

2020 02 16 nightsky

By David Hawke -- A few evenings ago there appeared in the night sky a wonderfully lit half moon, surrounded by the sparkle and glint of thousands of stars. While standing outside in the new fallen snow I immediately went back (in my memories) to a similar night years ago when I had been asked by a local resort to take their weekend guests on a wintertime evening hike.

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213 Hits
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Groundhog Day is a silly excuse for a winter celebration

2020 02 08 groundhog By David Hawke -- As you may recall, dear and faithful reader, about a decade ago I proposed a halt to this silly thing called Groundhog Day.

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228 Hits
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Mystery winter visitor

2020 02 01 butterfly

By David J. Hawke -- Those of us who seek out nature either for pleasure or for business are often hard-pressed to discover something new during the winter months. Migration and hibernation took most species away from view, and the few critters that remain visible become, after a time, "same old-same old". Maybe a new bird will show up at the feeder, but this season is nothing like the late spring-early summer overwhelming rush of blooming flowers and singing birds.

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231 Hits
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Local history, naturally

2020 01 27 nathistoryBy David Hawke -- When one stops to think about the history of an area, the usual first impression is of the people who populated the landscape and the results of their efforts.

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Snowy owls often photographed to death

2020 01 20 owl.brush

By David Hawke -- The provincial bird emblem for Quebec is the snowy owl, and there are a number of them hanging around southern Ontario this winter. That's okay for them to be here, as 'our' provincial icon, the common loon, frequents La Belle Province quite a bit in the summer months. Bit of a trade off.

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306 Hits
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Many ways of adapting to winter

2020 01 11 hibernate

By David Hawke -- The shortest day of the year is in December and the coldest days are in February, but the month with the most short, cold days is certainly January.

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189 Hits
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Life continues at a lively pace during Winter months

2020 01 05 owl

By David Hawke -- It seems fitting that the winter solstice, which marked the lengthening of daylight hours, coincided with this extended thaw. Within the big cycle of life, certain things happen in winter-time, whether or not the snowdrifts are piled over your car or barely over your boot-tops.

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On preserving traditional knowledge

2019 12 30 moon

By David Hawke -- If you look up at the moon and it's a lovely crescent shape... can you determine how long until the next full moon?

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Chickadee survival tactics revealed!

2019 12 21 chickadee

By David Hawke -- The wildlife of our area, if they are programmed to stay and survive winter, are subjected to a rolling schedule of feast then famine. Food abundance can and does disappear overnight, whether the cause be weather (hey, it snowed last night... a lot!) or migration (hey, where'd everybody go?). To get by until springtime many changes must be undertaken, sometimes physiological, sometime with behaviours.

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