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.

Forest floor's fascinating fungi

2020 10 04 hawke mushroom

          By David Hawke -- As late-summer September drifts into early-autumn October there is a fair bit of excitement in the natural world. Birds are migrating, mammals are stocking up on their winter cache of food and fat, and many insects have found either a cozy place to hibernate or at least a protected spot to lay their eggs. But for many of us the thrill of autumn is found on the forest floor… it’s mushroom season!

Continue reading
  155 Hits
  0 Comments
155 Hits
0 Comments

If a tree falls in the forest...

2020 090 27 fallentrees2

          By David Hawke -- “If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?” was the question introduced by George Berkeley in 1710. Surprisingly, this was in the context of perception, not forest management. Nowadays I suppose the question is, “If a tree falls on a power line, and no one has electricity, how do you call Hydro One?”

Continue reading
  239 Hits
  0 Comments
239 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  191 Hits
  0 Comments
191 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  203 Hits
  0 Comments
203 Hits
0 Comments

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!

Continue reading
  233 Hits
  0 Comments
233 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  261 Hits
  0 Comments
261 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  182 Hits
  0 Comments
182 Hits
0 Comments

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... ).

Continue reading
  305 Hits
  0 Comments
305 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  191 Hits
  0 Comments
191 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  203 Hits
  0 Comments
203 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  191 Hits
  0 Comments
191 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  221 Hits
  0 Comments
221 Hits
0 Comments

Six-step plan to deal with invasive species

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

Continue reading
  192 Hits
  0 Comments
192 Hits
0 Comments

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!

Continue reading
  268 Hits
  0 Comments
268 Hits
0 Comments

Hungry invaders munch through forest canopy

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

Continue reading
  827 Hits
  0 Comments
827 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  221 Hits
  0 Comments
221 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  200 Hits
  0 Comments
200 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  202 Hits
  0 Comments
202 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  284 Hits
  0 Comments
284 Hits
0 Comments

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.

Continue reading
  861 Hits
  0 Comments
861 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.