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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.