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.

‘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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Are you being bugged by these flies?

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

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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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