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 J. Hawke — Here’s a nature riddle for you: A group of birdwatchers is making a list of birds they’ve seen so far that day. On the list are Duck Hawk, Marsh Hawk, Pigeon Hawk and Sparrow Hawk. What year is it?
By David Hawke -- Aphids on your garden plants can be a real drag, as aphids obtain their food by piercing the stem of a plant to get the sap. Most guide books and web sites offer oodles of ways to kill them, however, as with any species of wildlife, the closer you look, the more interesting things get!
By David Hawke -- As we ‘swim’ through these humid days of late August, it is easy to overlook some of the winter preparations that are going on within our local wildlife populations. Yep, the days may be hot but the hard-wired senses of birds in particular mean it’s time to prep for colder temperatures.
By David Hawke -- A trait shared by both weather forecasters and creative writers is the ability to accentuate the mundane or embellish the boring until it becomes quite exciting. To be a creative writer one does not need to be a weather forecaster, but to forecast the weather one does need a good aptitude for creative wordsmithing.
By David Hawke -- Did you know that most snakes hatch from eggs? It may sound weird, but other reptiles such as turtles are well known for their egg-laying. Many a turtle nest I’ve found over the decades, but not once a snake nest. I feel incomplete as a naturalist.
By David Hawke -- If things are appearing in your garden like they are appearing in our garden, then today’s topic of slime moulds should be of interest. Actually, slime moulds should be of interest to everyone, I would think, so here’s the info you need to know.
By David Hawke -- One of the telling characteristics of an active outdoors person is their ability to cope with, or not, poison ivy. Yep, by the start of summer there are usually a great number of weekend warriors, ardent birders, dirt-under-the-fingernails gardeners and sundry other woodsy types that are scratching and suffering due to this most interesting plant.
By David Hawke -- It’s always interesting to look at the love-hate relationships we have with certain species of wildlife; yesterday’s enemy “suddenly” becomes today’s poster child of environmental goodness. A somewhat recent example is the common milkweed, the wildflower that’s currently in full glorious bloom across our countryside.
By David J. Hawke -- I had hoped to move this week’s topic along from yet another tirade about invasive species, but woe, I found some really interesting factoids about those fuzzy-wuzzy caterpillars, the gypsy moths. If the trees in your neighbourhood are as defoliated as mine, I’m hoping this information will be worthy of your attention.
By David Hawke - Now that the gypsy moth caterpillars are cocooning and no longer bombarding your patio with their poop, you may be at a loss as to what to worry about next. Not a problem, always something of concern “out there.” This week it’s all about phragmites!
By David Hawke — Throughout June you have a very good chance of seeing a female snapping turtle sitting on the shoulder of the road. Hopefully it is still alive and in one piece when you see it… because sometimes they are not.
By David J. Hawke — Back in the “old days” when we attended school inside a building and had a teacher at the front of the room, June was always a difficult month to get any classwork done. In elementary grades it was a time of field trips (in my area it was always Wye Marsh, Martyr’s Shrine, Ste. Marie Among the Hurons, Huronia Village and/or Simcoe County Museum).
By David Hawke -- With all the media attention these days seeming to be centered around murder, mayhem, family strife and other crises, I bring you a story of the Troglodyte family, consisting of a sweet charmer of a husband who murders to please his wife, and a wife who is so demanding that her husband has to build house after house until her satisfaction is met.
Ah, sweet spring… the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing. What we perceive to be a peaceful, perhaps even tranquil, scene, however, is actually a war zone. Avian territorial boundaries are constantly being established, challenged, trespassed, defended and realigned. It’s a dynamic world out there!
By David Hawke — The word "catharsis" means to clean or purify, a word brought forward from the ancient Greek language. This word is the root that defines an unusual group of birds, one of which we see here fairly regularly. High in the sky is Cathartes aura, perhaps better known as turkey vulture, the roadside cleaner, the remover of messy road-killed animals.