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 — If you have observed wildlife for any length of time, you may have realized that life for these critters can appear to be cruel and unfair; very few, if any, wild animals die of old age.
By David Hawke -- This month feels so much like a recently completed festival -- coloured leaves are gone, wildflowers have been killed by frost, Thanksgiving and Halloween are over, Indian summer has come and gone, and most of the birds, mammals and insects have either migrated or are hibernating. Nothing left but memories.
By David Hawke -- CLACK! Scitter-scitter. Silence. I open one eye and look at the bedside clock... 4:02am. Good, got another one, same time as yesterday's capture. The recent arrival of mice in the house has caused me to set out a trapline of defence.
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!
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?”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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... ).
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.
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.