Jan 282017
 

Whether doctor or meteorologist, when we fail to look at the systemic causes of the immediate problems in front of us, we are guilty of malpractice.

By Richard J Jackson
The Daily Climate    LINK TO ARTICLE
Editor’s note: This essay is adapted from a speech Dr. Richard Jackson gave at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting on Jan. 23.

SEATTLE—At the core of medical and of public health training, we learn that you cannot just look narrowly at the problem in front of you, you are obliged to look for the systemic causes, how did the patient get into this state and what are the challenges going forward? Failing to do so is malpractice.

If an internist were to see a patient who is elderly and very overweight, and who came in complaining of a sore on her foot, one that wasn’t healing, and that internist merely prescribed an ointment and failed to address the very real likelihood that this patient has vascular disease and diabetes, and was in grave danger of gangrene and amputation, in that case an objective party would review this failure as medical malpractice.

It is not enough for the doctor to know a lot of science. It is equally important that the person who is put between the scientific world and the human being must show true diligence.
It is not enough for the doctor to know a lot of science. It is equally important that the person who is put between the scientific world and the human being must show true diligence.

I will assert the same is true for meteorologists, who are clinical practitioners. They are face-to-face, at least electronically, with the father getting his children ready for school, the farmer working out her planting and harvest schedule, the pilot and air traffic controller, or the mayor struggling with the decision about whether to require a full scale evacuation. You not only save lives, you save livelihoods.

Everyone wants to hear what meteorologists have to say. Much of the time they’re the only ones worth watching on television. We need them to be technically proficient, but we also need big picture thinkers who forecast, as the navy admirals do, way out beyond the bow.

I started my career as a pediatrician and then an epidemiologist focused on environmental hazards. Two decades ago I took the position as Director of the National Center for Environmental Health at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, arguably the highest public health and environment position in the United States. I was overseeing service programs like the childhood lead poisoning prevention, epidemic investigation of cancer and birth defect clusters, measurement of chemical levels in the American people.

During my first year at CDC, I assigned four epidemiologists to Chicago because of a serious heat wave. That investigation documented over 700 deaths. We learned much about the danger of social isolation, the effects of mental illness and poverty interfaced with climate disaster, and the importance of air-conditioning and the need for better designed buildings and places of refuge.

While at CDC I learned a great deal about climate change, especially from my colleagues at US EPA, NOAA, NCAR and others. I also learned from the doctors working in our refugee and international health group. I had underestimated the dreadful suffering that comes when 50,000 or 100,000 people are forced to move because of war or disaster. Look at the horrific suffering caused by the movement of a half million people from Syria.

Serious scientists and public health leaders, and Pentagon leaders, are gravely concerned about climate change. We fear that the violent storms, floods, droughts, sea level rise and loss of agriculture associated with climate change will cause migrations hundreds of times larger than the displacement from Syria.

An important aspect of this is that I really want to acknowledge and to thank meteorologists for very important work and outreach informing the public about weather threats. I would assert that both physicians and meteorologists are in a daunting and sacred position between people and the world of science.

In meteorology the systemic disorder is climate heating as a result of climate forcing gases. I worry deeply about the future of my country, about environment and health, about our economy and about our security threats. Some will likely say that it is not meteorologists’ job to report on longer-term and global threats, such as climate. In response here’s a medical story.

We struggled to deal only with individual cases, but we did not have a robust culture of alertness and intervention. After a series of tragic failures to identify children who were obviously victims of abuse, many of the states enacted laws that required that clinicians who “know or suspect” that a child is a victim of abuse, must report this to appropriate authorities within 24 hours. During my training this was drummed into us, but I naïvely thought that this was something pretty remote, that was in the newspaper, and that I would rarely see this.

I soon learned often and painfully that I was wrong. I was a skinny young red-haired pediatrician with lots of academic knowledge, but with limited practical experience. One evening while working in the emergency room at a busy city hospital, my next patient was a 10-year-old boy who clearly had been beaten. There were fist marks on his face and bruises on his body, but I was told that he had just taken a fall. I did a full exam looking for neurological symptoms, broken bones, blood in the urine and more, but the words “know or suspect child abuse?” echoed in the back of my mind. I decided to make the legal report and I called the social worker who helped me do the paper work.

I subsequently learned that the child was from a prominent family, and the son of a judge. The following day when I reported back to work at the emergency room, a burly man confronted me. He said he was the family’s private pediatrician. His face was red with anger and only six inches from mine. He began to berate me saying “No one calls for a child abuse investigation on one of my families. What you did was wrong. I’m going to have you fired.”

I wasn’t prepared for this, kept quiet for a bit, and then said: “Doctor, I can show you the law, it says: if we know or suspect child abuse, we are obliged to report. I could be liable for felony neglect if I failed to do so.” He did complain to the hospital administration, but after that I never heard another word from him.

I wonder if meteorologists are not in a similar role. Fellow citizens need meteorologists to keep them safe. When we fail to look at the systemic causes of the immediate problems in front of us, we are guilty of malpractice.

When we fail to identify threats to our children and grandchildren, we are guilty of child neglect, and in some cases child abuse. Just as with child abuse, when there is a grave threat, we need to speak with courage even when we don’t have absolute proof. That can be decided later.

Will our grandchildren, and all grandchildren, berate us: “you should have known we were in grave danger; why didn’t you act in time to protect us?”

Dr. Richard J Jackson is an author, and professor and researcher of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. He is the former director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. 

Jan 242017
 

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) (1)
– Reported Jan 22, 2017 09:50 by Chris Risley
– Jackson Park and area, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Seen at 476 Bonaccord Avenue at feeder, possibly continuing bird from Jackson Park trail near Bonaccord Avenue entrance, first sang and then we saw it by feeder and then on left (west) side of house, good view; small sparrow sized, white eyestripe, longish bill, cocked long tail”

Carolina Wren (Wikimedia)

Jan 242017
 

At 4:50 pm. January 18, at the corner of County Rd. #2 and Plunket Road, I spent 20 minutes with this Barred Owl, photographing the bird from about 50 metres. The owl seemed more curious than scared. Given the paucity of owls this winter, I was very pleased to entertain this fellow in my lens. Originally he was on a tall lamp post but then flew down to an old post in the field , perhaps having spied a mouse in the grass.

Michael Gillespie

Barred Owl – Keene, Ontario – Jan. 18, 2017 – Michael Gillespie

Jan 232017
 

On Jan. 22, from my backyard, I  saw 8 Bald Eagles. They were on open ice south of Campbellford on the Trent River  There was one pair of adults and 6 immatures.

Donald Munro

Adult Bald Eagles – Jan. 24, 2015 – Lock 24 – Tom Northey

Immature Bald Eagle – Otonabee River – Feb. 2016 – Nima Taghaboni

 

Jan 222017
 

I took a couple of pictures last Sunday, January 15, 2017 of this lovely Red-tailed Hawk sitting on our fence post and thought you might enjoy seeing them. We live on a farm just south of Peterborough and are fortunate to see a lot of nature on a daily basis. Hope you enjoy these and feel free to share!

Julie Johnson

Red-tailed Hawk close-up 01-15-17 Julie Johnson

Red-tailed Hawk 01-15-17 Julie Johnson

Jan 212017
 

Common Loon (Gavia immer) (1)
– Reported Jan 20, 2017 12:00 by Dave Milsom
– Lakefield Marsh, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “continuing bird diving near red marker buoy”

Great Gray Owl (Strix nebulosa) (1)
– Reported Jan 15, 2017 14:15 by Michael Light
– Harold Town Conservation Area, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Sighted in dense center understood, flew from perch once Sighted. Much darker than barred owl, with no barring on chest.”

Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) (1)
– Reported Jan 18, 2017 12:26 by Colin Jones
– Peterborough–300 Water St to Edgewater Blvd Loop, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Continuing bird”
Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio) (1)
– Reported Jan 14, 2017 14:30 by Maureen Smith
– Yard Warsaw On, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “uses wood duck box located across the river. Occasional visits”

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) (1)
– Reported Jan 19, 2017 15:25 by Martyn Obbard
– John Earl Chase Memorial Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “first observed perched on hydro line on Anchor Bay Rd., then flew and perched atop dead branch of deciduous tree in field to south”

Northern Shrike – Tom Northey

Eastern Screech Owl at nesting box – Nov. 2014 – Tim Dyson

Great Gray Owl – Tom Northey 2014

Common Loon – Lakefield – Dec. 19, 2016 – Sue Paradisis

Gray Catbird – Wikimedia

Jan 202017
 

I thought I’d pass along to you a couple of sightings from our home on the Indian River in the midst of the ice and freezing rain of January 17. From one window, we saw what was either a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s Hawk sitting patiently, watching the bird feeders and hoping something would come along for his lunch. Then from another window we looked at the river, and saw a wolf or coyote standing for awhile in the rain on slushy ice, then he loped off upstream. I understand that wolves and coyotes can interbreed – this one looked more like a wolf than a coyote. It was a very healthy looking specimen with a large, square-ish head, a dark brown, grizzled coat and a definite black tip on the tail which was held low, between the back legs. Didn’t see him get anything to eat either!

Jane Bremner
Sawmill Road, Douro-Dummer

My guess is that the hawk was a Cooper’s. They are more common than Sharp-shinned Hawks and bolder, tending to sit out in the open more. As for the coyote/wolf, you probably saw an Eastern Coyote. I’m not aware of Eastern Wolves being seen south of Algonquin Park and the northern Haliburton Highlands. Also, it’s almost impossible to distinguish a wolf from a coyote visually. The real difference is in the weight, the wolf being much heavier.  D.M.

 

Cooper’s Hawk on bird it had captured (Karl Egressy)

Sharp-shinned Hawk – Lakefield  – Gwen Forsyth

Eastern Coyote on Otonabee River – Tom Northey.

 

Jan 192017
 

Between mid-December and early January, birders in over 2000 localities across North, Central and South America took a break from the holiday festivities to spend a day outside, identifying and counting birds. Dating all the way back to 1900, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running Citizen Science projects in the world. The information collected by thousands of volunteer participants forms one of the world’s largest sets of wildlife survey data. The data are used daily by conservation biologists and naturalists to assess the population trends and distribution of birds. The counts are organized at the local level, often by a birding club or naturalist organization.

The count area is always a circle, measuring 24 kilometres in diameter. The circle is then sub-divided into sectors, each of which is covered by a group of birders. This involves driving as many of the roads in the sector as possible and walking or skiing into off-road areas of different habitat types. The basic idea is to identify and count – as accurately as possible – every bird seen or heard.

Once again this year, two counts took place locally – one centred in Peterborough and the other in Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Martin Parker of the Peterborough Field Naturalists organized the Peterborough count, while Colin Jones compiled the Petroglyphs count.

Peterborough Count

The 65th Peterborough Christmas Bird Count was held December 18 under cold but sunny conditions. Forty-one members and friends of the Peterborough Field Naturalists spent all or part of the day in the field, while seven others kept track of birds visiting their feeders. One observer was also out before dawn listening for owls.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

By the end of the day, participants found 13,860 individual birds, which is a new high. A total of 59 species was recorded. There were two new species for the count, a Horned Grebe and two Eastern Bluebirds. The grebe was found on the Otonabee River at Millennium Park, while the bluebirds turned up near the intersection of the Lang-Hastings Trans Canada Trail and County Road 35. The grebe and bluebirds bring the total number of species found on the count its 65-year history to 130.

The biggest story of this year’s count, however, was the huge number of American Robins. These birds clearly missed the memo that it was time to migrate! The 1,943 robins recorded more than doubled the previous high of 759 tallied in 2011. Observers described seeing flock after flock of robins flying across roads and fields to thickets full of wild grape – a favourite winter food and the main reason why so many robins took a pass on flying any further south. If the birds can get enough to eat, cold is not a problem. It will be interesting to see if there is sufficient food to keep the robins remain here until spring.

Record highs were also tallied for Bald Eagles (5), Eastern Screech Owls (4),   American Crows (953), White-breasted Nuthatches (120), and Dark-eyed Juncos (543). Previous highs were tied for Sharp-shinned Hawks (5) and Red-bellied Woodpeckers (8).

Three rarely seen species also turned up, namely a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Snow Goose and a Brown Thrasher. This was only the second time the latter two species have ever been found on the count. Thrashers are usually in Louisiana at this time of year!

American Robin in mountain-ash March 2014 – Jeff Keller

As is the case every year, there were also some notable low numbers. For instance, observers only found only 71 Canada Geese. This was because cold weather just before the count had reduced the amount of open water. As has been the pattern in recent years, the number of Great Horned Owls (1) and Ruffed Grouse (2) was also very low. To put this into context, 82 grouse were recorded in 1979. It is well known, however, that grouse numbers fluctuate a great deal from year to year and even decade to decade. The factors responsible for these periodic fluctuations remain poorly understood. As for Great Horned Owls, the Canadian population has declined by over 70% since the 1960s.

The overall data for the Peterborough count is as follows: Snow Goose 1, Canada Goose 71,  American Black Duck 5, Mallard 1006, Long-tailed Duck 1, Bufflehead 1, Common Goldeneye 95, Hooded Merganser 2, Common Merganser 1, Ruffed Grouse 2, Wild Turkey 88, Horned Grebe 1, Sharp-shinned Hawk  5, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Northern Goshawk 2, Bald Eagle 5, Red-tailed Hawk 25, Rough-legged Hawk 2, Ring-billed Gull 71, Herring Gull 131, Lesser Black-backed Gull 1, Great Black-backed Gull 1, Rock Pigeon 1006, Mourning Dove 515, Eastern Screech-Owl 4, Great Horned Owl 1, Belted Kingfisher 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 8, Downy Woodpecker 64, Hairy Woodpecker 40, Northern Flicker 5, Pileated Woodpecker 7, Merlin 2, Peregrine 1, Northern Shrike 3, Blue Jay 261, American Crow 953, Common Raven 29, Black-capped Chickadee 1722, Red-breasted Nuthatch 15, White-breasted Nuthatch 120, Brown Creeper 6, Eastern Bluebird 2, American Robin 1943, Brown Thrasher 1, European Starling 2674, Bohemian Waxwing 4, Cedar Waxwing 220, Snow Bunting 1010, American Tree Sparrow 344, Dark-eyed Junco 543, White-throated Sparrow 2,  Northern Cardinal 104, Brown-headed Cowbird 1,  House Finch 44, Purple Finch 1, American Goldfinch 533, and House Sparrow 147.

Petroglyph Count

The 31st Petroglyph Christmas Bird Count took place on December 27, in less than favourable weather conditions. The day was dull and overcast with strong winds and intermittent periods of light snow and freezing drizzle. The strong winds made listening difficult for the 24 participants. A successful Christmas bird count depends not only on seeing the birds but also on hearing them. Calm days are therefore best. Only 28 species were found, which is six lower than the 10-year average. The number of individual birds (1937) was also below average.

Although no new species were recorded, there were some notable sightings. A record 318 Bohemian Waxwings was more than four times the previous high of 76. A Cooper’s Hawk was recorded for only the fourth time on the count, and a Rough-legged Hawk turned up for only the sixth time. The 11 American Robins counted was only two shy of the previous high.

Bohemian Waxwing (Karl Egressy)

As for low counts, only six Ruffed Grouse were recorded. This is well below the 10-year average of 22 and the count high of 77. Blue Jay numbers were down, too, with only 74 putting in an appearance. The 10-year average is 271, and count high is 653. A poor acorn crop probably explains the Blue Jay’s relative scarcity. Most jays simply chose to migrate south this year in search of more abundant food. Numbers of Pileated Woodpeckers, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Golden-crowned Kinglets were also much lower than average.

A worrisome miss was the Gray Jay. A pair was visiting a feeder just before the count but was not present on count day. An average of five birds was recorded every year up until 2009. Since then, however, they have only been tallied once on the day of the count. Gray Jays are one of many species that are expected to decrease in number as the climate warms, especially at the southern edge of their range such as here in the Kawarthas.

No Barred Owls were found this year, either. This very vocal species had been recorded every year since 1995 except for 2012 and this year. With the exception of reasonably good numbers of American Goldfinch (326) and Evening Grosbeaks (44), no other finches were found.

The overall data for the Petroglyph count is as follows: Ruffed Grouse 6, Wild Turkey 43,  Bald Eagle 5, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 1, Rough-legged Hawk 1, Rock Pigeon 34, Mourning Dove 5, Downy Woodpecker 23, Hairy Woodpecker 25, Pileated Woodpecker 4, Northern Shrike 1, Blue Jay 74, American Crow 10, Common Raven 65, Black-capped Chickadee 676, Red-breasted Nuthatch 32, White-breasted Nuthatch 92, Brown Creeper 24, Golden-crowned Kinglet 4, American Robin 11, European Starling 45, Bohemian Waxwing 318, American Tree Sparrow 22, Dark-eyed Junco 19,  Snow Bunting 26,  American Goldfinch 326, and Evening Grosbeak 44.  A Gray Jay was also seen during the count period but not on the day of the count.

Ruffed Grouse – Parry Sound – via Rob Moos

Kids Count

In order to help young people develop an interest in birding, the third annual Junior Christmas Bird Count (CBC 4Kids) also took place on the same day as the Peterborough count. Organized by Lara Griffin, the Peterborough Field Naturalist Juniors scoured the grounds and nearby trails of the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre on Pioneer Road. The birds they found were added to the Peterborough count data. The junior event incorporates many of the same features as the adult version. However, it is far less rigorous and designed more like a game.

Great Backyard Bird Count

If you are interested in contributing to Citizen Science and maybe introducing your children or grandchildren to birding, consider taking part in the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). This year, it is taking place February 17-20. The GBBC engages bird watchers of all levels of expertise to create a real-time snapshot of the whereabouts and relative abundance of birds in mid-winter. Anyone can participate. Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count. You can count from any location, anywhere in the world! Go to gbbc.birdcount.org for details.

 

 

Jan 172017
 

Every year  my wife and I are eager to see flocks of Snow Buntings. This year, I saw a very large flock on January 14 in a field just east of the 3rd line of Asphodel and the south side of Centre Line, just east of Westwood They flew around the field for five minutes or so before settling down. I estimate there were more than 250. Each year we see them in the same area. They move about from field to field but always seem to be in the same area. We also have a Red-bellied Woodpecker coming to our feeder on the 6th line of Asphodel, west of Hastings.

Gene de st. Croix

Flock of Snow Buntings in a field

Snow Bunting in winter plumage (photo by Serena Formenti)

Jan 162017
 

In late December 2016, a Moose was killed in a vehicle collision on Highway 60 in Algonquin Park. On January 5, 2017, this Moose was moved to the valley below the Visitor Centre. For Algonquin Park’s predators, winter can be a challenging time to find food. Animals feeding upon prey, either alive or dead, is rarely observed. Strategically placing a Moose carcass in an easily observable location, such as below the viewing deck at the Visitor Centre, provides a rare opportunity for visitors to watch in person or via the Algonquin Park Webcam.  Ravens, Eastern Wolves and Fishers have been feeding at the carcass, among other species.

Moose carcass as seen from Visitor Centre – Algonquin Park

 

 

 

Jan 152017
 

I drove out River Road to Lakefield on January 14 to see what I could find. At Bolton Farm, I found this Belted Kingfisher making its way up river from tree to tree. The river was high, fast and with little bird activity –  just a couple of Common Goldeneye ducks.

Sue Paradisis

Belted Kingfisher – January 14, 2014 – Otonabee River – Sue Paradisis

 

Common Goldeneye male – Karl Egressy

Jan 152017
 

I recently had the opportunity to update our atlas of Jack Lake fauna with data and observations from 2016 (LINK).  Since this project was initiated in 2013, we (97 individuals have reported information on sightings) have compiled more than 3,000 records involving 488 species (including 26 species at risk).  This is intended to be an ongoing project and I will be seeking the assistance of Jack Lakers again in 2017.

Steven J. Kerr, Director – Environment, Jack Lake Association

NOTE: Jack Lake is located about 45 minutes north of Peterborough, ON, on the Canadian Shield.

Common Loon (Karl Egressy)

Snapping Turtle – Rick Stankiewicz

Jan 142017
 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Jan 12, 2017 15:37 by Martin Parker
– Otonabee River–between Lock 23 and 24, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “male – continuing bird”

Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) (1)
– Reported Jan 13, 2017 15:43 by Martyn Obbard
– Gannon Narrows (bridge/causeway), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “near ice edge north shore Buckhorn Lake; good look through binoculars; light brown head, prominent shaggy crest, thin bill; absence of contrasting white neck”

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) (4)
– Reported Jan 11, 2017 15:30 by Peterborough County Birds Database
– Millbrook–1215 Carmel Line, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “pair of Eastern Bluebirds checking out a bluebird house in AM and about 3:30 PM. three male bluebirds in yard”

Male Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

Female Red-breasted Merganser (Karl Egressy)

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds – male at upper right – Wikimedia

Jan 142017
 

Last week we saw this male Red-bellied Woodpecker at our feeder in Lakefield. He was eating sunflower seeds and feeding at the fat block. I couldn’t see the red belly, however. He was quite shy, so no real close-ups.

David Wells, Lakefield

Red-bellied Woodpecker 2 – Lakefield – Jan. 2017 – David Wells

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Lakefield – Jan. 2017 – David Wells

Jan 132017
 

I took a picture of this Red-tailed Hawk at Lock 25 on the Otonabee River on December 30. The Merlin was near Omemee.

Carl Welbourn
Kawartha Camera Club

Red-tailed Hawk – Dec. 30, 2016 – Carl Welbourn

Merlin – Dec. 30, 2016 – Omemee – Carl Welbourn

Jan 132017
 

Here is photo of my resident Norway Rat, taken on January 1. We have only seen it twice this winter, although it exhibits the same behaviours – scurrying from under the porch to the base of the bird feeder – as one did last winter.

Michael Gillespie, Keene

Norway Rat – Michael Gillespie

Jan 132017
 

Here is a picture of an American Crow sending out the alarm, regarding this Red-tailed Hawk in our poplar tree. There were two other crows not in the photo also circling around the hawk and creating quite a ruckus. Shortly after this photo was taken, the four birds flew off.

Helen and Larry Keller, Mark St., Peterborough

Crow harassing Red-tailed Hawk – Helen & Larry Keller

 

Jan 132017
 

I saw a Peregrine Falcon in Peterborough on January 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm. It alighted on the top of a telephone pole at the corner of Downie and Murray Streets. At first I thought it was a Merlin from the shape of the wings; I have seen a number of Merlins in recent years in this area. However, as I got closer, I realized it was noticeably larger.

Mark Rogers

A Peregrine photographed on the clock tower in 2009 (Rick Stankiewicz)

Jan 132017
 

Though we have Pileated Woodpeckers in the neighbourhood all year, Tuesday was the first time that I have been able to photograph them feeding at the suet feeder. No doubt this has been going on for some time but did not have to opportunity to be observing at the right time. Truly a magnificent bird.   Bill Snowden, Ennismore

On January 11, I observed a Pileated Woodpecker on the Trent (Peterborough) Campus. I took a picture through an office window.  Julianna Stonehouse

 

Pileated Woodpecker at Trent University – Eileen Oberer

Pileated Woodpecker (male) – Bill Snowden

Jan 122017
 

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (1)
– Reported Jan 11, 2017 13:03 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Bear Creek Rd, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “10 feet from road in cedar swale after swamp.”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Jan 11, 2017 10:00 by Matthew Garvin
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Sitting on ice edge”

Barred Owl – Jeff Keller 12 01 14

Peregrine eating Rock Pigeon – Loree Stephens 2 – Jan. 13, 2015 – PRHC

Jan 122017
 

I would once again like to thank the many people who contacted me over 2016 to share their nature sightings and photographs. This week, I will continue my year-end review with sightings from June through December. You can also find these sightings, along with videos, sound clips and more photos, on my website at drewmonkman.com

Merlin (Karl Egressy)

JULY

·        On July 20, Tom Northey of Little Britain found an active hive of wild (feral) Honey Bees in a tree cavity excavated by a Pileated Woodpecker.

·        Pat Maitland of Princess Street in Peterborough wrote to tell me about a Merlin nest near her home. “The two juveniles are getting flying and hunting lessons with lots of vocalizations as they zoom across Princess and Ware Street backyards and rooftops.”

·        Barb Evett spends part of her summers at Woodland Campsite near Lakehurst. “I cannot believe it! For three years in a row, Stanley, my campsite Ring-billed Gull has returned. He comes when called by name, sits with me on my deck when I read a book, and allows no other gulls on my site!”

Feral honey bee nest – Tom Northey

 

AUGUST

·        Tim Dyson, Barb Evett and David Beaucage Johnson all reported Giant Swallowtails. Tim wrote, “I was beginning to think that they were vanishing about as suddenly as they first appeared in the Kawarthas, back in 2011 or thereabouts.”

·         Robert Greenman Hood emailed me to say that he had a colony of more than 50 Barn Swallows at his farm on Crowley Line. This is an encouraging number, since these birds are now a Species at Risk.

·        Stephenie and Peter Armstrong of Warsaw are keen nature observers. “We regularly see the occasional Eastern Kingbird on our stretch of the Indian River, but on August 7 we were treated to a longer than usual visit of a family of four. At one point, an American Crow flew low over the tree the kingbirds favoured. The two adults went into attack mode and smartly chased the crow off upriver!”

·        On August 8, Trudy Gibson of Peterborough sent me a picture of a beautiful Black Swallowtail caterpillar feeding on dill in her garden.

·        On August 15, David Beaucage Johnson witnessed, “a spectacular aerial show of Common Nighthawks (a Species at Risk) swarming over our Curve Lake house. I would estimate 50 but it was difficult to count…There were also about 100 Tree Swallows at the same time.” Three days later, David saw his first-ever Red-headed Woodpecker on Mukwa Bay Road.

·        “On August 19, we saw at least ten bats flying over a two-kilometre stretch of the 5th Line of Selwyn as we drove towards Chemong Road. I am also happy to say that one of my American Chestnut trees at our Crystal Lake property is laden with nuts. Our trees haven’t shown any sign of susceptibility to the blight that killed nearly all of these trees early in the 20th century. I was told when I bought the trees that they were grown from nuts from a surviving stand in the Grand River Conservation Area.” Michael Doran, Peterborough

·        Annamarie Beckel lives on the Otonabee River between locks 24 and 25. “This is a fabulous place. We’re on the end of the road, so we have the river, but also mixed forest, overgrown fields, and wetland. This means we get a wonderful variety of birds:  American Bitterns, Bobolinks, Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks and now Merlins. We also have loons and a pair of Baltimore Orioles. Oh, and Bald Eagles in the winter. Who could ask for anything more?”

Bobolink (male) – Gwen Forsyth

 

SEPTEMBER

·        On September 6, Steve Kerr observed the hatching of 8-10 Snapping Turtles on Rathbun Bay at Jack Lake. Marie Windover reported that a friend on Nogies Creek had six baby Blanding’s Turtles hatch on Labour Day. Marie’s friend had covered up the nest to protect it from predators.

·        Tim Dyson of Stoney Lake paddled up the mouth of Eel’s Creek on Labour Day and saw no less than ten Map Turtles (Species at Risk), including six on the same log.

·        Dyson also spent many evenings this past summer photographing underwing moths. He used bait to attract them. Tim has baited throughout Peterborough County and has encountered 27 of Ontario’s 47 species. He has made ten plates of colour photos of these moths, which are on my website.

·        On September 11, Ken Brown found two strange, ring-like egg masses attached to a rope floating beside his dock on Crab Lake. According to Don Sutherland of the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre, they were the egg masses of a caddisfly.

·        Joan Major sent me a photo of a six-pound Giant Puffball, which she found on September 19 on Fire Route 15 near Stoney Lake. “It was in perfect condition and white throughout. Many people enjoyed eating it!”

·        Carl Welbourn photographed three Great Egrets in the marsh at the south end of Television Road on September 16.

·        Sean McMullen shared a number of Monarch sightings from the Warsaw area, including an adult, which emerged from its chrysalis on September 18.

Great Egret – Carl Welbourn – Television Road – August 28, 2016

OCTOBER

·        On October 4, Greg Conley of Peterborough came across a flock of close to 20 Rusty Blackbirds (Species at Risk) on the Trans Canada Trail at Lily Lake.

·        On October 8, Linda Gilbert was paid a visit by a young bull Moose in her yard on South Bay Shore Road West on Stoney Lake.

·        Kingsley Hubbs came across a small Eastern Milksnake (Species at Risk) on a dirt road at Gannon’s Narrows on October 2. You can see a video of the snake on my website. Marie Windover found an at-risk Eastern Hog-nosed Snake near Flynn’s Corners on October 12.

·        Nancy Cafik of Chemong Lake had a Ring-billed Gull, which came up under her bird feeder every day and waited there patiently for Blue Jays to come to feed. When the jays dropped a peanut or two on the ground, the gull snatched them up.”

·        On October 16, Alan Stewart and his wife came across a curious “mushroom trail” in the Robert Johnson Eco Park in Douro. You can see a video of the trail on my website. According to Jennie Versteeg, Alan had found a very large ‘fairy ring’. All the mushrooms would be coming from the same parent mycelium and the mycelium ring would have worked its way outward over many years as nutrients close in were exhausted.” This will be interesting to check out next fall.

Young bull Moose at Stoney Lake – Oct. 13, 2016 – Linda Gilbert

NOVEMBER

·        Al Dawson of Hawthorne Drive wrote, “Since about mid-August, starting just at dusk, we hear cricket-like sounds coming from the trees in our neighborhood… The sound is continuous rather than the intermittent cricket’s call. There seems to be dozens all singing at once.” Note: These may have been Four-spotted Tree Crickets, which I hear in our neighbourhood, too.

·        Peter Currier, who cottages on Catchacoma Lake, sent me a picture of his Red Squirrels’ pre-winter cone stash. “Clearly, they are an OCD lot. Note that the cones are not only symmetrically arranged, but the butt ends are all formed like rays around rocks or along the length of a fallen tree! Certainly I have never found animals in the wild to be as organized as our local guys are.”

·        Burke Doran reported that a Gray Squirrel and a Cooper’s Hawk dueled it out on the top rail of his split rail fence in mid-October. For at least 15 minutes they charged at each other fearlessly before the hawk called it quits.

·        On November 11, Helen Nicolaides Keller reported that a beautiful adult Cooper’s Hawk made a killed a pigeon in her east city backyard

·        “This summer, we had a ‘friendly’ Ruffed Grouse at our cottage near Parry Sound. Even leashed, our dog almost got him several times. The grouse would fly after us when we were walking around and land closely.” Rob Moos, Peterborough.

·        “On November 20, we had 8 Pine Grosbeaks at our feeder. During this past summer, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, along with their young, came to the feeder regularly.” Neil Boughen, Warsaw

Ruffed Grouse – Parry Sound – via Rob Moos

 

DECEMBER

·        Sandra Burri of Clear Lake emailed me on December 5 to report eight white ‘mystery circles’ in the ice on the pond adjacent to her house. How the ice circles formed is open to speculation, but her husband, Dick, has a convincing hypothesis. You can read it on my website.

·        “We live on Clear Lake and have had a number of trees chopped down by a Beaver this fall. I put out a trail camera to record the activity. Enjoy!” John McGregor, Clear Lake. The video is on my website.

·        Sandy McMullen works at the Unimin Mine north of Stoney Lake and drives to work along County Road 6. On November 28, he emailed to say, “I was seeing groups of eagles all day. Two to four at a time. At the tailings dam, I surprised more than 20 in one group. I estimated eight mature Bald Eagles and possibly some Golden Eagles, as well.”

·        “I was very surprised to see a pair of Eastern Bluebirds in my garden this morning, December 18.” Rachel Burrows, Warsaw

·        In late December, Kathy Hardill reported having twice seen a huge flock of Snow Buntings in a field just east of Selwyn and Buckhorn Roads.

·        Like many people this winter, Mary-Anne Johnston of Lakefield had an American Robin in her backyard. There is abundant wild food for robins this winter, especially wild grape.

Wild Grape – Dec. 2, 2016 – Drew Monkman

 

 

Jan 022017
 

This female Pileated Woodpecker was in our Peterborough yard on Mark Street twice on December 30. Her visit lasted 30 to 45 minutes each time. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Helen and Larry Keller

Pileated Woodpecker – Dec. 30, 2016 – Mark St. Peterborough – Helen Keller

 

Pileated Woodpecker 2 – Dec. 30, 2016 – Mark St. Peterborough – Helen Keller

Wood chips from Pileated Woodpecker – Dec. 30, 2016 – Mark St. Peterborough – Helen Keller

Jan 022017
 

On Mark Street today, January 1, my husband and I saw two Northern Flickers land in our yard. A spectacular sight. Unfortunately they didn’t stay long enough for me to capture them in more than two photos. We hope they return – often!
Helen and Larry Keller

Northern Flicker 2 – Jan. 1, 2017 – Helen Keller

Northern Flicker – January 1, 2017 – Mark St. Peterborough – Helen Keller