Oct 132018
 

The average North American child can identify over 300 corporate logos, but only 10 native plants or animals – a telling indictment of our modern disconnection from the natural world. Even though children are born with an innate interest in nature, our society does little to nurture this predisposition. It is largely for this reason that Jacob Rodenburg, Executive Director of Camp Kawartha, and I decided four years ago to sit down and write a book to help address this problem.
Released just last week by New Society Publishers, “The Big Book of Nature Activities: A year-round guide to outdoor learning” sets out to answer the question “What can you do outside in nature?” In response, the book provides nearly 150 activities, including games, crafts, drama, and stories. It will also help young and old alike to become more aware of how the sights, sounds, smells, textures and tastes of the natural world change from one season to the next. The book is aimed at parents, grandparents, classroom teachers, outdoor educators and youth leaders of all kinds. Much of the information – and many of the activities – will also be of interest to adults, especially if you need to brush up on your own nature skills. Adults should also be interested in the extensive background information on evolution, citizen science projects, nature journaling, nature photography and how to make the most of digital technology,

The Big Book of Nature Activities

The Big Book of Nature Activities

Introduction

We begin the book by discussing the disconnection from nature that characterizes so much of modern society. In an increasingly urbanized world, our children are much more likely to experience the flickering a computer screen or the sounds of traffic than the rhythmic chorus of bird or insect song. And sadly, they can more easily identify corporate logos or cartoon characters than even a few tree or bird species. We therefore ask the questions: Where will tomorrow’s environmentalists and conservationists come from? Who will advocate for threatened habitats and endangered species? What are the impacts on one’s physical and emotional well-being from a childhood or adulthood spent mostly indoors? We then go on to discuss some of the consequences of what the environmental educator Richard Louv calls “Nature Deficit Disorder”.

The activities, species and events in nature, which are described in the book, cover an area extending from British Columbia and northern California in the west to the Atlantic Provinces and North Carolina in the east. This includes six ecological regions such as the Marine West Coast and the Eastern Temperate Forests. In other words, the book applies to most anywhere in North America where there are four seasons.

The introduction also provides ideas on how to raise a naturalist (hint: take your kids camping!), how to get kids outside, how children of different ages respond to nature, how nature can enhance our lives as adults and the importance of being able to identify and name the most common species. We provide lists of 100 continent-wide key species to learn – everything from birds and invertebrates to trees, shrubs and wildflowers – as well as about 50 key regional species. We also introduce the reader to three cartoon characters, namely Charles Darwin, Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson who will tell stories of the wonder of evolution and the universe throughout the book.

Charles Darwin cartoon character - Kady MacDonald Denton

Our Charles Darwin cartoon character gives examples of the wonder of evolution throughout the book – Kady MacDonald Denton

Basic Skills

Connecting to nature is easier when you have learned some basic skills. In this section, we provide hints for paying attention (be patient and slow down), how to engage all the senses (learn to maximize your sense of smell), how to lead a nature hike (have some “back-pocket” activities ready to go), nature-viewing and traveling games from a car or school bus (do a scavenger hunt), how to increase your chances of seeing wildlife (try sitting in one place), how to bring nature inside (set up a nature table), how to get involved in “citizen science” (start at scistarter.com) and how to connect with nature in the digital age (make the most of your smartphone and social media). The latter section is especially detailed. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, there are actually many ways in which digital technology can inspire people of all ages to explore nature and share their experiences with others.

We also provide information on the basics of birding; insect-watching (butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies and moths), plant identification, mushroom-hunting, getting to know the night sky, nature journaling, nature photography, and nature-based geo-caching. Additional basic skills are covered in the activities in the seasons chapters themselves. These include fish-watching, mammal-watching, amphibian- and reptile-watching and tree identification.

Key Concepts

The third chapter in “The Big Book of Nature Activities” deals with four important concepts, which help us to more fully understand and appreciate nature. We start by explaining why we have seasons, and how the tilt of Earth’s axis makes all the difference. This is followed by a discussion of phenology, which is the science of observing and recording “first events”- such as spring’s first lilac bloom or frog song. Next, we talk about how climate change is affecting different habitats and species, and why a connection with nature is so important in light of this threat. Finally, we discuss the importance of understanding evolution and how it is manifested in even the most common backyard species. Armed with a little knowledge of evolution, we can learn to appreciate the wonder that resides in all species, not just the charismatic ones. We also want children to know that science is just beginning to unravel many of the mysteries of evolution and the incredible stories it has revealed. Our Darwin cartoon character tells many of these stories. The good news for young scientists-to-be is that there’s so much we don’t yet understand

The book explains the basics of evolution and natural selection, without getting into the details of genetics. We then provide a story for young children on how evolution might work within a population of imaginary sand bugs. For older children and adults, we go on a “field trip of the imagination” in which we visit our ancestors, starting with our self, our grandfather, our great-grandfather, etc. and ending up at our 185-million-greats-grandfather who, by the way, would have been a fish! This section concludes with a shortened version of Big History, the evidence-based story that takes us from the Big Bang to the present, in which we humans are “star stuff pondering stars”.

The book contains over 400 illustrations.

Hundreds of drawings

 Seasons’ chapters

The four seasons’ chapters make up the heart of the book. Each begins with a summary of some of the key events in flora, fauna, weather and the sky. This includes events that occur across North America as well as happenings that are specific to each region. Most of the activities in the chapter relate to these events. This is followed by a seasonal poem to enjoy and maybe memorize; suggestions for what to display or collect for the nature table;

ideas about what to photograph or record in your nature journal; a short seasonal story called “What’s Wrong with the Scenario” in which you try to spot the mistakes; the story of Black Cap, the Chickadee, which takes you through a year in an individual chickadee’s life and includes activities; and ideas for what to do at your Magic Spot, a special nature-rich area close to home.

The final and largest section of the seasons’ chapters is called “Exploring the season: Things to do.” It comprises 50 or more activities to activate your five senses, keep track of seasonal change, explore evolution, and have fun discovering fascinating aspects of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, plants, fungi, weather and the night sky. We also offer up suggestions on how to make nature part of seasonal celebrations like Thanksgiving. Some of the activities include making a scent cocktail and touch bag, using a roll of toilet paper to create a history-of-life timeline, meeting the “beast” within you, a non-identification bird walk, a woodpecker drumming game, mammal-watching with a trail camera, observing spawning salmon, a frog song orchestra, exploring seaside beaches and tide pools, a “bee dance” drama game, conducting a pond study, “adopting” a tree to observe over an entire year, dissecting flowers, a fungi scavenger hunt, a classroom “hand-generated” thunderstorm, going on a night hike, making tin can constellations, creating your own moon phases, celebrating the winter and summer solstices, ideas for Earth Day, and more. Scattered throughout the activities are suggestions for getting involved in citizen science projects. The book concludes with an appendix with blackline masters for photocopying and a detailed index.

There are 16 pages of colour photos that link to some of the activities.

Sixteen pages of colour photos that link to some of the activities.

The book also contains several hundred drawings, most of which were done by talented Lakefield artist, Judy Hyland. Others were contributed by Kim Caldwell, Kady MacDonald Denton, Jean-Paul Efford and Heather Sadler (drawings by her late father, Doug Sadler). In the middle of the book, you will find a 16-page block of colour photos by the authors and others.

“The Big Book of Nature Activities” is available at Happenstance Books and Yarns at 44 Queen Street in Lakefield (705-652-7535), at Camp Kawartha (1010 Birchview Road, Douro-Dummer), at Chapters (Landsowne Street west in Peterborough) and online at Chapters.Indigo.ca and Amazon.ca. It would make a great end of school year gift. The cost is $39.95. A book launch hosted by Happenstance will be held on July 24, from 2-4 p.m. at the Camp Kawartha Environment Centre at 2505 Pioneer Road. For more details and regular updates about the book, please go to drewmonkman.com. The authors can be reached by email at dmonkman1@cogeco.ca and jrodenburg@campkawartha.ca

 

 

 

 

Oct 122018
 

Latest IPCC report warns we have 12 years to limit climate catastrophe

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Monday’s dire International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report weighed heavy on my mind as our family sat down for Thanksgiving dinner. While my three grandchildren giggled and squirmed on their chairs with innocent joy, it was hard not to feel deep sadness and anxiety for their future.

My grandson, Louie. What does the future hold for his generation if we continue to ignore the warnings of devastating climate change – photo by Drew Monkman

 

The international climate science community has just raised the threat advisory of catastrophic climate change from orange to a pulsating scarlet red. If the planet warms by much more than 1.5-degrees Celsius (we are already at one-degree of warming), the result will be soaring death rates, huge waves of climate refugees, devastating coastal flooding, the demise of all coral reefs, and unprecedented planet-wide species extinction. The predicted economic cost is counted in the tens of trillions of dollars.

The report does provide a glimmer of hope, however: Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is still possible. To get there, greenhouse gas emissions would have to be cut by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and then brought to zero by 2050.

Last week, I offered a hopeful vision of what Peterborough and the world could look like in 20 years, if decarbonization of the world economy was to become a reality. The vision incorporated everything from electric vehicles, dietary changes and more energy efficient homes to cancelling any new fossil fuel projects and accepting a carbon tax with revenues returned to the citizens. With this vision in mind, I want to focus on what we as individuals can do right now. But first, let’s get some real-world reasons for hope.

Inspiration

On a per capita basis, Canadians emit 15.6 tons of greenhouse gases, which is just slightly less than Americans. Looking at countries with a climate similar to ours, the Finns only emit 0.09 tons, Swedes 3.86 tons, and Norwegians 6.87 tons. Clearly, it’s possible for Canada to do much better. Scotland has already cut its emissions almost in half from 1990 levels. China and India are making huge leaps forward in deploying green energy, and the cost per kilowatt/hour for producing solar-generated electricity has fallen by 80 per cent since 2009. Wind power is also showing similar steep declines in cost. Affordable technology is available right now to vastly improve Canada’s performance.

Individual action

As much as recycling, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle and reducing meat consumption are important, they will not be enough. Changing social norms and taking political action are key.

1. Vote wisely: At this, the eleventh hour, a meaningful response must be led by all levels of government, including our local municipal councils. On October 22, I will be voting for a mayor and city councillors who understand the issue of climate change and are ready to act aggressively.

To understand how Peterborough can reduce its carbon emissions, I highly recommend reading the Greater Peterborough Area Community Sustainability Plan, which is posted at sustainablepeterborough.ca. The plan shows us how the interdependence of environment, economy, social life and culture must all be considered when government plans for the future. As voters, we must ask our candidates to explain how they would implement the policies in the document, and elect those whose understanding of what needs to be done is most  convincing. For a list of candidates in your ward as well as contact information, visit PeterboroughVotes.ca.

Diane Therrien would make an excellent choice for Mayor of Peterborough in the October 22, 2018 election.

I also urge everyone to consult the “City Council Report Card” (at v4sp.ca) to see how local candidates compare when it comes to supporting sustainability. Based on past voting patterns (for incumbents) and the responses to a sustainability questionnaire each candidate received, the most progressive voices include Diane Therrien, Dean Pappas, Kemi Akapo, Jane Davidson, Jim Russell, Gary Baldwin, Keith Riel, Sheila Wood, Don Vassiliadis, Charmaine Magumbe,  Kim Zippel, Stephen Wright and Zach Hatton.

2. Phone your elected representatives:  Simply picking up the phone and talking to your elected representative or their office is hugely important. I recently heard that one reason the National Rifle Association is such a powerful force in the U.S. is because they make sure politicians’ phones ring off the hook when legislation is proposed that runs counter to their (misguided!) interests. Call the office of MPP Dave Smith (705-742-3777) and voice your support for either a meaningful price on carbon in Ontario or regulations that will accomplish the same amount of greenhouse gas reduction. Insist that the Ford government do its part to honour Canada’s Paris Accord promises. Let MP Maryam Monsef (705-745-2108) know you support the Liberal’s policy of imposing a carbon tax on provinces that do not have their own. Insist that revenues from the tax be directly refunded to households and not to the provincial governments in question. (N.B. The 2018 Nobel prize for economics was awarded to William Nordhaus for his groundbreaking work on carbon taxes. It’s clearly an idea that has huge merit.) If you live outside of Peterborough County, contact your elected representatives, as well.

3. Talk about climate change: We need to spread social norms that are positive to solutions. One of the most important actions we can all take is to simply talk about climate change with friends and family. Right now, many of us don’t even want to broach the topic. However, we’re often wrong in “what we think others think.” Most people are far more concerned about climate change than they ever acknowledge publicly. The more that people hear conversations on the topic, the more socially validated these conversations become. Showing your concerns and personal observations about the climate makes it easier for others to open up, as well.

You don’t have to be an expert. You really only need to say that 97% of climate scientists agree it’s happening now,  it’s caused by humans and it’s going to get terribly worse if nothing is done. Mention the latest IPCC report. You could then add, “I believe the experts. If they were wrong on the fundamentals, we’d know it by now.” By simply stating, “I’m terribly worried about my kids’ and grandkid’s future,” you are communicating a message that others can relate to. Emphasize the solutions, nearly all of which are available now. Talk about the benefits to our health and to job creation. Most importantly, stress the importance of acting immediately.

It’s vitally important to be talking more about climate change with friends, families and even strangers. (photo by Mikhail Gorbunov via  Wikimedia)

Start the conversation where others are at on the subject – not where they should be. How do you know? Ask them. Listen to their answers with patience and interest. It might be their family’s future, new diseases, severe weather events, or something else. Connect the issue to Peterborough and the Kawarthas. People are most open to acknowledging climate change when they are able to observe its effects locally. Point out the severe wind storms, the countless trees we’ve lost, the flood of 2004, the 23 days this summer over 30 C, the longer and more intense allergy season, and the invasive species choking our lakes and woodlands. Try to connect what you say to the values you share with this person – love of the outdoors or of family, for example. Remember, too, that the moment at which someone reverses a previously held opinion rarely happens during a single conversation. The goal is to increase the amount of conversation, not to make conversions on the spot or keep score. Be polite and challenge falsehoods or inaccuracies gently. In a world where there is already so much combativeness, your commitment to simple humanity, compassion, and respect will stand out.

A handful of people still deny the very reality of climate change. Many others don’t see the urgency of taking action or don’t support a carbon tax. You might ask these people the following: How have you come to this conclusion? How confident are you in this belief? Are you sure? Do you really think the scientists have got it wrong? If I showed you studies disproving what you’re saying, would that make a difference? What would make you change your mind? If not a carbon tax, how else could we quickly wean society off fossil fuels?

4. Be informed: For basic information on the greenhouse effect and climate change, I recommend climate.nasa.gov and realclimate.org. To learn how to address climate change denial arguments, visit skepticalscience.com. To stay up to date on the latest climate news, subscribe to the free Daily Climate newsletter at dailyclimate.org 

5. Be active on social media: Share climate change information online and start discussions on social media platforms such as Facebook. You’ll be surprised by how many people will engage.

Is it too late?

Clearly, time is running out. Humanity essentially has ten years to cut greenhouse gas emissions by almost half. There’s no excuse this time; each and everyone of us who is concerned about our kids’ and grandkids’ future —and the natural world as we know it – must act.

My friend, Laura, recently shared an anecdote, which, I think, can give us hope. She wrote, “The survival skills of living creatures are incredible. For me, this really hit home when I rescued a dying snake plant. I had picked it out of a garbage can – sick, uprooted, dehydrated and leafless. I focused on supplying the basic needs: nutrients, water, sun and love – and then let it be. It wasn’t until two months later that the first root sprouted. I was thrilled! Since then, it has matured into a gorgeous, healthy plant. It surpassed the odds of a sure death. It not only survived but flourished.” As Laura says, every life form has evolved to maximize the same outcome: survival and, with time, flourishing. It’s in our human nature to do the same. Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

Oct 052018
 

Looking ahead to Peterborough and the world of  2038 

“The universe is a communion of subjects – not a collection of objects.”  Thomas Berry

Here is the reality we face, courtesy of the laws of physics. Scientists have calculated how much more greenhouse gas (GHG) humans can emit before temperatures spill over the critical threshold of 2 C of warming. Above this, unstoppable feedback loops such as melting permafrost are likely to create “Hothouse Earth” conditions, making much of the planet uninhabitable. If emissions continue at current rates, we will reach this threshold in just 20 years. To avoid this disaster scenario, emissions need to peak by 2020 and approach zero by 2050. This will mean cutting global emissions by half every decade. We will also need mass deployment of solar and wind energy, enhancement of carbon-absorbing forests, behavioral changes, technological innovations and transformed social values. Right now, we are nowhere near on track to meet this goal.

In my last two columns (posted at drewmonkman.com), I looked at the many obstacles that thwart action on climate change. This week and next, I’ll consider some possible ways forward. To move ahead, we require an inspiring vision of how Peterborough and the world of could look in two decades.

A hopeful vision

It’s mid-October 2038, and my wife and I have just hobbled onto one of the guided light transit buses that will whisk us from our Little Lake condominium to the beautifully restored Trent Nature Areas. Looking out the bus window, I’m still astounded by how much Peterborough has been transformed.

And, yes, the climate itself has changed more or less as predicted. Spring weather now arrives about a month earlier. This means mosquitoes are already a pest by mid-April, and the pollen and allergy season starts earlier and lasts longer. Mild fall conditions last well into December, and winter as we knew it is a fading memory. Summer is much hotter, too, with about one-third of the days over 30 C. Although severe wind and rainstorms are more frequent, major investments in infrastructure have allowed Peterborough to adapt. In fact, thanks to the massive decarbonization of the planet that began in 2020, most scientists are confident that the Hothouse Earth scenario has been avoided. In fact, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere is actually starting to fall, thanks to new carbon removal technologies. One such technology was developed here at Trent University and used in a plant near Millbrook. Technology has also revolutionized air travel, thanks in part to the use of fuel from biomass. People also fly less.

As the electric bus makes its way north through the downtown – now closed to private automobiles – I admire how landscaping features and the architectural style of both new and renovated buildings reflect our local cultural heritage and ecology. A sense of place permeates the city.

“Human scale” describes the new Peterborough. We have a fully integrated transport system comprised of walkways, cycle paths, and both transit and car lanes. Thanks to compact city development, car ownership is no longer the necessity it once was. In fact, most families now only own one car – electric, of course – or make use of car-sharing. City speed limits have also been lowered and pedestrian zones surround most of our schools

Although the population has doubled, all of the new housing has been provided within the existing city boundaries thanks to the 2019 intensification and redevelopment plan. Residential neighbourhoods are now mixed-use and high density, thanks in part to renovations to single-family homes to create rental units and small businesses. Solar panels and pollinator gardens are everywhere, and the huge investment in shade trees – albeit mostly heat-tolerant southern species – provides much appreciated shade. The best news, however, is that Peterborough’s development model reflects urban living across much of the planet.

How did this revolution happen? If I remember correctly, it went something like this. As climate change and its ripple effects caused more and more developing countries to teeter on the brink of collapse, the tide of refugees overwhelmed much of Europe and North America. A non-stop series of wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, floods, rising sea levels and insect-borne diseases almost bankrupted many countries. In Canada, this led to acceptance of an aggressive nation-wide price on carbon, in which most of the revenue was returned to the citizens. People weren’t necessarily more enamored by big government, but they realized that their very survival depended on a collective response. North Americans came to realize that we can’t live in isolation and that the only way for any country to prosper was through a more egalitarian world. This led to a huge investment in developing countries, many of which had been left behind by our new, high-tech global economy. International tensions were greatly reduced and billions of dollars were saved in military spending.

The many extreme weather events made us realize we can’t be complacent. People began to make noise, realizing we live in a democracy and have the power of our votes and our wallets. The impetus for change came from nearly every quarter: anglers and cottagers were shocked by the degradation of our lakes, plummeting walleye numbers and the proliferation of invasive species; winter sports enthusiasts lamented the disappearance of backyard rinks and the scant and unreliable snow cover; while farmers bemoaned the increasingly frequent droughts and floods.

In this future scenario, climate action was spurred by multiple concerns, including degradation of local lakes. Here we see a new invasive species – Starry Stonewort. Special to Examiner

We also learned to have respectful conversations with people who denied or downplayed the seriousness of climate change. Some say it was a positive backlash to the divisiveness that boiled over during the Trump presidency. By engaging multiple perspectives – including conservative values such as personal responsibility  – people began to think differently and seriously engage with what climate science was telling us. All of this has helped to usher in a model of prosperity focussed more on quality of life and deeper respect for the natural world.

We realized that we were all in this together and that only a planet-wide solution could turn things around. Maybe the biggest change has been in how we think about “economy”. We are much more engaged with the idea of assuring the “continuation of all forms of life” on the planet. What happens in the Arctic and in developing countries, for example, affects us here. As Pope Francis said back in 2015, “Nothing is indifferent to us,” be it poverty, famine, homelessness, sexism, racism, species extinction or carbon pollution. Everything eventually comes home to roost.

Despite the loss of jobs from closing the Alberta tarsands and cancelling new pipelines, the huge expansion of renewable energy projects has created millions of jobs planet-wide, including thousands in the Kawarthas. Retrofitting existing houses to make them more energy-efficient has generated enormous employment, too. Many people are also working in habitat restoration and creation. There’s actually a project underway to create a series of connected wetlands in Peterborough. They will not only provide wildlife habitat but also absorb much of the water from the intense rainstorms we now see.

While my wife and I chat about all these changes, she reminds me how much feminine values have permeated society. My daughters tell me, too, how much they were influenced by role models like Rachel Carson, Harriet Tubman, Jane Jacobs, Vandana Shiva, and Christine Blasey Ford. By privileging female perspectives – informed by love, compassion and nurturing – we see greater collaboration across society. The vastly increased number of women in leadership roles in business, science and politics, along with an unleashing of anger by female voters at economic, social and environmental injustices, helped make this happen. Having had a woman mayor in Peterborough for 20 years, along with a majority of councillors either female or of colour, has been a huge difference maker locally.

As the bus passes alongside the Otonabee River with its busy new biking and walking trail, I recall how people began linking climate-friendly behaviour to health, safety, and both clean air and water. This became clear as many of us contracted Lyme disease due to the northward expansion of ticks. People were also alarmed by the increase in mental illness, which health professionals linked to the devastating storms and unprecedented heat waves. We’ve also learned that even a short walk in local green space like the Parkway Green Corridor can make us feel so much better. It’s now common knowledge that regular exposure to nature plays a key role in our physical, mental and spiritual health. This has led to the huge popularity of practises like Forest Therapy.

In the Peterborough of 2038 it is well known that regular exposure to nature contributes to our physical, mental and spiritual health. Photo by Drew Monkman

As we pass the new Patio Restaurant overlooking the river, I’m still amazed that locally-produced food makes up most of our diet and helps the local economy. Both plant-based and cultured meats are now extremely popular. By drastically reducing the consumption of conventional meat, GHGs dropped by 15%. What we’ve learned about animal consciousness and suffering also helped to bring about this change. Hunting, however, remains relatively popular, with little stigma attached to harvesting and eating game. And, yes, we still love fast food but gone are single-use plastic containers, bottles and straws.

Arriving at Trent, we make our way to the fully accessible trails. As a group of students pass by, I reflect on how education has changed, too. The curriculum now embodies Indigenous values such as gratitude and reciprocity towards nature. Teachers act more as “facilitators” and use a problem solving approach. They assist each child to clearly define the issues, analyse patterns and causes, research reliable websites, employ critical thinking skills and choose the best solutions.

I realize that my foray into the future may seem optimistic, but a response of this magnitude is the reality we face.

 

Oct 032018
 

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (1)
– Reported Oct 28, 2018 07:35 by Tim Haan
– 169 Pencil Lake Road, Kinmount, Ontario, CA (44.816, -78.364), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49525404

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (1)
– Reported Oct 28, 2018 16:25 by Tim Haan
– 6152 Ontario 28, Woodview, Ontario, CA (44.59, -78.145), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49525305
– Comments: “Fly across the road”

Barred Owl (Strix varia) (1)
– Reported Oct 28, 2018 14:30 by Kim Zippel
– Peterborough–Harper Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49530655
– Comments: “Identified by call”

Barred Owl – Jeff Keller 12 01 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Woodland Jumping Mouse?

I am emailing you some photos of a mouse I trapped in our old farmhouse basement on Parkhill Road W. I remember, a couple years ago, cutting tall grass in a field near our house seeing what I thought was a mouse or rat that was moving like a kangaroo. The mouse in the photo has short fore legs and long and more muscular hind legs.  Allen Rodgers

N.B. At first I thought this was a Woodland Jumping Mouse. However, I was mistaken. This is in fact a Deer Mouse. The angle, and the way the damp fur on the back legs is positioned, make the back legs appear abnormally long (and the fore legs short). I’d like to thank Tim Dyson and Don Sutherland for the correct identification. To see a Woodland Jumping Mouse, scroll down.

Tim wrote:  “The jumping mouse’s body (without tail) is only about 1/3 its total length  (with the tail). It has quite yellowish fur dulling a little towards brownish on the back, and a”paler” (not bright white as the mouse in the photo) belly. It also has very long toes at the tips of VERY long hind feet.”

Here is additional information on the Woodland Jumping Mouse from Don Sutherland, zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre here in Peterborough.

” The Woodland Jumping Mouse is common, but hard to see. It’s strictly a forest species preferring mesic/fresh-to-moist tracts with dense herbaceous and low shrub understoreys. Individuals may venture out to forest edges with similarly dense understoreys. In open woodlands you’re more likely to encounter Meadow Jumping Mouse which occurs in a wide variety of relatively dry to wet habitats and has a far more extensive provincial range. Jumping mice don’t emerge from ‘hibernation’ until sometime in May and disappear again sometime in September, perhaps making them even less likely to be encountered. I once unearthed a Meadow Jumping Mouse from a compost pile in early November. It was in deep torpor, curled in a ball and with its long tail wrapped around it. It felt cold in my hand and not wanting to arouse it, I quickly returned it to the compost pile and buried it.

The mouse in the photo looks like a Peromyscus to me and most likely P. maniculatus (Deer Mouse). Both Woodland and Meadow jumping mice have bright ochre/orange sides and relatively shorter ears. I’ve never heard of a jumping mouse entering a human habitation, but I suppose it’s possible. Deer mice, on the other hand, regularly enter human habitations. The ‘Prairie’ Deer Mouse (P. m. bairdii) moved into southern Ontario following European land clearance and is now the common Peromyscus of open habitats in southern Ontario, occurring everywhere from corn fields to urban gardens.”

Deer Mouse – October 2018 – Parkhill Rd. West – Allen Rodgers

Woodland Jumping Mouse, Napaeozapus insignis – John Fowler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius) (1)
– Reported Oct 21, 2018 16:24 by Mike V.A. Burrell
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 3 Photos
– Comments: “Very Rare! Found earlier by Don Sutherland. I stopped at nw corner of south cell to scope east shore where it had been seen earlier but it flushed from close to me and flew into centre of north cell. I watched it for a bit there before a scalp approached it and it circled then headed west towards river. Heard several times giving high pitched chip call.”

 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) (1)
– Reported Oct 19, 2018 13:45 by Mike V.A. Burrell
– Hwy 28-Between Apsley and Peterborough Cty bndry, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Juv bird being chased by CORA at North kawartha Con. 18. Large all dark eagle with prominent white patches at base of inner primaries and tail feathers.”

Juvenile Golden Eagle – USFWS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal on north shore of Stoney Lake

On October 19, there was a female Northern Cardinal on my deck railing on Northey’s Bay Road on the north shore of Stoney Lake. I have never ever seen one here. Very exciting! Bet Curry
N.B. Cardinals are rarely seen in Peterborough County this far north. D.M.

Female cardinal above male (Kelly Dodge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hermit Thrush at 51 Maple Crescent

Today, October 16, I had a Hermit Thrush in the yard. I was able to see that the tail was distinctly more reddish than the back. At first I thought it was a Fox Sparrow, which I often have at my feeder in mid- to late October.  Drew Monkman

Hermit Thrush – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose seen at Stoney Lake

Last Friday morning (Oct. 12) at around 7:00 a.m, a couple of my neighbours, who were alerted by their dogs’ barking, spotted a Moose wandering around our cottage properties (including mine) on McNaughton’s Bay, which is a small bay off of South Bay at the east end of Stoney Lake.  The barking apparently didn’t faze the moose at all, and it carried on westward along the shoreline of our properties.  Antje and I were still asleep at the time, but one of my neighbours forwarded these pictures to me.  I’ve never seen a Moose anywhere near this area in the 35 years I’ve been here, nor have my neighbours who have had their cottage here for 40-plus years.  René Gareau

Moose – McNaughton’s Bay – Stoney Lake – October 12, 2018 via René Gareau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pine Siskins at Stoney Lake feeder

Today, October 11, I have 4 Pine Siskins at a feeder. Last winter I saw zero.
All of the usuals are here as well, including 2 White-crowned Sparrows.
In the last several weeks I have also seen, a half dozen times, an immature Bald Eagle patrolling the Gilchrist Bay/ Duck Pond area. Rob Welsh, Dodsworth Island, Stoney Lake

Pine Siskin (by Karl Egressy)

White-crowned Sparrow – Mike Barker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Goose (Anser caerulescens) (6) via eBird
– Reported Oct 07, 2018 14:30 by Steve Paul
– Briar Hill Bird Sanctuary, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 3 Photos
– Comments: “Middle of flock in field amongst CG. Five together (1 adult white, 1 juvenile white, 1 adult blue morph, 2 juvenile blue morph), plus another adult about 10 ft away.”

Snow Geese (Marcel Boulay)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) (2)  via eBird
– Reported Oct 06, 2018 12:47 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Omemee Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:

Horned Lark (by Karl Egressy)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bald Eagles at Stoney Lake

I saw a second-year Bald Eagle (immature) flying over the east end of Stoney Lake (South Bay) last Saturday, Sept. 29. Today, October 4, I had another eagle sighting at 12:42 pm. This one was a beautiful adult eagle gliding gracefully over South Bay, with clear blue skies as a backdrop… wonderful sighting! South Bay is located at the east end of Stoney Lake. Rene Gareau, Peterborough

Adult Bald Eagle (Karl Egressy)

Immature Bald Eagle – Otonabee R. – Feb. 3, 2017 – Gwen Forsyth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Geese on Otonabee River

Today, October 4, there are 5 Snow Geese mixed in with a flock of Canada Geese on the Otonabee River at the north end of Trent University. Carl Welbourn, Kawartha Camera Club

Snow Geese – Otonabee R. – Oct. 4, 2018 – Carl Welbourn

Snow Geese with single Canada Goose – Otonabee R. – Oct. 4, 2018 – Carl Welbourn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackburnian Warbler (1) via eBird
– Reported Oct 02, 2018 13:25 by Brendan Boyd
– Peterborough–Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Late”

Blackburnian Warbler in spring  – Karl Egressy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chestnut-sided Warbler (1) via eBird
– Reported Oct 02, 2018 13:25 by Alexandra Israel
– Peterborough–Jackson Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.3118937,-78.3405192&ll=44.3118937,-78.3405192
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48892063

Male Chestnut-sided warbler in spring – Jeff Keller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilson’s Warbler  (1) via eBird
– Reported Oct 02, 2018 12:10 by Iain Rayner
– PTBO – Edgewater road and Railway, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Along tracks, seen well from point blank range, pure yellow underneath, green on back, distinct black cap and long dark tail…possibly continuing.”

Wilson’s Warbler – Wikipedia (Mike’s Birds)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Goose (5) via eBird
– Reported Oct 01, 2018 14:20 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “white morph adults with 26 Canada Geese, circled lagoons and flew off to WNW toward Lake Katchewanooka”

Snow Goose – Rice Lake – Oct. 18, 2014