Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.

Apr 262017
 

The ice left Stoney Lake on April 12 this year, which is a little earlier than I had anticipated this year. I have included the dates of freeze-up and ice-out for the past few years. I know I have older records and will send them along. Freeze-up in 2015 was an anomaly as the lake didn’t freeze until into 2016. In 2002 or 2003 we had a somewhat similar freeze-up – the difference being that Northey’s Bay had frozen in late December, but the main lake stayed open until about the 15th of January. Dennis Johnson, Northey’s Bay Road

Year   Freeze-up           Ice-out
2017     TBD                     12-Apr
2016     15-Dec                 01-Apr
2015     5-Jan, 2016         17-Apr

2014     13-Dec                  24-Apr
2013     13-Dec                  20-Apr
2012     26-Dec                  23-Mar
2011      27-Dec                 15-Apr
2010     09-Dec                  02-Apr
2009     13-Dec                  13-Apr
2004     14-Dec                  18-Apr

Tundra Swans on ice on Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – photo by Rick and Marge Decher

Apr 262017
 

On the afternoon of April 23, Sylvia and I went for a walk in the Trent Wildlife Sanctuary. When up on the drumlin, where the Tree Swallow boxes are, we met two young women birders who said they had just seen what they thought was a Northern Mockingbird. Almost on command the bird appeared and flew away from us. My first for the County. Who said the Wildlife Sanctuary never had any interesting birds! That semi-open area is perfect mockingbird habitat, and I’ll be checking to see if it stays around.    Jim Cashmore, Peterborough

Northern Mockingbird – Gord Mallory

 

 

 

Apr 062017
 

Happy spring! Today, April 4, there were 2 Osprey on the nesting platform in Young’s Point.  Most of Stony is still frozen but there were pair of absolutely resplendent Common Loons dancing and calling. Rob Welsh, Stoney Lake 

This morning, April 5, I heard my first Common Loon (Upper Buckhorn Lake near Six Foot Bay).  I thought I heard one a couple of days ago, but sure this time. Antonia Sinclair, Buckhorn

Ospreys on Selwyn Road – Jeff Keller

Common Loon (Karl Egressy)

Apr 052017
 

Three recent studies point to just how broad, bizarre, and potentially devastating climate change is to life on Earth. And we’ve only seen one degree Celsius of warming so far.

Source: The Guardian   Author: Jeremy Hance    Date: Wednesday 5 April 2017

Climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis that defies hyperbole. For all the sound and fury of climate change denialists, self-deluding politicians and a very bewildered global public, the science behind climate change is rock solid while the impacts – observed on every ecosystem on the planet – are occurring faster in many parts of the world than even the most gloomy scientists predicted.
Given all this, it’s logical to assume life on Earth – the millions of species that cohabitate our little ball of rock in space – would be impacted. But it still feels unnerving to discover that this is no longer about just polar bears; it’s not only coral reefs and sea turtles or pikas and penguins; it about practically everything – including us.

Three recent studies have illustrated just how widespread climate change’s effect on life on our planet has already become.
There has been a massive under-reporting of these impacts. “It is reasonable to suggest that most species on Earth have been impacted by climate change in some way or another,” said Bret Scheffers with the University of Florida. “Some species are negatively impacted and some species positively impacted.” Scheffers is the lead author of a landmark Science study from last year that found that current warming (just one degree Celsius) has already left a discernible mark on 77 of 94 different ecological processes, including species’ genetics, seasonal responses, overall distribution, and even morphology – i.e. physical traits including body size and shape.

Woodland salamanders are shrinking in the Appalachian Mountains; the long-billed, Arctic-breeding red knot is producing smaller young with less impressive bills leading to survival difficulties. Marmot and martens in the Americas are getting bigger off of longer growing seasons produce more foodstuffs, while the alpine chipmunks of Yellowstone National Park have actually seen the shape of their skulls change due to climate pressure.

Click here to read entire article

Apr 052017
 

Source: The Conversation: Academic rigor, journalistic flair   Date: April 5, 2017  Authors: Gretta Pecl: Deputy Associate Dean Research, ARC Future Fellow & Editor in Chief (Reviews in Fish Biology & Fisheries), University of Tasmania; Adriana Verges, Senior Lecturer in marine ecology, UNSW  Ekaterina Popova: Senior Lecturer in marine ecology, UNSW; Jan McDonald: Senior Scientist, ocean modelling, National Oceanography Centre

Last year in Paris, for the very first time, English sparkling wine beat champagne in a blind tasting event. Well established French Champagne houses have started buying fields in Britain to grow grapes, and even the royal family is investing in this new venture.

At the same time, coffee-growing regions are shrinking and shifting. Farmers are being forced to move to higher altitudes, as the band in which to grow tasty coffee moves up the mountain.

The evidence that climate change is affecting some of our most prized beverages is simply too great to be ignored. So while British sparkling wine and the beginning of the “coffeepocalypse” were inconceivable just a few decades ago, they are now a reality. It’s unlikely that you’ll find many climate deniers among winemakers and coffee connoisseurs. But there are far greater impacts in store for human society than disruptions to our favourite drinks.

Dramatic examples of climate-mediated change to species distributions are not exceptions; they are fast becoming the rule. As our study published last week in the journal Science shows, climate change is driving a universal major redistribution of life on Earth.

These changes are already having serious consequences for economic development, livelihoods, food security, human health, and culture. They are even influencing the pace of climate change itself, producing feedbacks to the climate system.

Species on the move

Species have, of course, been on the move since the dawn of life on Earth. The geographical ranges of species are naturally dynamic and fluctuate over time. But the critical issue here is the magnitude and rate of climatic changes for the 21st century, which are comparable to the largest global changes in the past 65 million years. Species have often adapted to changes in their physical environment, but never before have they been expected to do it so fast, and to accommodate so many human needs along the way.

For most species – marine, freshwater, and terrestrial species alike – the first response to rapid changes in climate is a shift in location, to stay within their preferred environmental conditions. On average, species are moving towards the poles at 17km per decade on land and 78km per decade in the ocean. On land, species are also moving to cooler, higher elevations, while in the ocean some fish are venturing deeper in search of cooler water.

Why does it matter?

Different species respond at different rates and to different degrees, with the result that new ecological communities are starting to emerge. Species that had never before interacted are now intermingled, and species that previously depended on one another for food or shelter are forced apart.

Click to read entire article and see graphics

Apr 032017
 

My wife, Mathilde, spotted a Virginia Opossum in our backyard on the evening of March 24 at around 9:30. We saw the white face and body by the light from our livingroom windows. It
was eating a pomegranate that she had set out for some robins.

Ralph Colley

Opossum on Johnston Drive, south of Peterborough – Mary Beth Aspinall – Feb. 2014

Apr 032017
 

On March 23 at about 5 pm, I used a hooting call to lure in this fabulous Barred Owl. To our surprise, a female also showed up. They quickly mated, and then hung around for a bit before going their separate ways. We were in the vicinity of Sandy Lake

Susan

Barred Owl – March 23, 2017 – Sandy Lake – Susan

Apr 022017
 

April 2 – I heard a Wilson’s Snipe quietly calling in the marshy area on the Parkway trail, east of Chemong, directly underneath the WalMart parking lot. Also, 3 Northern Leopard Frogs hopping along the new not-yet-opened road that skirts east of the airport as well as 3 Killdeer in the adjacent fields.   Marilyn Freeman

Wilson’s Snipe – Greg Piasetzki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 2 – Cottonwood Drive this morning, we heard a couple of Eastern Phoebes calling. It must be spring! Rob Moos

Eastern Phoebe (David Frank)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 30 – Two Great Blue Herons flying over the Cavan Bog and another north of Whitby.  John Fautley

March 30 – I saw my first Great Blue Heron today. It was flying north over the Otonabee River near Lakefield. Annamarie Beckel

Great Blue Heron – Wikimedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 64 third year Trent ecology students surveyed the Otonabee River from Lakefield to south of Lock 19, on March 24th.  From 9:00 am to 10:30 am, they did 8 stations north of Trent and from 1 pm to 3 pm, 8 stations south of Trent. Susan Chow

Here are the results: Bufflehead 95, Canada Geese 141, Common Goldeneye 6, Common Merganser 8, Gadwall 1, Greater Scaup 1, Hooded Merganser 86, Lesser Scaup 7, Long-tailed Duck 5, Mallard 369, Wood Duck 3

Long-tailed-Duck – Mar.22 2014 – Little Lake – – DJ McPhail

 

Male Gadwall (photo from Wikimedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On March 17 and 18, there were 50 to 60 Bohemian Waxwings flying back and forth between the conifers along the Otonabee River and two Siberian crab apple trees. The birds were just north of the Ninth Line.

Susan Chow

Bohemian Waxwing – Cow Island – Jan. 24, 2015 – via Sylvia Cashmore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 292017
 

I had the pleasure of wading around in a vernal pool at Harper Park in Peterborough this afternoon and found 100’s of fairy shrimp (Eubranchipus sp.). They are an indicator species for vernal pools. Wood Frogs breed in this same pool. The pool has lots of ice in it still, and I saw no evidence of frog or salamander activity yet, but I will be checking regularly. I am delighted to have finally found a vernal pool that I don’t have to drive for an hour to get to.  The pictures I have attached are of my boot and you can see shrimp swimming everywhere. There are also lots of mosquito larvae.
Can’t wait to go back as the season progresses!

Sue Paradisis

Note: Vernal ponds are non-permanent ponds that contain water for a few months in the spring and early summer. They lack a permanent above-ground outlet. They are the preferred breeding site for many species of frogs and salamanders, since they do not contain fish (which would eat amphibian eggs).

Fairy shrimp – Eubranchipus Grubii – Wikimedia

Freshwater shrimp – Harper Park – March 28, 2017 – Sue Paradisis

 

Mar 222017
 

On March 20, there were 27 Tundra Swans on Lake Chemong across from my house which is located on Frankhill Rd.  Paul Ruth, 668 Frank Hill Rd.

Tundra Swan (Whistling) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) (10)
– Reported Mar 20, 2017 12:11 by Luke Berg
– Keene–McGregor Bay Rd south of Hwy 2, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35306657
– Comments: “10 of 13 birds found this morning by Matthew Tobey. Viewed from the turnaround near the end of the road. ”

Tundra Swan (Whistling) (Cygnus columbianus columbianus) (13)
– Reported Mar 20, 2017 10:22 by Matthew Tobey
– Keene–McGregor Bay Rd south of Hwy 2, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35306550
– Comments: “On the open water at the south end of McGregor Bay”

Tundra Swans – Apr. 6, 2014 – Luke Berg

Mar 222017
 

It was a good first day of spring for river sightings on our stretch of the Indian River. The pair of Canada Geese, first seen on February 26, came up onto the back area to check out the availability of grass. Conclusion – not much there! The geese tend to come up much later, when they have a young family, to feast on the long lush grasses before the summer cut. A male Hooded Merganser spent a bit of time resting and preening on a fallen tree trunk in the river, and later a male Bufflehead, and a male Wood Duck were seen sharing the same tree trunk. We don’t see the Wood Ducks very often so it was a real treat.

Roll on spring!

Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

Male Hooded Merganser (Karl Egressy)

Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

Mar 112017
 

Today ( 10 March 2017) at noon I observed a Merlin in a cedar at the Little Lake Cemetery. Of course, I did not have my camera. He was quite content to sit and let me wander around the base of the tree to get a closer look. On Sunday, March 5, I observed a mature Bald Eagle in flight over Healey Falls on the Trent River.

Carl Welbourn

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

Mar 112017
 

Turkey Vulture (Northern) (Cathartes aura aura/septentrionalis) (1)
– Reported Mar 08, 2017 14:56 by Matthew Tobey
– Downtown Bus Terminal, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “flying northeast over the terminal”

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) (1)
– Reported Mar 09, 2017 10:10 by Iain Rayner
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Gliding of to the W. Large, significant dihedral. Very tippy flight.”

Turkey Vulture in flight – Drew Monkman

Mar 112017
 

I saw first saw this fabulous red phase Eastern Screech-owl on the 9th Line of Selwyn at about 8:30 this morning, March 11. I was bringing home hay and went by it three times over the course of two and a half hours. It was still there and cute as a button. The owl was quite compact initially but seemed to stand taller the longer I stayed, so I got on my way and let it return to its nap. I went back and got this photograph at 3:00 pm. What a treat!

Kathy McCue, Curve Lake

Eastern Screech-owl – red phase – 9th Line of Selwyn Twsp – March 11, 2017, Kathy McCue

Mar 092017
 

Stretching from Georgian Bay to Kingston, along the interface of the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Canadian Shield, is a unique ecoregion, now known as The Land Between. It is home to loons, bears, moose, deer and more hummingbirds, at risk reptiles and habitat types than anywhere in the province. At the same time, however, this is a fragile place, which is facing multiple environmental, economic and social pressures.

The Land Between ecoregion (image from TLB national charity)

The first person in modern times to draw attention to this distinct region was probably Peter Alley. From his early childhood, he spent his summers at Muldrew Lake, just south of Gravenhurst. Alley sensed that this area where limestone meets granite had its own unique characteristics. He saw that this was not the Canadian Shield, nor was it the St. Lawrence Lowlands. For instance, he recognized that there are rock barrens here, but nowhere else. Alley wondered if there were other unique ecological features and functions, too. With remarkable dedication, Peter spent 10 years reaching out to individuals, governments and agencies to inspire participation in characterizing and mapping this landscape. His goal was to protect the significant natural features and ecosystem services for future generations. Key to this venture was persuading two land trusts, The Couchiching Conservancy, under Ron Reid, and the Kawartha Land Trust, headed by Ian Attridge, to become involved.

Aerial view of Petroglyphs Provincial Park, located in The Land Between (Photo by Ontario Visual Heritage Project)

The conservancies hired Leora Berman to move the venture forward. Berman brought a background in economics and environmental science to the project. This eventually led to the creation of nationally-registered charity, which shares the same name as the region itself – The Land Between (TLB). Berman, who is the organization’s CMO, broadened the scope of Alley’s vision to include culture and the social economy from a perspective known as “bioregionalism”. Bioregionalism is a holistic way of viewing a landscape, which encompasses and honours all the relationships that exist between and across sectors. It means mobilizing residents as opposed to simply focusing on mobilizing government. A bioregional approach understands that all aspects of a region- from the land to the people – are interdependent and interrelated. It also recognizes that nature informs culture, which in turn fosters the economy and eventually a strong sense of place in the people.

The mandate of the TLB organization is to conserve the ecological, cultural, and socio-economic features of this unique bioregion. To this end, the organization undertakes projects that increase ecological health and community and cultural vitality. The projects are multi-partnered and have multiple benefits across as many sectors as possible. TLB is now recognized as a leading model for cooperation and stewardship in North America. The charity recognizes the value of ecological traditional knowledge and First Nations’ worldviews, and is the first organization to honour First Nation treaties. All of the work they do is in partnership with First Nations. This is achieved, in part, through a dedicated board position for a Curve Lake First Nations delegate. The TLB works entirely through the support of grants, donations, sponsorships and volunteers.

Among its many accomplishments, the TLB now has planning recognition by Environment Canada for the Trent-Severn Waterway and by Hastings and Simcoe Counties. It has been involved in 42 pioneering research projects and forums. In partnership with TVO, the organization produced a three-part television documentary that has reached viewers across the province and can be seen free-of-charge online at TVO.org. TLB has also produced a free mobile app, which provides a virtual tour of the region and explores everything from its special species and spaces to First Nation worldviews. CMO Leora Berman makes dozens of public presentations each year to schools and other groups throughout the region. These presentations highlight the unique habitats, rare species, sacred spaces, history, and relationships that define the TLB landscape.

Naturalization of shorelines with native plants is one of many TLB projects (photo by TLB)

Projects

The TLB chooses projects in seven action areas: fostering cooperative solutions, conserving biodiversity through landscape conservation priorities, sustaining water quality and fish habitats, supporting sustainable economic development, cultivating vibrant culture, enhancing education and engaging youth.

Since 2006, the TLB has worked with partners to protect and conserve turtles and turtle habitats as a major biodiversity focus. The organization works to locate road mortality sites, install turtle crossing signs and support the construction and location of road underpasses. These allow turtles to safely travel to and from nesting sites. One such installation was built recently by the Haliburton Land Trust. It consists of a culvert and a drift fence to guide the turtles through the underpass. Volunteers monitor the site seven days a week through May and June. So far, there have been numerous confirmed observations of turtles and other wildlife using the culvert.

TLB is also a founder and one of many partners involved the Turtle Guardians program, which is also dedicated to turtle conservation. The program’s focus area for workshops and events is The Land Between region, since it harbours the majority population of many of Ontario’s turtles. “Turtle Guardians” learn to identify, monitor and report turtle sightings and habitat features and then apply conservation and stewardship measures on their properties. To sign up as a Turtle Guardian, visit turtleguadians.com  As part of its focus on education and youth, TLB is working with the Trillium Lakeland School Board to deliver state-of-the art learning tools for teachers and students. Engaging students is at the heart of the work done by TLB.

This spring and summer, TLB is holding three workshops to help cottagers and other landowners design a shoreline garden. Participants will learn which plants attract hummingbirds and insect pollinators, reduce erosion, provide fish habitat and deter geese. The first workshop will be held at the Buckhorn Community Centre on April 22. You can pre-order shoreline starter kits at thelandbetween.ca   and pick them up at the workshop. Seating is limited.

Social focus

In an effort to foster cooperative solutions among stakeholders, TLB will organize Land Knowledge Circles, which are a time-honoured tradition of First Nations. They will bring together the everyday people who use the land – hunters, hikers, anglers, snowmobile and ATV enthusiasts, cottagers, nature-lovers, etc. – to share their perspectives, experiences and concerns. These circles emphasize collaborative learning, where participants are encouraged to regard themselves and their ideas as part of a community working towards a collective goal – in this case, a sustainable future for The Land Between region. To participate in a Land Knowledge Circle, please visit www.knowledgecircle.ca

The Land Between is a meeting place where city dwellers, many of whom are cottagers and nature enthusiasts, rub shoulders with year-round residents. This sometimes creates friction, because of the differences in worldview that may arise: liberals vs. conservatives, hunters vs. environmentalists, Settlers vs. First Nation people, etc. However, the coming together of people with different values can also be a source of greater understanding and wisdom. With this in mind, TLB has produced a film in collaboration with Wildlife Habitat Canada. Entitled “My First Shot”, it explores hunting heritage and from a First Nations’ perspective. The film follows Erin Carmody, a left-leaning environmentalist and former vegan, who goes hunting for the first time. Her fellow hunters include Gary Williams, former Chief of Curve Lake First Nation, Keith Hodgson, a member of the Haliburton Highlands Stewardship Council and Kim Roberts, a nurse’s aid and lover of wildlife. Erin’s experience is one of brave discussion, understanding, appreciation and respect for other perspectives on the natural world and for our relationship with it. Through her eyes, the movie explores hunting with a fresh and new perspective. The film showcases the contributions hunters have made to wildlife management and conservation. My First Shot will be presented in Haliburton in late April and in Lakefield in May. Screening dates and times will be posted at www.myfirstshot.ca

To learn more about The Land Between charity, sign up for their newsletter and support their conservation efforts, go thelandbetween.ca

Land trust & Kawartha Highlands P.P. trails

From the outset, the Kawartha Land Trust has been a key partner in TLB work. Many of its properties are located in this region. The Trust envisions a connected system of protected lands, and great strides have already been made in making this a reality. It was also instrumental in launching The Kawarthas, Naturally Connected initiative, the goal of which is to create a Natural Heritage System made up of connected areas that maintain our ecological, social, and economic values.  A Natural Heritage System is a network of connected natural features and areas such as wetlands, forests, river corridors, lakes, and meadows. You can read about the initiative at kawarthasnaturally.ca

A great way to familiarize yourself with The Land Between – or maybe see it with new eyes – is to walk the three interconnected Stony Lake Trails, which the land trust has worked to make publicly accessible. They are located near the west end of Northey’s Bay Road on the north shore of Stony Lake. The trails wind through mostly deciduous forest on the limestone bedrock of the St. Lawrence Lowlands (Blue and Yellow Trails) and mixed forest on the Canadian Shield granite (Red Trail). All of the trails provide great wildlife-watching possibilities and, in April and May, abundant spring wildflowers. Park at Viamede Resort or at 105 Reid’s Road. You can print out a trail map at kawarthalandtrust.org

There is also an interpretive trail in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park, which was established by Ontario Parks with the help of the Buckhorn Trails Association. It, too, is a perfect rendering of The Land Between. The trailhead is at the parking lot/boat take out point off of County Road 36, just north of Buckhorn. At 1.5 km, it features several numbered sign posts.  The numbers align with brochures that contain information specific to that location.  Visitors can read as they travel along the trail, and learn about the story of the nearby Mississauga River, its history and how it is linked to settlement and the history of the Buckhorn area. This is the first interpretive trail in the Park and is proving very popular. To learn more and download a trail guide, go to buckhorntrails.wordpress.com/about/

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 082017
 

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1) CONFIRMED
– Reported Mar 07, 2017 08:30 by Chris Risley
– 510 Gilmour Street, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “chickadees giving strange mobbing call and on inspection saw this saw-whet owl; raining”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Mar 06, 2017 16:30 by Iain Rayner
– Ptbo – Greyhound Bus Station, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Flying over city to the NE on stiff wingbeats”

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

Mar 082017
 

There may be a nesting pair of Bald Eagles between Bobcaygeon and Dunsford, Ontario. We have seen them on a nest to the north and east of the bridge over Emily Creek on County Road 36. We drive past this location almost 5 days a week, twice a day. Over the years, we have often seen one eagle in this area, who has shown expressed interest in one of the Osprey nests. However, it seemed to leave after a couple of days. This year there are two…possibly a mating pair? Note that this area is also designated a Provincially Significant Wetland.

Bonnie Townsend, Flynn’s Corners

Location of possible nesting pair of Bald Eagles – March 8, 2016 – Bonnie Townsend

 

Mar 072017
 

Loggerhead Marsh is a Provincially Significant Wetland found on the west end of Peterborough. It is an important natural feature in our city due to its ecological and social value. The City of Peterborough has committed to protect the marsh but new development proposals now threaten its sensitive ecological state. The proposed development on the north side of the marsh, if it proceeds in its current form, would irreversibly harm Loggerhead Marsh and its wildlife. Loggerhead Marsh Stewardship Association

LINK TO WEBSITE

Loggerhead Marsh – late summer 2016 showing mud flat visited by migrating shorebirds – Paul Frost

Mar 072017
 

We’re relatively less worried than we were in 2007 and our beliefs split sharply along political lines.

By Robson Fletcher, CBC News – Posted: Mar 05, 2017

According to the latest evidence, Earth is hotter now than it has been in any of our lifetimes but Canadians are less concerned about climate change than they were a decade ago. NASA says the last three years have each been the three hottest on record, and 16 of the 17 warmest years have occurred this century, according to the World Meteorological Organization. This winter, we’ve witnessed Arctic sea ice dwindle to record lows. Yet, climate concern reached its “pinnacle” in Canada — outpacing all other worries, including the economy — around 2007 and has since waned, said Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research.

Economic anxieties came back to the fore in the wake of the “Great Recession” and continue to dominate, but that’s not to say climate worries have disappeared. They still rank near the top of the list for most Canadians, although views on the topic vary widely. People in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Graves said, are two to three times more likely than those in the rest of Canada to be skeptical of man-made climate change. But an even bigger division can be found — nationwide — along political lines. More than half of Conservative supporters have consistently said they “don’t believe all this talk about greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change” in EKOS polling. Outside the Conservative base, only about one in 10 Canadians say the same thing. “(Conservatives) are literally five times as likely to be on what we maybe call politely the enviro-skeptic — or, maybe less politely, the climate-change denier — side of the equation,” Graves said.

EKOS climate poll by political affiliation – March 2017

Continue reading

 

Mar 062017
 

On the morning of March 3, my son witnessed two Bald Eagles attacking a Canada Goose in flight. The goose landed in the Crowe River and while landing, swatted the eagle off his side. The second eagle stayed above and did not attack the goose. My son grabbed the binoculars and saw that the goose was injured. The two eagles stayed in the area high above but did swoop down periodically, and I was able to see them with the binoculars as I was skeptical that they were Bald Eagles. We then went on the Internet to see if they frequent this area, as we have been up here since 1980 and this is our first sighting.
Robin Galllagher, Crowe River

Bald Eagles – Jan. 31, 2016, Simmons Ave, Peterborough – Trudy Gibson

Mar 062017
 

Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens) (1)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 14:14 by Brian Bailey
– Peterborough–Little Lake Cemetery, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.2939092,-78.3085044&ll=44.2939092,-78.3085044
Checklist:
– Media: 4 Photos
– Comments: “Blue phase with Canada Geese, initially on the lake. Later, feeding in the cemetery with Canada Geese.”

Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) (1)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 15:47 by Daniel Williams
– Peterborough–Beavermead Park, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.2938973,-78.3027537&ll=44.2938973,-78.3027537
Checklist:
– Comments: “Smaller in size relative to CANG, stubbier bill and short neck. ”

Redhead (Aythya americana) (3)
– Reported Mar 05, 2017 17:50 by Luke Berg
– Pigeon Lake–Fothergill Isle Causeway, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Two males one female.”

Redhead – Tom Northey

Mar 062017
 

I just got back from Florida and was getting some wood from the wood pile where I found the carcass of a Long-eared Owl. Looking at the condition of the carcass, it appears the bird may have starved to death.

Derry Fairweather, Buckhorn Lake

Mar 062017
 

On March 5, we saw 16 Tundra Swans on Pigeon Lake from our home on Fothergill Isle. Our house faces Jacob’s Island, alongside of which the birds were resting. One of the birds pulled away from the resting area and swam by our home.
Rick and Marge Decher

Tundra Swans on ice- Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – Rick and Marge Decher

Tundra Swan – Pigeon Lake – March 5, 2017 – Rick and Marge Decher

Mar 062017
 

This beautiful Great Gray Owl was sighted on March 4 on the Trans Canada Trail where it crosses County Road 38. If you walk to right at the trail parking lot, the bird was  few hundred metres down on the left, sitting at the trail edge. We approached to within 12 feet of the owl, but it did not fly away.

Don Finigan and Barb Rimmer

GGOW – TCT – Keene – Mar. 4, 2017 – Bernie Obert

Mar 062017
 

I was lucky to come across this Red-headed Woodpecker on May 21, 2016, at my home on Northey’s Bay Road on the north shore of Stoney Lake.  I had never seen one and haven’t seen one since. In August 9, 2016, we also had a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth feeding at the phlox in our garden. I had seen it in the garden in August, 2015, as well, but never before that.

Dennis Johnson, Stoney Lake

Red-headed Woodpecker 2 – May 2016 – Dennis Johnson

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth – August 2016 – Dennis Johnson

 

Mar 042017
 

Warm weather that arrives too soon can harm birds, trees — and people
By Nicole Mortillaro, CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2017   LINK TO ARTICLE HERE

Mounting evidence suggests spring is occurring earlier as a result of climate change. While that may sound like good news, the truth is, it can wreak havoc on our environment. While colder temperatures are making their way into some parts of Canada this week, warm weather swept across most of the country in February. By the end of the month, several cities had seen warmer than usual temperatures, some in the extreme. In Calgary, the temperature rose to 16.4 C on Feb. 16. In Toronto, where temperatures at time of year should be around 1 C, 15 out of 28 days were above normal, with a record of 17.7 C set on Feb. 23.That warm weather travelled east, and parts of Nova Scotia saw temperatures in the double digits. While there are a few chilly days ahead, temperatures in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Halifax are all expected to climb at least 4 C above normal within the week. A few days of warmer than usual temperatures occur frequently, but it’s the trend that is most concerning.

The U.S. National Phenology Network, which studies seasonal and natural changes, has found that this year, leaves are appearing about 20 days early in many parts of the southeastern U.S. stretching north into Ohio.Jake Weltzin, an ecologist and the executive director of the network, says that in the east and west — in the U.S. and Canada — “there is definitely a trend towards earlier spring, although there’s some spatial variation … and a stronger effect the further north you go.” David Phillips, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist, said this is occurring straight across the country.”We know that the winter and spring periods are showing the greatest change of temperatures since the 1940s,” he said.

The birds and the buds

The warmer weather provides signals to species far and wide. Insects emerge. Buds appear on trees. Birds begin to breed. But if this process begins earlier than normal, it can throw off the whole ecosystem.Take birds, for example. Birds that migrate short distances are able to respond to a signal that indicates warmer weather at their breeding site.However, those that have wintered thousands of kilometres away are unable to respond. They rely on longer days as their signal. One bird in particular, the wood thrush, arrives on almost the same date each year.Kevin Fraser, assistant professor at the Avian Behaviour and Conservation Lab at the University of Manitoba, studies the migration patterns of birds.”When birds arrive late, and they’re mismatched with the peak productivity, they produce fewer young, and that actually is correlated in population declines,” Fraser said. It’s these birds that are facing the biggest challenges caused by climate change.Kevin Fraser has tracked purple martins migrating between the Amazon basin and Canada. The species is showing an unfavourable response to earlier springs. (Nanette Mickle) The purple martin, for instance, which Fraser studies, migrates thousands of kilometres from Canada to the Amazon basin.

“We know that long-distance migratory birds are declining more steeply than any other kind of bird,” Fraser said. The decline varies between one and three per cent annually. Interestingly, birds have been seen to respond to cooler weather by halting their migration or even retreating.”My concern is that long-distance migrants aren’t going to have the flexibility and plasticity that they need to respond to the rapid rate of environmental change that we have,” Fraser said.”Particularly with our springs; with earlier and warmer springs, we have birds that are trying to cue to this from great distances away and don’t seem to be keeping up with the pace of climate change.”

Long-term consequences

Earlier springs also greatly affect the ground, the consequences of which can carry on far past the season. Earlier snowmelt means the ground may dry out earlier, which can be particularly problematic to farmers, who may not receive enough precipitation to account for the loss. That can raise prices at the grocery store. Not only that, unseasonable temperatures can affect the quality of foods, even the beloved Canadian maple syrup.Phillips said if warm weather starts earlier, too much maple syrup can be collected. It can’t be processed quickly enough, and the quality can suffer.As well, maple syrup production in trees relies on a thaw-freeze cycle that warmer weather can break.’People are worried about agricultural production, crop production, with the change in climate.’ — Ecologist Jake WeltzinOverall, there is a concern about what warmer winters and earlier springs can mean to farmers.

Then there are fire concerns. Persistent dry conditions greatly increase the fire risk, as was demonstrated in Fort McMurray last year. The drier winter and early spring helped create a type of tinder box that resulted in the rapid spread of flames throughout the city.

Winners and losers

Phillips said that while we may enjoy hitting that patio a week or two earlier, there are consequences we might want to consider, such as allergies. People allergic to pollen may begin to feel their symptoms earlier or could see their runny noses and watery eyes stick around for longer. Some argue there are positives to earlier springs: some farmers may have longer growing seasons or may be able to grow new crops. We may see songbirds that are usually found farther south. And, of course, there may be more weekends at the cottage. However, each of those positives could also have a negative consequence. New birds might push out native birds, for example. The scourge of spring and summer — mosquitoes and blackflies — might arrive earlier and stick around longer.Already there have been more cases of Lyme disease seen farther north than normal, such as in Newfoundland and Labrador.Not all the consequences of climate change are known, but they will come.”Part of it is the sad story of seeing who are going to be the climate change winners and who are going to be the climate change losers,” Fraser said.