On February 7, we had a juvenile Northern Goshawk in our backyard. My wife saw it first, and we watched totally mesmerized. It appeared to have just killed a squirrel. I’m a birdwatcher and I get a lot of different bird species. We have feeders set up. I’m sure I saw the same bird sitting in my big pine tree this past summer and couldn’t figure out what he was. Steve Cavanagh, Tedford Lane, Clear Lake

Northern Goshawk (juvenile) on black-phase Eastern Gray Squirrel (Steve Cavanagh)

Jacob Bowman, a Trent University student who has been doing fish research on Stoney Lake, found a floating, dead Cisco (Lake Herring) on the Indian River near Warsaw Caves in November 2020. Ciscos are closely related to Lake Whitefish. According to Ralph Ingleton who lives on Stoney Lake, a four-pound whitefish was caught on the lake in October 2017 or so. Whitefish used to spawn near Burleigh Falls and may still do so. As a child, I remember seeing schools of either whitefish or cisco on Clear Lake, too. Drew Monkman

Once again this winter, we have a swarm of wriggling two-inch tadpoles in a tiny section of a wetland near our house. This area never freezes. I believe it’s spring-fed. Ed Duncan, Stoney Lake

Comment by amphibian expert, Mike Oldham: These are likely Green Frog tadpoles. Both Green Frog and American Bullfrog tadpoles stay active under ice in lakes and ponds and situations like Ed describe. I’m not sure if the wriggling indicates feeding activity or some other behaviour, but they often do this in summer too.

I thought these photos (2 pics of the same thing from different angles) taken in Dorval, Quebec might interest you. I saw this perfect imprint a couple of weeks ago in fresh snow. I’m guessing it was made by a Barred Owl while hunting for mice. If you look closely, you will see a small drop of blood in the depression in the snow made by the bird’s body. One less mouse in the area! Ed Lukaszewicz, Dorval, Quebec

A beautiful Barred Owl has been hanging about the last few days. He very much enjoyed the bunny he caught although I would rather he went for the squirrels. As we live in Kawartha Heights and not the country, I am guessing he flew in from one of the green belt areas around the neighbourhood. Wendy Fucile, Peterborough

On February 15, a Virginia Opossum was seen eating fallen seeds from an overhead feeder when five Wild Turkeys appeared.  The opossum hunkered down in the snow and remained quite still but only one turkey came a bit closer to investigate while the others kept their distance.  After the turkeys had left the opossum carried on eating then it too departed.   And this morning, February 20, Peter very briefly witnessed a scuffle between a bird of prey and a Wild Turkey from a house window.  The bird had black face markings through or above the eyes and a light flecked breast.  The bird flew off and the turkey moved a little in the deep snow, then stopped, and its head dropped into the snow.  We thought it must be dead but a few minutes later it moved off slowly towards the marsh behind our neighbour’s house.  A little later our neighbours called us to report that a large bird of prey was tearing feathers from a carcass some distance away.  The bird had the same dark face markings, the whitish breast plus a dark crown.  We all thought this must be a Northern Goshawk which is known to be a winter irruptive in the Kawarthas.  And there are a few examples on the web where a goshawk attacked a turkey, so unusual but not unknown.   So an interesting start to the day, Drew!   Stephenie Armstrong, Warsaw

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.