A registered nurse and member of the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO), Anne learned to love nature from her father. Walking, gardening and birding have been a part of Anne’s life since she was a child. Wanting to meet other local birders in the area, she joined LWI back in 2007 and this year she is excited to be on the board.
Stephanie Blair and Pete Chapman have accepted the challenge and are seen here in their LWI hats in front of Moore Landfill on Ladysmith Line. Why you may ask? Well in addition to a lovely nature walk they saw 3, yes 3 Dickcissels!
So, show us where your shirt, your hat, your LWI Pride! Show us your pictures.
Where did LWI take you today?
Who’s back? Well the birds- at least some of them. The warm weather and longer days has me wishing I could go out everyday.!
This last week I managed to get out to Wawanosh, Perch Creek , Hiawatha Park , Dow Wetlands and a car tour of Lambton County.
Insert meadowlark here
I was lucky enough to find Meadowlarks at Dow Wetlands and Kettle Point. I’ve heard they had been seen elsewhere too!
Cedar waxwings are also back- filling the air with their trilling calls.
The Killdeers are calling, the bald eagles nest sitting and the hawks are paired off!
This is just the best time of year…each day may bring a new bird…let the chasing begin!
Thinking of going out for a walk? Want a change- why not take a walk at Wawanosh Wetlands. Oh sure, purists will argue that it never became the wetlands that were planned, but it has still become a great place for nature- in all seasons- and it can be a very nice walk.
Wawanosh can be hard to find if you don’t know exactly where it is. It is located at 6013 Blackwell Side Road, in Sarnia. The entry way is a narrow single- car width road entrance between two residential lots. There is a large sign at its entrance- but you don’t see it until you are upon it, so drive slowly. There is a small parking lot once you drive down the long laneway. As soon as I turn off Blackwell, the radio goes off and I open the windows to see what I can hear.
The parking lot sits at the edge of the first of two ponds. There are usually some ring-bill and herring gulls, a blue heron or two and mallards that you can see from your car in the first pond. If you are lucky there are a few even more interesting birds, like Bonaparte gulls, Caspian Terns and even more unusual finding like the Franklin’s gull was seen here in 2015. Wood ducks, Green Wing Teals and Black ducks might be seen and, of course, the ever present Canadian Geese will be there for certain.
But, come on, get out of the car- there is a 2.5 km trail awaiting you, and that does not include the midway connection to the Suncor Nature Way.
I have seen 140 different species of birds here. According to E-bird, the most different species seen by one person over the years is 178! 223 species have been recorded for this location on E-Bird. 25 kinds of Warblers, Soras, hawks, waxwings…you just have to look. And the ducks – on a good day you can see redheads, canvasbacks, ring-necks, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, coots, teals and wood ducks – and there’s more.
Not convinced yet? I’ve seen hummingbird moths and praying mantises, dragonflies and bees. There are butterflies in the open areas, sulphurs , crescents, swallowtails too! There are plants and flowers and thistles. If you like nature, Wawanosh will show you something to make you smile.
Keep your eyes open for the turtles, beavers and wild turkeys.
About 1/3 of the way around the outside trail there is a bench that looks over the second pond where you can relax, and then just behind you is the bridge that leads to Suncor nature way if you want to extend your walk. The trail at this point continues along the creek, but where it slopes back down to start the return journey- I turn back. It can get very muddy down there. That doesn’t deter everyone – don’t let it deter you! By this time I’ve usually already spent about 2.5 or 3 hours and its usually time for me to head back. If you are walking and not birding, the trail takes about 45 minutes to one hour.
Everyone who regularly goes to Wawanosh has their own path they take. I always start to the right of the parking lot and walk along the cedars…where I saw a Blackburnian Warbler at eye level. The first bend to the left is where I saw my first Palm Warblers. I then always walk up along the path to the bench and stop and then check the bridge- some times you can see warbles hawking insects there…and they are at or below eye level! I saw my first Redstart, Wilsons and Blackpolls warblers here. Then I continue the walk beside the creek where I saw my first Lambton County Golden Wing Warbler. I walk to the next bend and turn back, I return to the parking lot along the path between the two ponds.
It’s along here I see my Swallows, Waxwings, and hear the Marsh Wrens.
If it is waterfowl season before I turn into the parking lot I go and check out the viewing tower to the right along the front of the second pond. It is a shame that the phragmites are so tall, at 5’3 ½’ it can be hard to see all the ducks that are often on this side – but I make it work – just be prepared to lift the kids up so they can see too.
So, next time your thinking of a walk..think- why not Wawanosh- I’m sure you wont be disappointed.
Free access……picnic tables…
Port – A – Potty during the summer
Join Lambton Wildlife for an evening walk at the Lorne Henderson Conservation Area outside of Petrolia. Discover how easy it is to see and walk under the natural light of a full moon and use your other senses to experience the nocturnal world around you.
So enticed by that invitation, and the news that this moon was the brightest full moon to be seen for the next 18 years , 35 adventurous people joined Donica Abbinett on her moonlight walk on November 14th at Lorne C Henderson Conservation Area. (more…)
On a beautiful, sunny Sunday, Justin Nicol led 28 Lambton Wildlife members and guests on an educational stroll through a section of the Rock Glen Conservation Area.
Rock Glen is located in Arkona, Ontario. It is usually known for its natural collection of Brachiopod, Coral and Crinoid stem fossils. This day, however, we were treated to an opportunity to appreciate the area for its collection of Carolinian and Great Lake native trees.
Rock Glen is in a transitional zone of Carolinian, to the south, and Great Lake zone to the north, this results in trees native to both areas growing at this site.
Justin talked about the Kentucky coffeetree, which is a Carolinian tree. It has a very large leaf that is often mistaken for a collection of leaves. The stem is actually just one leaf and each of what appears to be leaves, are actually called leaflets. This tree is one of the last to leaf out in the spring and it looses its leaves early in the fall. Sometimes, because the tree is so late to get leaves in the spring, we may think that the tree has not survived the winter. It produces male and female flowers, usually on separate trees. The seed pod is a dark leathery reddish – brown. The seeds need to be scored before planting to improve germination. Trees, at maturity, are 15-25 meters tall.
The hemlock was another tree species seen.
The hemlock is a type of pine tree and can grow up to 30 meters in height. It likes cool, moist, shady and protected sites.
We saw trembling aspens, Chinquapin aka chinkapin oak and hackberry trees, to name just a few. We even saw some fossils!
Justin spoke to us about the importance of our native trees, to the nature balance and preventing the spread of invasive species. He also said it is not always easy to tell, without a little help, which trees may be invasive. An example he demonstrated was the Norway maple and sugar maple. The Norway maple is widespread. It grows well in urban areas, sometimes too well. The sugar maple would be a much better choice for planting. The sugar maple is better for wildlife and has beautiful fall colours, while the Norway maple is a prolific seeder and has dense foliage that can choke out competing trees and plants. When unsure about identifying the two types of maples, break off a leaf from each tree. The Norway maple will have a white milky substance oozing from the stem.
It was a wonderful and educational stroll through a beautiful native forest! So nice to have people around who could answer the question “ what’s this tree / plant called”?
Want to learn more?
Trees of the Carolinian Forest by Gerry Waldron
Professor Scott MacDougall-Shackleton, Director of Advanced Facility for Avian Research at UWO, gave a presentation on birds and how they respond to changes in weather and daylight, and how they cope with the winter.
Some bird behavior is guided and influenced by the length of daylight. This is one of the factors that influences migration. Birds migrate based partially on day length. Hours of daylight let them know it is time to start their spring and fall migrations. Even caged birds display migratory restlessness by fluttering their wings and moving back and forth inside their cages during migration time for their species.