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While people in Sarnia were taking cover from a deluge, Young Nats were enjoying the balmy weather and NO rain at the Moore Habitat Management Area.

Mike Kent went over the safety rules first and talked to us about ticks, how to protect ourselves and how to remove them if we found one. He also went over the importance of tick checks during and after our walk.

Mike also told us about the free Ontario Nature phone App The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App available on both Google Play and iTunes. It also lets you report sightings, like the Blue-Spotted Salamander we saw!

 

We also saw a HUGE wolf spider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebony jewelwing damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Young Nats even let Mike put one on her nose before it flew away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another lucky boy got to learn how to safely hold one.

We also saw centipedes, millipedes, potato bugs, lightning bugs, clubtail dragonfly and even a small crayfish.

 

What a fun day…can’t wait to see what we are doing next!

Hint…. July 8th– What’s all the Buzz About?

Please join us on Thursday evenings in July and August to view local gardens featuring native plants. Each tour will commence at 7:00pm. Learn from the garden experts about creating gardens with native plants to attract wildlife and benefit our environment.

July 20th – Naturalized Downtown

This is actually a tour of four downtown gardens. To begin, meet at the park at the corner of Christina and Davis.

Our starting point is the Sarnia Urban Wildlife Garden.  This was one of Shawn McKnight’s first native gardens and is in the process of transformation from predominantly flowering tallgrass prairie species to lower growing drought tolerant species with a lot more grass. Our speaker will discuss the tough site conditions.  All the downtown gardens have tough site conditions, but this one probably the toughest. It could be our native gardening in tough places workshop! Problems included: wind, salt, poor or shallow soil, blowing garbage, foot traffic, weed seed…

Next is the Scotia Bank garden which has also underwent same transformation as above, but in this case the transformation is complete and we are very pleased with how this garden is performing. It’s a business, so Return the Landscape has had to find the right balance of wild and tidy.

The garden at First Sarnia Place is a series of large square concrete planters behind the apartment building. It represents a more corporate style of planting using only native plants.

The residential garden at the corner of Vidal and Cromwell has had both the front and side gardens naturalized. This location has an awesome rain garden just feet away from the sidewalk and people frequently do a “double take” when they walk by.

JUNIOR CONSERVATIONISTS EVENT (AGED 12+)

Canatara Park is a local hotspot not only for beach-goers, but also species at risk, resident owls, migrant songbirds, impressive trees, and a mixture of habitats. The area we call Canatara Park today has gone through many changes over the years, mostly due to human development. Today, values have shifted realizing the importance of green space and nature. Protecting nature directly involves protecting natural habitat and restoring other spaces.

Join Felicia from Nature’s Way Nurseries to help restore Canatara Park to a better habitat for more plants and animals!

What to bring:

  • lunch, snacks, water (LOTS OF WATER)
  • sunblock and insect repellent
  • hat
  • closed toed footwear (rubber boots help for protection against ticks)
  • pen/pencil & notepad (optional)
  • work/garden gloves

Where to meet:

Canatara Park – park at the Animal Farm entrance. Meet at open Pavilion/Barn picnic tables near entrance of Animal Farm.

July 18th, 2017

Many of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians are species at risk. There’s still a lot we don’t know about them. Come join the St. Clair Conservation Authority as they monitor reptiles as a part of a long-term study to observe any potential changes in amphibian populations. Learn about local species, their threats, and how you can help.

If you came to the last reptile monitoring outing, we will be going into more detail on how to identify, survey, and monitor for local species.

Where to Meet

940 Holt Line, Wilkesport, ON N0P 2R0

What to bring

  •  lunch, snacks, water (LOTS OF WATER)
  • sunblock and insect repellent (wash hands thoroughly after application for the sake of our amphibians
  • hat
  • RUBBER BOOTS, HIP WAITERS, ETC. for protection against ticks
  • reptile/amphibian field guide
  • Ontario Nature – Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas (ORRA) App (free – optional)
  • pen/pencil & notepad
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As the date of the 2107 Pelee Island camping trip approached, all the poor weather forecasts suddenly changed to show pleasant conditions for the entire duration of the trip!  A wonderful group of 20 LWI campers began arriving on Thursday for a great weekend of birding.  Lake Erie was smooth for the 1.5 hour long ferry ride aboard the SS Jiiman from Leamington.

SS Jimaan

Ferry Loading

Many of the campers had been to the island in previous years and some were visiting the island for the first time.

As a group, we moved around the island to observe the migrating birds, with an occasional detour to the bakery for vital nourishment (see earlier post photo).  High water and waves kept us away from Lighthouse Point (on the northeast corner of the island) for the first two days, but by Saturday the winds had shifted and we made it to the point to see some interesting birds.  Some of the best birding of the weekend came on the beach at Fish Point early on Friday evening, with numerous warblers hungrily eating up insects that were being warmed by the sun right along the edge of the beach.   A great looking Lake Erie sunset on the same beach capped off a perfect day.

Cape May Warbler

Common Yellowthroat

Indigo Bunting

Migrating shorebirds were also located in some farm fields where large pools of water had accumulated.  The group was thrilled to get quite close to a large flock of Black-bellied Plovers, with Ruddy Turnstones and Dunlins mixed in.

Black-bellied Plovers

Baby Brown Snake

Lighthouse Point

Palm Warbler

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Such were the abundance of birds on the island that we even observed warblers from the comfort of the campsite, including Yellow-rumped, Black & white and Northern Parulas.  Other notable birds observed included Summer Tanager, Night Hawk, Red-throated Loon, Indigo Bunting, Red-headed Woodpecker, and we even heard a “Whip-poor-will”!

Black & White Warbler

Spotted Sandpiper

Red-headed Woodpecker

The time seemed to go by quickly with each day’s activities beginning at 7:00 AM, and when it was time to pack up and catch the next departing ferry it seemed like the excursion had been too short.  Well, there is always next year!

Young Naturalists

July 8th—What’s All the Buzz About? Bees with Kim Gledhill Marthaville Habitat Management Area 1pm-3pm

Learn about the honey bee society and the importance of dance with Kim Gledhill. She will be bringing her bee keeping equipment and a specially designed display hive with live bees inside.  To learn about honey bee language, we will play the bee dance game where you can be the queen bee in the hive. Honey and crackers are on the menu too.

Where to Meet

4749 Marthaville Rd, Petrolia, ON N0N 1R0

 

What to bring:

  • suntan lotion
  • hat
  • water
  • pen/pencil + notepad
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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?

Many of Ontario’s reptiles and amphibians are species at risk.  There’s still a lot we don’t know about them. Come join the St. Clair Conservation Authority as they monitor reptiles as a part of a long-term study to observe any potential changes in amphibian populations. Learn about local species, their threats, and how you can help.

Pack a lunch, snacks and water for the day.

Where to Meet

940 Holt Line, Wilkesport, ON N0P 2R0

What to bring

TBD

There are many indicators that spring is about to happen in Canatara Park. For some it is seeing old friends that have not been in the park since last fall. Others look forward to the return of the Warblers and the first Yellow Rump. Others are looking for spring flowers. But for some, it is sighting the first turtle of the year. This year, I understand the first turtle was seen in February during the unusually warm pre-spring weather. The turtles usually start to appear when the ice has melted and the weather has warmed.
Canatara has two turtles that are commonly seen in Lake Chipican and surrounding canals. The Midland Painted Turtle is the most common native species and the Red Eared Slider in also common, but it is not native to Canada. It is referred to as “the pet shop” turtle. People buy this species of turtle for a pet and when it grows too big or is no longer wanted, their owners abandon them in Lake Chipican.

Red Eared and Painted Turtles. Photo credit: Dick Wilson

Painted turtles have black shells with dark red or orange markings. Red Eared Sliders have a shell that is higher domed than the Painted Turtle and has yellow marking. Not surprisingly, the Red Eared Slide has a “red ear”! The “ear” is a red spot behind the eye.

Snapping Turtle. Photo credit: Dick Wilson

Not commonly sighted, but also not rare, is the Snapping Turtle. Snapping Turtles are the largest turtle in Lake Chipican and have a prehistoric look. Snapping Turtles can be aggressive and slow on land, but will slide away and hide when in the water.

A fourth turtle, a Blandings Turtle, has been seen in or around Lake Chipican, but it is an extremely rare siting. Only one has been seen in recent memory.

Other species of Ontario native turtles, such as the Northern Map, Spiny Softshell and the Musk (Stink Pot) Turtles are found on the Sydenham River and in the Mitchell’s Bay area, but not in Lake Chipican.

A more descriptive species description and range maps for some species can be found at OntarioNature.org. Use the Protect, Species, Reptiles_and_Amphibians, Turtles, Species Listing tabs to locate the range maps. Another excellent turtle site is TorontoZoo.com. Search for Turtle Tally.

The number of turtles in Lake Chipican is unknown, at least to me. In doing a non-scientific survey, I found that:
The Midland Painted Turtle is much more common sighting than the Red Eared Slider.
The Red Eared Sliders, that I observed, appeared to be of the large variety and they are usually larger than any of the Midland Painted Turtles.
I have not identified any small younger Red Eared Sliders.
The Midland Painted Turtles come in various sizes from 5cm to larger turtles.
The Red Eared Slider appears to be the more hardy species and can be found sunning more often in cooler weather than the Midland Painted Turtle.
There are a variety of spots to look for turtles around Lake Chipican. The spot that consistently has the most turtles is the “Turtle Log” located on the northern third of the east side of the lake.

You will not see a lot of Snapping Turtles

You may see turtles on land.

From mid-April to mid-May, 2017, I recorded 17 daily turtle sighting. In that time, I recorded seeing 305 Midland Painted Turtles, 79 Red Eared Turtles and 3 Snapping Turtles. Midland Painted Turtles are most certainly observed most often.

Do your own survey and compare the results.
Pictures of the more common turtles in Canatara are included.

Junior Conservationists

June 24th—North American Butterfly Association (NABA) Count 

Pinery Provincial Park

TBD *Registration Required*

Open to Lambton Wildlife Inc Young Naturalist Club members only. To become a member and see the schedule of exciting events visit: www.lambtonwildlife.com/ Registration Required. Limited numbers permitted. Email or Contact Mike Kent

Put your butterfly identification skills to the test while we try to count as many individuals and types of butterflies as we can in one day.

Where to Meet

TBD

What to bring –

  • insect net
  • binoculars
  • sunblock
  • hat
  • water
  • butterfly guide
  • map
  • camera
  • pen/pencil & notepad
  • insect repellent (wash hands after application for the sake of our friendly insects)