Camping and birding on Pelee Island is coming up fast. Just under a month to plan for the spring migration adventure!

Thursday, May 10th to Sunday, May 13th.

If you haven’t contacted Dick Wilson yet, please do so soon.

You should also be calling to make reservations for your ferry trip across.

Call 1-800-661-2220 to make a reservation and get your binoculars out!

 

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One of the first warblers to return each spring to Lambton County is the Yellow-Rumped Warbler. I saw my first one this year on April the 12th. The first warbler sighting causes many things. The first being calls and texts to my birding friends. The second thing that happens is a daily, and sometimes hourly check of the weather to see when I can go out next. It’s the most exciting time of year!

Yellow – Rumped Warbler

Since the 12th, plenty more migrating birds have been spotted by the many local birders. Gold-crowned and Ruby-Crowned Kinglets have started to arrive. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are being spied in the woods. Bluebirds checking out nesting boxes and Northern Flickers are probing the frosty ground.

Time to get out there and see what is coming next.

You never know what you will find. And don’t let the weather stop you. It’s not stopping the birds!

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As we learned at the March Indoor Meeting, Canadians have been collecting weather data for a long time!

The video below shows the installation of weather stations across Canada since the 1840s.

What you maybe didn’t know (because I sure didn’t), as Guest Speaker, Professor Alan MacEachern explained, is that the information collected from these stations was done on a volunteer basis by members of the local community by hand and sent by mail for inclusion in the records.

While much of the data that volunteers recorded was quantitative such as temperature or precipitation readings, those volunteers also recorded personal qualitative remarks, and up until now, that data has never been analyzed.


Western University professor, Alan MacEachern, talks about compiling Canada’s climate history

McEachern and his team are interested in the qualitative remarks that were made by the volunteers, some more than 150 years ago, and are also working towards making that information public and digital such that people like you and me, can ask questions such as “What was the weather like on the day I was born?”, or “What date has my favourite migratory bird arrived in my home town over the last 100 years”. These observations may also help us to understand how the annual cycles or phenology of some species are being affected by climate change. For example, has the date in which a certain plant species begins to flower been earlier and earlier over time?

Quite an interesting talk through the history of weather and nature observations, through the eyes of Canadians over the last 150+ years.

If you are interested in learning more about historical weather data in Canada, you can visit the Government of Canada’s Historical Climate Webpage here: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

LWI Board member, Mary Martin, providing updates and announcements to audience that attended the March Indoor Meeting.

  1. The AGM will be here soon- for those who have purchased tickets, we will see you there on Saturday, April 14th!
  2.  Speaking of the AGM, we are still in need of some bucket draw items. If you have anything you wish to donate, you may bring with you to the AGM (just come a little early to do so)
  3. On May 6, 2018, from 10 am to 1 pm, the Thames Talbot Land Trust is hosting a nature outing. If you are interested, please RSVP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puddle Ducks

March 31, 2018 @ 9:00 am2:00 pm

Meet: 9:00 am at the Clearwater Arena or 10:00 am at the St Clair National Wildlife area. Tens of thousands of ducks and other waterfowl use the Lake St. Clair wetlands as a migratory stop over. In this case, we will be viewing mainly puddle ducks (aka dabblers) such as American widgeon, northern shoveler, wood duck and pintail to name a few. Lunch at Mitchell’s Bay.

Leader: Deryl Nethercott

Canadians and Climate

March 26, 2018 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Social gathering to start at 7:00 pm. Join other members for refreshments. Presentations will begin at 7:30 pm.

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the predecessor agency of Environment Canada encouraged its daily weather observers to make remarks about the changing seasons, extreme weather, etc. but it never figured out a way to use these remarks. With the Environment Canada collection of weather observations now at Western, Prof. Alan MacEachern is studying what they tell us about Canadians and climate.

Saturday, April 14th, 2018

Camlachie United Church

 

The business meeting and general elections take place at 4:30 pm.

Bucket draw opens at 5:00 pm.

Dinner is served at 6:00 pm.

Matt Ellerbeck will be the guest speaker.

Matt Ellerbeck is a noted advocate and conservationist known as “The Salamander Man”. He is bringing the message of salamander preservation to Lambton Wildlife. Matt’s presentation will feature a variety of live salamanders for people to meet up-close!

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Biomimicry – Innovation Inspired by Nature

At the February indoor meeting, LWI member, Kim Gledhill set the stage for her talk about biomimicry by selecting volunteers from the audience to participate in a group activity to simulate adaptation. Many of the physical features we see on plants and animals are well-suited to their environment and are adaptations that have developed over many, many generations through natural selection.

Kim explained that Biomimicry is based on the principle that nature has already solved many of the problems we are facing, and is the imitation of copying nature to solve problems.

Kim Gledhill speaking about biomimicry at the February 2018 Indoor Meeting

The examples of innovation were really fascinating.

Kim told us about the shape of a Kingfisher’s beak leading to the design of a high-speed, high efficiency train, and vertical windmills that have been designed around the movement of schooling fish.

Other neat examples included swimwear taking inspiration from shark skin, and medical adhesive inspired by gecko feet.

Looking to nature can help humans to develop sustainable and practical solutions and products. It will be exciting to see what other nature-inspired products and technologies are developed in the future!

 

 

REMINDERS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • 2018 AGM is coming up soon on April 14, 2018. Tickets can be purchase tickets at the next indoor meeting. 100+ have already been sold! Prizes for the bucket draw are also being sought.
  • The LWI Board is working to complete a risk analysis for activities for insurance purposes. If you are interested in volunteering to help complete this analysis, please contact Felicia Syer, or Bill Hoad.
  • LWI is looking for Board Members and volunteers, please let us know if you are interested.
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Well, the weather outside was frightful, and most people decided to stay home and stay safe. But a few of us showed up anyway and had a nice morning, in spite of the weather!

We drove along the river, stopping at a few spots to look for waterfowl. We travelled as far as Sombra and then wisely called it a day.

We managed to see 20 bald eagles and 11 kinds of ducks; Redheads, Canvasbacks, Buffleheads, Long-tails, Common Goldeneyes, Common Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Scaups and a scoter. We even saw one Ring-necked Duck.

Hooded Merganser in the snow.

 

 

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Who says you have to go out after dark to see owls? Not Mike Kent our Young Naturalists Leader/Instructor!

On October 24, 2018. Ten Young Nats and guardians arrived at Perch Creek Management Area on Churchill Road, hoping to learn about, and maybe see, some owls. They were not disappointed.

We saw both a Northern Saw-whet Owl, at Perch Creek, and a Snowy Owl on Lasalle Road. Very exciting for the Young Nats and adults alike.

 

 

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Sunday offered amazing viewing of several thousand Tundra Swans along Greenway Road just North of The Lambton Heritage Museum!  There was also good viewing along many of the side roads in the area – we randomly took roads around the area and in every flooded field there were hundreds of Swans.  These striking beauties migrate from the south to the Arctic to breed each year.  They breed on lakes and ponds in Alaska and Canada, preferring wetlands and lakes with long shorelines where they feed on plant matter (and some mollusks and arthropods).

During migration we are lucky enough to have upwards of 15,000 birds stop-over in Lambton County for anywhere from 15 to 30 days.  They began arriving on March 1 so there should be good viewing for at least one more week.  Normally the swans will start to dwindle in number as early as March 8 with most gone by the end of March.

If you have the time it is well worth seeing these magnificent birds resting before their long flight north!