National Conservation Strategy for all Native Ash Species in Ontario

National Conservation Strategy for all Native Ash Species in Ontario

The National Conservation Strategy for all Native Ash Species in Ontario is being led by the National Tree Seed Centre. The Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA) is supporting this effort by conducting field research.  In the fall of 2018 Melissa Spearing, the field researcher for the FGCA, visited woodlots from Guelph to Windsor in search of live Ash trees (white, green, black, blue, and pumpkin) that fit with the following criteria: Trees in a native stand (not planted), i.e. forest, hedgerow. Larger trees (>20 cm DBH) with healthy crowns (for survivor DNA samples). Viable seed of good quality (filled embryos, low insect damage) We heard about this project through the…
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Springtails?

Springtails?

On a warm sunny winter day, if you venture outside, you may notice what looks like pepper sprinkled on the snow. Look more closely and you will notice that the pepper is moving! Indeed it’s jumping great distances for its size. Its common name is very apt as they can catapult themselves up to 100 times their own body length using an abdominal appendage called a furcular. This structure is what gives the group its name - Springtails. The furcular folds beneath the body and is held under tension until needed, once tension is reached the end slips out of…
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Ferns and Fungi of Mandaumin Woods

Ferns and Fungi of Mandaumin Woods

A walk through Mandaumin Woods in autumn is a bonanza of brilliant colours! Depending on when you visit the trail many different ferns and fungi can be seen; during the Mandaumin Woods bioblitz 11 different species of fungi were found (Polyporus alveolaris, Stereum ostrea, Hygrocybe punicea, Polyporus squamosus, Scutellinia scutellata, Crepidotus mollis, Pleurotus ostreatus, Hygrocybe nitida, Fuligo septica, Marasmius rotula, Panus conchatus). (more…)
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Water Levels at Pelee Island

Water Levels at Pelee Island

During the LWI camping and birding trip to Pelee Island, May 5th to May 8th, 2016, we had the opportunity to walk a lot of Pelee Island and view the force of wind and water as we travelled from point to point. Walking to Fish Point on the south end of the island, we came across an area where sand and gravel had washed and blown inland 50 - 75 feet from the shore. The coarse material had covered up the trail for some distance and to a depth of about 50 cm, or 20 inches. As you can see…
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The Up and Down of Fall

The Up and Down of Fall

Autumn is an ephemeral time of blasting colour where the asters spark up, leaves are set a blaze, pumpkins perch as glowing beacons, and avian migrants give birders their seasonal eye check-up and neck workout. If not for the sake of easing the neck pain from looking up, trick-or- treat your eyes to a fungal foray in the forest and you’ll be surprised at all the different colours, shapes, and forms mushrooms come in. As triumphant green chlorophyll, the star of photosynthesis, exits the solar stage to unveil the carotenoids and xanthophylls that give off yellow, orange, and brown hues.…
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Mandaumin Woods Fall Trail

Mandaumin Woods Fall Trail

Mandaumin Woods is a beautiful nature preserve and the trail this time of year is dry and very enjoyable.  Mandaumin Woods is located just south of the village of Mandaumin on the west side of Mandaumin Road.  The bugs are mostly gone and it is the time of year to enjoy the fall colours and watch for wildlife. We saw a deer and several wild turkeys as we walked the trail; although it is hard to sneak up on anything because the leaves are dry and walking on them sounds like walking on Rice Crispies! (more…)
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Evening Canoe Ride on Ausable Great Way to See Pinery Wildlife

Evening Canoe Ride on Ausable Great Way to See Pinery Wildlife

When you are looking for something different to do this summer I would like to suggest an evening paddle along the old Ausable River channel in Pinery Provincial Park. It is one of the most enchanting and peaceful places in Southern Ontario. A river which is now only fed by springs, it slowly flows out to the “Cut”, an artificially constructed river channel which travels to Lake Huron. As the sun begins to set, the calmness of the afternoon slowly changes as the river comes alive with animals and birds which have been resting during the day. Actually this is…
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Acrobatic Squirrels Defy All Obstacles

Acrobatic Squirrels Defy All Obstacles

The most frequent visitor to my bird feeder isn't exactly a bird. Squirrels love birdseed and unless your feeder is suspended from the Goodyear Blimp, you will have a squirrel or two hanging around. For a long time I was determined to out-smart them and devised a number of “squirrel-proof” feeders. Unfortunately, nothing I've invented so far has taken more than 30 minutes for the squirrels to master. (By the way, the term 'squirrel-proof' is not listed in any dictionary or science book.) Very soon I noticed the score was squirrels 6, me 0. (more…)
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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is Nature’s Colourful Helicopter

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is Nature’s Colourful Helicopter

There are 15 species of hummingbirds living north of Mexico but only the Ruby-throated Hummingbird can be seen in Lambton County. Only three to three-and-half inches long and weighing about as much as a penny, they can flap their wings more than 50 times per second, producing a humming sound. They can fly forwards, backwards or straight up or down and can hover to feed from flowers. They accomplish all this by tilting their wings in much the same way as helicopter rotor blades are tilted to change direction. (more…)
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Composting: It’s Natural

Composting: It’s Natural

The air is getting colder and we can see and smell fall just around the corner. With the change of season, the plants that grew so well over the spring and summer are now starting to make preparations against winter's cold breath. The trees are dropping their leaves: the 'factories' that produced new growth, another ring on the tree. The flowers are using their last energy to ripen the seeds for next year's plants. We see the lush summer, the green landscape, slowly change to the rich fall shades of red, yellow and brown. (more…)
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