Nature facts

December 2016 Lotus

December 2016 Lotus
Here is the December 2016 Lotus newsletter. It has the annual Long Point Butterfly Count results and a story by Inga Hinnerichsen about Tiritiri Matangi, an island nature reserve in New Zealand.
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The Bruce Beckoned

The Bruce Beckoned
Ontario Nature's 85th annual gathering Story by Inga Hinnerichsen Ontario Nature celebrated its 85th anniversary combined with its Annual Gathering on the weekend of June 3, 4 and 5, 2016. The organisation was founded in 1931, then called the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Today Ontario Nature has over 150 member groups, such as Norfolk Field Naturalists, all throughout this province. Together we share the love of nature and continue to work towards preserving natural areas, flora and fauna for future generations. The NFN participated with a small delegation: Bernie Solymár, Len Grincevicius, Diane Salter, Karin Jonasson, David Curry and Inga Hinnerichsen. On the way we stopped at Sauble Beach to observe a few rare Piping Plovers that were nesting on the beach. Sadly, later news told us that none of the nests this year were successful. Some were destroyed by…
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Coyote Watch

Coyote Watch
The NFN Information Session on Coyotes was a Big Success! Late last year a couple of individuals made a deputation to council about the "disturbing" increase of coyotes in Norfolk County over the last year or two. They claimed that coyotes are a threat to pets and humans. Their angst was due to a small dog being attacked on a home owner's driveway at night about 2 years ago and residents in Port Dover and Port Rowan (primarily) seeing coyotes in broad daylight. As a result, over the last few months of 2015 coyotes received a lot of local press and social media coverage. After some FaceBook exchanges with a number of persons, and a whiff in the air that Council was bowing to pressure from a few individuals, our Board of Directors decided to hold a special public information…
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Mushrooms: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Mushrooms:  The good, the bad, and the ugly
...and the Weird and the Wonderful, too. Story and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen Originally published in 2015 December Lotus Enter the mysterious world of Fungi. For the longest time they were considered plants, but in the late 1960's they were classified as their own Kingdom. Just like plants, the Kingdom contains Families which contain Genera which in turn contain Species. It is estimated that there are over a million species of fungi worldwide. Science has barely scratched the surface of the potential of their use in pharmacology. Penicillin is derived from a mold fungus. Psilocybin is a hallucinogen found in over 140 species and has been found helpful in treating depression, anxieties and other mental disorders. Fungi might even be able to clean up oil and chemical spills. Fungi help us make bread, cheese, beer and wine, besides making delicious…
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Feral cats in Norfolk and elsewhere

Feral cats in Norfolk and elsewhere
Report compiled by Inga Hinnerichsen The feral cat issue is a major one in Norfolk (as it is elsewhere). Research backs that up. Feral cats are a serious threat, not just to birds, but small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as the health and well-being of livestock and humans. "As a recent study by Scott Loss at the Migratory Bird Center of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. has shown, cats kill more than an estimated 3.5 billion birds and many more mammals, reptiles and amphibians every year. That means predation of cats on native birds far exceeds all other mortality factors - including habitat destruction, collisions with structures such as buildings, wind turbines, and pesticide poisoning. In Norfolk County, with county-based estimates of as high as 30,000 cats, that would eclipse…
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Nature Down-Under: Escape from the February deep-freeze

Nature Down-Under: Escape from the February deep-freeze
By: Inga Hinnerichsen We couldn't have picked a better time for our recent trip to New Zealand! The summer is still going strong in February (like our August), but the high tourist season is already tapering off and the local kids are back in school. During the week the beaches are less busy and you'll have a better selection of campsites. On the other hand, this is not a great time to visit Northern Australia! The "Wet" is in full swing, the outback is flooded by torrential rains, devastating cyclones tear at the north and north east parts of the continent. The South is usually hot and dry with plenty of bushfires raging. Roughly 80 million years ago the land mass now known as Zealandia broke away from the supercontinent Gondwana together with Australia. This continent has since eroded away…
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Freshwater mussels of Ontario

Those NFN members who braved the snowy roads on November 12, 2013, to attend our regular monthly meeting were treated to a unique presentation in the history of our club (attested to by Harry B. Barrett). Our distinguished guest speaker that evening, Dr. Todd J. Morris, is a Research Scientist with the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). He is currently stationed in Burlington, Ontario at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. He has been studying the unionid fauna of central Canada for the last 19 years. He is currently a member of the Biodiversity Science section of DFO and is responsible for leading DFO’s research program on freshwater mussel Species at Risk. His research focuses on the distributional patterns of aquatic organisms and the relative contribution of biotic and abiotic…
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Wolf – Coyote – Coywolf – Coydog?

By Shelia Smith Trail Cam photos by Alan McKeown Al McKeown has been capturing some interesting images with a trail cam somewhere in Norfolk County. This is the second fall/winter that the sandy-coloured coyote has starred in some of his shots. I thought you would like to see them. There is now quite a bit of variation in both colour and size of these animals in this area. I had one here that looked much like a red wolf. Farmers and hunters in this area have long referred to these atypical coyotes as "brush wolves" or, sometimes, "coydogs." The National Geographic Society came out with a piece indicating that researchers have found wolf DNA in some coyotes. It is thought that as coyotes moved east, some mated with eastern wolves...best known from around Algonquin Park.* These wolves are much smaller…
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Bats: Facts on the Fly

Compiled from information published by: Bat Conservation Internationals Last October we had the opportunity to hear Lesley Hale from the Ministry of Natural Resources speak on the subject of Ontario's Bats: Conservation Issues and Monitoring Programs. Leslie talked about two recent introductions of environmental threats to bats, wind turbines and white-nose syndrome (WNS) and outlined the conservation strategies for these fascinating night fliers. Eight species of bats are found in this province. Some (those affected by white-nose syndrome) hibernate in caves while others migrate as far as the Gulf of Mexico for our winter. Bats are the only mammals that can fly, some as fast as 35 km an hour. Some Ontario bats can live for 30 years, though most have much shorter lives. They usually have only one or two offspring in a year. How do bats move around…
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