“Marvellous Milkweed” Seed Collection: Participant Report

“Marvellous Milkweed” Seed Collection: Participant Report
Article by Lisa Timpf, NFN Director. Photos by Laura Robson When I saw the notice about the "Marvelous Milkweed Seed Collection" event circulated to Norfolk Field Naturalist members, I was intrigued. Sponsored by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the event was scheduled for Friday, October 5th. The purpose was to collect milkweed seeds that would be used for meadow restoration in the Backus Block. It was pitched as a three-hour commitment, which didn't seem like a lot, so I thought I'd take the plunge. I had my first pleasant surprise of the day when I joined the circle of volunteers as the coordinators did their pre-event sign-in. Two of my former Simcoe Composite School classmates whom I hadn’t seen in forty years had also volunteered to help out that day, and it was great to see them. Right on time,…
continue reading

Long Point World Biosphere (LPWBR) Research and Conservation Conference

Long Point World Biosphere (LPWBR) Research and Conservation Conference
A report on the 6th Annual Long Point World Biosphere (LPWBR) Research and Conservation Conference, held Friday, November 9, 2018 By Cindy Presant, NFN Director This was my first time attending the Long Point World Biosphere Conference, which was held in Simcoe. There were 85 people registered—the largest number yet according to Administrative Coordinator Sandy Jukes. Registrants included three Norfolk County Councillors, and Norfolk’s new Mayor-Elect, Kristal Chopp. After a traditional Metis Elder welcome from Leon and Margaret Fleury, Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF) President Rick Levick opened the conference and talked about its beginnings. He said that while working on LPWBRF projects on Phragmites control and Eco-passages, they kept meeting scientists and thesis students doing research within the Biosphere. The conference was designed to bring all of these people together, to share their collective research and insights.…
continue reading

Long Point Butterfly Count 2018: Participant Report

Long Point Butterfly Count 2018: Participant Report
By Inga Hinnerichsen Photos by Len Grincevicius The Long Point Butterfly Count is organized by our official “Butterfly Counter” Adam Timpf and is supported by the Norfolk Field Naturalists. It is an all-day event and involves identifying and counting local butterflies. This count is part of a North America wide survey providing valuable information of the butterfly populations and the well-being of the environment in general. Members of our team were Dr. Richard Tanner, Mats van Kleef, Anita and Dick (visiting from Calgary—my old stomping grounds!) and myself. Saturday, July 7, was ideal for the count—sunny, not too hot with only a gentle breeze. Our area consisted of Backus Woods and nearby fields. We began our count at a restored field near East 1/4 Line Road. This is excellent butterfly habitat with many flowering plants at their finest, including Brown-eyed…
continue reading

Long Point Butterfly Count 2018: Organizer’s Report

Long Point Butterfly Count 2018: Organizer’s Report
By Adam Timpf, NFN Member and Count Coordinator All photos by Len Grincevicius This year the Long Point butterfly count fell on Saturday July 7th, the latest date that the first Saturday in July could possibly fall on. Thirty-five observers were divided into different groups, each group covering a different territory and recording all the butterflies they could find throughout the day. Many thanks go to Peter and Mary for hosting the wrap-up and serving food and drink to the hungry butterfly counters at the end of a long day. Right after I had emailed out the count results to participants, yet another species was identified from photos uploaded to iNaturalist by one of the counters. Thus, a single Gray Comma bumps up our species total to 54, two shy of our all-time high, and well above our 27-year average…
continue reading

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018: Mike McMillan’s Report

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018: Mike McMillan’s Report
Story by Mike McMillan, photos by George Pond At 5:10 a.m. I arrived at George Pond's to join George, Peggy McArthur, Allan McEwan and Shelia Smith for our eventful day. During a quick stop at a grassy area on Luscombe Drive across from Turkstra Lumber we heard the buzzing-insect-like sound of a Grasshopper Sparrow and the musical sound of a Song Sparrow. As we continued on our way to Bird Studies Canada to meet with Betty Chanyi, Diane Salter and Anne Wynia we stopped on Charlotteville Road 5 near Young's Creek where a pair of Mallards flew over head and a singing Swamp Sparrow made its presence known. Further on, after crossing the Turkey Point Road, about 100 yards ahead of us a coyote trotted nonchalantly across the road. After travelling south and crossing Highway 24 we turned west onto…
continue reading

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018
By George Pond All Photos by the Author Well, another Great Canadian Birdathon is over. As usual, it was another fun, but tiring time. As a group we identified 132 species of birds and ate a cooler filled with chicken and other wraps, courtesy of the Blue Elephant in Simcoe. For over a quarter of a century I have been doing the Birdathon with Bruce and Ann Falls from Toronto and Steve Wilcox from Port Rowan. This year Bruce and Ann had decided that it was time to retire and Steve was busy with his daughter’s wedding. Fortunately, Ricky Dunn and her son Jeremy Hussel, who had joined us a few years ago were keen to go, and I was able to recruit my friend Rick Dowson from Simcoe to join us. We were delighted when the “birding bug” caught…
continue reading

Borneo: A Travel Journal

Borneo: A Travel Journal
By George Pond (All photos by the author) I suppose my “Bucket List” desire to visit Borneo goes back to my public school days of reading National Geographic. Here was a country still covered with pristine rainforest, where head hunters once roamed the dense jungle; where herds of wild Asian pygmy elephants were common, Orangutans claimed their canopy territories, where troops of Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques lived in groups of 20 or more animals, and strange looking Proboscis monkeys, with their funny noses lived in trees along the river valleys. Here eight species of Hornbills, birds with massive bills, would fly overhead or sit on exposed limbs of dead trees; and various species of hawks and eagles patrolled the rivers searching for whatever nature provided. A land of abundant wildlife. Well, the head hunters have long disappeared as has most…
continue reading

Nature under the Midnight Sun: A Travel Journal

Nature under the Midnight Sun: A Travel Journal
by Inga Hinnerichsen (Note: All photos by the author unless otherwise indicated) Finland: The land of the Midnight Sun, thirty thousand lakes and five thousand islands. The land where people are born with cross-country skis on their feet. This is where I grew up. Last summer I travelled back for an overdue visit. First a few geographic, geological and historical facts. From top to bottom Finland is approximately 1100 km long. It's hugged by two arms of the Baltic Sea in the south and west. It borders with Sweden and Norway in the north and with Russia to the east. Compared to Canada, the southern edge is at the same latitude as White Horse and it stretches north to about Tuktoyaktuk. A thick glacier covered the entire country during the last ice age. The receding ice scoured away top soil…
continue reading

Norfolk county municipal candidates weigh in on environment issues

Norfolk county municipal candidates weigh in on environment issues
For those citizens of Norfolk County who place value in our biodiversity, and the intrinsic and aesthetic beauty of our natural spaces we provide for you here the comments from those candidates that took the time to respond to our e-mail. Note – some candidates provided us with background information and credentials (i.e. university degree) on themselves. We did not include those below. If you have any questions please feel free to contact: Bernie Solymár, Director of Environment, Norfolk Field Naturalists at 519-427-9969 or solymar@nornet.on.ca. Download municipal candiates responses to NFN questions on the environment
continue reading

Restoration Work at St. Williams Conservation Reserve

Restoration Work at St. Williams Conservation Reserve
By Inga Hinnerichsen In the past year I have helped out with ongoing work at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve. The forest reserve consists of mainly two tracts: the Turkey Point Tract and the Nursery Tract stretching north from Hwy. 24 between Forestry Farm Road and East Quarter Line Road. As the glaciers were melting after the last ice age and water levels began to drop, the receding shoreline left behind a series of sand dunes. Eventually, these dunes were overgrown with local vegetation. The area was cleared by early settlers and heavily eroded by the late 1800s. In the early 20th century it was planted largely with pine varieties to prevent further erosion and as lumber crop trees. Small pockets of Black Oak savannah remained on higher, dry ground. Part of the ongoing work in the Conservation Reserve are…
continue reading