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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Winter birding in Haldimand County

Story and photos by Shelia Smith The moon was sailing in and out of clouds and the wind was howling when I woke on January 20th. It was not a promising looking day to go on a hike to find birds but I'd signed up to go with the Norfolk Field Naturalists to see what we could find. "Well," I thought, "we probably won't see much but it will be an adventure." So I joined the hike leaders, Audrey Heagey and David Okines along with about 20 members and friends of NFN on the Port Dover pier. We exchanged greetings and introductions. A lady, two boys and a dog were feeding the ducks and gulls at the pier. This gave some of the beginning birders in our group a chance to see some common birds up close. Among the Mallards…
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Field Trip to the Niagra Glen with Alan Ladd and Brian Calvert

Story by: Eleanor Chithalen Saturday, April 27th dawned with glorious sunshine and warm temperatures. Alan Ladd anticipated a great turnout for his Niagara gorge hike, since he had invited a crew of Norfolk Field Naturalists, Horticulture Society members and “Discover Norfolk” walkers. Imagine his chagrin when only five locals had joined him in the Walmart parking lot by 9 a.m. We later concluded that all the horticulturalists were hard at their gardens, while the hikers and field naturalists prefer more of a challenge. This observation is borne out by the fact that Alan’s previous Norfolk-to- Niagara trek last fall, in gale-force winds and torrential rain, was well- attended. Atop the gorge in Niagara, we were joined by local expert Brian Calvert. As we descended, he immediately began an erudite explanation of the formation of Niagara’s falls and gorge through the…
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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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Birding in Cuba: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

by: Bernie Solymár My first trip to Cuba was in 2004, as part of a group of Canadian agronomists studying sustainable agriculture methods in Cuba. I was so enthralled with the wonderful habitats and biodiversity of the island that I contacted Luis and Yane, the company’s Cuban directors (now living in Toronto) to see about organizing nature-based tours. Eight years later, and several more visits as a tour leader, and I have thoroughly fallen for this tropical jewel that has been largely stalled in time for the past 50 years. Away from the white sand beaches and opulent resorts, there are numerous natural parks and nature reserves, as well as other natural areas that lend themselves to once-in-a-lifetime birding and other nature-related activities. Canadians Graham Gibson and Margaret Atwood discovered several decades ago that birding in this largest tropical island…
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