Nature facts

Canadian Bat Box Project

Canadian Bat Box Project
By Karen Vanderwolf If you have a bat box I want to know about it! Bats in Canada face multiple threats from habitat loss and disease. As towns and cities expand, the large old trees that bats call home are being cleared, and bats are losing their roosts. Bats need a warm and secure place to roost during the day in the summer. A bat box is a simple and effective way to provide additional roosting habitat for bats, but little is known about bat box use in Canada. This especially important as three bat species in Canada are listed as endangered: little brown bats, northern long-eared bats, and tricolored bats. Bats now face additional persecution due to worries about COVID-19, but bats in North America do not have the virus that causes COVID-19 https://cwf-fcf.org/en/about-cwf/faq/faqs/should-i-be-worried-bats.html?src=blog Which bat species use bat…
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Berries Are For the Birds

Berries Are For the Birds
Article and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen The last of the fall flowers have withered. Only dry brown stems remain of their former glory... but not all is lost yet. There are still lots of protein rich seed packets left at the ends of many stems. They not only insure the new plants germinating in the spring, but also provide nutrition for many over-wintering birds and small mammals in our area. By now most of the insect eating migratory birds have left on their annual trek south. A few hardy (foolhardy?) individuals are sticking it out for the winter. A handful of Robins always ignore the call of the south, but their normal ground foraging will be rudely interrupted by frost and a blanket of the white stuff. What to do? The smaller seed-eaters will soon polish off the remaining plant…
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Species in Focus: Blanding’s Turtle

Species in Focus: Blanding’s Turtle
Status: Threatened — “Threatened” means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it. Date added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List — The Blanding’s Turtle was already assessed as threatened when the Endangered Species Act took effect in 2008. A reassessment in May 2017 confirmed this status. What it looks like: The Blanding’s Turtle is a medium-sized turtle easily identified by its bright yellow throat and chin. Unlike most Ontario turtles that have wide, flatter shells, the Blanding’s Turtle has a domed shell that resembles an army helmet. Its shell is black to brown with yellow flecks and streaks and can reach 27 centimetres long. Its head and limbs are black-grey and the bottom shell is rich yellow. Where…
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Across Canada: A geographical journey

Across Canada: A geographical journey
Story and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen Author's note: My apologies for the fuzzy quality of the photos. The train wouldn't slow down for photo ops. A couple of years ago, during one of our trips to Australia, we traveled by the "Ghan" (called so, because of the Afghan camel drovers imported to access the interior), a famous train leaving Adelaide in the south and arriving in Darwin in the north 4 days later. We caught the train half way through the journey, in Alice Springs in the Red Centre. I have always liked train travel. Both Dave and I have travelled by rail in Europe a fair amount in the past. The Ghan is a notch or two up from your typical passenger train with comfortable private compartments including a small bathroom. The dining car menu and service is definitely…
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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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