Ontario Nature Blog

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Tag: spring (Page 1 of 2)

Flitter, flutter, here come the butterflies of spring and summer!

mourning cloak; Credit: Jenna Siu

As I walked through the forest on a warm spring afternoon, I saw a dark creature flutter by. It was a mourning cloak butterfly! As I looked around, I saw more butterflies. A skittish eastern comma was feeding on sap from a sugar maple, while another sunned itself on the ground below the leafless canopy. My first butterfly sightings of 2017!

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Why I Love Frogs (And You Should, Too)

EmmaWithFrog

A young Emma holding a frog; Photo courtesy of Emma Horrigan

One of my first introductions to nature as a kid was observing tadpoles on the Toronto Islands and catching frogs at the Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. No outdoor adventure was complete without looking for and finding frogs.

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Sleuthing for Salamanders

Vernal pool at Altberg Nature Reserve, CREDIT: Noah Cole

Vernal pool at Altberg Nature Reserve, CREDIT: Noah Cole

After a warm winter and chilly start to spring, I joined my Ontario Nature co-workers at Altberg Wildlife Sanctuary Nature Reserve for a good old-fashioned salamander sleuthing event, our first of the season. The Altberg reserve is a tranquil property that has great trails and several vernal pools that are home to a variety of species, including fairy shrimp. Throughout the day we heard lots of woodpeckers and saw evidence of moose on the reserve.

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Whatever you do, don’t call vernal pools puddles!

credit: vernal pool/Brad Carlson CC BY-NC 2.0

credit: vernal pool/Brad Carlson CC BY-NC 2.0

What better day to celebrate vernal pools than March 21st – the International Day of Forests. Vernal pools are those temporary spring flooded areas in your forests. They are known by many names – ephemeral pools, intermittent wetlands, spring wetlands – but whatever you do, don’t call them a puddle!

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What’s a gardener to do?

Bumble bee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Bumblebee and honey bee on butterfly milkweed. Credit: Martin LaBar

Much of the discussion around neonicotinoids focuses on agriculture, but the horticulture industry also uses these chemicals. In a 2014 Friends of the Earth study of flowers for sale at garden centres in Canada, more than 50 percent of the tested plants contained traces of at least one neonicotinoid. Most shocking was that many of these contaminated plants were labelled “bee-friendly”.

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