Notes from the Field – Fall 2020

In Citizen Science, Fall, Featured, Properties, Uncategorized by couchiching

Left: Eastern Red-backed Salamander found under board Right: Joelle and Aiesha smiling under the light of their headlamps

During the warm spell last week, Joelle and Aiesha did a night time visit to Adams Nature Reserve to see if any salamanders were out and about. Sure enough, they found one lonely Eastern Red-backed salamander under the first board they checked!

Normally salamander monitoring ends before the first frost because most salamanders have burrowed underground for the winter. But, with a warm spell, even in mid November, some may stay above ground a little longer. 

L to R: Jennifer Booth, Bob Sullivan, Jane Bonsteel, Jack Booth, Mark Bisset, Jamie Ross, Lisa Neville, Anne Ross, Ron Reid and Pam Fulford. Right: Snow Buntings. Photos: Tanya Clark

On October 25th, members of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors from past and present toured a section of the Cedarhurst Alvar property, a 1,362 acre parcel we are working to protect with our partners at The Nature Conservancy of Canada. The road to the access point was exceptionally bumpy, but worth it for the sighting of a small flock of Snow Buntings. The Carden Alvar was established as an Important Bird & Biodiversity Area because of the number of species who rely on the area for nesting and breeding, as well as rest stops along their migration routes.


L to R: Pam McDivitt, Holly Brown, Eileen Atkinson, Carol Hrabi, Francine Smith, and First Pond at the Adams Nature Reserve

Holly and Eileen, our Land Stewardship team at the Adams Nature Reserve, often bring along new friends on their visits.  October 19th was the perfect fall day for their monitoring visit, and they noted high water levels, several moss and fern species, and deer scat.  Land Stewardship Teams also keep us informed about any maintenance jobs that are needed.  Thanks, Holly & Eileen


Phil Careless (blue backpack) and members of the Ryder Community Co-op. Photo: David Hawke.

One of our newest acquisitions is the 175-acre Taylor Nature Reserve on the Black River Road.  It represents another strong link in a corridor of connection we are helping to build between QEII Wildlands Provincial Park, Ron Reid Nature Reserve, and the Adams Nature Reserve.

On Saturday October 17th, a lucky group of volunteers from the Ryde Community Co-op visited Taylor and QEII with Phil Careless from Ontario Parks.  They participated in a Bioblitz and got to share in Phil’s boundless enthusiasm for natural landscapes and the plants and animals who live there.  


Fall Equinox  was a spectacular day to be outside (unless you’re a Cormorant), and many staff and volunteers submitted photos of their outings.  

Dave Hawke made two trips to Waterthrush Woods:  One with Neil and Ann Gray and another with his wife Juliana, pictured above.   

They saw Midland Painted Turtles sunning on logs, and an otter.  This year we’ve had constant reports of garbage, and Waterthrush Woods is no exception.  Is it because people are littering more, or because the good samaritans who usually pick up after people aren’t doing so this year due to Covid?


Members of the Board of Directors visited one of the newest Reserves recently – the Taylor Nature Reserve.

It was a beautiful fall day for a hike through the the forest. This property is a mixture of forest and Shield, with deep ravines and small lakes. David Hawke led the group and shared information on the landscape and species. We saw Moose scat, Northern Flicker and more.


Click here to read the Summer 2020 Notes from the Field