Notes from the Field: Spring 2021

In Animal Tracks, Birds, Citizen Science, Featured, Frogs, Nature Reserves, Property Maintenance, Salamanders, Spring, Stewardship by couchiching

Photos: Kathy Hunt

Connecting with nature has always been important to our well-being, and it has been especially important during the pandemic.  To ensure we can continue to keep nature reserves open and safe, volunteers have taken on increasing amounts of responsibility this year.   They’ve been  pick up garbage and other fecal substances, report quad and snowmobile activity to staff, and keeping an eye on usage numbers.  

It’s been a challenge, but one that we are trying to embrace.  Every time someone visits a nature reserve for the first time, we try to ensure they feel welcome and consider joining us.  

Kathy Hunt and her grandchildren spent some time welcoming visitors to Grant’s Woods on a warm Saturday this April.   The grandchildren enjoyed being trail monitors and helped take notes.  


Belted Kingfisher and Muskrat at Whitney Wetland. Photos: Dorthea

Reports of Chorus Frogs calling in Carden and Painted Turtles moving about in Barrie have us scrambling to start the earliest field season in recent memory.   

On March 30th, Aiesha and Dorthea met Cynthia Ferris and Pam Reekie at Whitney Wetland to orient them to their new frog call monitoring site.   As 5 pm temperatures hovered around 15 degrees,  we heard a few Western Chorus Frogs, while a Belted Kingfisher patrolled the wetland, making its familiar rattling sound.  A muskrat sat under the bridge.  

After dark we heard spring peepers, and a Wilson’s Snipe winnowed from the field next to the wetland.   

The Whitney Wetland was acquired in 2020, thanks to a generous donation from Norm and Irene Whitney.  It creates a direct connection to McIsaac Wetland, and is part of the Mud Lake provincially significant wetland.   Both Nature Reserves are challenging to access and do not have  public trails.

Thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for your generous support of the Citizen Science Program

Nancy Chong & Ruth Henderson monitoring for Salamanders in Copeland Forest. Photos: Toby Rowland

While it was early in the season for salamanders to be moving about, who knew what would be found in such unseasonably warm weather?  Nancy Chong and Ruth Henderson have become valued members of the Copeland Forest citizen science effort, monitoring for Plants, Salamanders & Vernal Pools, and Nancy does water monitoring too.  

Are you planning to attend the Copeland Forest Friends Annual General Meeting?  All the details here.  

Photos clockwise from left: Alan Smale, Dorthea Hangaard, John Walinck, Alan Smale.

Too many buildings can become a liability for a Land Trust, taking us away from our focus of protecting habitat.   So despite the attractive qualities of this little shed at Taylor, we decided it needed to go. 

Over the winter, Alan Smale, John Walinck and  Karl Schulz carefully dis-assembled the shed, recycled what they could and enjoyed a nice bonfire from the remains.     

Many of you reported the activity, fearing it was vandalism and we appreciate it.  It is good to know how many people there are looking out for the special natural places in our region.  A moose even came by on the first day of spring to see what was left.  

Sorry Joelle, your dream tiny home will have to wait.  

Read the Winter 2021 Notes from the Field here…