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East Coulson Swamp Nature Reserve

In Properties by couchiching

Every piece of land has a story. Sometimes it’s a tale of fortunes made and lost or historic efforts great and small.
For green spaces, sometimes it’s a story of overuse and recovery but often it is a celebration of dedicated individuals who cherish the natural values of the land. This is one of those stories.

The red-shouldered hawk was once common in southern Ontario, but suffered a decline several decades ago. Through conservation efforts this magnificent raptor has made a strong comeback.

Its recovery owes much thanks to famed author Margaret Atwood, who donated 87 acres of wetland and woodland near Bass Lake in Oro-Medonte Township to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

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Red-breasted nuthatch surprise visit

In Birds by couchiching

Although the occasional Red-breasted is identified during our local Christmas Bird count, we seldom see them in our vicinity as their preferred habitat is a coniferous forest and we live in an area forested with a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. Most of my encounters and all my photographs of these diminutive little hustlers have been taken in Algonquin Park, where they abound in the conifers and the abundant food supply they offer.

Smaller than the common white- breasted nuthatch, and bearing a rufous coloured breast and a black stripe along the eye line, they along with black- capped chickadees and gray jays, are very much candidates for those much sought after photographic images of birds feeding out of an open hand, filled with various seeds.

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Local Conservation Leaders Honoured at OLTA

In People, Uncategorized by couchiching

Three members of the Couchiching Conservancy were recognized for pioneering contributions to the Land Trust movement at this year’s Ontario Land Trust Alliance gathering in Geneva Park.
Lou and Judy Probst moved to Carden Township several decades ago and dedicated themselves to protecting the distinctive natural features of the area. In doing so, they have created a living legacy for future generations.

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Latest Acquisition Appeal: Agnew Nature Reserve

In Properties, Uncategorized by couchiching

Wetlands are among the most endangered habitats in Ontario. Despite the crucial role they play in providing natural habitat and maintaining the health of our lakes and rivers, they are disappearing at a rate of 80 acres a day.

Protecting such vanishing wilderness is a high priority for The Couchiching Conservancy, and when the opportunity to create the Thomas C. Agnew Nature Reserve arose, we acted.

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Ruby-throated hummingbirds: tiny energy!

In Birds by couchiching

There are only a handful of birds that captivate us to such an extent that we wear clothing, drink from china cups, wear jewelry and purchase paintings and other items adorned with its image.
Hummingbirds have to be positioned near the top of that list!

Weighing in at between .1-.3 ounces (2.5-8gms), the Ruby throated hummingbird is one of the world’s smallest birds.

The Hummingbird family comprises 320 species in the Americas, but only the Ruby-throated nest in Ontario In some of the southern states as many as 125 species have been recorded. The greatest concentration of hummingbirds is, as expected, in tropical countries.

Generous benefactor passes away

In People, Uncategorized by couchiching

William “Bill” Grant, who donated Grant’s Woods to the Couchiching Conservancy a decade ago, passed away in late May. Mr. Grant had been a resident at Birchmere Retirement Home but was in failing health for the past year.

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Prescribed Burn experiment at Carden Alvar

In Carden Alvar, Uncategorized by couchiching

After over 6 years of planning, the experimental prescribed burn on Cameron Ranch, Carden, finally took place on April 13th. Fire is thought to be a part of the natural process of alvars, and has definitely been a part of the history in Carden with fires recorded in 1946 and 1881. These large fires, however, were not planned and had major impacts on the community at that time.

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Annual General Meeting Draws a Crowd

In Events, Uncategorized by couchiching

Despite the possibility of scary winter weather, almost 150 people attended The Couchiching Conservancy Annual General Meeting on Saturday, January 28th at Lakehead University. Those in attendance watched presentations on our conservation efforts from 2011 as well as our plans for the upcoming year and beyond.

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Downy Woodpecker: a little guy that packs a punch

In Birds, Uncategorized by couchiching

Equally at home in either an urban or rural setting, the diminutive Downy woodpecker is a welcomed guest at bird feeders, especially during this rather dull time of the year.

The smallest of the Woodpecker family found in North America, the Downy is about six inches long, from the tip of its bill to the tip of the centre tail feathers. It is adorned with black and white body feathers; the males have a red patch on the back of their head. They are often confused with the larger Hairy woodpecker as both sexes of each species are similar.