by Sandy Garland
Thanks to participants Jim Picken and Eric Cohen who contributed photos for this posting.
March came in with a porcupine this year, when OFNC members Dave Moore and Bev McBride led a nature walk in Stony Swamp. On Sunday, a small group of people gathered at Jack Pine Trail, eager to learn about the natural world and grateful to be outside on a mild, sunny day.
Although it was a quiet day for wildlife, Dave says, “We managed to find a lot of trees and a few birds, plus the bonus of seeing a porcupine waddling along the trail ahead of us. The Chickadees and Nuthatches enjoyed our peanuts, as did the Red Squirrels!”
According to Eric Cohen, “The leaders were extremely knowledgeable about shrubs, trees and IDing them from trunks and leaves. They also showed us the trails of Emerald Ash Borer and other insects that lay eggs under the bark.”
Dave explained how to tell the difference between a Hairy and Downy Woodpecker “in a manner that was memorable and clear.”
Jim Picken, who sent us the great photos below, reported, “It was a good walk, and I think everyone had a good time. I really appreciated learning some tree ID points from Bev, and about some of the bird calls from Dave.”
By Rob Lee
On their February 8th field trip, the Macoun Field Club snowshoed across their Study Area’s biggest cedar and ash swamp in Ottawa’s Greenbelt. We crossed deer, hare, and fisher tracks so often that most of the kids came to know them on sight. Ermine and shrew tracks, each seen only once or twice, required a good deal of prompting.
From time to time we looked overhead to see if woodpeckers had been finding Emerald Ash Borers – the birds flake away patches of bark and extract the beetle grubs. The signs were there; the D-shaped exit holes were diagnostic. The exit holes show that the insect has penetrated 300 metres into the western Greenbelt’s best preserved natural zone since last year at this time, when we were finding Emerald Ash Borers only around the margins, near roadways. There appear to be none farther in – yet.