Long Point – Winter 2022

On Tuesday January 11, 2022, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a small group on an all day outing to the Long Point area looking for birds. Due to the lack of open water they didn’t get many water birds, but they certainly got more than a few Sandhill Cranes and Bald Eagles. Here are a few photos from that day.

For the full report on the day, with many more photos, see David’s blog at Waterloo Region Nature Outing to Long Point, Norfolk County, ON.

WRN Teens – Hike at Huron Natural Area

WRN Teens Hike at Huron Natural Area, November 27 2021
 
After our first experience doing monitoring every week from April to October (with a short August break) at SpruceHaven farm, WRN Teens has left the nest boxes and salamanders for a while. We’ve slowed our pace and are back to once or twice a month activities.
 
Our November activity was a leisurely hike in Huron Natural Area, guided by adult volunteers, Thelma Beaubien and Linda Dutka.  Here is a report written by Mercer, one of the Teens.
 
Juvenile Eastern Red-spotted Newt from Teens 2021 salamander monitoring
“I will be writing about the highlights from the Guided Hike, this list will be in no particular order. The first highlight was the beaver evidence and dam. The second was when we tried to feed the chickadees. We didn’t have enough time to wait for them to feed off our hands but it was fun nonetheless. The third was the Great Horned Owls we called to and listened to, incredibly the owls called back. The fourth was when we talked about the kettle lakes found in the park, which were formed from ice chunks that fell from ancient retreating glaciers that scraped across North America. The fifth was when we talked about the mixed forests and coniferous forest found in the park. Those were the highlights.”
 
Thanks to all the Teens who came out, to Mercer for reporting, to Linda and Thelma for leading, and to Teens families for providing transportation.
 
Marg Paré
WRN Teens coordinator
 

WRN Kids – Predator Prey Game

Predator Prey Game – Nov 27, 2021

This month, Nature Kids met at RARE in Cambridge. We started out by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors with the life cycle. If we won the rock/paper/scissors challenge, we moved to the next stage of the life cycle. We played with both the butterfly and the frog life cycles.

We each were assigned to be either a herbivore, an omnivore or a carnivore, and we had to survive by getting food and water. There were stations in the woods where we could get food and water.

Food

As a group we walked to an area called the Salamander Forest where we played the Predator Prey Game. This was a lovely forest off the path with lots of space to run around.

Water

If we got food and water, we could get extra “lives” (represented by popsicle sticks) for our species. If we were eaten by those above us in the food chain, we had to give them one of our “lives.” It was a sunny, cold day, but we stayed warm because we did a lot of running around the forest trying to survive.

Carnivore -> Omnivore -> Herbivore
Watch out for the human disrupter in the orange vest!
Play Video

At the end of the game, we talked about whether our species survived well, was endangered, or was overpopulated. If there are imbalances in the food chain, it affects the whole food chain. We ended the morning by talking about what we could do to take care of animals and their habitat. What are some things we can do to help endangered species?

 

Giselle Carter
WR Nature Kids coordinator

Hillside Park – Fall 2021

On Wednesday November 24, 2021, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group along the trails in Hillside Park. Here are a few photos from that walk.

On Saturday November 27, 2021, a second group repeated that walk. Here are a few more photos.

For the full report on the walks, with many more photos, see David’s blog at Hillside Park with Waterloo Region Nature.

WRN Kids – Fun Day of Bird Watching

Fun day of Bird Watching.

On Saturday November 6, we went bird watching at Hillside Park in Waterloo.  The weather was nice, it was cool but no rain.  At first, we played an ice breaker game – would you rather.  It was a fun game. 

We saw a few squirrels running around.  We learned an interesting fact about black squirrels, they are unique to Southern Ontario, and not found in many places outside this area.  There were a lot of squirrel nests in some of the trees.

We saw a few American Robins in the top of some trees.

David was telling us how each year the bird population is declining.  This is why it is important to enjoy and learn about the birds around us.  There were a few Cardinals out as well.  The male Cardinals are bright red, and the females are a light brown in colour.

We had a special guest, David Gascoigne (a bird expert) who led the group.

We learned about invasive plants such as Buckthorn.  The Chickadees were out singing to us and flying around.  They are David’s favourite bird in Ontario, and mine as well.

There were also lots of Mallard ducks swimming in the creek as we crossed over the bridge.  The green head of male Mallard ducks are pretty colour.   We saw a blue Herron flying.

I really enjoy learning about birds and hope to go bird watching again! 
 

Reported by:     Hunter

Linear Trail and Riverside Park – Fall 2021

On Wednesday November 10, 2021, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group along the Linear Trail and then into Riverside Park in Cambridge. Here are a few photos from that walk.

On Saturday November 13, 2021, a second group repeated that walk. Here are a few photos.

For the full report on the walks, with many more photos, see David’s blog at Outing for Waterloo Region Nature to Linear Trail and Riverside Park, Cambridge, ON.

RIM Park – Fall 2021

On Wednesday October 27, 2021, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group along the trail at RIM Park. Here are a few photos from that walk.

On Sunday October 31, 2021, a second group repeated that walk at RIM Park. Some of them later made an extra stop at Bechtel Park to look for a Screech Owl. Here are a few photos from that walk.

For the full report on the walks, with more photos, see David’s blog at Two Outings to RIM Park for Waterloo Regional Nature.

Mill Race Trail, St. Jacobs – Fall 2021

On Wednesday October 13, 2021, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a small group along the Mill Race Trail, St. Jacobs. Here are a few photos from that walk.

Unfortunately the second walk planned for the following Saturday got rained out.

For the full report on the walk, with more photos, see David’s blog at The Mill Race Trail with Staunch Naturalists of Waterloo Region Nature.

WRN Teens: Gardening for Pollinators

Gardening for Pollinators, Forest Heights Pollinator Patch
 
On Sat Oct 2 2021, WRN Teens had an afternoon work project that took us away from our usual SpruceHaven territory for the first time in a year and a half!  We were invited to do some weeding (can you tell we love all kinds of outside work?) in the Forest Heights Pollinator Patch in Meadowlane Park behind Meadowlane Public School in Kitchener.  It was a busy day as we were covering morning salamander monitoring as well, so we called in some help from Teens parents.  Several kindly joined us and it was fun to have a family event and do our distancing in family groups.
Forest Heights Pollinator Patch is the creation of Giselle Carter whom some of our Teens know as the coordinator of WRN Kids, and Amanda Farquhar.  The garden is maintained by neighbours and the students at Meadowlane School.  They are proud to be part of rare‘s “1000 Gardens Project.”  Check them out on FaceBook!  
 
Our job was to remove less desirable plant species to make space for a hundred or so new arrivals to be planted by classes the following week.  There were lots of weeds to go around and as always, the Teens put their brains and muscles right to work.  In two hours, we had filled several garden waste bags, freed up lots of space, and learned about what plants pollinators prefer and which tend to take over.  
 
Thanks to Giselle and Amanda for the invitation and patient explanations and to the hard-working Teens, Teens parents and Teens adult volunteers.  Special thanks to Teen Nicole who came out and worked hard both morning AND afternoon!  
 
Marg Paré
WRN Teens coordinator
 

WRN Kids – Scavenger Hunt

A report of the first WRN Kids outing of the 2021-2022 season on Saturday, September 25, 2021:

We went on an outdoor scavenger hunt at Huron Natural Area to find things in nature. It was sunny but not too hot, a perfect day to go on a walk.

Before we went out to look for things on the list we played two games. The first game was called builders and dozers. It was adults versus kids and we tied the first game but the kids won the second game. Then we got a parachute and bounced a stuffy up and down until it went flying off the parachute.

After the games, we went out with our parents along the trails to find things on the list before time ran out. 

My mom and I made it back to the meeting place in time to talk about what we found. Some of the pictures that the adults took were really cool. 

Only one family found an item on the list called Jack-in-the-pulpit. We were the only family that found an apple tree.

 
Doll's Eyes / White Baneberry

My favourite part was deep in a forest area where there were many different mushrooms that looked like plates with dirt on the top. On the bottom, they had skinny white gills. We got a little bit lost and found lots of new trails we’d never been on before. 

Jack-in-the-pulpit Berries
Thank you for reopening the WRN Nature Kids because it’s really fun and interesting.
 

Reported by:     Cohen

Second Trip to North Shore of Lake Ontario 2021

On Saturday, September 25, 2021, David Gascoigne led a group of 11 people on a field trip to the north shore of Lake Ontario (second of two this month). As usual, David has provided a full report on his blog with lots of photos, so here are just a few of those photos and a link to that report:

An Outing for Waterloo Region Nature – 25 September 2021

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IMG_2610

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker

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Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

American Redstart
American Redstart

First Trip to North Shore of Lake Ontario 2021

On Wednesday, September 1, 2021, David Gascoigne led a group of 8 people on a field trip to the north shore of Lake Ontario (first of two this month). As usual, David has provided a full report on his blog with lots of photos taken by two of the participants, so here are just a few of those photos and a link to that report:

An Outing for Waterloo Region Nature with COVID at bay!

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BlackEyed Susan
BlackEyed Susan
Northern Parula
Northern Parula
Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks
Green Heron
Green Heron
Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant