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Useful Information

Page history last edited by John W Lehman 3 years, 5 months ago

 

 

This page is for information that doesn't fit into other categories but should be of interest to members of the Sault Naturalists.

 


Requests for Bat Monitors

(The following message from Fred Pinto of the Ontario MNR was forwarded by Tony Walker, Sep 21, 2012)
 One of our staff members is in NW Ontario for the month monitoring bats. While
 she is there she would like to speak to naturalist clubs that are interested
 in bats and the impact white nosed syndrome is having on their populations.
 White nosed syndrome has not been detected in NW Ont as yet which is why it
 is important to get an estimate of the unaffected population. . 
      Some of the monitoring tasks could benefit if interested members of the
 public help out. Could you send me any contacts you may have? 
Fred Pinto, R.P.F.
 Southern Science and Information Section
 Ministry of Natural Resources
 Tel: 705-475-5563
bmw-ontarionature@sympatico.ca

(The following message was forwarded by Val Walker)

Hi Val,

I thought that perhaps the Soo Nats would be interested in participating or even promoting this campaign? 

MNR districts are distributing this information to interested parties and individuals who may be interested in conducting bat roost surveys.   Attached is the Ontario packet [Click on Bat Count or Roost Survey] that can be sent to any individual or group that may be interested in participating. The purpose of the campaign is to engage the public in citizen science by conducting bat roost surveys at sites across the province and to focus the monitoring on female survivors of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and their reproductive success. As you can see, the monitoring begins in June so it is just around the corner.

      I know that a few Field Naturalist organizations are posting these packages on their websites; please feel free to do so as well, if you are interested.  Also, please feel free to pass this information along to anyone, or any groups at the college who may be interested.

Regards,

Lisa Keable

A/District Biologist

Sault Ste. Marie District MNR

Phone (705) 941-5108

(Another request for bat information)

     The Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre is involved in surveillance of bats in Ontario for white nose syndrome, which, unfortunately, has now been confirmed as far north as the Kirkland Lake region.

http://www.ccwhc.ca/index.php

We are interested in receiving reports of day-flying bats during the winter/early spring, and occurrence of unusual bat mortalities.

     Since we do not have the staff to travel to all parts of the province to conduct surveillance of bats in the winter, we are asking if field naturalists in your group would like to keep an eye out for unusual bat behaviour or deaths and call us if you observe such occurrences. Our toll-free number is 1-866-673-4781 or email ccwhc@uoguelph.ca.

     Thank you for your attention and assistance in helping us keep track of Ontario bats. 

Cheryl Massey, DVM

Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre

Ontario Veterinary College

University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1

email: cmassey@uoguelph.ca

phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 54662 

 

Temagami's Old-Growth Forest Threatened

(The following message is from Jackie Pye of Avaaz.org)
Dear friends across Ontario, 
Our government is going to let a mining exploration company destroy part of Temagami's magical old growth forest and I need your help to stop them.
    Ontario's Premier reversed plans to remove forest reserve status from Wolf Lake in Temagami after thousands of Canadians wrote him letters. But now Minister Bartolucci has signed a 21 year lease with an Alberta mining company, right in the middle of the forest preserve. Exploration and mining could devastate the area. The move is crazy, but technically legal. Our only hope is to come together and pressure Bartolucci to buy out the lease and end the mining threat.
    I want my two daughters and their kids to know the joy and wonder of canoeing through Wolf Lake, witness its old growth and drink its crystal clear blue water. Hundreds of others like me would like to do the same. Let's pressure pressure Bartolucci, and win, just like we won against Premier McGuinty. Join me in this call. When 20,000 of us join together, Avaaz will take out ads in Bartolucci's election riding and call him out for this forest destruction. Sign by clicking below and then pass this along to your friends and family:
https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Save_Temagami_1/?bCvCVcb&v=18247
    In 1999, the government of Ontario promised to protect the 300 year old Wolf Lake ancient pines located in the famous greater Temagami canoeing area northeast of Sudbury. But they have failed to act on that promise. Instead they signed a new 21 year lease with a mining company, opening this area up to potential total destruction. Experts say it's not even that great a mining resource but that hasn't held back the company. 
    Mining exploration at Wolf Lake has already destroyed popular campsites, carved heavy machinery tracks through the old growth, knocked down ancient pines, and run oily drill rigs through pristine creeks. But we have a chance to stop this new attack on our wilderness before it is too late. 
With hope,
Jackie with the Avaaz team

More Information 
Ontario breaks Temagami pledge (The Star)
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1100528--ontario-breaks-temagami-pledge
Wolf Lake Coalition info site
http://www.savewolflake.org
Temagami’s Wolf Lake threatened by proposed gold mine (Council of Canadians)
http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12789
Area needs permanent protection (The Sudbury Star)
http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/02/09/area-needs-permanent-protection
(Forwarded by Dave Euler, Sept. 27, 2012)

 

Canadian Topo Maps from MapSherpa

We received the following communication from Teresa Baldwin, representing MapSherpa.

I'm writing to introduce you to MapSherpa (www.mapsherpa.com), a new online tool for creating custom Canadian topographic maps. The focus of the service is high quality output maps similar in quality to topographic maps you would buy at a map store, but completely customizable to the exact area you want to print, and extra content (like trails or camp sites) that can be included by you right into the map.

MapSherpa is free to use online anonymously or with a free membership. Only PDF downloads ($2.99) or ordered wall maps ($38.95) require payment.

As this is a new service, we are providing an opportunity to test the service out and receive free digital maps for a one week period. Contact me to get your promotion code – I am the support contact for MapSherpa, so if you have any questions – I'll be here to assist in any way I can.

In the Winter of 2010, we are planning on rolling out a few new features that will likely be of interest to you and Sault Naturalists. These include:

    •    GPS and Google Earth integration allowing upload of data from your GPS, or Google Earth into MapSherpa

    •    Geographic Expansion to include the United States

    •    Map Sharing – allowing you to share customized maps including your content with your community

In addition, we are planning to launch two programs in the spring that can generate income for your organization:

    1.    Map Maker Program – Publish Maps and earn a portion of the sales of your maps

    2.    Affiliate Program – Visitors who come from your site to buy any MapSherpa maps earn you a portion of the map sale

When combined – it can allow you to provide your community with high quality maps of hiking trails, canoeing trips, or anything else that may be of interest for free online – while earning funds for your organization on any resulting sales of print map products.

If any of this is of interest – please let us know. We're keen to hear from you on how MapSherpa can become a valuable tool for you and your organization.

Teresa Baldwin

MapSherpa Support Staff

support@mapsherpa.com

tbaldwin@dmsolutions.ca

1-877-560-8323

(Dec. 3, 2009)

 

To Find and Print 1:50000 Topographic Maps

 

1. Print these instructions. (Click on "Save page as PDF" below or copy it to a Word file and then print it.)

2. Create a folder in which to store your maps.

3. Go to http://geogratis.ca/geogratis/en/product/search.do?id=8147

4. Locate an area of interest > by geographic location.

5. Click on the map (probably 3 times) to find the map you want (example 42D11). Note the number, you’ll be using it later.

6. Go to Download directory (on the left).

7. Choose Raster Data>Scanned Maps.

8. Click Digital Topographic Maps of Canada ftp

9. Open the 50K_300dpi folder.

10. Open successive folders to find the folder for the map you want (example - for 42D11 the first folder to open is 042).

11. Double click on the folder, and save it in the folder you created in Step 2.

12. Choose Open Folder, a new zipped folder has been created within the folder you created earlier.

13. Open the zipped folder, there will be one large file, and several small ones.

14. Right click on the large file and open it (it should open in MS Office Imaging).

 

So there is your map but (as far as I know) you are quite limited in what you can do by way of printing. Perhaps you require only a portion of the map, printed at a reasonable scale on 8 _ x 11 paper; read on…

15. Use the Select (arrow) tool on the left end of the toolbar to select the map area that you are interested in.

16. Choose Edit > Copy Image.

17. Open MS Word (or another program of your choosing) and paste in the copied image. You can now work with the map as you would any other picture.

 

It may be awkward getting your maps to print at exactly 1:50000 scale. If you are successful the blue UTM gridlines will be 2 cm apart. For seat-of-the-pants navigation (as is often done from a canoe or kayak) it may be sufficient to know that regardless of the scale, the spacing of the gridlines represents 1 km on the ground.

donandvivhall@sympatico.ca

 

Ontario Nature's 20/20 Charter

Members and friends of the Sault Naturalist of Ontario and Michigan are urged to take time to read Ontario Nature's 20/20 Charter.  Please contact Tony Walker at 705-759-6151 for further information. The following article is taken from Ontario Nature's winter magazine for 2010/11, used with permission of Victoria Foote.

The 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has come and gone. Delegates from around the world flocked to Nagoya, Japan, and over a two-week period in October set  the global conservation agenda for the next 10 years.
   In the same month, Canada published a report, Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and trends 2010, containing a detailed assessment of the state of biodiversity in this Country. At Ontario Nature, we want to celebrate nature, not mourn its loss. But reading highlights from this report make that mandate very difficult.
    According to the report, for example, 20 percent of frogs, toads and salamanders are at risk of extinction in Canada; over the last three decades, more than 40 percent of grassland bird population have been lost; most northern caribou herds are disappearing, "some precipitously."
     In the pages of this magazine, you've read that all but one of Ontario's native turtle species are classified as at risk; the fate of Ontario's grassland birds mirrors the continent-wide declines-- anywhere from 37 percent to 78 percent since 1968; Ontario's woodland caribou are declining by about 11 percent annually
      What can we celebrate? We can cheer our contribution to the continued expansion of protected habitats and ecosystems in this province through nature reserves.
      We can clap for legislated conservation in the far north, a massive carbon storehouse. And we can give a chirp for making the urban jungle safer for birds.
      But the stubborn fact remains that the demise of biodiversity continues, and we must do more. So the staff at Ontario Nature drafted a biodiversity charter for Ontario, which we call our"20/20 Vision." In it we have listed 10 key actions that must be taken to stop the loss of biodiversity in the next 10 years. We believe in strength in numbers. With your help, we can collectively send a message to the Government of Ontario asking that bold steps be taken to safeguard human life and wildlife. We can show that people care about wild species and wild spaces--lots of people.
       Around the world, every 20 minutes a species becomes extinct. Let's stop the losses. We can start in our home province. Please read our biodiversity charter and sign it online at www.ontarionature.org/biodiversity. On May 22nd, 2011,the International Day for Biological Diversity, we will take your names to the Premier of Ontario and the minister of Natural Resources, Environment, and Northern Development, Mines and Forestry and deliver our message on behalf of wildlife.
  Please join us for the celebration.  Victoria Foote ON Nature Magazine Editor. Ontario Nature.
(Forwarded by Tony Walker, Jan. 16, 2011)

Here's an update on the status of the charter.

We are thrilled to tell you that 3,500 people have now signed Ontario Nature’s 20/20 Vision for Biodiversity in Ontario. Thank you for supporting our charter outlining how our different levels of government can take action to slow the loss of biodiversity by 2020.
If you haven’t signed the charter yet, you can do so by clicking here. Every signature helps!
Here are some quick facts about Ontario’s plants, animals and ecosystems:

  • Ontario’s biological diversity is in danger with more than 200 plants and animals now at-risk. 
  • Containing four UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, eight Wetlands of International Importance, and 46 globally-significant Important Bird Areas, the province’s biodiversity is globally important.
  • With 98% of its grasslands, 80% of its forests, and 70% of its wetlands lost, it is time to take action before we lose anymore of the province’s plants, animals and natural systems.

Please share the charter with your network of friends, family and colleagues, and add your voice to ours by posting our link to your twitter or blog, or by sharing our Facebook page with your friends.
Ontario Nature Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/OntarioNature?sk=app_4949752878
Ontario Nature Charter Sign-up: www.ontarionature.org/protect/campaigns/biodiversity_2020_vision.php
The government of Ontario must take real action to protect the natural wonders of our beautiful province.
(Forwarded by Tony Walker April 3, 2011)

 

 

Ring of Fire Information

We received the following message from Caroline Schultz of Ontario Nature.

In July 2008, Premier Dalton McGuinty said, “Although the Northern Boreal has remained virtually undisturbed since the retreat of the glaciers, change is inevitably coming to these lands. We need to prepare for development and plan for it. It’s our responsibility as global citizens to get this right, and to act now.” Today, U.S. iron-ore giant Cliffs Resources, together with Canada Chrome, plan to develop a $1.5 billion chromite mining operation in the Ring of Fire, which will make this the largest chromite mine in the world – chromite is used to make stainless steel. We want to keep you informed about this extremely important issue. Last month, Ontario Nature staff met with Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry and also with his senior policy advisors. We appreciate that the Minister took the time to talk to us about the Ring of Fire, an approximately 20,000-hectare area in the James Bay Lowlands where more than 8,000 mining claims have now been made. Local people report that the exploration camps are littered with garbage and dozens of fuel tanks have disappeared into the surrounding bogs. The James Bay Lowlands are a wildlife sanctuary, home to many at-risk species such as lake sturgeon, bald eagles, short-eared owls and woodland caribou. The northern boreal is now the primary habitat for many species that have been pushed out of more southern regions because of industry – logging, mining and hydro development. The boreal ecoregion is also a huge carbon storehouse. Unchecked development here would destroy wildlife habitat, contaminate nearby lakes, rivers and soil, and damage a globally-significant carbon bank. What we have learned so far:

  • Neither the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry nor the Ministry of Natural Resources has overseen or coordinated any planning for the mining activity in the Ring of Fire.
  • Exploration activities have been allowed to proceed before the government and partner groups can determine which parts of the boreal region will be protected and before plans for sustainable and equitable projects can be formulated.
  • First Nations communities mounted a blockade in January on two airstrips used by mining companies in protest of the exploration activities on traditional lands.
  • At least one lake in the area, McFauld’s Lake, has been contaminated from mining companies dumping raw sewage, grey water, fuel and chemicals into the water.

Why has the Province allowed mining companies unfettered access to pristine habitat that is supposed to be part of a larger region considered for protection? On your behalf and on behalf of Ontario’s wild species and wild spaces, we will continue to monitor the situation in the Far North. We are determined that the provincial government protect the northern boreal as promised. Sustainability and conservation, not large-scale industrial projects without meaningful oversight, must guide land use in the James Bay Lowlands. We will continue to speak up for nature. 

  • Please support our work and help protect Ontario’s northern wilderness, by clicking here
  • To read more about Ontario Nature and the Ring of Fire, click here
  • To contact us for more information about the Ring of Fire, click here

(March 5, 2010)

 

Ontario Nature asked the club to mail the following letter to the local newspaper. With the consent of the Executive, President Dave Euler signed the letter on behalf of the club and sent it to the Sault Star.  The letter is posted on the Sault Star's web site.

Over the past two years, there has been a surge in mining claims staked throughout Ontario.  The mining boom has even expanded into the James Bay Lowlands region, where more than 2,000 claims were hurriedly staked in the six months following the 2007 provincial election when the Liberal government declared it would re-visit the Mining Act.  Unbeknownst to most Ontarians, there has recently been an escalation in the flurry of mining activity in the Far North in an area known as the Ring of Fire some 240 kilometres west of James Bay and north of the Albany River, shattering once pristine habitat.

     While the southern boreal forest is severely fragmented, the landscape crisscrossed by roads and cleared for industrial activity, the northern boreal is supposed to be ecologically intact.  Moreover, Premier Dalton McGuinty declared in 2008 that at least half of this precious land mass and enormous carbon storehouse would be protected while land-use planning that emphasized sustainable development would guide the future use of the other half.

     Indeed, Ontario’s northern boreal region represents one of the last intact, original forests remaining on the planet.  Beyond the northern reaches of the forest lies tundra, which supports one of the earth’s largest, continuous wetlands, and through which Canada’s largest dozen rivers drain.

     In the heart of the James Bay Lowlands, a large depression was created when a meteor struck the earth resulting in an unusually high concentration of metals, including nickel, copper and zinc, being pushed close to the surface.  Today, exploration and staking activities have reached a feverish pitch with nearly 40 junior and intermediate mining and exploration companies active within the Ring of Fire.

     This fall, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a major U.S. mining company, announced plans to join the frenzy in the Ring of Fire and invest $800 million to build an open-pit mine and facilities to process chromite into ferrochrome, a key ingredient to make stainless steel.  Meanwhile, Canada Chrome, a subsidiary of KWG Resources Inc., holds claims in the eastern side of the Ring of Fire and has announced its intention to develop a 200-kilometre rail corridor.  Noront Resources Ltd. is ramping up plans for full-scale development that includes building an air strip. 

     None of these massive projects is subject to a full environmental assessment.  Instead, staking, exploration and plans to build infrastructure is proceeding apace without any apparent government oversight.  This is in flagrant contravention of the Premier’s promise to protect this region; there is no public consultation; First Nations communities are not leading the decision making process and there is no acknowledgment of the ecological importance of this remarkable region.

     Logging, mining and hydro development were allowed generous access to the southern boreal forest, thereby damaging the integrity of a vital ecosystem.  Industrial incursions have taken a toll on wide-ranging mammals such as the woodland caribou and the wolverine, both now designated as species at risk in Ontario.  Now, in the northern boreal, development is occurring faster than scientists and First Nations communities can record information on sensitive areas, such as eskers or on the fish, birds and other wildlife that live there.

     Industrial activity is chopping up Canada’s boreal forest at a rate of about 1% a year – a rate of loss that is comparable to the pace of destruction in tropical rainforests.  In Ontario, the provincial government made a choice when it announced it would protect the ecological significance of the northern boreal region.  Now it is time to make good on its promise. 

(Dec. 7, 2009) 

 

Here is some information on the Ring of Fire from Ontario Nature, forwarded by Tony Walker.

 

Dear Tony,

You may have read in the news lately that there has been a flurry of mining activity in the Far North, in an area described as the Ring of Fire. Many people in Ontario aren't aware that within the Ring of Fire, which lies northeast of Thunder Bay, thousands of mining claims have been staked, shattering a pristine habitat and home to species found in few other places in the world.

Ontario 's northern boreal region represents one of the last intact, original forests remaining on the planet. Beyond the northern reaches of the forest lies tundra, which supports one of the earth's largest, continuous wetlands, and through which half of Canada 's largest dozen rivers drain.

We want you to know that we are paying close attention to this issue. Ontario Nature is deeply concerned about the influx of seemingly unregulated activity in northern Ontario . We are committed to keeping you informed on these activities and our response to them.

Here is what we know today:

* Nearly 40 mining and exploration companies are active in the heart of the James Bay Lowlands where the Ring of Fire is located. Cliffs National Resources Inc., a major U.S. mining company, is investing $800 million to develop an open-pit mine and facilities. Rail corridors have been staked; roads and structures will be built.

* None of these massive projects is subject to full environmental assessments. Development is occurring faster than scientists and First Nations communities can record information on sensitive areas, such as eskers or on the fish, birds and other wildlife that live there.

* In 2008, the Ontario government pledged to protect at least half of the boreal region, an enormous carbon storehouse, while land-use planning that emphasized sustainable development would guide the future use of the other half.

How can the boreal region be safeguarded from unchecked industrial development while mining activities continue to escalate there?

On your behalf and on behalf of the wild spaces and iconic species of Ontario's Far North, we will work hard to make sure the northern boreal is protected. In the coming weeks, we will meet with ministers, policy advisors, and First Nations communities. We will continue to raise awareness about unchecked mining in the far north.

We will continue to keep you updated on this issue and offer opportunities for you to get involved.

We remain committed to holding our government accountable for safeguarding the boreal as they promised. The fate of this region is now being determined. The boreal must remain rich in biodiversity and meet the needs of the communities that live there through sustainable projects. As promised.

Please support our work and help protect Ontario 's northern wilderness. You can reach us at: info@ontarionature.org

 

Announcements To read more about Ontario Nature and the Ring of Fire, click one of the links below.

Op-ed in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal

Article in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal

Editorial in the Sault Star

(Jan 12, 2010)

 

2009 Annual Christmas Bird Count

Dave Euler provided the following summary of our local bird count on December 19, 2009.

This year was notable for two changes, there were more gull species that are fairly rare on the count this year and birds in the finch family were less abundant.

There are thousands of gulls that live in the Sault Ste Marie area, where they frequent the landfills (i.e. garbage dumps) in both Sault Ste Marie Ontario and Sault Ste Marie Michigan.  They forage in these areas for human food, and what ever else they can find to eat.  Most of these gulls are “Herring Gulls” and “Ring-billed Gulls”, both very common species across Ontario and Michigan.  However every year some gulls that normally live and nest in the Arctic visit the Twin Saults. This year we had over 30 Glaucous Gulls, a very large almost completely white gull and more than 10 Iceland Gulls, also mostly white but smaller than their larger cousin.  It was good have them on the count this year.

On a more somber note, there were very few finches on the count this year.  These are colorful birds like the Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, American Goldfinch and White-winged Crossbills.  We found no Evening Grosbeaks, less than 5 Pine Grosbeaks, no Common Redpolls and far fewer American Goldfinches that we normally find.  We usually find hundreds of American Goldfinches and this year it looks there are fewer than 100 in the area.

The finches eat a variety of food, including cones of spruce and pine trees and seeds from ash and birch and tamarack.  However the 2009 spring and summer did not produce a large crop of seeds from the pine and spruce trees and these lovely birds are probably foraging somewhere in other parts of Canada where they have found a good crop of seeds.

One species of finch, the Evening Grosbeak, a stunning bird dressed in formal black gold and white feathers, however, is in deep trouble.  A recent report by the Audubon Society in a State of the Birds Report, Summer 2007, listed the top 20 birds that have experienced severe declines http://stateofthebirds.audubon.org/cbid/browseSpecies.php.   This species has declined from a population of 17,000,000 birds 40 years ago to less than 3,800,000 today.  The Audubon Society lists the threats to this species as follows:

 “Evening Grosbeaks are birds of boreal and montane forests and are therefore susceptible to all the incursions into those habitats: logging, mining, drilling, acid rain, and human development for transportation and housing. Chemical control of spruce budworm and other tree pests lowers this species’ food supply and may also cause secondary poisoning. Global warming is predicted to cause boreal drying and deforestation due to increases in insect populations and fire frequency.”

Our final count [of participants] is not in as yet but the preliminary tally is 70 people.

(Dec. 21, 2009)

 

Dave previously forwarded this announcement regarding the Christmas Bird Count.

Penticton, BC, December 8, 2009 

The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, the annual Christmas Bird Count will take place between December 14, 2009 and January 5, 2010. From Alaska to Antarctica, tens of thousands of volunteers will add a new layer to over a century of data vital to conservation. Armed with binoculars, local volunteers will join this Citizen Science initiative to count birds in our region. 

Scientists rely on these data to better understand how birds and the environment we share are faring. Just like canaries in the coal mine, birds serve as early indicators of problems that can eventually affect people and wildlife. Data from the Christmas count are at the heart of several scientific reports, including Audubon’s 2009 report that climate change is already having an impact on birds across the continent. 

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario and Michigan will join birders across the western hemisphere and participate in Audubon's longest-running wintertime tradition, the annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC), held on December 19, 2009.  This year, over 2,000 individual counts are scheduled to take place throughout the Americas and beyond from December 14, 2009 to January 5, 2010. 

“Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation,” says Dick Cannings, Bird Studies Canada’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator.  “Bird Studies Canada and our partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States, rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations across North America.” 

During last year’s count, about 70 million birds were tallied by nearly 58,000 volunteers across the continent, that number of observers a record level of participation.  In Canada, over 11,000 participants counted over 3 million birds on 362 counts. 

The CBC began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history.  On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the “side hunt,” a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals.  Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world's most significant citizen-based conservation effort – and a more than century-old institution. 

“When Frank Chapman started the Christmas Bird Census, it was a visionary act,” said Bird Studies Canada president George Finney.. “No one could have predicted how important the Count would become as a resource and tool for conservation.” The data also help document success stories such as the comeback of the previously endangered Bald Eagle, and significant increases in waterfowl populations, both the result of conservation efforts. 

To interview a local volunteer, please contact us. 

For more information, visit the Bird Studies Canada website at  ww.bsc-eoc.org/cbc. 

CBC compilers enter their count data via Audubon's website at www.audubon.org/bird/cbc where the 109th Count results will be viewable in near real-time.  Explore this information for the winter of 2008-2009 or visit a count from the past.  See if and how the state of your local birds has changed during the last 25...50...or 100 years. 

Bird Studies Canada is recognized nation-wide as a leading and respected, not-for-profit, conservation organization dedicated to the study and understanding of wild birds and their habitats. Each year, more than 20,000 volunteers actively participate in BSC research and education activities.

(Dec. 11, 2009)

Download a copy of the CBCs Feeder Watch List here.

 

Keep Out of Trouble with SPOT

Travelers should check out an amazing new communication device called SPOT. Whether you’re canoeing arctic rivers or just driving in northern Ontario or Michigan, SPOT could really add to your peace of mind, and it could save your life.

 

Spot uses GPS and satellite communications to (amoung other things) send distress signals to your family, or rescue authorities. It not only lets people know you are in trouble, it also tells them your exact location.

 

Check out the details at one of the following websites. 

http://www.findmespot.com/explorespot/servicepricing.aspx

http://www.gpscentral.ca/products/spot.html

http://www.equipped.org/SPOT_ORSummer2007.htm

 

Don Hall

 

Reptiles at Risk on the Road

Joe Crowley, Ontario Herpetofaunal Atlas Project Coordinator, sent on the following information from Jeff Hathaway about this reptiles project. He says "It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Ontario's reptiles and to see many of our native species up close and personal. For any groups interested, we could arrange for a joint presentation between this program and Ontario Nature's new Herpetofaunal Atlas program. The Sciensational Sssnakes! segment would provide information about Ontario's reptiles using live animals while the herp atlas portion (which could be kept short to 10 mins or so) would provide you with information about how to get involved in the new atlas program. Please note that Jeff is trying to work out the presentation schedule for the fall/winter this week so if you are interested you should contact him (or myself) immediately." (joec@ontarionature.org, 705 742-0518)

 

Greetings from the Reptiles at Risk on the Road Project!
 Our project is a partnership between Sciensational Sssnakes!!, Scales Nature Park, Laurentian University, and CARCNET. We have received funding from Environment Canada's Habitat Stewardship Program and the Ministry of Natural Resources Species at Risk Stewardship Fund to provide educational programming about reptiles at risk. We have a variety of target areas where Ontario's reptile species at risk may be found and are looking for groups and events within these areas that would work well for one of our free programs. At this time we are scheduling events for the fall season of September to November, in the following target areas: the Carolinian zone, the Bruce peninsula, the eastern Georgian Bay region, the Land Between, and the Frontenac arch.

We are contacting groups like yours in our target areas because you already have an enthusiastic interest in your local environment.  We greatly appreciate the work your groups are already doing for species at risk, and would like to provide you with further information about the reptile species in your area. At this time we are asking you to help us by making us aware of any gatherings that your group is planning to have this fall, or available dates for possible gatherings, that might work well for one of our programs. We will be doing many school programs, but will especially be looking at venues to visit in the evenings and on weekends. These programs are free of charge to groups in our target areas. Please understand that we will not be able to visit all venues, however we will try to fit in as many as possible.

Our programs are run in two parts, beginning with a 40-45 minute presentation featuring live animals of various native species. This is followed by a hands-on experience where the audience is given the opportunity to touch or hold many of the animals and ask questions. Many of the species we use in our programs are species at risk in Ontario, and we feel that education is one way to ensure these animals will be present for
future generations.

For more information please visit www.reptilesatrisk.org or www.scisnake.com

Feel free to contact us by e-mail at jeff@scisnake.com or by phone at 
705-327-2353.

Thank you for your assistance, and we look forward to hearing from you in the very near future—

Jeff Hathaway

(Forwarded by Tony Walker Sept. 2, 2009)

 

Ontario Piping Plover Watch 2008

 

Once again this year, your assistance would be appreciated in reporting sightings of Piping Plover along the Ontario Great Lakes shoreline and informing others to watch for this bird.  The Piping Plover is a nationally and provincially endangered shorebird that last nested along the Canadian Great Lakes shoreline in the 1970’s.  In the past few years, an increasing trend in the number of breeding pairs and continuing high productivityin northern Michigan, where the Great Lakes population continues to nest, has lead to the expectation that Piping Plover may re-occupy former nesting territory in Ontario.  In 2007, there was evidence of that trend when Piping Plovers nested successfully on the Ontario shoreline of the Great Lakes for the first time in 30 years.

2007 Monitoring Activity

Last year’s monitoring activity resulted in multiple sightings of adult Piping Plovers and nesting attempts including:

Lake of the Woods area

There were 7 observed adults (2 Sable Islands Provincial Nature Reserve and 5 Windy Point), and 3 unsuccessful nesting attempts due to wave-washing and suspected predation.

North Sauble Beach

A pair of banded Piping Plovers were first observed on this beach by thirteen-year old Brendan Toews and his mother Kim on Mother’s day – May 13, 2007.  Three chicks survived to fledgling stage and left Sauble Beach on August 4, 2007.  This was the first successful nesting attempt by Piping Plovers on the Ontario great lakes shorelines in 30 years (the last occurred at Long Point on Lake Erie in 1977) and the first time that plovers have again used this beach in 35 years.  

Thank you to everyone who was involved in monitoring and reporting on Piping Plover last year!

2008 Monitoring News

Already this year there have been four pairs of Piping Plovers found nesting; two pair at Wasaga Beach PP, one pair at Oliphant beach and one pair at North Sauble Beach (same birds as last year).  Here’s hoping we have another successful year!   An individual Piping Plover was sighted on the Toronto Islands in late May.

Reporting Sightings

If you observe Piping Plover or become aware of a sighting, please contact Don Sutherland, Ministry of Natural Resources or Jeff Robinson, Canadian Wildlife Service, noting the date, location, observer, with contact information, and any evidence of bands.  If the observation is in a provincial park, park staff should also ensure that the Park Superintendent and Zone Ecologist are notified.  Any occurrences of birds should be kept confidential.  In order to avoid undue disturbance to the plovers, do not search for nests and report the sighting as soon as possible so that actions needed to protect potential nest sites can be assessed and implemented. The most critical time to look for birds is between late April and early June, when the birds are arriving at breeding sites and are engaged in conspicuous territorial and nest initiation displays.  The information will be compiled and used in an annual report on the Piping Plover on the Great  Lakes in Ontario for MNR, Parks Canada and CWS use. 

Request for Volunteers

The active nests at Wasaga Beach PP, Oliphant beach and Sauble Beach need additional volunteers to act as guardians.  Participating in the guardian program is a rewarding experience both from the help you give to an endangered species and getting to watch the birds in a beautiful setting.  Volunteers who would like to help at Sauble Beach or Oliphant beach should contact Stew Nutt at (519) 372-8588 or saubleplover@gmail.com; interested volunteers for Wasaga Beach PP can call the Park office at (705) 429-2516 and leave a message for Stacey Kerslake. 

Priority Sites

There are several locations that are priorities for regular monitoring. These include historical sites of occurrence such as: Windy Point (Kenora) and Sable Islands Provincial Nature Reserve (NWZ), Awenda Provincial Park (CZ), Crescent Beach (Guelph), Crystal Beach (Guelph), Erieau (Aylmer), Fish Point Provincial Nature Reserve (SW), Long Beach (Guelph), Long Point Provincial Park (SW), Oliphant Beach (Midhurst), Point Pelee National Park (PC), Presqu’ile Provincial Park (SE), Rondeau Provincial Park (SW), Sandbanks Provincial Park (SE), Toronto Islands (Aurora), Turkey Point Provincial Park (SW), Van Wagner’s/Burlington Beach (Guelph), and Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (CZ). Sites which are not known to have supported Piping Plover historically, but which otherwise offer some suitable habitat for Piping Plover are also a priority for monitoring and include: Amherst Island, Darlington Provincial Park (SE), Michael’s Bay (Sudbury), Dorcas Bay (Midhurst), James N. Allen Provincial Park (SW), Port Burwell Provincial Park (SW), Port Franks (Aylmer), and The Pinery Provincial Park (SW). 

As many historic and/or suitable sites are located in provincial parks, parks staff that are on or near beaches to prepare for the operating season are especially requested to be on the alert for Piping Plovers. 

Please be sure to consult with park staff if you are interested in monitoring in a national or provincial park.  Also remember that permission from landowners is required to monitor any areas located on private property.

Please report sightings of Piping Plover and breeding evidence to:

Don Sutherland

tel: 705-755-2161

e-mail: don.sutherland@ontario.ca 

Jeff Robinson

tel: 519-472-6695

e-mail: Jeff.Robinson@ec.gc.ca

(Posted by Don Hall)

 

Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario

A number of our members have contributed data to the Atlas of Breeding Birds of Ontario, 2001–2005.

Without doubt, the second Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas ranks among the most successful, important and exciting bird research and conservation projects ever undertaken in the Western Hemisphere.

The atlas is the product of over 150,000 hours spent in the field by a multitude of dedicated volunteers who collected a phenomenal 1.2 million individual breeding bird records! This atlas will be an essential resource for birders and nature lovers, as well as for the environment or resource manager. Already, atlas data is showing significant changes since the first atlas was conducted over 20 years ago. This information will aid in the assessment and demonstration of how regional and global environmental changes have affected Ontario’s bird populations.

    The atlas will be 9x12 inches and contain over 700 full colour pages of photographs, maps, and charts for the 300 species breeding in the province. It will be printed and distributed in the fall of 2007. For information on the publication and to purchase a copy, visit http://www.birdsontario.org/atlas/index.jsp. This web site, which serves as a complement to the book, contains several items that you can access online, such as species distribution and effort maps, various interactive data summaries, options to download the raw data and more. 

(From the Wake Robin, April 2007; updated Feb. 23, 2010)

 

 

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