Saturday, December 26, 2009

Timmins Daily Press covers the Christmas Bird Count

Still working on making sure I did not miss any presents from Santa. I will get the data summarized soon and post it here, as well as enter it in the international data base.

In the mean time you can see an update in the Timmins Daily Press.

You can read the media story of another successful bird count in Timmins.

Timmins Naturalists page about the Christmas Bird Count.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Bird Count 2009 Timmins Ontario

Saturday December 19th, 2009

It was a great day ! !

Will take a couple of free hours to compile all the data and upload it.

Check back here before the new year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ring Necked Pheasant

While at the hockey rink the other day one of the Dads commented I would not believe what he had seen in his yard.

A ring necked pheasant! He was surprised to learn I already had a picture of it!

Thanks Pam!
You can see another picture of the bird at Pam's Blog. She is a very talented artist and has some great stories on a crow family she has be-friended.

I have added this observation to the Timmins Naturalist Observations Webpage.

A Guidebook to Ontario's old-growth

Ontario's old-growth forests: a guidebook complete with history,ecology, and maps (published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside) is now available in bookstores.

The book includes:
* Overviews of forest history and ecology
* An atlas of 59 old-growth sites throughout the province
* Box essays written by experts
* Over 180 colour photos and 55 colour maps

more details available at

front and back covers

The Timmins Honour Roll of Trees is here

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Timmins Memorial Trees

Have a tree planted to honour the memory of a loved one.

Your donation will go towards the support of wintergreen's many community conservation projects.

You can purchase a tree that is planted near a walking trail.

Buy a tree in the name of a loved one will last very long time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Two many turtles!

More with the turtle theme this year in Timmins, I now have two that moved in.

Kid number one has wanted turtles for many years, but they have not been available here in Timmins. The 101 mall now has a little pet shop and they carry turtles.

These turtles are red eared sliders.

We have had an aquarium in the shed for about 3 years and finally get to use it. Got it from a garage sale back then.

Guess turtles will be around for many years to come. Wonder if they will go to university with the kid.

Birch Bonsai start of Winter

We now have snow in Timmins. I think it will stay this time.

My little tree has been outside waiting for the cold. The buds look healthy and the stem is green.

The plan is to leave it outside until it is below -20C then bring it into the house and store in a cool dark place for a little while before bringing it into the heat to start the growth cycle over again.

You can buy your own tree to make your own bonsai at Millson Forestry Service. If you do not see the species you want let them know and maybe they can start what you want.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Water beetle under the ice.

Water beetle swimming under the ice looks like a creature frozen in jade. There was all kinds of life moving under the ice.

I could not resist taking a walk on the thin ice just to see if it would hold me. I did not venture out into the deeper water, but stayed where I could see the bottom was not as far away as my rubber boots were high.

With ice like this you can skip rocks that go forever! Love that sound!!

Martin watching over the Boreal Forest

Roll'n and I were walking in the bush this past week when he left me. I could here him barking not far off the path I was on.

I wondered over to see what all the noise was about. He usually does not bark unless hes has something very important he needs help with.

He had a martin up a large white spruce.

The martin was not happy. Sounds like an unhappy cat that has been backed into a corner. At the office we have a cat that is not my friend and is often vocal when I walk by. I walk by giving plenty of space, the dam cat has left me wounded before.

Trees in Space

A Canadian company has been asked to have tree material sent to international space station.

"A study known as APEX-Cambium (Advanced Plant EXperiments on Orbit). Funded by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), APEX-Cambium will help determine the role gravity plays in trees forming different kinds of wood."

Despite all the money spent on forestry research, relatively little focuses on basic physiology, according to Savidge. "We don't understand how trees make wood."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beaver Busy Before Winter

Beaver love aspen trees, more commonly called a poplar. Bark, buds and branches of the aspen tree are favorite.

This very large aspen tree is showing the strength of wood. The top of the tree is very branchy and heavy, yet less then a third of the truck is left.

When the beaver returns it will have to be very careful to move away as the tree falls. It is going to fall right on to a road as another one had done maybe a week before.

Hinterlands Who's Who The beaver

Adopt-A-Pond The beaver The Aspen tree

Timmins Honour Roll of Trees Largest Aspen Tree

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Birch Bonsai Ready for Winter

Fall is in the air.

We have had some snow and the leaves have fallen from my white birch. Now I have to make sure it is prepared for the winter.

I have given it fertilizer and it is well watered. It will have to dry down a little to ensure it will not have root rot during the winter.

I usually just put the trees beside the house and cover them in snow. The roots will stay insulated and will not freeze to the -40C temperatures we will have.

This little tree had been in the greenhouse for one year and in a pot for 2 years before that. Next year I hope the bark will start to turn white, just like a mature white birch.

I think I have shaped the tree well and will have to continue the shaping next year.

Think I will get a couple more of these going next year. The yellow birch growing in the greenhouse have become too big too fast to make into bonsai, but they are in great shape to be planted out next spring!

You can always get your own trees to bonsai from the green house. Here is a site I found with some more info., but there is loads of info on the net.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spider Man Slug in the Boreal Forest

Standing, looking at my compass, sighting my direction, I notice a little speck out of the corner of my eye.

Swinging in the wind is a slug. Slowly lowering itself from a tree branch. I have never seen this before. I did not know a slug could web it's way to the ground.

While I watched for 10 minutes the slug descended more then 25cm. It was maybe 1 meter from the ground when it let go it's line and landed on the forest floor. The branch the critter had come from was 3 meters in the air.

What was that slug doing up that high? Climbing down would be a slow process.

I searched the internet but could not find a good resource to link to about slugs. some looked close to this one but not really.

If you know what it is let us know!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blue Spotted Salamander

I started this entry some time ago. I finish it tonight.

My puppy noted by his tail wagging that something of interest was under a large rock. His tail tells me when he thinks he has something cornered for sure.

I come to give him a hand to see what he has. I roll the large boulder to the side and watch a little mouse run away into a pile of slash. The dog does not see it.

I notice a little creature there in the dirt slowly moving away. I pick it up and looked at it carefully. The warmth of my hand makes this little critter a little more active. I take a couple of pictures while it absorbs the sun.

I place him back in a well protected place as it prepares for the winter. map

Raccoon comes to Timmins

The other day I came across a raccoon.

The poor little critter had been hit by a car on the airport road. I had been told a month ago that raccoons where in town.

Now I know it is true.

Added to the Timmins Naturalists Observation Page.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Timmins Hiking Day

A great success!!

It was a fantastic day, the weather was warm, the people a delight! A very good turnout.

There was all ages and some great discussions about trees. Everyone likes trees. It was strange that we did not even see one bird. We were a little loud walking on the trails, but little birds usually do not mind. Wonder what they were doing.

Our GPS friend left us with this information:
Total distance 3.74km
Total moving time 54 minutes
Total stopped time 19 minutes
Moving average speed 4.2 km/h

For those of you missed Ontario Hiking Day - start planning for next year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feel like summer in the swamp.

What another great summer day in the forest! Yes I know it is fall, but it has been so wonderful the last couple of weeks.
I had the opportunity to walk up to a little pond this afternoon. I think I saw the biggest Northern Pitcher-plant I have ever seen.

One plant I looked into had a dead fly floating in the water inside the pitcher. You can see the fly in one of the pictures.

Is is actually fall, the tamarack is already turning yellow.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cecropia Moth in Town

On the back of the Timmins Checklist of the Birds is a form that can be used to report observation you make in and around Timmins.

I was sent one of these forms with photographs. Real photographs came in the mail.

Thanks to another keen observer here in Timmins we add yet another species that has been seen in the area.

The moth is out of it's typical range which makes me wonder if the moth was blown here, or did the larval stage hitch hike into the area.

What more information? You can follow the links below.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Foresters in the Forest

Today I walked a little over 4km in the bush.
Much of that was slogging through cedar and alder. You must walk gently, so when you step into the black hole of muck you do not go deeper then your knee.

I always enjoy watching Roll'n walk in the deep muck of the swamp. I am sure he enjoys the coolness on his paws. It turned out to be a very nice day.

Today we were looking at drainage. The company and OMNR are very serious about protecting the water that moves through the forest.

What I learned today was one of the lads better half saw a snapping turtle the other day! Wow that is 4 snapping turtle sightings in the last 2 years, 3 of them this year. I will follow up when I have the exact location and I will try to look around the area so I can get a picture. My other entry about snapping turtles.

One of our discussion was around the bark coming off the cedar trees.
I wonder if anyone know why this happens. We were about 500 meters from the last group of peeling bark cedar I wondered about before in a previous entry.

The suggest I like is it happens in the spring, or fall. The tree has lots of moisture in it when a very cold night happens. The tree expands with the cold and causes the bark to split all around the tree. Best explaination I have heard so far.

If you can tell me more - I would like that!

We also were very close to a little hawk screaming in the forest. The blue jays I think were bugging the bird. Using the Dendronica bird identification program I am pretty sure we were hearing the broadwinged hawk.

A wonderful day in the forest!!

Care to comment boys?

New addition to the Timmins Honour Roll of Trees

Jack Pine


Red Pine

Added to the Timmins Honour Roll of Trees. I have been promised pictures will follow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sudbury is getting Greener - Slowly

Recently I was in Sudbury for a Saturday night, and a Friday night too. I was there for a Regional Local Citizen Committee Conference.

Our field tour on Friday afternoon was to look at the regreening of Sudbury.

Many years ago the mining of Sudbury metals created a ring of destruction around the mining complexes due to pollution coming from the mills.

Since the 1980's the regreening efforts have taken barren lands that could not grow anything and created lands capable of supporting vegetation. It will be many more years before the forest return the Sudbury basin, but at least the effort is being put forward.

Pictured below is what the ground has looked like over the last 50 years with nothing growing except some poor white birch and some mosses. Other picture is of ground that has had lime added to reduce the acid, seeded to grasses and clover and fertilized, then finally trees planted.

The white pine seem to be doing really well on the site. I hope over the long term the area is able to recover to again produce great trees that will create oxygen for all of us!

Do you want to plant your own tree or purchase a tree that will produce oxygen.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tenacious Tree and white pine stump

White pine stumps. Two different time zones.

The other day where I was walking I came across two very large stumps. I know one is a white pine and I am pretty sure the second one is too.

Both the stumps are a result of the trees being cut.

The first stump is very old and has two spruce trees growing on top of it. Rotting stumps can make a good seed bed, but for spruce as the stump rots the tree will not be successful. Spruce like to be a little more grounded.

The other stump is of a more recent vintage. The stump is high, which would suggest a cross cut saw was used, but I think it was cut by chain saw with no regard to safe and proper felling technique.

Give it another 20 years and seed will germinate on this stump too. What I find interesting is the size of these stumps. White pine, I believe were a lot more abundant then they are now.

The very large white pine were important to the building of Timmins.

Forest companies in the area are doing a really good job of getting white pine back on the landscape. I hope one day we will see the many white pine again scattered close to town.

The Honour Roll of Timmins Trees has the biggest trees of each species in the area. the biggest white pine in the area is only 24 km down pine street.

The best time to plant a tree was 100 years ago, the next best time is today! Get a native tree and plant it today.

Fox in the Forest

Fox den in the forest under an erratic. Now that is something to write home about, or blog anyway.

I have driven by this hole in the wall of a sand edge. I just had to take a closer look. I asked Roll'n to stick his nose in the hole and tell me what he thought. He was not interested at all. I expect the hole has not been used for awhile.

I think it is a red fox den for a number of reasons, the biggest reason is the feathers at the entrance. Little while feathers of a bird, I am thinking ruffed grouse. Fox like bush chickens.

Den den is in a well drained spot with a very large erratic sitting on the top. I looking in the hole and took a picture of the roots pushing into the hole. . . . uuummm I wonder what lies just beyond.

To find out I reach in as far as I can and take a picture. Turns out it is empty as far as the camera can see. Good for me. Maybe I have seen too many movies, but it is never a good idea to stick your whole arm into an unknown tunnel.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Nighthawk Common this summer

I have seen so many Nighthawks this summer. I have seen a couple during the day, which I think is a little unusual.

The flight of a nighthawk is unmistakable. The wing bars really stand out when in flight.

The other day at the office a nighthawk sitting in the back was pointed out to me. I happened to have my video camera with me that day and thought I would walk to the end of the greenhouse to see if the bird was still sitting there. The bird had found a location that blended in well with. It is certainly hard to see if you were not looking for it.

Dan said he had been right up beside it with the tractor and it did not even fly away. I am guessing it was just waiting for the evening onslaught of bugs. The bugs have not been as plentiful this year, maybe due to the cool wet summer. Maybe they need to spend more time searching for food so are extending the feeding hours?

Near Timmins we have Nighthawk lake, Nighthawk forest, and many Nighthawk businesses.

For more information about the bird I have included a few links below.

Millson Forestry Service is where the bird was seen. Here is a map.

I have a 10 second video, like I have done before, but I just can not get it to work. I will try again tomorrow, maybe it is on their end.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My Puddingstone visit, pictures and maps

The glacier brought the stone within one hundred kilometers of Timmins, Larry brought it the rest of the way.

I just had to go visit this interesting find. I do see many puddingstones, the in-laws are in puddingstone country - near Sault Ste Marie. They have a stone similar to this one on their front lawn. Many stones line the driveways on Puddingstone road.

12000 years ago the glacier retreated and must have brought this rock with it. I wonder where the rock really came from. I hope someone can give us some insight about this.

The first picture is where the rock has been sitting for the last 12000 years. That rock has seen many different forests. The forest has grown and burnt and grown again. This rock will now view the world from it's new urban home.

Where it came from map

Where it sits now map

All the pictures I took today are here

Send me a picture of yourself sitting on the rock, I will add it to the web album.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Timmins Likes Pudding Stone

A 10-ton mosaic rock, discovered in the bush about 60 kilometres west of Timmins, has found a new home in Flintstone Park on Rea St. N.

Larry Robichaud, who made the geological find while camping west of the Groundhog River in Reeves Township a year ago, said this product of volcanic process is quite unique for Northern Ontario and has drawn the interest of the Geology Department at the University of Toronto.

"My first impression was that it looked like a block of cement with lots of rocks in it," said Robichaud, who noticed it just off a bush road in Reeves Township when he was camping by himself for a week last August. "I started looking at it more closely and it struck my interest. I did some research and found out that it was a puddingstone. It would have come here from down south."

He said the rock could have only arrived here after being carried and dumped by a receding glacier during North America's last ice age.

A puddingstone, also known as zenolith, is a sedimentary rock that consists of a mixture of different, irregular sized grains and pebbles held together in a matrix of finer materials such as sand.

It was only after speaking with geologists at the University of Toronto that Robichaud felt some effort should be made to bring it to Timmins where others could see it for themselves

"They told me, 'If you ever get to move it, we'd like to come see it.' That kind of convinced me that more people needed to see this."

Robichaud was able to achieve this last week with assistance and support with the Mattagami Region Conservation Authority and the crane operating firm of RLP/CMS.

Last Wednesday, Leo Madore, crane operator for RLP/CMS and Robichaud spent six hours unearthing, hoisting, loading up, and relocating the huge rock using a 26-ton boom truck to Flintstone Park.

In keeping with its new location, Robichaud said the rock has been named Fred's Puddingston

Daily Press Story


Pudding stone

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Garden Growth and Spotted Tussock Moth

Oxygen is growing in my garden big time this year. Last year I did not have any peas, but this year the garden is able to keep up to the grabbing hands of my guys and the little ones next door. The carrots are great and the goldfinches are already plucking at the sunflowers. The kids are learning what the finches sound like when they are flying overhead. They now know 2 birds by their sound, robin and goldfinch.

Last year, no corn. This year I am sure we will get 10 cobs of corns!

Morning Glory's are taking over everything. They are up the corn and sunflowers, tangled in the peas and wrapped around the carrots. The pretty flowers they produce will attract the humming birds soon. The garden is a little too crowded this year, but I just can not bring myself to remove anything, after last years poor showing.

Timmins is starting a community garden program, I think it will be up and running next spring. Stay tuned in - when I know, you will know

I guess the Earth Machine composter in the middle of all this growing is using some of the O2, but is also producing some great soil for next year.

You can not see the pair of goldfinches on the sunflowers, I did not know they were there until after I took the picture.

While walking back into the house a little Spotted Tussock Moth (Lophocampa maculata) was walking across the grass. I brought it into the house and put it on my young lads bare back. He is very use to his Dad doing things like this. He did not jump, he barely looked up from his computer. "Ya dad what is it"?

He played with it as I looked it up online. Ya just got to love how easy it is to identify anything with a few key strokes. To see what the adult will look like or for more information check out the links below.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wild Orange Daylily - Learn something new every day

You can see the map to see where I was, but I did not know we had these around.

I have never seen them around Timmins before. They are very nice looking. I came across this little patch of plants while out looking at a property for a Toronto client. They are actually growing on his property along the road. I figure they must have been planted there many years ago since much of the land in the area is long abandoned fields.

Look close at the pictures and you will see the rain. Did it ever come down while I was taking the pictures. I was on the way back to the truck, but I just had to stop and get some pictures. You can see one flower is full of water and in another picture you can see the rain coming down on the road.

What I have learned about the plant is it has become an invasive species here in Ontario. It is a plant that does very well and will push native species out. It is considered an invasive species in southern Ontario, maybe it would be considered a protected species here in the North.

Let me know if you see more of these plants around, or other interesting plants. Send me pictures I will post them here.

eNature information

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Learning about Trees

It is wonderful to see so many people come out to learn about trees.

I spent the weekend at Kettle Lake Provincial Park and had the opportunity to invite campers on a hike to talk about trees and birds in the park. We did not see many birds, but we did stop and look at a large ant hill that had been disturbed by a bear.

Picture 1 : poster showing the areas planted and areas burned.
Picture 2 : I walk and talk with the group
Picture 3 : We had a little guy keep us on track with a GPS unit. Total walk 2.25km

Scotch Pine Provenance Test

I think this is the oldest trial ever installed in the Timmins District. The test is also just another wonderful story about trees in the park. Where is it - map

Much of Kettle Lakes Provincial Park was planted after being harvested and burned. A very unique method of tree planting was used for a large area - machine planting. A machine is pulled behind a tractor, a furrow is created, the tree is placed in the furrow while it is filled back in - the tree is planted!

One of the early tree planting efforts in the park was a scotch pine provenance test. A provenance test compares trees from different locations. In this case trees seedlings, or maybe the seeds and seedlings grown here, came from many different location in Europe.

The scotch pine, also known as scots pine, is doing just fine in the park. The trees are a little deformed, but are becoming spread thoughout the park. This makes me wonder - when a tree species that is not native begins to spread in a provincial park - when does it become an invasive species?

Everything you always waanted to know about scotch pine is here

I have been taking visitors to see the scotch pine for many years. I have had visitors from Finland and Sweden that have been very interested in seeing trees that came from their country.

Represented are: Cevennes, Auvergne, Adirondack, W. Europe, Finland, Sweden, L. Austria, E. Baltic, Haute Loire, S. Finland, and W. Baltic.

I am not sure where some of these places are, well except for Finland, I got that one.

Picture 1: A scotch pine
Picture 2: corner marker, made to last
Picture 3: corner marker, made to last

Kettle Lakes - Trees for Canada

The Boy Scouts of Canada had a program called Trees for Canada, that changed maybe 10 years ago to a program called Scoutrees.

The very first Trees for Canada in the Timmins area was planted inside Kettle Lakes Provincial Park. The records indicate that a total of 11000 white spruce and jack pine were planted near Irrigation Lake.

The white spruce have been growing slower then the jack pine, which is common. White spruce can handle the shade created by taller trees. When the taller trees die out and allow more sunlight to reach the ground the white spruce will take off.

It is just another wonderful story about trees in the park.

I was not around Timmins in 1980, but I was involved in every plant from 1986 to 2003. I do not know if the Scouts have planted since then. The first plant I attended in 1986 was just south of the Deloro landfill. The container type was 408 paper pot. The container was made of paper and pulled apart from the other tree seedlings. Many trees were planted a little too high and left a little bit of paper showing. Crows from the landfill came over and pulled out hundreds of the trees.

It looked like someone had come the day after the plant and just pulled out every tree. Some were sitting up on stumps and some were even sitting in the trees. Those curious birds!

Picture : Line of planted white spruce trees, first Boy Scout Tree Plant in the Timmins District.
Taken : August 03, 2009
Location : map

Year Township Number and Species

1980 German (KLP) 11 000 White spruce and Jack pine

1981 Massey 10 000 Jack pine

1982 Carscallen 10 000 Jack pine

1983 Denton 8 525 White spruce

1984 Carscallen 5 000 Jack pine

1985 Murphy 5 000 Jack pine

1986 Murphy 5 000 Jack pine

1987 Deloro 5 000 Jack pine

1988 Deloro 5 000 Jack pine

1989 Evelyn 5 000 Jack pine

1990 Little 6 150 Jack pine

1991 Macklem 5 000 Jack pine

1992 Macklem 5 150 Jack pine

1993 Macklem 4 400 Jack pine

1994 Evelyn 2 500 Jack pine

1995 Evelyn 4 500 Jack pine

1996 German 3 500 Jack pine
**********100 725 seedling to date!***********

1997 German? 3000 jackpine

1998 German? 3000 jackpine

1999 German? 3000 jackpine

2000 German? 2500 jackpine

2001 Tisdale 2000 Jack pine

2002 Tisdale 2000 Jack pine

2003 Tisdale 1 600 White spruce and 100 White pine

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Carbon Planet Blog

This is another blog that is not a grounded as I feel this one is, but some great information and thoughts.

Check it out.

Another Blogger with great content

Welcome! I'm a freelance outdoor photographer from Ontario, Canada. This blog is where I share my recent photos and adventures. I'm currently on a 1.5 year photo road trip traveling around North America in a camper van - and you can follow the trip right here! --Ethan

Boreal Songbird Initiative

This seems to be a very good link. More relative to the west side of the country but great info. and pictures.

Dr. Jeff Wells is the Senior Scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative. During his time at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and as the Audubon Society's National Conservation Director, Dr. Wells earned a reputation as one of the nation's leading bird experts and conservation biologists. He is now dedicated to understanding and protecting the land where North America's birds are born and raised, the Boreal Forest of Canada and Alaska. Check back regularly to read Dr. Wells' perspectives on the conservation, migration and interesting habits of Boreal birds.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Timmins Bridge to Bridge Trail

Today I had the day off, it gave me a chance to take a little ride on the "bridge to bridge" trail. It is a great little trail. It winds along the river with many places to sit and look at the scenery.

Today a family of mergansers was sitting just in front the bench where Roll'n and I stopped for a drink. Roll'n had a drink, I just watched.
The trail is lined with many different tree species. All of the tree are very young, since, I am guessing with floods and lake shore logging all the big trees have been removed over time.

The first picture is on the east side of the river looking north north west. map
The second picture is across the river looking east south east. map
The third picture is a nest site set up many years ago to attract a Osprey. It has remained empty for many years but Osprey are in the area, so it is available. Maybe some year a raven will start a nest and make it more appealing to owls and other birds of prey. map