September 12, 2016
Beware of rip currents that can carry you away from shore very rapidly. If you feel you are caught in a rip current swim parallel to the shore to escape. This is what a rip current may look like. If you see a red flag flying, do not swim. If a yellow flag is flying be very careful.
September 8, 2016
Read about Great Lakes fishing in The Dynamic Great Lakes by Barbara Spring available on Amazon.com, bn.com and many other bookstores.
August 20, 2016
The Great Lakes are the greatest freshwater system on this planet. They are interconnected and have their outlet through the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.
June 27, 2016
Upper and Lower Great Lakes podcast Please click the link to hear my podcast about the Great Lakes in which I read some passages from The Dynamic Great Lakes.
June 15, 2016
Piping Plovers: Rare Bird Alert click the link for photos and information about an endangered species. Read more about these piping plovers in The Dynamic Great Lakes.
June 7, 2016
Upper and Lower Great Lakes Podcast please click the link
Below my painting of a tern and a map of the Great Lakes system.
June 6, 2016
Great blue herons are now nesting in rookeries around the Great Lakes and may be seen in the wetlands among the cat tails where they build nests and rear their young.
A great blue heron’s loud voice sounds like a duck with a sore throat.
In flight, their wide wingspan gives them a majestic appearance. A very elegant fowl.
June 4, 2016
WASAGA BEACH — The piping plovers have returned to Wasaga Beach with a record of five nesting pairs.
“We’ve never had five nests at Beach Area One before. It’s usually two or three nests,” said Patricia Davidson, a biologist and piping plover co-ordinator for Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and Friends of Nancy Island.
Piping plovers were locally extinct (extirpated), so every egg laid is important.
“Prior to 2007 there hadn’t been a nest in Ontario in 70 years,” said Davidson.
The entire Great Lakes region only had 60 breeding pairs of birds in the 1980s. That number has improved to 75 breeding pairs, but the species is still endangered.
“There are more elephants in the wild than there are piping plovers,” she said.
Efforts to bring back the species started at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park in 2008 with a single pair.
Last year 13 chicks hatched and nine survived. Nine chicks also survived in 2014.
There are two primary protected nesting sites; Wasaga Beach and Sauble Beach.
And to the delight of Davidson, there is now a single pair nesting at Darlington Provincial Park with one of the adults coming from Wasaga Beach.
“I think it’s really neat that the chicks hatch, fledge and fly off and they are establishing new nest sites,” said Davidson, who is in her fifth year on the project.
The fencing off of the east section of Beach Area One makes all the difference to the survival of the birds because the habitat they require is a long beach (between the water line and dunes) which happens to be Beach Area One.
Additionally, they lay their eggs out in the open.
“Their nests are smack dab where you would lay your beach towel. With a busy beach like Wasaga where they lay their eggs would be stepped on by everybody, which is why we have to close off the section.
“If we didn’t have the program and the volunteer coverage and help from staff, piping plovers would not be able to nest at this beach through the sheer numbers of people at Wasaga Beach.”
“It’s our duty to step in and share the beach with them,” said Davidson.
Human encroachment extends beyond pedestrian traffic to the raking of the beach and destruction of dunes. Beyond that eggs and chicks are food for predators including weasels, foxes and gulls and they are vulnerable to storms and high water washing away the nests.
Fencing was erected May 10 and will remain up until the end of August. Birds have paired up and are now laying clutches of eggs, typically four. Hatching takes place in mid June and birds fledge and leave the area in August.
About 40 people are volunteering to watch the bird’s behaviour and educate the public, but more volunteers are welcome.
Anyone interested including high school students needing volunteer hours, should contact Davidson through email firstname.lastname@example.org or at 705-429-2516.
Read more about piping plovers in The Dynamic Great Lakes
June 1, 2016