Mhairi’s bird of the day: Lesser scaup

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Lesser scaup (Photo by Christian Artuso, CC BY-NC-ND-4.0)

Spotted on March 24, 2020 Lesser scaup Aythya affinis Aythya: from aithuia in ancient Greek, meaning “seabird” Affinis: “related to” in Latin Some birds are easy to identify at a glance, and some are fairly easy with a...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Wood duck

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Wood duck (Photo by Frank Vassen/Wikimedia Commons)

Spotted on March 23, 2020 Wood duck Aix sponsa Aix: “diving bird” in ancient Greek For the last 10 years, I have been recording my bird observations on my daily bike commute to work, before we started working from home in light of...

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Mhairi's bird of the day: Song sparrow

Song sparrow (Photo by Stuart Clarke)

Song sparrow (Photo by Stuart Clarke)

Spotted on March 20, 2020 Song sparrow Melospiza melodia Melo: “song,” in ancient Greek Melodia: “tune,” “voice” For the last 10 years, I have been recording my bird observations on my daily bike commute...

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Mhairi’s bird of the day: Brown-headed cowbird

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by Stephen Davis)

Brown-headed cowbird (Photo by Stephen Davis)

Spotted on March 19, 2020 Brown-headed cowbird Molothrus ater molos: “struggle or “battle” in ancient Greek throsko: “to sire” or “to impregnate” in ancient Greek ater: “dull black” in...

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Conservation on a budget

Lake Erie Farms (Photo by NCC)

Lake Erie Farms (Photo by NCC)

This spring, conservation staff from the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) contributed to a study that looked at the most cost-efficient ways to monitor restoration success in Ontario. So what, you may ask? Let me back up a bit and provide some...

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The truth about ticks

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Adult deer tick (Photo by Scott Bauer/Wikimedia Commons)

Ticks seem to be everywhere these days. They’re on the news, on your social media feed and maybe even on your skin. People, especially those in southern Canada, are dealing with blacklegged ticks (also called deer ticks) with increasing...

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Not wanted on the island: Combatting common reed on Pelee

Invasive non-native phragmites on Pelee Island (Photo by NCC)

Invasive non-native phragmites on Pelee Island (Photo by NCC)

No visit to beautiful Pelee Island is complete without a visit to the beach. The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has protected more than one kilometre of globally significant shoreline habitat on the island. This habitat supports turtles,...

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Fighting the good fight: getting rid of garlic mustard

NCC staff tackle invasive garlic mustard (photo by NCC)

NCC staff tackle invasive garlic mustard (photo by NCC)

Spring on Pelee Island for Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff Mhairi McFarlane and Jill Crosthwaite is a bittersweet time, because although the wildflowers are emerging and birds are returning, so too is a nasty invasive plant: garlic...

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Dealing with the periwinkle problem

Hand pulling periwinkle (Photo by NCC)

Hand pulling periwinkle (Photo by NCC)

Jill and I did some follow up to some invasive species removal we did last year at Lathrop. Just a few fragments of the very invasive Periwinkle left! We picked them out by hand, leaving the native mayapple, trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit and...

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Jetbead: A new threat to conservation

Mhairi McFarlane with leucospora (Photo by NCC)

Mhairi McFarlane with leucospora (Photo by NCC)

Conservation is full of mysteries. Recently, my colleague Jill Crosthwaithe and I found ourselves having to turn to gardening literature in order to identify the many non-native, ornamental shrubs and other plants that we kept stumbling across in...

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