The boreal forest: Ontario’s songbird nursery

Today’s post comes from Natural Heritage Education and Marketing Specialist Dave Sproule.

Migrating birds are already arriving along the edges of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, and many southern parks have birding events and festivals.

But for most of the migrants, these parks are just a rest stop after crossing those big stretches of water. Their destination may be much further north: the boreal forest.

Continue reading The boreal forest: Ontario’s songbird nursery

Eyes on the skies — May, 2017

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

While spring “technically” begins in March, most of us living in cold climates tend to celebrate May as the true start to the season.

The lakes open to allow the first paddle strokes, and the songs of migratory birds can be heard throughout the land. Staying up through twilight lets you see the splendors of the evening sky whilst being serenaded by the lovely sound of the Spring Peeper chorus frogs.

Here are our astronomical highlights for May, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — May, 2017

Spring carp fishing

Today’s post comes from year-round multispecies angler and writer Ashley Rae of SheLovesToFish.com.

Have you ever targeted common carp?

When most people see a carp for the first time, they’re blown away by their size. Carp are one of largest fish species roaming our waters here in Ontario and as you can probably tell by the big smiles, they’re an absolute blast to reel in! They are open to be targeted year-round and are typically found in relatively shallow water throughout the open water season.

As such, carp are one of the first species I target in the spring while I wait for other seasons to open. There’s nothing quite like starting off the open water season chasing fish that can average over 20 pounds!

Continue reading Spring carp fishing

Spring birding festivals

The songbirds are returning and bringing spring with them!

Catch a bird-banding demonstration, take in a nature photography workshop, or sign on for a bird-themed hike with our park naturalists.

If you love songbirds, you won’t want to miss the Ontario Parks spring birding festivals:

Continue reading Spring birding festivals

Chilling out by the lake: arctic-alpine disjunct plants along Lake Superior

Today’s post comes from Park Naturalist Lesley Ng of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.

Did you know there are blooming beauties which are adapted for the arctic tundra or alpine environments? In short, they like it cold!

And we don’t need traverse tundra or climb mountains to see them. We just need to take a spring hike along Lake Superior’s shoreline.

Continue reading Chilling out by the lake: arctic-alpine disjunct plants along Lake Superior

Eyes on the skies — April, 2017

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

For those of us in Ontario, April is that transition month between winter and spring weather. The snows start to melt away, the lakes start to open up and, by month’s end, the first buds may appear on the trees. Because of Daylight Savings Time, we now have later sunsets and sunrises, and more time to enjoy the activities of the day.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — April, 2017

April is for beaver-watching at Algonquin

One of the best parts about spring is that it offers some of the best viewing opportunities for two of Algonquin Provincial Park’s most famous mammals.

May has become famous for moose watching in Algonquin but April is prime time for viewing its smaller, toothier associate, the beaver.

Continue reading April is for beaver-watching at Algonquin

Ontario’s trilliums and where to enjoy them

Ontario Parks is recognizing iconic Canadian species this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Pilar Manorome.

Spring is probably my favourite season as it brings new life to our parks in the form of migrating birds and emerging spring ephemerals, giving our forests’ their long awaited pops of vibrant colours and contrast. One of our visitors’ favourite sights is Ontario’s provincial flower, the White Trillium, as their blooms blanket the forest floor.

Most people know of the White Trillium — also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium — as Ontario’s provincial flower. This is the flower featured on many of our provincial documents, from health cards to driver’s licenses.

Here are the top five fun facts about this iconic Ontario species:

Continue reading Ontario’s trilliums and where to enjoy them