I heard a strange sound last night – what was it?

Today’s post is from Mark D. Read, a senior interpreter at Murphys Point Provincial Park.

It’s a common question that park interpreters face almost daily during the summer and one that many folks already think they know the answer to:

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The superpowers of owls

Today’s post is from Alistair MacKenzie, our Natural Heritage Education & Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

I’ve been bird watching since the age of six. My dad was the main reason I began bird-watching, and he and I spent many hours in search of another species for our lists.

From the start, I was always fascinated by owls and to this day they are, hands-down, my favourite group of birds.  You have to work hard to find owls given that they are usually solitary hunters and most do not roost together in communal groups. Many, but not all, are nocturnal and they are generally shy and reclusive.

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From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

This post kicks off a three-part photographic journey into the history of our universe! Read on to explore the key events that led to the formation of our provincial parks and the natural world we live in.

Have you ever stared up into a starry sky and wondered “how did it all begin?”

Today we will discuss the origins of the universe, the evolution of galaxies and globular clusters, and conclude with a history of the first stars and supernovae.

Stay tuned for Part II where we detail how stars are born and live out their lives, including the formation of the planets. Finally in Part III, we will discuss how different stars end their lives.

So let’s get started with our origin story!

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Confessions of a struggling birder

Today’s blog comes from Carlin Thompson, a discovery leader at Sandbanks Provincial Park.

My name is Carlin, and I’m a struggling birder.

As an Ontario Parks Discovery leader, I am surrounded by colleagues with a passion for the natural world — which I share.

Many share a specialty in identifying birds — which I do not.

These are my confessions.

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Fascinating fall fungi at Frontenac

`From yeast fungi (responsible for leavening bread) to mold (we’ve all forgotten about food for just a little too long), the world of fungi is a large and fascinating one.

But the role fungi play in our natural environment is perhaps one of the most important roles of all.

Have you ever wondered how old tree stumps break down and are slowly reclaimed by the forest floor? Or how plants are able to obtain water and nutrients essential for their survival?

The answer is fungi.

Fungi are the powerhouses of forest ecosystems. They are the best wood decomposers found in the natural environment and form relationships with nearly 90% of the world’s land plants

At Frontenac Provincial Park, over 700 species of fungi have been identified in our forests.

Let’s find out some interesting facts about a handful of them:

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Autumn isn’t just coloured leaves and migration — bring on the murmurations!

Today’s blog comes from Jessica Stillman, school outreach coordinator for Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

With all the coloured leaves and migrating birds, autumn is all about big performances.

But even before sharing these spectacular displays, autumn delights us with the sights and sounds of another performance: the fabulous fall show presented by European Starlings.

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The fastest animal in Bon Echo, Canada, and the world!

Today’s post comes from Mitch Kellar, a Discovery Leader at Bon Echo Provincial Park.

Being a staff member at Bon Echo has given me a lot of incredible experiences: seeing the Mazinaw Rock at sunset, camping on Joeperry Lake, and a very memorable Kishkebus canoe trip, to name a few.

Above all, my experiences with Peregrine Falcons — small birds of prey and the fastest animals on the planet — will always be one of my favourites.

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Slithering into fall: hibernation for Ontario’s reptiles

Today’s post was written by seasonal student Heather Van Den Diepstraten from Rondeau Provincial Park.

It’s not just students and birds on the move this fall.

As the cold weather approaches, reptiles are trekking across Rondeau Provincial Park in search of hibernacula (places in which wildlife overwinter). Researchers for Wildlife Preservation Canada are busy tracking the movements of snakes, turtles, and skinks within the park as they find suitable habitat for their hibernation.

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The amazing journey of Ontario’s provincial tree

What is it about White Pine? No other tree species in Ontario seems to inspire as much reverence and passion.

The history of White Pine is deeply intertwined with the history of people in Ontario. It has been an important species for Indigenous people for millennia, played a huge role in establishing Ontario’s cities, and has faced some tough challenges, including one that led to one of our province’s most amazing ecological restoration stories.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves — let’s start at the beginning!

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