What’s that loud buzzing sound from up in the trees?

Today’s post comes to us from the Discovery Program staff at Charleston Lake Provincial Park.

Most summer visitors to the park will no doubt hear a loud buzzy “droning” sound, broadcasting from high up in the trees. The sound starts soft and gets louder, before tapering off. Some people say it sounds like a buzzing electric saw, with each burst lasting about 15 seconds.

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The measure of a canoe trip

Today’s post is a polite rant from Quetico Provincial Park’s Librarian Jill Sorensen.

We seem to constantly hear about expedition-style trips. Grunt narratives where people have broken speed records, paddled the longest distances, or have been “the first” to complete a route. The blisters. The sleep deprivation. The endurance.

And that is fine. I have no problem with kilometre tracking or race attempts. But if you insist on measuring all of your trips, may I suggest that you count something else? Something that instead connects you to the landscape, or a piece of cultural history.

A little less pace. A little more place.

Here are some suggestions of other things to count:

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Calling all citizen scientists: come to the Killarney Butterfly Count

For the 24th year in a row, Killarney Provincial Park is hosting its Annual Butterfly Count.

And if you’re heading to Killarney on July 9, 2022, we’d like your help!

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6 ways to be the best park neighbour

Provincial parks are not islands.

Well, some of them are. What we mean is: there is no invisible wall around parks limiting their relationships with the outside world.

Even if you never visit a park, you benefit from the pollinator diversity they protect, the CO2 they sequester in wood, roots, and peat, and the clean water filtered by protected wetlands.

Plants, animals, fungi, microbes, water, and air move in and out of protected spaces, with intimate connections on both local and global levels.

In the same way, things that happen outside of park boundaries affect the ecosystems within them. What you do at home, work, or play can impact our parks.

Whether you live next door to a park or 100 km away, here are six ways your everyday actions can help keep parks and nature reserves healthy and biodiverse:

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5 cool facts about skinks

If you’ve ever seen a Five-lined Skink, you know just how neat they are!

The Five-lined Skink, which looks a bit like a salamander, is the only lizard species native to Ontario. And while researchers continue to study skinks, we still don’t know very much about what they do on a day-to-day basis, particularly from September to May when they’re hibernating.

Here are five cool things we DO know about Five-lined Skinks, courtesy of Alistair MacKenzie, Resource Management Supervisor at Pinery Provincial Park.

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Just for the gull of it!

In today’s post, Awenda’s Chief Park Naturalist Tim Tully defends what some may think is the undefendable: the gull. 

If there was ever an animal that gets a raw deal, it’s the gull.

It’s time to set the record straight and come to the defense of this unfairly maligned avian “underbird.”

For starters, we can’t even get the name right. I hate to tell you, folks, but there is no such thing as a seagull!

Continue reading Just for the gull of it!

Camping comfortably with bugs

Today’s post was written by Emma Fuller, a Discovery guide at Bon Echo Provincial Park

A lot is left to chance when you’re planning a summer camping trip. You can’t always ensure sunny weather, quiet car rides, or calm paddling waters.

However, one thing is certain if you’re heading into the outdoors, you’re definitely going to encounter the pesky buzz of Ontario’s biting insects!

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Open eyes, open mind: nature journaling with kids

In today’s post, Discovery Leader Carlin Thompson from Sandbanks Provincial Park shares her top tips for nature journaling with kids.

We did it, parents! We made it through another winter.

The struggle of tackling young children into layered outerwear and the scavenger hunts for matching mittens now seem like a distant memory. What sweet relief.

But before the unbridled joy of shucking the outerwear gives way to sunscreen-application-induced carpal tunnel and the din of summer boredom, let’s capitalize on our children’s excitement to be outside.

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The very hungry caterpillars

Note: this blog is about the non-native, highly invasive moth species Lymantria dispar dispar, which we have previously referred to as the Gypsy Moth or by the acronym LDD. In this article, we will refer to the moth using its new common name, Spongy Moth.

If you’ve seen an Ontario oak tree recently, you’ve likely been introduced to the invasive Spongy Moth (Lymantria dispar dispar).

Spongy Moth caterpillars were first introduced to North America in the late 1860s and are voracious eaters! Their favourite cuisine is oak leaves, but in particularly bad outbreak years — like this one — they can spread to many other tree species.

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What types of wildlife might I see at Ontario Parks?

If you’re new to Ontario Parks, you might be a little nervous about the animals that call our parks home.

Many of us live in cities or suburbs, with little interaction with wildlife, so we don’t know how to react or behave. We want your parks experience to be fun and safe, both for you and for the wildlife that live here.

Today, let’s talk about:

  • the types of critters you might encounter at Ontario Parks
  • some simple tips to prevent negative wildlife interactions

Continue reading What types of wildlife might I see at Ontario Parks?