When the sun goes down at Killarney

In today’s post, Biologist Intern Michelle Lawrence gives us an insider look at Killarney’s “nightlife,” and shares how staff are working to protect the park’s bat populations.

Killarney Provincial Park has been called “a crown jewel of the provincial parks system” by some, and it’s not hard to see why.

With white quartzite mountains and sparkling blue lakes, Killarney is truly a sight to behold. In Killarney’s wilderness, White Pine grow, live, and die; Moose munch on water lilies; and the forests and wetlands teem with warblers and other songbirds.

But when the sun goes down, not everyone in the park goes to sleep…

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Batmobiles in the northwest!

Today’s post comes from Evan McCaul and Steve Kingston, ecologists with Ontario Parks’ Northwest Zone.

Did you know that bats play important roles in our ecosystems and are unique in being the only type of mammals that can truly fly?

All bats in Ontario are nocturnal predators that feed primarily on insects like moths and mosquitoes. There are eight different bat species across Ontario, including three species at risk: the Little Brown Bat, the Northern Long-eared Bat and the Tri-coloured Bat.

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The importance of research in Ontario Parks

Ever wondered about or wanted to pursue scientific research in a provincial park? Today’s post from Northwest Zone Ecologist Intern Lindsey Boyd and Northwest Senior Assistant Zone Ecologist Evan McCaul should answer your questions.

Spread throughout Ontario, our 340 provincial parks protect 8.27 million hectares of land and 1.3 million hectares of lakes and rivers. From mosses to moose, protected areas provide endless research topics and opportunities.

Scientifically speaking, provincial parks are an excellent place to conduct research. Parks can be used as a reference site to measure natural conditions within a broader landscape study, or provide an excellent place to study climate effects on species and systems in a place with fewer human pressures like roads or high levels of noise, light, and air pollution.

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Keeping up with the Canada Jay

Today’s blog post comes from bird researchers Alex Sutton and Koley Freeman, PhD candidates at the University of Guelph.

In the world of Gray Jays, winter means one thing: it’s breeding season!

Gray Jays, also known as Canada Jays, are common in Algonquin Provincial Park. Continuing a 54-year-old tradition, a dedicated team of researchers is monitoring breeding pairs. This is the longest study of its kind in the world!

With each passing year, more is learned about the breeding behaviour and life history of these remarkable birds.

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Resource field crews: coming to a northern park near you

This post comes from MaryJane Moses, Resource Stewardship Coordinator in the Northwest Zone of Ontario Parks.

You may have encountered Ontario Parks staff during your visits.

They’re friendly, and will provide customer service, perform routine maintenance duties, and hold Natural Heritage Education programs in our campground parks.

But have you met any of our Northwest Zone resource stewardship team members yet?

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Quetico’s 2017 science projects

When many people think about Quetico, they envision backcountry camping or paddling splendor. Today’s post from Brian Jackson, Park Biologist, highlights Quetico’s important scientific work.

It’s been another busy year for science studies and monitoring in Quetico Provincial Park.

The following highlights just a few of the projects carried out this past summer:

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A scientist’s work is never done!

It’s hard to believe there could be new populations of species discovered these days, especially in a busy Provincial Park such as Sandbanks, but Scott Reid, an aquatic endangered species research scientist with the MNRF, and his team did!

While studying the Pugnose Shiner, a fish species at risk, MNRF staff stumbled upon a species least expected; the Eastern Sand Darter.  These small benthic fish are found scurrying along the sandy bottoms in search for benthic invertebrates such as midge and blackfly larvae and crustaceans.

Photo Credit: Alan Dextrase

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