Golden Heather now in bloom in the Backands 14Jun2024

Wrote  Joshua Barss Donham this am, with pics attached:

“The Golden Heather is now in bloom transforming patches of unassuming scrubby vegetation into carpets of brilliant yellow. A particular patch that I’ve been keeping an eye on, thirty metres so from the AlabasterWay/Osprey Ridge trailhead, was a hub of activity yesterday morning with tricolour bumble bees, honey bees, mason bees, and hover flies congregating … lots of pollinating going on.”

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Ground-nesting birds – let’s talk habitat 9Jun2024

The hardwood slope in this photo (taken mid-May) is a perfect spot for ground-nesting birds/ he approx. location is indicated by the arrow in the map below. 18 May 2023. Palm Warblers were sighted nesting there,  Ovenbirds nearby

By The Bird Team: Joshua Barss Donham, Fulton Lavender, Cathy Smalley, Katie Studholme. Photos by Joshua Barss Donham

June 9, 2024

Over the past few months, we’ve been sharing about ground nesting birds that call the Backlands home. So far we’ve met the Dark-Eyed Junco, the American Woodcock, and the Black-and-white Warbler, with the Common Nighthawk soon to come (hint… not common & not a hawk… stay tuned to learn more…).

But first, let’s talk habitat! Different species of ground nesting birds prefer vastly different habitats, so we’re going to stick to those that frequent the Halifax wilderness area that we call the Backlands.

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“Song bird season has truly begun” JBD 27May2024

Wrote JBD recently (May 27), with photos and videos attached…

Click on images for larger versions

Yellow-rumped Warbler on Apr, 24, 2024 in the Shaw Wilderness Park

“It has been such a pleasure to watch the return of warblers to the Backlands! The first warbler I crossed paths with in the Backlands this year was a Yellow-rumped Warbler (April 20), heard but not seen, working his way along the upper McIntosh Run. A couple of days later I had my first good look at a bright Yellow-rumped Warbler, fresh from the south, flitting about in the hobblebush that grow on the bank of Lawsons Brook in the Shaw Wilderness Park.
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Mosquito Season – even the frogs get bitten in the Backlands! 24May2024

Mosquito bites a Green Frog in the Backlands, May 14, 2024.  Joshua Barss Donham photos in the Backlands on May 14, 2024

Joshua Barss Donham made an intriguing post on a private FB site where naturalists share & discuss some of their observations. He gave us permission to post it on backlandscalition.ca.

Joshua’s post was about the identity of a mosquito he had observed on a Green Frog in the Backlands.

Said Joshua:
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Have you heard a thin, high-pitched rocking sound like a squeaky wheel in the woods lately? 17May2024

By The Bird Team: Joshua Barss Donham. Fulton Lavender, Cathy Smalley, Katie Studholme

Black-and-white Warbler, near West Pine Island Pond on  May 18, 2023. View short Video 1 & short Video 2 Videos by Joshua Barss Donham

Have you heard a thin, high-pitched rocking sound like a squeaky wheel in the woods lately? The Black-and-white Warblers are back in town! Another ground nesting bird who kindly asks you to keep your feet on the trails for the summer.

These boldly striped warblers, sometimes nicknamed zebra warblers, are back from wintering in northern South America, Central America, and the southeastern US.

These are one of our earliest migrant warblers, typically arriving mid-May. Unlike other wood warblers, Black-and-white Warblers eat insects and spiders they find in the crevices of tree bark, so they don’t mind the lack of leaves on the trees. Black-and-white Warblers are uniquely adapted to these feeding habits, with an extra long rear toe and thicker legs that help them work their way up and down tree trunks and branches like a nuthatch or a creeper.

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” Large Increase in Fine for Illegal Burning During Wildfire Season” – NS Gov. 16May2024

Burning restrictions today May 16, 2024 from www. novascotia.ca/burnsafe/

” The Province has increased the fine for violating the daily burn restrictions to $25,000, effective today, May 16.

“Almost all wildfires in Nova Scotia are human caused. With the weather starting to get warmer and dryer, I cannot stress enough the importance of prevention,” said Premier Tim Houston. “That’s why we are doubling down on the fine for people who violate the daily burn restrictions. Increasing it to $25,000 for the entire wildfire season should make people pause, and check and follow the BurnSafe map. Let’s not have another season like last year’s.” Continue reading

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Is Carolina Fanwort, an aggressive invasive aquatic plant, now in Williams Lake? 19May2024

Carolina fanwort –   Photo by Leslie J. Mehrhoff, posted on Wikipedia illustrates its green and reddish-brown shoots

UPDATE May 18, 2024: WLCC member Katharine Studholme conducted some follow-up investigation at one patch of new plants in Williams Lake, and is fairly certain it is NOT Carolina Fanwort “and may be a native milfoil.” We are sending identification photos to the NS Wild Flora Society Directors and the NS Museum for confirmation. Regardless, she says “No matter what we find in the rest of the lake, I think we should take preventative action”, citing cleaning of watercraft in particular. Continue reading

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“Municipality’s purchase of land near Shaw Wilderness Park” – HRM 10May2024

“Approximately 46 hectares of undeveloped land near Shaw Wilderness Park.”

The Halifax Regional Municipality has purchased four parcels of land totaling approximately 46 hectares, located to the west of Shaw Wilderness Park, in Halifax.

“The municipality intends to use most of this land to add to Shaw Wilderness Park, providing additional opportunities for wilderness recreation and nature appreciation. These acquisitions align with the municipality’s 2021-25 Strategic Priorities Plan in obtaining land to contribute to the municipality’s regional wilderness parks…”

Read more on Halifax.ca

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Some of the landscape

The stream corridor between Colpitt and Williams Lake. Photo by David P, Oct 4, 2013
Click on image for larger version

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Ground-Nesting Birds 2024: more on the American Woodcock 9May2024

By The Bird Team: Joshua Barss Donham. Fulton Lavender, Cathy Smalley, Katie Studholme

American Woodcock strutting near Lake Banook, Dartmouth
View short Video by Joshua Barss Donham

What’s the most wonderful thing about the American Woodcock: The fantastic camouflage? The comical shape? The explosive flight with sound effects? The nicknames? Or the sublime funky Woodcock Walk? All these things make a Woodcock sighting very memorable.

Right now, probably the most important thing about the American Woodcock is that they are nesting – right on the ground. Help them out – when you visit the Backlands (or other wilderness areas around Nova Scotia), keep your feet on the trails!

Here’s a few more fun facts about the American Woodcock… Read More

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Learn Mi’kmaw with shalan joudry: Tree Names 9May2024

Learn Mi’kmaw with shalan joudry: Tree Names (YouTube Video)
On Community Forests International YouTube Channel, Posted May 8.

“We’re excited to share with you the second in a series of short language videos generously created and shared by L’nu storyteller, ecologist, and cultural interpreter, shalan joudry. Continue reading

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