“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

Posted in Community, Conservation, Mi'kma'ki, Nature Stuff, Wabanaki Forest | Leave a comment

Prime fire season for the Backlands coming up 30Apr2024

Leading edge of burnt barrens, Lower Mud Pond area on May 4, 2009

The Spryfield Fire of 2009, which burned about 2/3 of the Backlands, destroyed 8 homes and damaged 10 others, occurred April 29-May 1, 2009.

Fire Season in NS: April to October

Fire season in Nova Scotia is considered to be April to October. Generally we expect May to be the busiest fire season.

The frequency of fires changes throughout the fire season (April to October). May is usually the busiest month due to the fact that vegetation hasn’t fully come out of dormancy and begun to grow. The moisture content of these fuels is low, making them are more flammable. This is known as a “before green up” condition  – NRR: Wildfire (accessed 15May 2022)

Continue reading

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City Nature Challenge begins Apr 26 (today) & runs to Mon Apr 29, 2024

Photo from Canadian Wildlife Federation page on the City Nature Challenge

Halifax is participating in the iNaturalist-based City Nature Challenge again, this year over the days Friday Apr 26 to Monday Apr 29

It’s pretty simple to contribute to Halifax’s effort to document our natural world and illustrate citizen’s love of that world.

Participants photograph a nature observation of a “species” (e.g.a robin, or a flower) within the boundaries of HRM within the Apr 28 to May 1 timeframe and upload it to iNaturalist. (HRM refers to Halifax Regional Municipality, now just called Halifax. It encompasses all of Halifax County.) Cape Breton Regional Municipality is the other NS participant. Continue reading

Posted in Conservation, Events | Comments Off on City Nature Challenge begins Apr 26 (today) & runs to Mon Apr 29, 2024

Spring in the Backlands 24Apr2024

By Joshua Barss Donham, Apr 21, 2024.

Hooded Warbler at Sandy Cove, Apr 21

April is such a wonderful time of year with the broom crowberry and Mayflowers in bloom, the spring peepers calling, and migrant birds returning from the south (should see Yellow-rumped Warblers, Palm warblers, and Hermit Thrush return any day now). Thought I would share a little what I’ve been seeing and hearing, and what Fulton and I have been doing, in the Backlands.

Fulton and I have done several ‘pre-hawk watches’ in preparation for an actual hawk-watch which Fulton is hoping to do soon. A hawk watch involves standing/sitting on the ‘hawk rock’, a long whaleback a few metres south of the cul-de-sac at the end of Alabaster Way, and scanning the horizon for what Fulton calls “little black dots”, raptors passing through the Backlands or those returning to the Backlands from the south. Continue reading

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Staying on the trail protects ground-nesting Dark-eyed Junco 18Apr2024

Fledgling Junco,  east Pine Island Pond area on Aug 13, 2022
Photo by Joshua Barss Donham

This cutie is a juvenile Dark-eyed Junco – you can help ensure they grow into an adult by staying on trails when you’re hiking in the Backlands & other wilderness areas.

How does keeping your feet (& your pet’s feet) on the trail help? Dark-Eyed Juncos nest right on the ground – they make open cup nests of grass and leaves, lined with soft materials like moss. These nests are well hidden underneath foliage or rock, in exposed tree roots, or in small sheltered depressions, making them both difficult to spot & easy to accidentally disturb!

Read more

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A “missing link” in the Purcells Cove Backlands is protected – NS Nature Trust 2Apr2023

From Nature Trust’s Landlines for Apr 2, 2024

“…The second property lies within the Purcells Cove Backlands, a unique urban wildland in the heart of Halifax. Popular for hiking and picnicking, swimming and skating, birding and botanizing, the Backlands are also ecologically valuable, hosting unique ecosystems and habitat for many sensitive species. Continue reading

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Ground-Nesting Birds 2024: American Woodcock 1Apr2024

American Woodcock, Dartmouth site on April 8, 2015
Photos by Joshua Barss Donham

This funny little feathered friend would like to thank you for sticking to the trails while they’re nesting – contrary to what we often think about birds, the American Woodcock makes its nests right on the ground.

Woodcocks are secretive and solitary. Their mottled reddish brown, gray, and black feathers make them almost invisible on the forest floor. They are so well hidden that they are often observed when startled – exploding from their hiding place with the air twittering through their wingtips!

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Ground-Nesting Birds 2024: Dark Eyed Junco 1Apr 2024

Dark Eyed Junco
Photos by Joshua Barss Donham

Its nesting season for the Dark-eyed Junco & you can help…

With nests at ground level rather than in trees, Dark-eyed Juncos could really use a bit of cooperation from us 2-legged visitors to the wilderness – from March 20th to September 23rd, please keep yourself & your pets on the trails to allow these feathered friends to nest & raise their young safely.

Read More

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