I believe I am guilty of a few things. I’m guilty of being afull-fledged nature nerd and another of equating aninventory day to recess at school. You know what Imean? Bursting through the doors and having 15minutes of freedom, fresh air and a break from thedesk. Except my recess lasted 6 days!
I had decided to spend a few days with theKawartha Heritage Conservancy (KHC), acharitable land trust in Peterborough with amission to conserve the natural and culturalheritage and distinctive landscapes of theKawartha bioregion. I had first heard of KHCfrom a friend of mine who volunteers withthem. I knew they ran field days to some oftheir properties so I jumped on the boat, or inthis case a canoe! This would fulfill two checkson my long list of to do’s: to meet new folks inthe area with the same passion for nature andcheck out what central Ontario has to offer.
Tuesday consisted of exploring a large property in the Kawarthas that has a longnatural shoreline. Ian Attridge (Senior Project Manager at KHC) and I spend the daytouring the expansive area and collectively we recorded 126 plants (77% of which arenative). It was a fantastic day with some equally great wildlife sightings.
Wednesday presented a heat wave! Ian and I met up with Mike Hendren (ExecutiveDirector at KHC), Martin Parker (President of the Peterborough Field Naturalists) andMatthew Tobey (a 15 year-old birding prodigy!) and headed to the Cowan property onStoney Lake. The KHC has a conservation easement on this property and we hiked theextensive trail system, ran into a charismatic juvenile snapping turtle and took a muchneeded cool down in Stoney Lake. All in all we recorded 92 plants, 30 bird species, 5butterflies, 1 mammal and 2 herpetofauna. Good fun! I’m extremely appreciative to theKHC for having me out and to Martin and Matthew for their patience in answering myconfused, ‘what bird is that again’ looks.
Thursday I finished the final survey of mymarsh monitoring route along Jackson Creek inPeterborough. This is my second year as avolunteer. My boyfriend, Bobby and newpuppy Kodachrome (we like Paul Simon!) camewith me-which was a big highlight for me. Wesaw a Green Heron and heard a Virginia Rail.Success!! And Bobby saw my reaction to coolsightings. A trait I only share with colleagues.
The week ended with a canoe trip in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park with friends.We paddled in for 5 hours and arrived at a beautiful campsite on Rathbun Lake. It wasKodachrome’s second time in a canoe. She’s a veteran now and adjusted very well! Iwent to bed listening to loons and whip-poor wills, with a full belly of campfire foodand a heart and soul full of thanks to Mother Nature!