Archive for the ‘Midland’ Category

Wye Marsh and Waggle Dances

May 25, 2014

My previous workplace, the wonderful Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre, has recently installed a glass-walled beehive that allows visitors to observe activity inside.  This reminds me of my second year at university as our Animal Behavior class included a few weeks of staring at bees in a similar manner.  I cannot remember what my group worked on but I do remember the empowering feeling of mastery when suddenly I could find waggle dances.

There might be a photo here.  I am attempting to embed a Facebook image.  If it doesn’t work, try this link.  Or, try this link anyway for more Wye Marsh stuff.

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My excellent friend and onetime co-worker at the Marsh, Nick, loved the Fibonacci sequence and I suspect it was demonstrated here.  For around thirteen minutes, I saw nothing but squirming bees in a well-lit but claustrophobically tight box. I was about to give up. Then I saw my first waggle dance.  More squirming bees for another, let’s say, eight minutes followed by my sighting of another waggle dance.  Five minutes later, I saw another.  Three minutes later, two minutes later, one minute later and one minute later I saw them again. Then I was keyed to see any waggle dance.  Some time afterward, I was able to find the queen after a brief search.  It really felt like magic.

 

For most youth, now and probably in my day too (ah, Jumpman), the playing of computer games is what teaches similar concentration and patience.
I was going to make this post some kind of lesson or sermon, but heck, learn how to spot bee waggle dances – it takes a few minutes but it really wows friends!

Updated: …And use your knowledge of waggle dances to find the healthiest environments!

 The researchers chose an area of 94 square kilometers around the hives that included urban, agricultural and protected areas, and divided that area into 60 square blocks. Then, by videotaping and painstakingly decoding over 5,000 waggle dances over the course of two years, they could see where the bees preferred to go.

The scientists found that overall, bees were significantly more likely to give an approving waggle to land that had been targeted for more intensive restoration of grasslands or of margins around the edges of agricultural fields compared with areas having less stringent requirements. Oddly, they also found that bees seemed to specifically avoid some areas that had been targeted for low-level restoration. Couvillon says that this may be due to how these schemes are managed—frequent mowing, for instance, may reduce the number of flowers. But the bees were often on target. The scientists found that two blocks most frequently tagged with a waggle—after correcting for distance from the hives—each contained a protected nature reserve.

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Late Fall at the Wye Marsh

November 19, 2013

The school groups aren’t doing much at the Wye Marsh this month.  We were incredibly busy in October but there are only occasional groups coming until, I guess, next year when cross country skiing starts up.  A coworker and I felt the need to canoe and see what the marsh looks like in mid-November.

First, I found this wonderful swan-foot print and needed to compare it to my own hand.  Sure, my foot is longer, but this is huge for a 12 kg animal.

DSC09976 b We were using a smaller canoe so we explored areas we couldn’t earlier in the giant ten person canoes.  Here, the edges of the channel were so narrow, we just pulled our boat through.DSC09971 b Did I say, November?  I meant Movember.  Squint or click on the image to increase the size if you cannot see my luxurious mustache!DSC09971 cWe had passed this beaver den almost every day for around five months.  After three weeks away, we arrived to find a cache of small trees and branches with delicious bark for the beavers to access through the winter in front of the den.
DSC09968 b This kestrel is the Marsh’s newest resident of the Birds of Prey program.DSC09966 c

I guess this back end of a cheetah needs a little explanation.  My son loves cheetahs and this is around half of a Christmas gift I am working on for him.  There is more, and another mustache shot at Creativiti Project.  Midland Wood Carvers is a group of carving hobbyists that I sometimes join to beg for assistance and wisdom.  Their workshop is at the Wye Marsh. DSC09981 b

First blood donation in Canada in thirteen years.

October 7, 2013

When I lived in Canada, I tried to donate often.  During my thirteen years in Korea, my rate dropped as it was too much effort to break the language barrier.  See here (for Busan) and here (Gangneung in Gangwondo) for those stories.

 

This will likely be my only donation this year, which is pretty weak.  My grandfather donated around 100 times and that was back when you could only donate two or three times a year.DSC09589 b DSC09588 bThe clinic was at the Best Western at King St and Highway 12.

 Here is where you can make a donation anywhere in Canada.

 

Cycling, in October, and more

October 4, 2013

I’ve been trying to cycle to work every other day, weather permitting, and really enjoying it.   I’d always been an early riser and my son really is so I am definitely up and ready in good time.  The weather has been cooperating, too.  It hasn’t always been sunny, but it has been obviously poor or obviously great in the morning so I haven’t been caught in miserable conditions.

One fly in the ointment is my weekend work.  This weekend are two rides I’d like to be involved in but I am scheduled to lead some cub scout activities at my workplace.  On Saturday, in Nobel, a village near Parry Sound is a 7.6km ride.

October 05th (Saturday) Parry Sound Area Active Transportation presents a “Fall Fun Ride” starting at the Parry Sound Mall and wrapping up at the McDougall Recreation Centre (7.6kms). It’s a free event with registration from 09:00 am to 10:00 am, with the ride starting at 10:00 am. Register and ride for an entry into a bike draw. The Rotary Club of Parry Sound will have a BBQ at the finishing point. For information call 705 746 5801. www.psactivetrans.org

This would be a great event for my son and I, again, if I were not working.  While searching for online info about the Nobel ride, I found the Sudbury Cycling Union page, which has information about work to create bike trails around Georgian Bay.

On Sunday,  the United Way is running a series of rides from 25 to 100km in Simcoe County near Barrie.

 

On Facebook, friends shared two videos that fit with today’s topic.  One is about a man who was fined for not riding in the bike lane in New York and so wen tout of his way to show how dangerous the bike lanes were  The video is interesting but his method – crashing into obstacles left in the bike lanes – seems a little too personally costly to me.

The second video was made by a Dutch visitor to the US and compares the cycling culture in the two countries.  Briefly, he feels that the way cyclists locally (Canadian bike culture is nearly identical to American) dress up and prepare for riding shows it is not yet normative or entirely accepted.  I get this: one doesn’t really need spandex and lycra to ride.  The situation reminded me of hiking in Korea.  Korean hikers often dress in brand name hiking clothes and boots, and with poles and packs suitable for Nepal when shorts and running shoes are entirely sufficient.  Perhaps Thorstein Veblen’s views on conspicuous consumption are still relevant.

Back to the video.  The Dutch rider also compares infra(structure) in the two countries and this is fair although I think geography is at least equally relevant.  I don’t know much about the Netherlands but my impression is that it (they?) are pool-table flat and so more bike-friendly from the get-go.

 

Two pictures from recent rides I have taken.  The first can be found in a previous post but is worth showing again.  It is a Dekay snake or Northern Brown snake that I shooed off the bike trail.

DSC09531 bThe colors are just turning around Midland and the views are only going to get better in the next two weeks.  I predict an incredible Thanksgiving next weekend.  The bike trails around Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny Townships will be the places to go!DSC09564 b

Northern Brown Snake – my first sighting…and my second, and third

September 28, 2013

 

I’m in the biz, so I don’t expect to see a snake new to me very often.  I’m happy (ah, not quite ecstatic, but thrilled enough to write about it) to say today is one of those days.

Lots of info about North Brown snakes can be found here.

Here is the first of the three I saw today.  I found it on the Tay-Midland Trail at the mouth of the Wye River.DSC09534 b

 

I included my cycling glove to give scale to these scalies.DSC09531 b

I don’t know it was because they were sliding on the asphalt, but they really seemed to side-wind across the cycling path to escape. DSC09529 b