Archive for the ‘Penetang’ 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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Enjoying a short winter- perhaps only because it is short

January 7, 2014

On January 14, my son and I fly back to South Korea.  In Busan today, the temperature is +6C.

Here in Penetanguishene, schools, roads, well, everything is closed because of the blizzard.  The wind is howling and dumping snow and the temperature is below -15C even before wind chill is taken into account.

My son and had fun today anyway.

Winter started early with a lot of snow in early December.  I seem to remember lasting snow only falling around Christmas (and falling for the next ten days straight, but not until then)  This winter, it has been early and constant.

blizzard jan 7 (1 b)

We had to go out the garage door because the front door is snowed in.blizzard jan 7 (2 b)

Even the back door is blocked up.  The wind has actually pushed snow through the screen door so snow has piled up between the doors.blizzard jan 7 (4 b)

Once outside, we built a quinzee.  Outside, the wind was strong and the temp around -15C.  Inside the snow house, there was no wind and the temp was much closer to 0C.  The main problem was having our glasses fog up in the warmth.in quinzee (1 b)

If we were staying in Ontario for the whole winter, we might soon get sick of the weather.  A short but real winter (again, in Busan it is miserably cool but not cold enough for sledding or making snowmen) is fun and I’m glad to have had the chance to enjoy it.

I sure hope our flight isn’t delayed though.

Hallowe’en at the Library

October 20, 2013

Finally, a Penetanguishene Library event that had good attendance.  My son has had a great time at the Friday evening activities – Lego and chess are his favorites but there is also a Scrabble night and…something else.

Anyway, Hallowe’en came early on Saturday October 19 at the library.

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Mad scientist Mel enthralled the kids…with science!  I don’t know how much the kids absorbed but I want to make a smoke ring cannon now.
DSC09830DSC09832 DSC09831I have tried to avoid children’s faces in the images.  If anyone notices a problem, I will happily edit or remove a photo.

 

Provincial Park Image of the day: Awenda in spring

April 14, 2013

My mother, son and I returned to Awenda Provincial Park on April 13 and had a good walk although no wildlife was spotted.

Again, we visited a beach and again, I admired the ice piles.

blog awenda hike (3) blog awenda hike (4)

I could have walked out to them, I think.  The last four metres was of thick-but-broken-and-refrozen ice and where I could see water, something in the clarity wailed cold.  I was still going to do it, but my son was watching and I decided not to demonstrate what foolishness I am capable of.

blog awenda hike (5)

We found one fin and one deer scapula (?) blog awenda hike (6)

My son likes to be clear on where precisely he is.  When he learned we were just outside of Penetanguishene and in Tiny Township, he decided this line was the border and delighted in hopping in and out of Penetanguishene.

blog awenda hike (7)

 

Since I’ve returned, deep views into forest have become fascinating to me but I cannot explain why or take a photo that offers the same pull.blog awenda hike (10)

Awenda has a small ampitheatre and stage.  I hope to hear some wildlife talks or the like there.blog awenda hike (11)

 

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As the ice leaves, so do the animals

April 10, 2013

The ice melted around my home first, and now perhaps half of Penetanguishene Bay is ice-free.  When the only open water was near my home, I was treated to a wide variety of birds and mammals who had no other place to be.  I’m ready for warmer weather, but it was pretty cool to see both a muskrat and an otter only ten metres from each other – and even closer to me.  Not shown are the huge number of Mergansers that were too shy to allow me close enough to take pictures.april 9 (3) b April 10 Otter And Muskrat (2) b April 10 Otter And Muskrat (3) b April 10 Otter And Muskrat (6) b April 10 Otter And Muskrat (7) b April 10 Otter And Muskrat (8) b spring is here (1)b





Spring: a reason for the demise of print media in the North

March 31, 2013

Here in Penetanguishene, we get a free paper or two every week.  Further, we subscribe to the Toronto Star so there’s another paper a day on or near our doorstep.  My mom seems to enjoy reading the local papers and picks up the ones in our driveway. Either the neighbors are less excited by the paper or are too slow and the plow has buried it.

 

I am not shaming my neighbors here; the snow just melted so these were hidden and the street apparently spotless just a day or two ago.  I am not even blaming the newspaper companies.  They want the papers in our hands and no one benefits from a buried paper.

I follow the news from a variety of sources.  For Korean news, I chiefly depend on blogs.  Here, I follow Twitter feeds from environmental organizations and science enthusiasts and catch most local news on TV.  I like to read a paper and enjoy the comics more in paper form but feel no strong desire to collect or throw them away.

demise print media

Spring sightings

March 30, 2013

Three pictures from the Wye Marsh and two from Penetang Park.

It really is spring!  I saw a robin today.

robin

I have no idea how seasonal Canada Geese are.wye marsh (1)

Nor do I know about lichen.  Still, the beauty of this lichen community makes me want to know more.

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This redwinged blackbird doesn’t have much red.  The same is true for others I’ve seen in the last week.  I wonder if the red is more apparent later in the spring.penetang park (8)

It seems crazy early for turtles!  Well, last year at this time, the temps were closer to 20 Celsius, but this year has been much colder and there was ice in this pond. I saw a total of five turtles in the Penetang Park pond.penetang park 1