I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Residents in the Swallow Box

Last year we built and installed three swallow boxes around our house.  By we I mean mostly my husband, but we were all involved to a certain degree.  I think we put them up a little late in the season and did not attract any inhabitants.  This year a pair of swallows built a nest in the box decorated by my son.

 My father-in-law told us several cautionary tales of his trial and error with getting his swallow boxes just right.  If the hole is too big then it is too easy for predators to perch and stick their heads in, or climb in and use it for themselves.  If the box is too shallow, and they can get their heads in, they can reach the eggs or young ones.  A year or two ago there were some people who had a table set up at one of the Swan Lake Native Plant Sales.  I got my template for building the boxes from them.

Here is a link to their website How to Attract Violet Green Swallows, which shows how to make the oval hole - a key feature to keep out the house sparrow.  I have been watching the odd sparrow sitting on the garage roof checking out our swallow box.  So far, so good and I think the babies will be ready to leave soon.  Check out the page link that says Violet Green Swallows for some extra tips.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Nature Walk in Mt. Doug

Since we got our dog about a year ago I have spent a lot of time walking through Mt. Doug park.  Occasionally I will walk up to the top, but quite often I walk around the bottom and, up until today, I thought I had done a fairly thorough job of exploring the trails.  I had a basic map in my head and, while I had not been down every trail, I deceived myself in thinking that there was not much more to see.  For whatever reason I let my dog lead the way down a trail I had not taken before.  I figured (incorrectly) that it would soon curve back towards the trail we take most often and my approximately 1 hour walk turned into 2 hours.  Luckily I had nowhere to be and I enjoyed the scenic detour.

The trail we walked down widened out, was finished with gravel and also had a couple of the nice board walk style bridges over swampy patches.  As I rounded one corner I noticed that the sword ferns in the area were splattered with copious amounts of bird droppings and a couple of stray feathers.  I am guessing that it is under either a favourite bird hang out, or perhaps a nest.  I looked up hoping to catch a glimpse of the underside of a nest, but could not see anything.  Luckily I did not get crapped on either.