One of the things that I learned this summer, while working full-time in my field of studies for the first time, is that there is always much more to learn. Before the summer started, I was pretty confident in my knowledge of plant species and all the facts about wildlife. For the most part, I was able to answer all of the questions. However, some people were really good at asking about the things that I didn't know. This provided me with an opportunity to pull out a field guide or look it up afterwards so that I'll be prepared if the question comes up again. You really don't realize how many different things there are out there in nature until you go looking.
I think one of my favourite days of the summer was taking a small group kayaking up the Stobie Creek. If you ever get a chance to do it yourself, I definitely recommend it as it gives you a totally different perspective of the creek. There are lots of different wetland plant species to check out and there's a good chance you'll see some cool wildlife, especially birds. During this paddle, we saw a great blue heron, a couple belted kingfishers, some tree swallows and an American bittern. The bittern was extra cool for me personally, as I had been looking to see one all summer to add to my birding life list. It flew out from the bank right in front of me, so I got a great close of view of it, but only for a few seconds before it had flown out of sight. Hopefully I get to see another one soon!
It quickly became apparent that the Black Hole Preserve is my favourite of the properties that the Kensington Conservancy protects. There is just so much life in that wetland. There were frogs all over the place, ducks and geese raising their families, red-winged blackbirds flying from cattail to cattail and turtles lounging on logs. I took many different groups there for hikes and it was always was a fun time! Lots of people were impressed with the two different species of the carnivorous sundew found along the shoreline of the Black Hole. Another hit was crossing the beaver dam to see the view of the Black Hole from up high on the rocky hill. The only ones who weren't impressed were the two resident sandhill cranes who sure put up a racket each time I made a visit, but my guests loved seeing them up close. Make sure you all add this property to your list of places to visit if you haven't been already.
There are still some events scheduled for September, so you still have a chance to get involved this year! The schedule is available here on the website. Come out for a hike or help me monitor one of our properties. As always, if you want to come out on a day that isn't on the schedule, I'd be more than happy to accommodate you. Even if you're around in the fall and want to check out the colours or in the winter and want to trek through the snow, let me know! We also have our second Adopt-A-Highway garbage cleanup scheduled for September 28th and I'd love it if some people could come help out!
Keep sending in your photos for Photo of the Day! I'm going to try and keep it running until the end of September unless I run out of photos before then. After that, I'm going to change it to Photo of the Week until next spring. So next spring you better get your camera out and start taking photos.
That's all for now, thanks! Check back here later in the fall and winter and hopefully I'll have some more updates on what I've been doing!