Tag Archives: species


27 Sep

One of the requirements of the Managed Forest Plan (MFP) is to divide the map of the property into separate COMPARTMENTS. For the purposes of nature and wildlife management, areas on the property that have different characteristics should be treated separately. An individual compartment should have similar vegetation, soil and topography and be uniform in species composition, condition and age so they can be distinguished from adjacent compartments.

Our property seems to have every possible type of cover. My initial stab at dividing the property is on this map (crude, but remember, I’m at the cottage without any major tech tools)


This isn’t written in stone – I have one more day here and may change some boundaries.

CONIFEROUS FOREST – this could also be considered a plantation.






MARSH – this is the beaver pond area


We’ve got everything!


September 15 – Fungus, mmm

26 Sep

Did you know … that there are BILLIONS of spores in a single mushroom and spores can remain dormant for up to 20 years.

Did a bit of washing and gathering of kindling in preparation for rain tomorrow…hard rain…all day.


It sounds like a day spend under a big woolly blanket  going through several hundred photos taken of trees, plants, mosses, and other species and doing some serious identification.  A day inside will give me the quiet time needed to start organizing some of the main components of the Managed Forest Plan.

In advance of any rain, I made a quick trip to the glade to catalogue some fungi.


mlf-25mlf-81These stunning fungi are growing in great profusion in the glade on the carcases of some large hardwood trees lying on the forest floor.  The colors change drastically, depending on how wet the fungus is.  The next time I saw this one it had rained and the fungus looked drab and greyish with only a hint of the blue-green you see here.

mlf-83 mlf-98

OK, here’s a question for you – is this one a lichen or a fungus?mlf-43

Since these pictures are only a fraction of what I have, it looks like I have a lot of work to do with the Mushrooms of North America guide.

By afternoon, Mum and Tim arrived and the rain has not come!

September 12 – Identification

22 Sep

I spent some time entering the species mentioned in Dad’s notes and in “the cottage books” into a spreadsheet to attempt to get a  central record of every species seen on the property.  Here’s a little excerpt I found that I just love –

July 8, 1979 – (entry by CJ in the cottage book)  “Saw the “bird of the year” this AM near the sand pit – a black billed cuckoo!! A life first for C.J. 

Talking with Roy Peters yesterday, he insists that each spring the government drops dragonflies from planes to combat black flies.  Home in the afternoon”

That’s a beauty!

And I call myself the Mighty Naturalist…  There I was tramping through the forest, blithely pulling individual leaves off of trees thinking I would bring them back and flip, flip, flip… the books would tell me what they were.  Shows how much I know – without information about if the leaves were growing simple or compound off the twig and how many leaves, if there was fruit or flowers etc, how can I identify them?  Dolt.

A few groups Dad did not mention in his  lists are the mosses and lichens, mushrooms and fungus.   I only have a portion of all that he documented, so perhaps he listed them in some book or database that has been lost.  As the mosses and lichens are my personal favourites, I shall identify as many as I can this week.  Here’s a start;

moss 1

Lush and green and soft.  Some monks hood lichen mixed with peat moss… Look closely there in the lower right.. here I’ll magnify it for you… what is that?  moss 1a

Could it  a bit of false pixie cup peeking through?

A truly good book is something as wildly natural and primitive, mysterious and marvelous, ambrosial and fertile, as a fungus or a lichen.

-Thoreau, Henry David

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

29 Aug

I found a beautiful swallowtail butterfly in the yard – dead, but perfect. I looked it up on the iPhone and think it might be the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. These pictures were taken with the phone and this post is being done entirely with the iphone. Yes I am a tech geek!

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is a species of swallowtail butterfly native to North America. It is one of the most familiar butterflies in the eastern United States.

The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was once considered to be a single species, but is now divided into three species; the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis), the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, and the Appalachian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio appalachiensis). These three species are very similar to one another, and can be hard to tell apart. The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has a wingspan of 7.9 to 14 centimeters (3 to 5.5 inches). The adult male is yellow, with black “tiger stripes”. There are two morphs of adult females, a yellow one and a dark one. The yellow one is similar to the male, except there is a patch of blue on the hind wing. In the dark morph, the yellow areas are replaced by dark gray or black.


28 Aug

Not exactly pretty, but kind of exotic..


The common porcupine can be found in most of Canada, the western United States and as far south as Mexico. It makes its den in caves, decaying logs and hollow trees. The porcupine doesn’t hibernate, but it may stay in its den during bad weather. Some things I didn’t realize are that the porcupine is a good swimmer, its hollow quills help keep it afloat. It is also an excellent tree-climber and spends much of its time in trees.  Have you ever seen one sitting in a tree?  I haven’t. 
We know that we have quite a population of them at the cottage from the clues they leave behind … Was it Spruce who managed to get a snout-ful?    Here’s a picture of our more recent porcupine damage – they had a little chew-fest on the small dock last winter.
The small dock this spring – porcupine food

Most porcupine damage occurs during the winter when woody plants become a staple diet. Extensive gnawing of branches, twigs and bark is evidence of porcupine attack. Susceptible trees include pine, spruce, poplar, elm, fruit-bearing trees and numerous shrub species. Girdling of the tree bark, if severe, will kill the plant. In summer, porcupines will eat fruits, vegetables and succulent plants. Occasionally, porcupines find buildings, open air sheds and other wooden structures including boat houses and piers where they can seriously damage beams and other support structures with their gnawing.   


Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. These quills typically lie flat until a porcupine is threatened, then leap to attention as a persuasive deterrent. Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched. 

Want to look for evidence of porcupines? (besides chewed-up docks)  Here are porky’s tracks and trail pattern. 


Mosses and Lichens

21 Aug

One class of plants that is often overlooked are the mosses and lichens.  I’ve always been fascinated by them – how do they cling to life year after year on those rocks at the cottage.  In the spring, they are lush and soft and puffy.  In the fall, they crackle under your feet as you walk.  Look closely, very closely and you’ll see complicated patterns and structures and real beauty… 

Let’s take a look at 2 mosses and a lichen we find at the cottage. 

Close-up of pin cushion moss - lovely isn't it?

 What is a lichen?

Lichens are not a single plant. 

A lichen is a complex group of plants depending on a close association between a FUNGUS and ALGAE – a symbiotic relationship.  A lichen consists of an upper part of interwoven fibres related to the fungus and a layer of more loosely fibrous structures related to the fungus that surrounds the algae. The algae can carry out photosynthesis and feed the fungi. The fibrous structures that make up the fungi adds support to the algae and keeps the algae from drying out.  in the Language of Flowers, Lichen means “dejection” and “solitude”.   



 This is a photo of reindeer Lichen. Lichen can survive for long periods of time without water. They just dry out and go dormant when there is little water or light. They can begin to grow again even after very long periods of dormancy.  Animals such as Reindeer and Caribou feed on lichen during the coldest periods of the season. It has lots of carbohydrates that give the caribou energy to make body heat. Caribou have special microorganisms in their stomachs which let them digest lichen. Very few other animals eat lichens.   


 What is a moss? 

A moss is a class (Musci) of plants without flowers or roots. Moss usually grows as low, dense, carpet-like masses on tree trunks, rocks, or moist ground. In the Language of Flowers, Moss means “maternal love”.  



Fire moss sends up stalks in early spring, usually as soon as the last snow melts. At first the stalks are green but they turn red as they mature. Cylindrical spore capsules form at the ends of the stalks and mature by late spring. Changes in humidity cause the stalks to twist and turn thereby aiding in spore dispersal. By mid summer the capsules decay and the stems break off.  


Check out the photo of Sydney below – what kind of moss or lichen surrounds her?  Fire moss?





19 Aug



This isn't our forest - but it's beautiful all the same...


What the heck is an MFTIP?  It’s the acronym for Managed Forest Tax Incentive Plan.  Good deal – we get a significant tax reduction if our plan qualifies.  But after the plan is written, that doesn’t mean I can sit back and relax.  Part of the plan is a requirement to list the forest management activities that we’ll be undertaking to keep our forest and wetlands vibrant.  Here’s a quote from the guidebook –  

To meet your objectives, forest management activities may be required. Appropriate management activities for the MFTIP include:  

• tree planting or harvesting;  

• recreational activities such as hiking, skiing or hunting;  

• wildlife management involving habitat work or participating in monitoring programs;  

• protecting environmentally sensitive areas by limiting disturbance; and  

• learning about your forest.  

Activities on properties in the MFTIP are to be carried out according to “good forestry practices” as defined in the Forestry Act. Good forestry practices means ” the proper implementation of harvest, renewal and maintenance activities known to be appropriate for the forest and environmental conditions under which they are being applied and that minimize detriments to forest values including significant ecosystems, important fish and wildlife habitat, soil and water quality and quantity, forest productivity and health and the aesthetics and recreational opportunities of the landscape.”  


. MFTIP encourages landowners to take an active role in maintaining the health of the forest. It is important to inspect the forest for insects, disease and other problems and monitor the results of activities. Being inactive because you are not sure of what kind of forest you have, or what management activities are appropriate, is not acceptable in the MFTIPThe


We have no problem with a few of those activities – but I will have to develop very specific activities that we will undertake over the next 5, 10 and 20 years.  I’ll have to be realistic.  I’d really love to pick a couple of threatened or endangered species and improve their habitat.  Sounds easy….. ha!