With another field season wrapping up, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the awesome experiences we had while out on farms throughout the past few months.
One day, while walking some trails on a farm, we walked past two pairs of nesting Bobolink! They had nested in the prairie habitat beside the trail, and, it’s safe to say that they were not happy to see us near their nesting sites. The male Bobolinks dutifully ushered us away by loudly singing in a tree away from the nests. We stopped and watched for a while from a distance, before moving on to allow the Bobolinks to relax. It was the closest we have ever been to a Bobolink, and it was amazing to see them thriving on a farm.
Another highlight of the field season was witnessing the Monarch migration while on a monitoring visit! The fields were planted in a clover cover crop, and as we waded through the vegetation it seemed as though we were wading through a sea of Monarch butterflies. With each step, Monarchs would take flight in front of us. When we got to the back of the farm, trees along the hedgerows were covered in Monarchs. It was clear that the Monarchs had decided that this farm was a good place to rest during their long migration south.
This year, our typical field season was pushed back a little later than usual due to COVID-19. But lucky for us, that meant that we were able to see some spectacular fall colours in our protected forests. We also saw an abundance of fall mushrooms throughout the forests and natural areas. Not only that, but we were also able to see some migratory warblers, flitting about in a forest beside a wetland.
Being able to visit the farms each year never fails to remind us that farmland also provides valuable habitat, in addition to providing food for Ontario’s growing population.