Kendyll, our summer Farmland Ecology Assistant, has prepared a quick blog with some of her favourite memories and observations from our field season so far. We hope you enjoy her accounts!
The summer has only just begun, and I have had the pleasure to observe an array of flora and fauna on our protected farms. Having the opportunity to observe and record these species making use of the permanently protected farmland and natural habitat is what makes yearly monitoring visits so rewarding!
Birds have been extremely abundant this season, and we have observed many at-risk species enjoying our protected farmland. We have witnessed busy Bobolinks nesting and foraging in tall grasses on three different farms. Barn Swallows have also been a common sight on our visits, as they feed on the numerous insects farmland has to offer. Although we have not seen one of these elusive birds yet, we have heard Eastern Wood-Pewees singing several times as well. Hopefully we can spot one before the season comes to an end! One of my favourite observations so far this year was when we observed two Sandhill Cranes residing in a protected wetland on one of our farms. Although this species isn’t at-risk in Ontario, I am beyond excited to have spotted these amazing birds.
This seasons’ wildflowers have also been something I have been lucky to observe while conducting site visits. While on visits, we have found many Jack-in-the-Pulpits within the forested and natural areas on our protected farms. We found a group of delicate Yellow Lady’s Slippers, which have been my favorite flowers we have seen so far. Finally, we spotted Prairie Smoke in a protected meadow, and although it hadn’t bloomed yet, it’s nodding flowerhead was a beautiful sight.
Other species we have had the chance to witness living on our protected farmland include the at-risk Midland Painted Turtle, many Monarch butterflies, and a robust Butternut tree.
Yearly site visits remind myself and the team just how valuable farmland is. Not only does the farmland here in Ontario provide numerous crops and food for our growing population, but it also provides habitat for wildlife. We still have a few more site visits left this season, and I am beyond excited to see what they will bring!