2021 Field Season Wrap-Up

Before starting school again in September, our summer student Kendyll wrote another blog for us filled with highlights from our field season. Thank you Kendyll for all of your hard work this year!

The River Otter before it ran back into the forest!

With summer quickly coming to an end, I have been reflecting on the time I have spent as a Farmland Ecology Assistant with Ontario Farmland Trust. Not only have I been able to learn a lot, but I have also had the opportunity to see some amazing things over the summer!

In particular, our visit to Prince Edward County ended up being very eventful. Not only did I get to see some familiar faces around the farms (like Monarchs and Butternuts), but I was also able to add several species to my personal observation list that I had never seen in person before! In a dry upland forest, I spotted a wet River Otter, running straight for myself and Emma Jane, OFT’s Farmland Ecology Coordinator.

I have never seen a River Otter in the wild before, and I never would have expected to see my first one emerging from an upland forest!

I also had the opportunity to observe an Eastern Meadowlark (provincially listed as threatened) as it foraged in a hay field on one of our protected farms. A first-time observation for both myself and Emma Jane, we barely noticed the downpour that was happening as we watched the bird through our binoculars.

The Eastern Meadowlark, as observed through binoculars.

Although the Indigo Bunting is not an at-risk species, spotting it singing atop a tree was a first for me, and was a great way to end the exciting site visit.

During our last site visit of the season in Bruce County, I finally had the chance to watch the chatty-yet-elusive Eastern Wood-Pewee. This bird is provincially listed as special concern, and although Emma Jane and I only got to see it for a split second, it was a lovely way to end the summer for the both of us. We had heard Eastern Wood-Pewees on many of our protected farms this season, but hadn’t been able to spot one until our final day in the field.

Despite the numerous mosquitos, the unrelenting heat, and at times the rain that we got caught in, I had a blast working to protect Ontario’s farmland this summer.

I am very happy that I was able to see many of these species making use of Ontario’s farmland this summer, and I am so thankful to have been able to lend a hand in the process of protecting and preserving Ontario’s farmland.

I was able to learn a lot not just about field ecology, but also about agriculture and just how valuable our farmland is. Not only do we depend on it for food, fuel, fibre, and flowers, but a myriad of species also depend on our farmland and the associated natural areas for habitat!

This truly was the dream summer job!

Kendyll and Emma Jane in the field (not pictured: the mosquitos).

Thanks again Kendyll, we wish you luck on all of your future endeavours!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see even more photos from our field season!