Tag Archives: Canadian Beaver

Drought leaves Southern Ontario Thirsty

Cootes paradise our filter “Aquifer” almost dries-up
Friday September 14 2012
Dry Cootes Paradise
Thirsty for clean water
Thirsty for images
Seasons dictate life and beauty
We are heading into Autumn……………………………NOW
Another day
I hope we have not sealed our fate regarding pollution, degradation and population.  In my opinion, awareness and education do not seem to be working.  High school grads are now overweight and hooked to their cell phones, and are mostly still ignorant about their environment after years of education.  Immigrants seem to be unable to read signs that are not in their language.
As above so is below
Our water has to deal with so much.  How long can we sustain what sustains us?  If we are “what we eat,” we are full of crap ;).
Juvenile Black crowned night heron
Black crowned night heron
This year the images were hard to come by due to the lack of visible wildlife along many of our regional hiking/biking trails and conservation areas.  The City of Hamilton has outdone themselves by oiling mute swan eggs to the point that only one signet was born in Hamilton Harbour.  Still, this year was worse than all other years for e-coli bacteria.  So why do they blame the swans?  It is unwarranted and heavy handed management.  At least the RBG does not oil the eggs of mute swans.
Broad-winged Hawk
Southern Ontario Lacking Water
Continuing poor seasons threatens our way of life.
Southern Ontario’s severe weather leaves farmers with crop losses.
Water quality suffers, and all that feeds or lives from the water, which includes humans, suffer also.  Coulson said the warm spate of weather has been caused by warm fronts moving in from the southern states, which is not unusual but, because of the lack of snow, the air is not being cooled by the time it reaches Ontario.
Busy Canadian Beaver
Normally we still have snow cover over winter.  The warmer air masses, when they encounter snowpack, it modifies them and cools them off.  They would have travelled hundreds of kilometers over snow.
Monarch Butterfly

Big rain was too little, too late

Last Year -much needed water this year

Farmer Jim Vuckovic has been wishing for rain for weeks. But the way it came pouring down Sunday in a torrential storm wasn’t what he had in mind.

Great Egret with Fish

Rather than helping his dried out crops, the winds and heavy water further damaged some of his distressed corn.

Great Blue Heron

And now the 35-year-old corn, wheat and soy farmer in Beamsville finds himself contemplating one of his worst growing seasons in memory — at least with his corn fields, which are about half as high as they should be for this time of year.

Hide and seek

“I don’t ever recall it being this dry. A lot of the crops are damaged beyond saving,” says Vuckovic. “A lot of the damage is irrevocable … It’s been a bad year. Obviously, yields will be nowhere near what we’re use to.”

In Flight

Vuckovic’s farm was toured by provincial Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin on Tuesday.

“I saw a field of corn (Tuesday) that was clearly distressed,” McMeekin said. “The soy beans were doing OK. More importantly, the farmer was pretty distressed with the situation.”

Greater Yellowlegs

Gross Goo! Antibiotic Resistance Flourishes In Freshwater Systems

Green Antibiotic resistant -Goo
McMaster University researchers have now discovered that floc – “goo-like” substances that occur suspended in water and that host large communities of bacteria – also contain high levels of antibiotic resistance.
“This has important public health implications because the more antibiotic resistance there is, the less effective our antibiotic arsenal is against infectious diseases,” said Lesley Warren, the principal investigator for the study that looked at floc in different freshwater systems.The research was led by Warren, professor of earth sciences and Gerry Wright, scientific director of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research, both of McMaster, along with Ian Droppo, a research scientist at Environment Canada.

Morning flights

They examined floc collected from Hamilton Harbour, which is impacted by sewer overflow; Sunnyside Beach in Toronto, which is impacted by wastewater; a rural stream near Guelph, impacted by light agricultural activities; and a remote lake in a natural preserve area in Algonquin Park, accessible only by float plane.

One fine morning

Researchers analyzed the water and floc samples for trace element concentrations and the presence of 54 antibiotic resistant genes.

Sixteen egrets

They were surprised to discover that genes encoding resistance to clinically relevant antibiotics were present in floc bacteria at all four sites, although resistance varied in intensity based on human influence. That is, there was less antibiotic resistance detectable from Algonquin Lake compared to Hamilton Harbour, which harbored the highest concentration of floc trace elements.

“What this tells us is that antibiotic resistance is widespread in aquatic environments ranging from heavily impacted urban sites to remote areas,” said Warren. “Yet, it also demonstrates that areas with greater human impact are important reservoirs for clinically important antibiotic resistance.Floc are vibrant microbial communities that attract contaminants such as trace metals that are markers of resistance, Wright said.
Warren added the study of antibiotic resistance in floc has never been done, “and we are only scratching the surface. The presence of environmental bacterial communities in aquatic environments represents a significant, largely unknown source of antibiotic resistance,” she said. “The better we understand what is out there, the better we can develop policies to safeguard human health as best we can.”The research has been published in the science journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Funding for the study was received from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Environment Canada.

Wild Orchid

Contacts and sources:
Veronica Mcguire

McMaster University

Environment Canada.
Doug Worrall
Lois Mcnaught

Our Wetlands Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Our Wetlands Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Sunday May 22 2011

Blue Heron Cootes Paradise May 20

I welcome you to join me on a journey to the hidden gems in Hamilton, Tobermory, Niagara Falls, and many other places. My hope is that together we enjoy an enlightening experience, to gaze through the camera lens together, to see the power, beauty, and wisdom of Mother Nature’s gift.There is much history Living in Hamilton we are very lucky to have Cootes Paradise , Hamilton Harbour and Lake Ontario. Exploring your environment helps you to understand what we can do to help conserve this natural Beauty.While hiking in Cootes Paradise yesterday I noticed Algae that looked like raw sewage. If you look at the ducks Bill “picture below” it is oily and on the feathers there is a brown slime.Otherwise every hike, bike ride into cootes paradise is very interesting.Enjoy the Images

Site Coordinator

Doug Worrall

Sunrise on the docks


In the Hamilton area are fortunate to have many local wetlands. Wetlands were thought to be dirty places and had a reputation for being dangerous. Movies like “The Swamp Thing” came from the imagination of people who were raised in a time when wetlands were considered of little value or even frightening. We now know that they are important habitats that provide homes for many endangered species and that they help to control floods and filter some pollutants. It is hard to imagine thinking of them as undesirable today, which is good because 33% of Ontario’s and 14% of Canada’s land mass is covered by wetlands. . Unfortunately, up to 90% of southern Ontario’s wetlands have been lost to urbanization and agriculture.

After long rain Clay rich soil
As you walk along the shoreline of Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour you will notice plants and their herbivores seldom occur in isolation, The red-wing black bird flies to the top of the Cattails (Thypha).  These plants have eleven species in the flowering plant family Typhacease.  What is interesting is how the name of this plant varies across the world, for example, Bulrush or Reedmace (England, UK ), Punks or CornDog Grass (America), Cumbungi (Australia), and Raupo (New Zealand).

Cootes Paradise cattails

In the past week Cootes Paradise and Hamilton Harbour  have  been inundated with water.

May 7 cootes paradise

It has also attracted the Great Blue Heron in search of fish in the water.  The painted turtle has popped up to bask in the warm sun today.  And the Canada Goose has lots of goslings.  These are the signs of Spring has really arrived.  The Dundas Marsh (Cootes Paradise) located at the western end of Hamilton Harbour which is a shallow flooded basin of open water and marsh joined to Hamilton Harbour by the Desjardins canal.  Here the shallow open water is dominated by  emergent plants you can see, such as,  the Cattails and Great Manna Grass (Glyceria maxima)  a common emergent exotic marsh plant.  Also there  are the submergent Sage Pondweed (Potamogeton pecitinatus) and the floating leaves of Water Lilies (Nymphuea odorata). With advances in the Fishway Carp that disrupt the plants are controlled to allow for restoration of native vegetation.


Mute swans, more than trumpeters



Wetland Types

Wetlands vary in appearance and habitat function depending upon where they are located and what conditions they exist in. Some are very open with large areas of water while others have almost no open water at all. What they have in common is the presence of shallow water that may be invisible because of the density of plant growth. The three types of wetlands found in our area are marshes, swamps and peatlands.

Canadian Beaver


The kind of wetland that most people picture is a marsh. This is the most common type of wetland in southern Ontario and in the Hamilton area. Marshes have soils that are less organic than other wetlands and they are characterised by emergent vegetation.Marshes usually have an equal area of open water and vegetation. Marshes are prime duck habitat and also excellent muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) territory.These habitats can be found along the shores of the Great Lakes and in sheltered bays such as Cootes Paradise and also along rivers or in other depressions across the broader landscape. They have fluctuating water levels, particularly when they are isolated from large water bodies.

Algae or Untreated waste visible cootes paradise
Unusual lump on neck while swimming in the Algae


Swamps are often associated with the deep southern United States, like the Okefonokee Swamp in Georgia, but we have our own swamps right here in our area. Swamps are forested wetlands and the Hamilton area is one of the best places in Canada to see them. Most of our swamps are dominated by hardwood tree species, in particular Red Maple (Acer rubrum) and Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum). These wetlands can form along lakeshores but are more often found along shallow rivers or in low-lying areas where the soil is not flooded all year long. By combining the properties of forest and wetland together, they make very good habitat for birds in particular. Beverly Swamp and the Valens Conservation Area are excellent places to see these ecosystems.

Proud mother


The rarest wetlands in southern Ontario, peatlands are wetlands where the soil is highly organic because is it formed mostly from incompletely decomposed plants. This soil is called peat and its presence is what defines peatlands. Plant material does not break down very easily in waterlogged conditions and the plants that dominate peatlands, such as Sphagnum mosses (Sphagnum spp.) or sedges (Carex sp.), are especially slow to decompose. In addition, many peatland plants produce chemical compounds that slow decomposition further, particularly the Sphagnum mosses. These non-vascular plants are also known as ‘peat mosses’ because they form peat soils.

The slow decomposition found in peatlands results in soils that are very old. It can take as much as 1,000 years for a peatland to produce as little as 15 centimetres of peat soil. Incredible! This is why peat is not a renewable resource; it is formed over very long periods of time. One nearby peatland, the Summit Bog at Copetown, is 12,000 years old and has peat soil that is 8 metres deep. This means that, on average, this peat soil has taken 1,000 years to deepen by 65 centimetres. There are two main types of peatlands in southern Ontario, bogs and fens. Both form peat but bogs have no significant inflows or outflows of water while fens receive water from surrounding mineral soil, sometimes resulting in a mix of peatland and marsh vegetation.

Wetland Animals

Twist and Shout
testing wings

Of the three types of wetlands,marshes seem to have more animal life. It is easy to find muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias) and Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) in these very productive habitats.Marshes are particularly important habitats for amphibians and water-dwelling reptiles because they contain both open water and vegetated areas. The Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale), Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus), Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens), Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica) and Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) all benefit from marsh homes.Aquatic insects also thrive in this habitat, including the Giant Water Bug, also known as the Toe-biter (Lethocerus americanus), the Brown Water Scorpion (Ranatra fusca), mosquitoes (Aedes spp.), dragonflies and damselflies (Order Odonata) and midges (Family Chironomidae, which look a bit like mosquitoes but do not bite).This abundance of insects, amphibians and plants is like a meal waiting to happen for birds, which is one reason why birds are so populous in marshes.

Turtle day before algae
Turtle muddy not algae

There are the herons, such as the Blue Heron above (Butorides virescens) and their relatives the American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) and the rare Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis). Rails (e.g. Virginia Rail, Rallus limicola), and coots (e.g. American Coot, Fulica Americana) are on the rise in places like Cootes Paradise in Hamilton.Smaller birds are there too, like the Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) and the rare Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea).Fish are also an important part of the marsh fauna. Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), Pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus) and many minnow species are found in Cootes Paradise, with help from the fish barrier that keeps out invasive species like Carp and allows these native fish to survive and reproduce. During the open water seasons, you can watch the barrier in action as RBG staff remove the undesirable fish from the trap in the barrier.



Information:Jacqueline, Hamilton Nature and Wikipedia

6AM 21 May 2011
Harbourfront Trail

Doug Worrall Photographer




Images from Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Images from Cootes Paradise Hamilton

Saturday November 6 2010

Elder Catfish


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,

Swan at Sunrise

And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o’er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent’s thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun’s throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon’s with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,–
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

swan in midst

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

By Percy Bysshe Shelley