Christmas ferns on a mound – the resting place of a very big tree that fell about 150 years ago – in old forest by Sandy Lake, Mar 23, 2021
Click on images for larger versions
A couple of days ago, I had to “get away from it all” so I went to walk and just relax in my favourite hardwoods on the big drumlin on the east side of Sandy Lake.
I had expected that the lake would be ice-free, but it was still mostly covered over (although mushy) viewed from Sandy Lake Beach Park. No one will be bathing in Sandy Lake for a while, I thought.
Within minutes of climbing the drumlin, I was in a different world, free of all of the distractions of our complicated lives in Covid times. There was lots to celebrate about the natural world there. In the damp woods by the lake, hobble bush was getting ready to flower. As I walked through the hemlocks I looked for any signs of hemlock wooly adelgid (the “hemlock vampire”) and could see none, only healthy hemlocks. The ground below the hardwoods was well-lit, with leaf-out still many weeks away; evergreen Christmas ferns lay prostrate on the big mounds in this bit of Old Growth forest. Continue reading
UPDATE Mar 29, 2021: 4 lessons now available: Introduction, Watersheds, Habitat & Egg Observation, Shelter and Alevin Observation
View more at SACKVILLE RIVERS ASSOCIATION EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMVIRTUAL FISH FRIENDS/RIVER RANGERS 2021
I just checked out the first video lesson the SRA (Sackville Rivers Association) has posted in its new online Fish Friend Series series, launched because of limitations on their hands-on programs in Covid times. It is incredibly well done.
The lessons are geared for elementary school children, but I still enjoyed and learned from this first video – especially about First Nations’ Perspectives.
In the first video (LESSON 1: INTRODUCTION)
- Students are introduced to the SRA and the work they do
- Students are introduced to the concepts of “Watershed” and “Habitat”
- Students are introduced to scientific and traditional (Mi’kmaq) approaches to ecological knowledge
Swimmers left the beach at Sandy Lake Beach Park after an unpleasant algal bloom appeared suddenly in the morning of Aug 6, 2019. The bloom dissipated within a few days. It was as an ‘early warning sign’ that the lake is in a precarious state.
Since I began conducting observations on “Sandy Lake & Environs” in June 0f 2017, I have compiled a variety of observations related to Sandy Lake itself and associated streams and wetlands.
The observations included descriptions of wetland communities, some ‘limnological profiles” at deep spots in Sandy Lake, and many measurements of temperature, electrical conductivity ( a measure of the salt content) and pH of lake and stream waters. Derek Sarty, Bruce Sarty and Ed Glover have assisted with many of these observations. Continue reading
Hare and deer tracks together. Who was following who? Click on image for larger version
On a few-degrees-below-zero day in early February, I set out from Sandy Lake Beach Park to go to Marsh Lake. I especially wanted to see the hemlock-lined Upper Peverill’s Brook in winter, where it flows into Marsh Lake.
Sandy Lake was frozen sufficiently that I could walk on it – but I stayed over shallow water just in case. I headed north and took a right turn at the point I figured was closest to Marsh Lake. I headed up the drumlin; the ground was frozen with a few inches of snow on top, perfect for walking (I had cleats on) and for walking with minimal impact on the environment. Such days are my favourites for hiking into areas when you have to cross water and wetlands and the like to get to them. Continue reading
On a lengthy winter outing in the area of Sandy Lake on a slightly above zero day this past week I noted several sites where sediment is flowing into streams that flow into Sandy Lake or Marsh Lake, or that lie directly on Sandy Lake.
Puddling on Jackie’s Brook
The first site was on a power line where a significant stream flows out of the forest on one side and into the forest on the other and there is extensive puddling from OHVs crossing the stream. I think the stream is known informally as “Jackie’s Brook”. It goes into the woods, falls down over the edge of ridged bedrock outcrop and then crosses the powerline again on its route to Marsh Lake; there is also extensive puddling at that second crossing of a powerline.
OHV (Off-Highway Vehicles) use on publicly accessed lands can be very controversial, and is banned in HRM Parks unless specifically permitted (By-law P-600). Personally, I am OK with OHVs accessing power lines but…not without significant responsibilities and accountability. One solution: OHV organizations take responsibility for managing ATV routes in such areas, e.g. see this document describing how OHV use was/is managed in the Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area; their involvement this way was a big factor in gaining community and political support for establishment of the Five Bridge Lakes Protected Wilderness Area in 2011.
Just in case anyone is looking at these pages… I am reorganizing and revising them.
I expect it will be completed circa mid-February, 2o21
Some reasons to celebrate and some reasons to be concerned about Sandy Lake & Environs
Short link for this page: https://cutt.ly/ShAkAGM (www.cutt.ly/ShAkAGM)
A presentation by David Patriquin to the Bedford Lions Club on Dec 3, 2020.
View Hi-Res Video of presentation (1920×1080 px)
View on YouTube (Low-Res)
View A few of the Slides below for a quick overview of what’s in the talk
Sandy Lake is a near-pristine lake lying within a partially developed landscape in the suburbs of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Bedford Lions Club led the way for establishing the Sandy Lake Beach Park in 2003/4.
It’s a wonderful spot, for children especially, with safe swimming, paddling, fishing and opportunities for diverse nature activities. Mixed Acadian forest with patches of Old Growth occurs on drumlins by the Beach and is readily accessed via old forestry roads.
There is pressure to develop in an area of the watershed that provides most of the water for the lake.
In this presentation to the Bedford Lions Club on Dec 3, 2020, David Patriquin describes
– the benefits of the lake and the surrounding area for recreation and wildlife (0-19 min);
– some interesting features of old growth forest on the drumlin by the beach (19-32 min);
– life in the lake and possible impacts of further development in the watershed on lake water quality (32- 67 min).
Find out more about the natural history of the area at www.sandylakebedford.ca