Sunday, June 29, 2014


We were hoping to try out the natural water slide at the Port Sydney dam and along with others, were disappointed to find it too fast and furious for comfort. My boys were content to cool down instead with a chilled orange soda from Muskoka Dry, their first time trying it and my first time finding it available, which I believe has been brought back again.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


The first day of summer was beautiful and made for a pleasant stroll through the Upjohn Nature Reserve, one of several properties trusted to the Muskoka Conservancy. Led by Bill Dickinson, one of the directors and a well-versed naturalist, I joined the small group attending the event, touring the reserve with its fieldstone farmhouse, through the forest to the beaver pond. Along the way Bill shared his knowledge of birds, fauna and flora, providing us a lot to digest, including a couple of wild edible plants.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


We joined Miranda Virtanen, a field technician involved with the START Muskoka project, for a day tracking female Blanding's turtles to monitor for potential nesting. Using radio telemetry to home in and wearing wetsuits, we slogged and waded through the wetlands, often relying on a float tube to negotiate across deeper areas. Once in close proximity we had to blindly search for them with our hands and feet in the murky water, Miranda making it look easy and successfully finding each of the subjects.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


This year has been brutal with bugs, the worst I've experienced in my five years living here. If you're coming to Muskolka be sure to have plenty of repellant and you may also want to consider bugnet protection.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Friday the 13th turned out to be a lucky day, when a gray tree frog showed up for a photo op. One of 13 species of frogs and toads in Ontario, it is one of the most elusive, rarely leaving trees except to breed. The patch beneath their eyes distinguish them from other frogs and they possess the ability to change colour from green to gray to match their surroundings.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am amazed at how camouflaged and motionless a killdeer can be, and almost stepped on one before it startled me with its movement and shrieks. This one was protecting its nest and clutch of eggs. The nest is a rudimentary affair on the ground, the pattern of the eggs blending with its surroundings. If threatened, the parent will perform a broken wing act to distract and lead predators away from the nest.

Saturday, June 7, 2014


I attended a presentation hosted by the Muskoka Conservancy and floored by Scales Nature Park staff from Orillia, for START Muskoka, Saving Turtles at Risk Today, a joint project launched last year involving several entities and efforts. It was interesting, informative, and highlighted the species we have, those at risk and how we can all contribute to the success of this program.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Today we visited the Dyer Memorial, a stone monument set amidst a secluded nature reserve of landscaped grounds and ponds. The monument was commissioned by Clifton Dyer as a final resting place for his wife. They had honeymooned in Muskoka in 1916 and returned twenty years later, and from then on as regular visitors. His wife died in 1956 and he joined her three years later, the amount of time it took for the memorial and grounds to be completed, their cremated ashes placed together within it.