Thursday, June 25, 2009

Is Potting Tree Planting

The last couple of days I have been working in the greenhouse potting tree seedlings. I like to think of it as tree planting! I am just planting them first, before some else will plant them.

I was planting black spruce and jack pine. In a little more then a month the seedling should be pot bound enough to be planted outside. One day one of these trees may end up on the Timmins Honour Role of Trees as the largest example in the area.

"Pot bound" is when the roots take up enough of the pot that it holds all the soil into a compact ball of roots. When you flip the pot over and remove the pot you can see healthy white root tips, the tree is ready for planting.

White pine were also potted recently, but I was not the one doing it. They look great. Who
ever buys these white pine will be buying the Provincial tree on Ontario. The Arboreal Emblemof Ontario.

Another activity going on in the greenhouse, while I was tree planting, is thinning. In the picture below Annie is thinning. When the seeding machine drops seed into the container sometimes more then one seed lands and germinates. It is important that every container only has one tree seedling. The doubles are removed while the seedlings are still tiny. It is easier to do it before the roots get tangled.

The seedling will grow and become root bound in the container, same as a potted plant only on a smaller scale. The seedling will be removed from the container, with soil encased in roots, to later be planted. In some cases the entire container will go to the field and the tree planter will remove the trees, pack them into their bags and plant them.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Whimbrel Update

More information happened to come to my email this week regarding the whimbrel.

There has been some great work tracking a number of whimbrel on their migration path.

Find it here at the Center for Conservation.

Take a look at the project and the tracks. Some do come very close to Timmins.

If you missed the story of the Timmins whimbrel you will find it below.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tree Plants

Here is a group shot of the tree planters the other evening, thanks Len.

Now more trees are growing oxygen here in Timmins.

Want to get your own tree to plant? These trees were provided by a local grower. Buy Local!

Roll'n is looking good, if he had a hat on he would look like me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Here is a great observation recorded that is very interesting. I got a call and had to go take a look. It was great we could sit at the kitchen table and watch the bird. I was able to walk around and find the mate.

I want to hear about great sightings in and around Timmins. Be great if you leave a comment too.

2004 entries on the Timmins Naturalists Species Observation page:

December 18, 2004 Timmins Christmas Bird Count. Combining the feeder and field results in 889 individuals, 13 different species and 21 participants. Of note is Canada goose and theEurasian Collared-Dove. This dove was spotted about 4 km west of the previous sighting.

December 4, 2004

By Paul Gaudreau : An
Eurasian Collared-Dove has been at his feeder for a number of weeks. Today I was able to confirm with him that there actually was a pair of doves in his back yard. This really is an unusual observations and I wonder if the birds are escaped pets. Will post here if I find out.

It has been a few years and the birds have never been spotted again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tree Plant on Tailings, Walking on Rock.

This evening the Porcupine Watchfull Eye group meeting was a field trip. I love field trips!

We met on the Carium road to visit the Coniaurum tailings rehabilitation area (map). While we were there we had a tree plant. We planted Jack pine, White spruce, Red pine and White pine.

In the picture we have Larry just finishing up planting a perfect tree - green side up! We also have Larry and Sylvie (Timmins Naturalists Members) plant with Laszlo adding a layer of mulch to help reduce grass competition around the tree. In total another 20 trees have been added to the rehabilitation effort this evening.

These tailing are covered with bio-waste from the Abitibi paper mill, then seeded to grasses, sedges and clovers and I guess what ever else blows in. There is wide variety of plant life greening the landscape.

A little fox is searching the tall grass for little critters to nibble on. No bears this evening. We also visit the site of soon to be bee hives. Last year the bee hives produced honey from the nectar found in the plants on the tailing. The honey turned out great, I am told. I have seen it but not tasted the sweet liquid.

The bears are kept at bay from the honey with the help of a solar powered electric fence. Poor bears.

We leave our little trees in their new home and head for the Simpson Lake trail (map). It is a trail in progress that will follow a path up waste rock to provide the traveler with a great vantage point.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Snapping Turtles in Timmins

Yes we do have snapping turtles in Timmins.

A discussion about turtles on the weekend prompted me to look back at the last couple of snapping turtle sightings.

June 2006 Mac sent me an email declaring "Newly discovered value" He found the turtle near the Grant mill in the west end of town. He helped it to the river at the bridge behind Grants.

This is the first snapping turtle I have ever seen up here in the north. When I was a young strapping lad paddling a canoe on the 16 mile creek in Oakville I saw many very large snapping turtles. You think you hit a rock and then the rock moves.

Once I found a bunch of baby snapping turtles along the shore while fishing.

September 2008 I was surprised to read about a snapping turtle in Porcupine. The turtle was crossing the road when spotted by a bunch of youth. So if you are out swimming in the Porcupine lake this summer keep an eye out for the large moving rock.

Let me know if you have seen a snapping turtle or any turtle in the Timmins area. I have a great story about painted turtles I will post later.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Timmins Naturalists

There seems to be a buzz in the community again about observations of the birds and the bees. There is alot going on.
Timmins Orchid, bee hives on tailings, big trees, whimbrel, sandhill cranes, turtles, water, windmills, dams, caribou and white moose.

With digital cameras very popular there are some great pictures of wildlife that need to be shared. Look at the great pictures Lynn got of the whimbrel!

I have began work on the reconstruction the Timmins Naturalist website. I thought it was still on the web someplace but I could not find it. I could not even find it on my computer. I found an older version on a backup to get started.

If you are so inclined take a look, come back in a couple of weeks as I update it when I have time.

Still waiting for reports on big trees to add to the Timmins Honour Roll of Trees.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stuck a Red pine in the eye of the Earth

Look at the shape of the area of poor nutrients. A look from the sky.

It takes the shape of an eye. I first noticed the shape while looking at aerial photography in the early 90's and thought I would take a look at it on the ground. Maybe it just needed more trees to provide shade and stabilitiy.
When with OMNR I took 2 students to plant trees in many differnet places. I have looked at some of the places and the Red pine are taller then I am, but not here. I planted in the eye on the earth with many different people over the years and I know that Denis planted here too with a youth group, I think.

Many trees were put in the eye of the Earth, with the same result for all.
The Red pine in these pictures are the size of a 3 year old tree, but are actually more then 15 years old. Some are really great examples of a bonsia.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

White Birch Tar - Do It Yourself

I made birch tar.

I was super surprised how much tar a little bit of birch bark produced.

I stuffed a coffee can full of birch bark. Put it in a fire for an hour and out came about third of a soup can of birch tar. Maybe I am leaving out a few small details about the process, since the entire process would be better described with an entire web page with many pictures. It will follow soon.

The tar was similar to the tar I would put on the bottom of my wooden cross-country skis. Smelled the same and felt the same.

I boiled down the tar until I ended up with more of solid when it cooled. A brittle solid.

Solid birch bark tar.

The huge amount of tar in the bark must be why the wood will rot before the bark. Often I find tubes of birch bark with the wood gone and the bark in good condition.

Look at other posts below and you will see many examples of birch tubes.

Want to have a birch tube of your own, check out this site.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Arbor Day 2009 Yesterday

It was a little cool on Arbor Day, but it would have been perfect if we were actually in the field planting trees.

This year we split up to be in 3 different locations. East end at the water park on Porcupine Lake, Gillies lake and west end at Mountjoy Historic Park. I was at the Mountjoy park with Ben and Kiri.

The last couple of years we have been asking for a donation to cover the cost of the tree seedlings and as a way of raising money for the Wintergreen Fund for Conservation. Millson Forestry Service gives us a very good deal on the trees, but they are not free.

Your donation also got your name entered into a draw for a bat box and a swallow house. Good homes for great bug eaters!

If you missed Arbor day and still want tree seedlings you can get many different sizes and species at the store. Seed soource is important. Trees that come from a local seed source will do better then those that come from a seed source other then here. Trees do not like to move north
, that is why tree seedling from local seed source will always do better then outside sources.

A little more then 1000 white spruce tree seedlings were handed out. That is another 1000 trees going in the ground to help the environment and help keep Timmins beautiful. Many told me they would also plant one at "camp".

"The best time to plant a tree is 100years ago, the second best is today"

Kiri, a Katimavik participant from Nova Scotia has been with us for the week, want to try her hand at creating a bonsai, or maybe she will just plant it here in Timmins before she leaves.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Arbor Day 2009 Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Arbor Day in Timmins

For a donation to Wintergreen Fund for Conservation you can get a white spruce tree.

more about the event tomorrow

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How do trees grow up?

The other day I was driving through a spruce plantation. The leader of some the the trees were incredible. Many in the plantation were more then 50 cm in length and a couple of the superstars were in the 90 cm range.

How do trees grow?

Here is a question I ask of everyone that comes on a tour with Muddy Mark, at the greenhouse, or on a hike with me at Kettle Lakes Provincial Park.

The tree we are standing beside is about 20cm in diameter. This tree grows about 50 cm in
height every year. Today we put a mark in the tree, we will come back in 10 years.

How high will the mark
be when return?

It will be at the same place! Why? Trees only grow up at the tip. In forestry lingo it goes something like " the meristematic tissue elongates"

What is in the pictures is last seasons height growth. The growth is fantastic! If trees grow like this every year the trees would cast shadows for kilometers. Tree growth slows as they age.

Trees grow in diameter, that is why you can count the tree rings to determine the age.

Want to learn more? Try these links.