| Dec 27, 2007


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Outdoors in the LandO'Lakes - December 20, 2007

Winter Wonderland!

Outdoors in the Land O Lakes byLorraine Julien

Following Jean Griffin’s recent announcement that she is retiring her “Nature Reflections” column, I contacted the Frontenac News to inquire about writing a similar column on nature and wildlife in the area. I could not possibly fill Jean’s shoes (and wouldn’t even try) but I have been an enthusiastic and life long observer of the outdoors and its inhabitants. Since I’ve recently moved to the Land O’ Lakes area as a full time resident, I’m hoping that this will provide a real learning experience with many sightings and observations to report.

Winter certainly arrived with a vengeance several weeks before the official start of winter. The winter scene where I live is more reminiscent of February rather than late November or early December. Of course, this covering blanket of snow is great protection for our gardens, farmers’ crops and also for tiny creatures. Another benefit is that the lids now stay on my composters as the raccoons must now be hibernating!

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The long-range weather forecast (at least on my radio station) is that December will continue to be cold and blustery but January and February may be a bit milder with less precipitation. We will see……..

The usual guests are dining at my feeders – jays, nuthatches, chickadees and woodpeckers – and, of course, red squirrels. A group of evening grosbeaks visited recently on their way through the area and a grouse shyly looked at the feeders but, otherwise, nothing very exotic. On a drive along Highway 7 recently, in the Silver Lake area, I noticed a small flock of swans, which I believe must have been Trumpeter swans. They appeared to be very large and at least one or two were gray indicating they are this year’s young. It is probable that some of you are familiar with this particular flock.

It has been many years since I’ve seen wolves but, just a few days ago, in early December, I observed a small pack of four cavorting on the lake ice. At first I thought the leader was a black German shepherd but then realized it was a wolf. The other three were a beautiful tawny gold colour and quite large. Wolves, as well as many other animals, seem to take advantage of the ice to move to areas usually less accessible. This provides a great backdrop for observing wildlife and, needless to say, I keep my binoculars and camera handy!

As in the past, with Jean, I hope that you will share your sightings with me, and any ideas you may have for future columns. My email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone and please remember to feed our feathered friends!

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