After lots of preparation, cleaning and organizing and thanks to the help of many, the centre is officially set to host its first workshops of the 2016 season! We’re so excited to get the ball rolling and to be offering so many unique programs this summer.
The centre was ready in time for the first Dalhousie class, Dr. Sarah Gutowsky’s Ornithology field course, which was fortunate to have spotted 65 bird species (and many ticks, of course). Next up, we welcomed Dr. Sarah Gutowsky’s Birding-by-ear workshop which had an amazing discovery…a pair of breeding Field sparrows (Spizella pusilla)! The sparrows were seen with beaks full of insects, swooping into a small conifer where, evidently, a nest with fledglings awaited. However, with no official sightings of the fledglings during the workshop, Leah and I spent the rest of the following week observing the sparrows in the hopes of getting a glimpse. Finally, we were overjoyed to find a fledgling outside of its nest accompanied by an adult sparrow in the grass. We learned that according to the Maritime Breeding Bird Atlas, this breeding event is the first for Nova Scotia, adding to everyone’s excitement!
In the coming weeks, we’re looking forward to having some more Dalhousie classes and both our Backyard Forestry and Milling and Building workshops. Taking place later in the summer, our Chainsaw Skills and Safety courses are quickly filling up and Poppy Balser’s Plein Air workshop is already sold out! We’re also very happy to announce that we’re in the works of setting up surveying of the protected lands surrounding HLC with Environment Canada. In the meantime, I’m on the hunt for research that’s been done around the area and adding to a database previously put together by another student. By the end of the summer, my plan is to have a grand report including all published research that was completed in the immediate area for future researchers or interested individuals.
As you can see, it’s been a busy first month and we’re eager to keep the momentum growing!