NatureNL Blog

Welcome to the Nature Newfoundland & Labrador Blog. Here we share interesting local nature stories, photos from our hikes and events, selections of articles from our publication ‘The Osprey’, and more.

Birds of a Feather: Interview with Artist Brandy Barry

By Justin So

Posted April 26, 2018

 

 

I was admiring the bird photographs on the Newfoundland Birdwatching Group on Facebook when I stumbled upon Brandy Barry’s redpoll painting that uniquely used a feather as a canvas. The painting was absolutely lovely and clearly showed her enthusiasm for song birds. Brandy shared the redpoll painting on the birdwatching group as she knew the members enjoyed birds as much as she did. She received great response for her work and has since gone on to paint many other beautiful species of birds. In this interview, Brandy shares her inspiration from nature, her admiration of birds, and the importance of art in her life. To see more of Brandy’s work, visit her Facebook Page: Brandy Barry Art.

 

Redpoll in Cherry blossoms.

 

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Research Spotlight Series: Colonial Seabird Monitoring in Atlantic Canada

By: Sabina Wilhelm, Canadian Wildlife Service

Posted April 17, 2018

 

Editor’s Note: In our Research Spotlight Series we shine a light on exciting research in our province. In this post we showcase the Canadian Wildlife Service.

 

 

Puffin research on Gull Island (Photo by Pierre Ryan).

 

 

The Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) Colonial Seabird Monitoring Program focuses on assessing the population size and trends of 20 species of seabirds across the four Canadian Atlantic provinces, namely Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.  Continue reading

The Forget-me-nots of Newfoundland and Labrador

By Andus Voitk

Posted March 26, 2018

 

 

A few years ago John Maunder sent around a note with references, suggesting that most likely Myosotis arvensis was the species of forget-me-not that flowered in Somme during WWI and, therefore, became the floral symbol of the Newfoundland Regiment (Hill 1917). That note piqued my interest in the genus. It took me a few years to find and identify all four of our species: M. arvensis, M. laxa, M. scorpioides and M. sylvatica. The photographs come from an attempt to master a small point and shoot camera; although of limited quality, most demonstrate the pertinent distinguishing features adequately (Figure 1). This short review is dedicated to John with thanks for his untiring efforts to enlighten us, and at the same written for my grandson, Eemil, with whom I have spent part of two summers looking at these small blue beauties. Of the four species, only M. laxa is native; the other three have been introduced to the province, likely as garden escapees.

 

 

Figure 1: Four species of forget-me-not of Insular Newfoundland. A: Myosotis arvensis. B: M. sylvatica. C: M. laxa. D: M. scorpioides. A & B grow on dryer soil and have hairs protruding perpendicularly from the stem and calyx. Neither forms a long inflorescence with a scorpion tail or violin scroll curl. C & D grow on wet soil and have hairs adpressed to the stem and calyx, pointed upwards. Both form long inflorescences, with developing buds curled up like a violin scroll. A & C grow on poor soil, have smaller flowers, and have denser hair. B & D prefer richer soil, have bigger flowers, and have less sparse and thinner hair.

 

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Trip Report: Winter Gull Workshop 2018

By Megan Boucher

Posted March 16, 2018

Jared Clarke talking to the group of participants about winter gulls (Photo by Megan Boucher).

 

It has been an odd winter here in St. John’s, NL with not much ice or snow leading up to the Gull workshop on February 17th. As usual, it was another cold breezy day at Quidi Vidi with an early morning snowfall. This year our team consisted of Jared Clarke, Lancy Cheng and Alvan Buckley, three knowledgeable local birders to teach everyone about the winter gulls.

 

Even though there wasn’t any ice on the lake, our group of 60 participants still managed to see five species of gulls. These included Great Black-backed, Herring, Iceland, Glaucous, and Lesser Black-backed gulls. Traditionally the walk follows the trail from the Dominion Parking Lot towards the Virginia River Outflow, however due to the lack of ice this year we remained at the Rennies River area at the west end of Quidi Vidi.

 

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The Current State and Uncertain Future of Labrador Migratory Caribou

By John Jacobs, CPAWS-NL

Posted March 10, 2018

 

 

George River Caribou approach Mistastin Lake on their 2007 fall migration (Photo by J. Jacobs).

 

Labrador is noted for its diverse populations of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and for the indigenous peoples who have coexisted with the caribou for millennia. Most, if not all, Labrador caribou herds are in decline. While in the past caribou numbers have declined then recovered, the present situation may be different. There are a number of new threats, and although a regime of scientific monitoring and management is in place, it may not be working. Indigenous groups have the greatest stake in the conservation of the herds, but there is disagreement among them about their role. From a conservationist perspective, what does the future hold for these iconic animals?

 

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