What is the difference? Well BioSmart shows the addition of both iNaturalist and eBird observations! In two days this is how Saskatoon and area has fared on BioSmart;
So that is pretty sweet! Hats off to everyone.
The ever beautiful Crocus Pulsatilla nuttalliana has been recorded today as an observation!
There has been an observation of a “Puccinia monoica (Rust Fungus) that infects prairie plants in early spring, usually species of Rock Cress (Boechera/Arabis)” (the description given by Glen Lee)
There are no more white rabbit sightings, only brown White-tailed Jackrabbits *whew*.
Some very beautiful Wintergreens are making a carpet of green which is ever wonderful to see.
If you have never seen a wondrous Spring Avens, well they are in bud now, so that is pretty cool!
But besides saying what is recorded, we should mention what is NOT recorded. There are NO pelican sightings recorded yet! And yet we know they arrived April 21! NO beaver nor muskrat sightings. So now the race is on, to see who can get the first pelican, beaver and muskrat sighting! Can you do it? Check on eBird Saskatoon for end of April usual bird sightings, and then it will be discovered what there may be to look for still 😉
Out of all the potential birds of prey around and about Saskatoon which may be sighted such as hawks, owls, vultures, only two have been registered to date = a Turkey Vulture, and a Merlin.
You know what is a rather unique and interesting happenstance of the City Nature Challenge? iNat user svetlana-bogdanovich out of Ukraine has made the most observations! So in the middle of war-torn Ukraine, svetlana has made 505 observations in 2 days! That is pretty incredible.
User eduardoramirez-anapri from Madrid Spain has made 444 observations in the first 2 days.
Celebrate 50 years! Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and George Genereux Urban Regional park were planted to trees in 1972, 50 years ago. Come out and say Happy Birthday!
The best things about eating cattails. Do you need to eat Cattails?
Beyond the tangible benefits, the experience of wild edibles connects you to nature in a very powerful way. It asks you to slow down from the rushed pace of the modern world and step into timelessness.
Cattail shoots are very delicious harvested in the spring. So, today, during Tourism Week, forage some cattail shoots, rinse, then soak in vinegar rinse and use in your favourite recipe. Today, tour the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, rather than the supermarket, find your ingredient for this recipe. This time we share Cattail Shoots in Cream Sauce.
The white inner centers of the young stems, which can be eaten raw or cooked, are considered a delicacy by both human foragers and aquatic mammals such as muskrats. For muskrats, cattails have the added advantage of supplying the tough leaves used for building their lodges. And for red-winged blackbirds—among the earliest migrants returning to our region—stands of cattails provide the perfect nesting place.
““Be like a tree in pursuit of your cause. Stand firm, grip hard, thrust upward. Bend to the winds of heaven..”
Richard St. Barbe Baker
Artificial stabilization of water levels in the marsh and lake by damming and water diversion has resulted in significant hydrological changes to the marsh and may be enhancing the spread of an exotic hybrid cattail (Typha x glauca) Hybrid cattails are replacing native shoreline vegetation, particularly hard-stem bulrush an important component of Western Grebe nesting habitat.
As the human footprint expands, ecologists and resource managers are increasingly challenged to explain and manage abrupt ecosystem transformations …Our results quantify how, in a cultural landscape where the historical disturbance regime has been altered and diversity has declined, a mechanical disturbance in combination with seasonal drought and flooding has been used to locally restrict a clonal monodominant plant expansion, create habitat heterogeneity, and maintain plant diversity.
So, cattails and you, and why all parts of the cattail plant are amazing for a wild spring, summer or fall harvest. “The shoots or hearts, also known as “Cossack asparagaus,” are best harvested in spring or early summer, prior to the devlopment of the flower stalk” source So after harvesting the shoots, just rinse, soak in vinegar for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. <a href="http://<!– wp:paragraph –> <p>So, cattails and you, and why all parts of the cattail plant are amazing for a wild spring, summer or fall harvest. "The shoots or hearts, also known as "Cossack asparagaus," are best harvested in spring or early summer, prior to the devlopment of the flower stalk"<a href="https://wildfoodgirl.com/2013/cold-hearted-cattail-salads/"> source</a> So after harvesting the shoots, just rinse, soak in vinegar for 15-20 minutes and then rinse. </p> Cold Cattail and Tomato Salad is a great way to start out enjoying your Cattail harvest.
Remember to harvest your cattails alone, and without your puppy dog with you, as spring is nesting time for many waterfowl and animals. Humans are not the only animals who forage on cattails. “Wherever there are cattails, there’s food. The seeds, roots and shoots attract plant-eating animals, and predators that eat the cattail’s visitors. Ducks and Canada geese sometimes eat the tiny seeds, and geese dine on the plant’s new shoots and underwater roots…. Muskrats gnaw on the roots, and use the leaves to build a shelter, called a lodge, to keep themselves safe. It’s common to see red-winged blackbirds hanging around cattails. After the male finds a mate the birds use plants including cattail leaves to build their nest.” source
As you embark on the Cold Cattail and Tomato Salad, consider the nutritional benefits from Cattails, such as Manganese, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin B6 and Sodium. According to Health Benefits of Cattail, Uses And Its Side Effects, Cattails, help with mitigation of Anaemia, preventing cancer, controlling hypertension, reducing atherosclerosis risks, controlling diabetes, and is also a natural antiseptic.
Nature is the source of human subsistence but the transformation of nature into food is a cultural process that is not independent of power relations. The colonization of America comprised the systematic repression of indigenous ways of knowing and even after the elimination of political colonialism the relationship between European cultures and the others is still one of colonial domination. The colonial repression of different knowledges also affects the culinary epistemology that informs food preparation and consumption.
Always be careful about safety when around water . So today, is another momentous day to celebrate Tourism Week In Canada. Pop out for a visit to the afforestation areas, enjoy the delightful spring weather, and enjoy this man-made forest on the prairies.
Send in a comment on how you succeed with your foraging adventure! Stay tuned throughout tourism week for more Cattail recipes for your outdoor foraging foray.
“All of these things are food for insects, for birds, for bears, deer, elk and moose, and if we compromise that by our foraging … it won’t be long before these things are no longer here,” … Julie Walker recommends people plant some of these species in their backyard gardens — or at least stop the war on weeds and let and nature take its course. Many native species have qualities that can benefit a home garden, like requiring little to no maintenance and being drought-resistant, she added. People can also forage on public lands, as long as they learn to recognize healthy populations of wild plant species.
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers )Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date! Canada Helps
For our challenge today, we would like you to email to us at email@example.com what you think would belong in a list for the Rights of Rivers! March 14 is International Day of Action for Rivers, think of how you, personally can take action for the International Day of Action for Rivers! The theme for 2021 is celebrating the Rights of Rivers. We have a spectacular challenge for our Winter Staycation for you!
March 14 is a marvellous Sunday! And it is a day to think about the South Saskatchewan watershed! What is the South Saskatchewan watershed you say?
This above picture shows the river basin, the catchment area, or the drainage basin for the South Saskatchewan River. This is a contemporary image of the south Saskatchewan River Basin. The image which follows shows the formation of the West Swale from the Yorath Island Glacial Spillway. The hydrological surface drainage patterns shown in the topological map above are a stark difference to the glacial spillway below which shows that the waters in the Glacial North Saskatchewan combined with Glacial Rice Lake. When the waters from the retreating glacier reached a great volume, the shoreline of Glacial Rice Lake could not contain the water anymore. and there was a sudden surge of spillwaters through the Yorath Island Channel and the Moon Lake Channel cascading in an eruption across the Cory Plains until the waters were stopped in the Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake. Yorath Island was formed from the deposited till and rubble of this Pleistocene Glacial event. Today we create river drainage maps for the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers. The glacial spillway with its huge surge of water created a momentous and catastrophic joining between the two basin areas. Because of the land topography, there are remains of the Yorath Island Channel and the Moon Lake Channel seen today on Google Satellite maps, and they show evidence of the rich and lush riparian waterway which once existed, and which is still connected through underground springs and wetlands.
This was a contributing factor to the formation of the South Saskatchewan River as we know it today. As you walk in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area imagine the Pleistocene ice age mammals startled by the glacial spillway. Imagine this same ice age mammals creating new trails along the two new rivers in the Moon Lake Channel and the Yorath Island Spillway. Wonder as they wandered to the water’s edge for a drink of water. Where would the Palaeo-Indian fit into this scenario? Would they similarly follow the animal trails? Would they hunt the ancient ice age mammoths. Would the Palaeo-Indian find the two new rivers in the Moon Lake Channel and the Yorath Island Spillway handy to help them forage, and find food to eat? There were major encampments found where these channels met the Glacial South Saskatchewan Lake. As you walk in the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area, imagine living during the time of ice age mammoths.
Then, appreciate the semi-wilderness habitat we have in Saskatoon today. Along with the waterfowl, do we have other animals using the West Swale Wetlands named after B.T. Chappell as Chappell Marsh? Have you spotted a muskrat or any ducks, geese, herons, or terns? The West Swale is a geological treasure in the City of Saskatoon.
During this day, International Day of Action for Rivers, think of how you, personally can take action for the International Day of Action for Rivers! The theme for 2021 is celebrating the Rights of Rivers.
Today think of geology, and geography, and the history of ancient rivers which formed today’s rivers which we appreciated so much.
“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too.
Life is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.
“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”~Richard St. Barbe Baker
Can you reallyscientifically forecast the weather with a groundhog???
Where is a groundhog when you need them?
Groundhog (Marmota monax), has a plethora of names. A groundhog can rightly be referred to as a woodchuck, or whistlepig, chuck, wood-shock, groundpig, whistler, thickwood badger, Canada marmot, monax, moonack, weenusk, digger and red monk and is a rodent of the squirrel family (Sciuridae) in a classification known as marmots. The groundhog is the largest squirrel found in its range, measuring in at 65 cm (16 to 26 in) long (which is inclusive of the 15 cm (6 in) tail) and weighing 2 to 4 kg (4 to 9 lb). In choice conditions, a groundhog may be as large as 80 cm (30 in) and 14 kg (31 lb). The groundhog can take to their burrow, climb a tree or swim away to flee from their predator. So how does a woodchuck compare to other common mammals in North America?
The American beaver (Castor canadensis) happens to be the largest rodent in North America weighing in at 11 to 32 kg (24 to 71 lb). The body from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail is 74 to 90 cm (29 to 35 inches) with the large flat tail adding another 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14) inches in length. Both Groundhogs and Beavers to get away from enemies and predators. The beaver’s entrance to the lodge or beaver dam is deep underwater as a defence against predators. The groundhog burrow opens up at the edge of a forest, near a tree or building.
Muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), are about 41 to 64 cm (16 to 25 inches) in length, weighing in at .7 to 2 Kg (1.5 to 4 lbs). Muskrats love marshlands, and will make burrows or lodges out of cattails. In the water, they are distinguishable from the beaver as the muskrat tail will propel the rodent through the water by spinning around and around. The beaver’s tail lies flat behind them when swimming, or lowers in the water. The beaver’s tail is useful to sound a warning by lifting it up and slapping it down on the water surface making as large a noise and as big a splash as possible.
The badger’s name comes from the French word “becheur” which means digger.
Like the groundhog’s Latin name Marmota monax; Marmota meaning Mountain rodent, and monax meaning digger. Groundhogs do hibernate, but the American Badger (Taxidea taxus) enters into a torpor or deep sleep for perhaps up to three weeks. The American Badger is low to the ground measuring about 60 to 75 cm (24 to 30 inches) long with a weight of 7 kg (15 pounds). Badgers are belong to the family, Mustelidae and are mainly carnivorous. Badgers are not classified as rodents, but groundhogs, beavers, muskrats, and porcupines are rodents. And although one groundhog nickname is “thickwood badger”, the groundhog does not belong to the family Mustelidae, which only hosts the Muskrat, weasel, otter, ferret, and wolverine. Both groundhogs and badgers dig burrows, and have special adaptations for digging.
Porcupines (Erethizon dorsatum), are another commons North American rodent. the name from two Latin words porcus meaning pig, and spina, quill is very suitable. How does a porcupine compare in size to a groundhog? Well the porcupine has a round body 60 to 90 cm (2.0 to 3.0 ft), and the tail would add an extra 4.5 to 30 cm (5.7 to 11.8 in) in length. The stocky porcupine weighs in at 3.5 to 18 kg (7.7 to 39.7 lb though typically they are seen around 9 kg (20 lb). Porcupines don’t burrow like badgers, muskrats and groundhogs nor do they build burrows and dams like muskrats and beavers. Porcupines live in coniferous and mixed forests creating dens in hollow trees. Muskrats may be seen at dawn or dusk, and porcupines are mainly nocturnal, sleeping during the day up in trees. Where the badger is carnivorous, the groundhog, beaver and porcupine are herbivores. The muskrat is an omivore, mostly eating plants and cattails, but will eat aquatic animals to supplement their diet. The porcupine and beaver will eat tree bark, twigs, roots and stems along with other vegetation, the groundhog, also called a woodchuck, does not chuck wood, or eat trees.
Where a group of beavers is called a “colony”, and several badgers together are called a “cette” not a herd, or flock. Now then, a group of muskrats could be called a “colony, horde, pack, plaque or swarm.” Very appropriately a group of porcupines is called a “prickle”! There have been some discussions about what a group of groundhogs is called whether it is a “madness of marmots” or a” college of groundhogs”.
Using these essential elements as a foundation to find a groundhog, take your first steps to locate this most excellent weather forecaster. Groundhogs are usually found in areas where forest opens up into a field, road or marsh. So a groundhog has different habitats, eating habits, size and lifestyle from other large mammal rodents in Saskatchewan. Have you spied a groundhog in Saskatchewan? What about a groundhog in Saskatoon?
How Can a Groundhog Forecast the weather, Scientifically?
How can the groundhog be a “meteorologist” and predict the weather? Is it possible, or is it just a myth? Do not resist delving deep into this myth, it just may be grounded in truth and meteorological science!!!
Groundhog day is February 2, and it is rather an excellent bit of folklore about predicting spring. During the winter months, if the day is sunny the weather will be cold and brisk. It is during a sunny day when the groundhog may indeed see his shadow, and the stark chilliness of the day, may indeed entice the groundhog to turn tail and return to the warmth of his burrow. On the flip side of the coin, in the winter, if the day is cloudy, the weather is warmer from the cloud cover trapping in the heat from the earth. Therefore, on a cloudy day, the groundhog cannot see their shadow as there is no sun to create a shadow, the day is much warmer, and the groundhog may spend some time outside of his burrow suggesting that an early spring is around the corner.
So can this really be a way to forecast if spring will be coming soon, (because the groundhog did not see his shadow)? Or can it foretell if spring will be yet another 6 weeks away because the groundhog did in fact see his shadow?
Don’t take my word for it, this is what meterologist Nick Walker has to say about winter cloudy and sunny days; “Cloud cover on a winter night means you can expect warmer weather, because clouds prevent heat radiation that would lower the temperature on a clear night.” r So to further explain the difference between a cloudy day and a sunny day in the winter time. “If there are no fronts or precipitation nearby, the daily temperature cycle is primarily controlled by the radiation budget. This is a comparison between the incoming radiation from the sun (sunlight) and the terrestrial radiation given off by the earth’s surface (felt as heat.)”
Walker further expounds that “sunshine is only one thing that affects temperature, and in winter, it is far from being the main thing. … The cold air at Earth’s surface is very dense and heavy, so it’s hard for clouds to form in that cold sinking air. So sometimes in winter, skies are very clear and temperatures are very cold. Also, winter is the time of year that the angle of the sun, especially in the northern U.S. and Canada, is so low in the sky that there’s never enough direct sunlight to warm the Earth very much even at midday with clear skies. And if there’s snow on the ground, the snow reflects a lot of the sun’s energy away, preventing the ground from absorbing it. So temperatures end up cooler than if the ground were bare. Even if the ground absorbs some of the sun’s energy, the heat radiates back up into space with no clouds to keep it near the ground. So when you look outside and see sunshine, you cannot assume it’s going to be a warm day.”
Speaking of weather fronts and clouds, another interesting fact about how no shadow may forecast an early spring is that when there is “a low layer of uniform, dark grey cloud,” then the groundhog would not see their shadow. Furthermore, this solid mass of cloud blankets the sky, then “when it gives precipitation, it is in the form of continuous rain or snow. The cloud may be more than 15,000 feet thick. It is generally associated with warm fronts.”Pilot Friend
So there you have it, resistance is futile. This is how the groundhog myth or folklore actually works scientifically to predict the weather. The Groundhog Day story that if a groundhog sees his shadow, there will be 6 more weeks of winter is actually based in science due to the effects of a clear sky with no clouds. And the folklore which exists on Groundhog day that if the groundhog does not see his shadow would mean that February 2 is a warmer day, and the cloud cover may have formed in conjunction with an incoming warm front.
“Besides water, trees provide pure air. They are the great filtering machines for the human organism. They improve and transform the air in a way which is most favorable and most acceptable to the lungs of man.”…~Richard St. Barbe Baker
Please help protect / enhance /commemorate your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!