Galwegians July 2021

The Galway Hall continues to remain closed until further notice. There are no indications that it will open anytime soon. Precedents have already been set in our area with the Kinmount Fair cancelled for 2021 and the Highlands Cinema also remaining closed. Sadly, there will be no Strawberry Supper at the Galway Hall in July again

Although it is an understatement to say that most of us are weary of the Covid 19 global pandemic, we must remain vigilante and stay the course. As the vaccine rollouts continue to ramp up, there is hope. Many vaccination clinics have opened in our region. Please take advantage of these and get your ‘jab’.

The Trent-Severn Waterway has indicated that the drawdown of water in the reservoir lakes in our area has already begun. Lower than normal lake levels after the ice melted was the result of several factors. There was less than normal snow pack which melted earlier than usual. From March to May, there was 45% to 55% less precipitation compared to the spring season long term mean. This is just another example that Mother Nature “rules” and humans continue to struggle to “manage” our environmental issues.

In a spring where many things seemed to be earlier than usual, turtle sightings have not been in abundance to date. There have been a few reports of turtles laying eggs in our area. There have also been a few reports of turtles being struck and killed on our roadways. These incidences always baffle me. It’s not like a turtle can come from “nowhere” and “jump out” in front of a vehicle.

Speaking of earlier than usual, how about this year’s insect population? Around here, the dreaded black flies were not much of a factor at all. The black fly larvae need running water in the creeks and streams to thrive which was not the case this spring. However, the lands and forests were abuzz from the hum of hoards of .mosquitoes. Deer flies and horse flies have been around since mid-May, feasting on swimmers, walkers, joggers, runners, and anything else that has blood.

An octogenarian mother of one of the Crystal Lake islanders offered this riddle: “First come the black flies, followed closely by the mosquitoes. Next, the deer flies and the horse flies appear. Do you know what comes after the horse flies? The snow flies is the answer!”  Cute, but depressing!

Another warbler has been added to the Galway and Area Wildlife Inventory. It was a common yellowthroat. Probably, you have heard its song, described as a bright, rapid chant that sounds like “witchity-witchity-witchity-witch”. Have you heard the bird whose song sounds like “teacher-teacher-teacher”? That is the ovenbird. They have been quite vocal throughout the month of June. Around our place, the bird that wins the prize for the early morning songster is the red-eyed vireo. It is singing by 4:45 a.m. most mornings. It also ends the day singing as well.  

There have been two sightings of loons nesting on Crystal Lake. One is at the head of the lake and the other is in one of the smaller bays of Clear Bay. Loons only lay two eggs and the incubation period is 28 days. (Note: Just at the deadline for this article, two baby loons were seen with the adults at the head of the lake. Hurray!)

 The challenges for mating loons to be successful are huge. There are the natural dangers such as the myriad of predators (from the land, air, and water) and the weather. Nesting on a reservoir lake poses its own problem of fluctuating water levels. All loons face the human factors as well such as high-speed boats and personal watercraft which can create wakes that can wash the eggs from the nest. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boats and paddleboards may also unknowingly wreak havoc in a nesting area by coming too close. This may spook the adult loon from its nest. The eggs may be knocked from the nest and into the water.

The funniest word chosen from the list compiled by the University of Alberta for the month of July is “Beardo”. It is a noun and is a nickname for a person with a beard. Shamrocking Galway- Year 3 was successful. Despite the early cold, dry weather, all 26 peat pots of purple shamrocks survived and  thrived.

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