Galwegians-July 2022

By the time you receive this edition of the Kinmount Gazette, the Strawberry Supper at the Galway Hall will have happened. This event will have been the first fundraiser at the Hall since the COVID-19 global pandemic began in March, 2020. Check out the August edition of the Gazette for a summary of this fundraiser.

The Galway Hall was also one of the polling stations for the Ontario Provincial election, held on Thursday, June 2nd. Kudos goes to our local team of poll workers. They all reside in Galway Township and they dedicated themselves to a long day to accommodate those that came out to cast their ballot.

May and June are always eventful months in nature as many creatures are on the move. Some are leaving our area, migrating elsewhere while others are coming back to our area, while others are just travelling within our area. Several sightings have been noted. A woodcock was seen along the Galway Road near Allen’s Alley. A wood thrush was seen on Clear Bay. There have been a couple of sightings of a bobcat on the Galway Road in the vicinity of Union Creek. One resident on the Burnt River (near the Village of Burnt River) heard not one, but two whip-poor-wills singing on one of a very few muggy nights that we had in May. This same person watched a pair of wood ducks check out some standing dead trees along the riverbank, obviously looking for a suitable cavity for nesting (to no available). The comment made was that it was very strange to see a bird with webbed-feet land on a tree branch. Did you know that the Wood Duck is the only North American duck that produces two broods in one year?

On back to back muggy nights in May, there were choruses of bullfrogs heard something that has not been audible in many years. These types of nights also brought out a light show, courtesy of several fireflies.

There has been a baby fox seen around the Crystal Lake marina for about a week now. A baby fox can be called a “pup”, “kit”, or “cub”. It is unsure if this little fox has been orphaned or abandoned.

Globally, June 8th was “World Oceans Day”. Locally, it was more like “The Turtles are on the Move Day”. During the time period from 6 pm until 8:30 pm, 14 turtles were seen while travelling along West Clear Bay Road, Clear Bay Road, Galway Road, and Allen’s Alley. This was the travel path while changing the Galway Hall information signs. 10 of the 14 turtles were Blanding’s Turtles, 2 of which were laying eggs along the edge of the road. Two were Snapping Turtles, one of which was laying its eggs. The other 2 were Painted Turtles, one of which had been struck and killed by a vehicle. A large snapping turtle was reported struck and killed on 121 near the Galway Road. Turtle organizations and groups state that it takes 60 years to replace one snapping turtle. Always, please be mindful and be aware as you travel our roads for all forms of wildlife, big or small, fast or slow.

Since the focus of this particular effort is natured-based, are you ready for another personal account of yet another close encounter with nature? This story deals with Grackles. Now, I am not sure about your feelings towards this species, but our household is not big fans of this bird! We leave our bird feeder up later into May in hopes of attracting the Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks and other migrating birds we enjoy. However, a lot of time is also spent ‘shooing’ away the grackles by tapping on windows, opening windows, clapping hands, and even yelling.

This adult behavior over our granddaughter’s 8 years of life has obviously not been lost. On a recent weekend visit to our place, this story unfolds. Our granddaughter was playing with her ‘stuffies’ on the dock on the Sunday morning before she had to go back home. She discovered a grackle’s nest on a low branch above the ramp to the dock. Into the cottage she came, seeking help to get rid of this nest. This was not a venture I wanted to be a part of so I attempted to explain to her that all creatures have a place in this world. Neither the response nor the action she was hoping for, our granddaughter came up with her own ‘Plan B’.

She found the longest pole that she could wield and her quest began. The adult grackles began their defense of the nest as they swooped down from the tree. This interaction was short-lived as our granddaughter dropped the stick and ran for a dip net. The seek-and-destroy mission had suddenly turned into a rescue mission. What? Ah, the world of an eight year old!

The quite large immature bird that was in the nest had fallen into the lake. Now, the focus was on its care which now involved me. Have you sensed my “unenthusiastic indifference” towards this unfolding scenario? A small cardboard box was found and stuffed with paper towels. The soaking-wet grackle was then placed into the box and cared for by our granddaughter for the remainder of the morning until she had to leave for home at Noon. Her instructions to me were quite clear upon her departure as to what I was supposed to do. However, I made it very clear to her what I was actually going to do- take the box with the bird in it and place it on the empty planter under the same white pine tree that it “fell” from. Within five minutes of our granddaughter’s departure from our place, the adult grackles had re-connected with their young one. By 5 pm, this young bird had left the make-shift nest box and had flown into a near-by cedar tree.

Our granddaughter was very happy to hear that the grackle family had re-united and they were all safe. Her ‘rescue mission’ had been a success. As for Grandpa, my opinions had not changed regarding grackles. In fairness, I did do some research on grackles, perhaps looking for something positive about them. I did not try very hard. However, the oldest known grackle recorded was 23 years, 1 month old. It was killed by a raptor (which kind of supports my thinking that all creatures have a place in this world).

Shamrocking Galway- Year 4 has been successful this spring. 21 plants were given away at the ‘Meet Your Community’ event, held at the Kinmount Community Centre on May 28th. Another 15 plants were delivered to the Transfer Station on Crystal Lake Road to be given away to any interested resident with a pass.

There is a full moon on Wednesday; July 13th.This full moon was known by early Indigenous peoples as the Buck Moon. This moon has also been known as the Thunder Moon and the Hay Moon. This is also the second of three supermoons for 2022. Curiously, on Thursday, July 28, the New Moon will locate on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This gives an opportunity to view fainter objects in the night sky since there is no light coming from the moon.

The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower is an average shower that can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It peaks on the night of July 28 and morning of July 29. This is a great year for this shower because, as mentioned, the new moon means dark skies. 

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