Monday, June 4, 2012

Carden Alvar/Our World

Grassland that looks much the way Southern Ontario looked 75 year ago

Alvars are globally rare habitats, plains of exposed flat limestone bedrock or covered thinly with soil and sparse vegetation. Plant growth is restricted by heavy spring wetness followed by summer drought. These stressed habitats often support rare plants and animals, many of which are more commonly found on grasslands.

Most of the worlds alvars occur in Europe or around the five Great Lakes, and more than half of those are in Ontario. Unfortunately many in southern Ontario have been degraded by agriculture.

A marks the Carden Alvar

The Carden Alvar is northeast of Lake simcoe, lass than an hour from East Gwillimbury.  It is home to several endangered species as well as many species at risk. It's also a wonderful place to see birds. This alvar supports 238 bird species, more than two-thirds of which I have not yet added to my life list so I foresee many happy days, weeks and months ahead with my camera up to my eyes.

 Prairie smoke in early June

Much of the Carden Alvar is private property so birdwatching there must be done from the road. That's okay, as many birds can be easily seen from the public side of the most fences. The one caution is to watch out for poison ivy.

 Ranch land

Cattle grazing maintains the short grass favoured by many grassland birds.

Eastern bluebirds

One popular field is home to many bluebirds, which can be seen easily from the road. Sadly, clouds covered the sun when I took this dark photo.

Click  HERE to see tons more photos about Our World.

34 comments:

Merisi said...

Beautiful images and interesting facts, EG!

Some of the areas of National Park Neusiedl, south of Vienna, look as if the could be alvars.

Kate said...

Those bluebirds are beautiful. Didn't know abut alvar and since I visit both Lakes Michingan and Superior, I'll need to research and be on the lookout for it.

Jill said...

Son interesting! The prairie smoke is beautiful as are the lovely bluebirds.

Sandra said...

they are still beautiful even with the gloomy light. and i love that prarie smoke.

kulasa said...

I love the third and the 5th photos most! the prairie smoke in early June and the Easterh bluebirds...they make me think of happy thoughts :-)

see you there! said...

Interesting! I hope this alvar continues to be open land. Prairie Smoke is a new wild flower for me, it is beautiful.

Darla

Kathy said...

Interesting post. I learned something today!

Rebecca said...

I love the bluebird photo.

jewaicious said...

Beautiful and serene photos...such loveliness. The birds...too sweet.

Cezar and Léia said...

A lovely landscape with beautiful field and enchanting flowers!Wonderful pictures dear EG, very well done!
Léia

cieldequimper said...

Hopefully they will last a little longer! Those little flowers are so pretty!

LONDONLULU said...

I love the prairie smoke! Ah, to see such vistas.

kaye said...

I love the birds in the tree and what a wistful name for a plant--prairie smoke. I'll bet it is beautiful when the wind is blowing.

RedPat said...

I had no idea! Thanks for the info EG!

Carver said...

Beautiful landscapes and interesting information and alvars. The bluebirds are such a delight.

Gary said...

Great post showing the diversity of Ontario!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Sylvia K said...

What a delightful and beautiful place to walk!! I love the bluebirds!! Thanks for taking us along for a wonderful walk! Enjoy your week!

Syvlia

eileeninmd said...

The grassland are important for a lot of different field birds. I have heard that some landowners were asked to wait on mowing their fields so that the birds would have a chance to finish nesting. Lovely photos and the bluebirds are one of my favorite birds, I just love them. Great photos and post.

Marie said...

This was fascinating! I didn't know anything about alvars till I read this. And your photos are wonderful. Can't wait to see more!

Elisa said...

I love, I adore the prairie!
It´s wonderful!
Have a nice week
Elisa

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Limestone country is always interesting to explore and I've been lucky enough to visit most of the areas in the Uk. Your pictures capture a very similar kind of habitat.

Genie said...

The alvars are so interesting to learn about. It sounds like they are filled with all kinds of species of plants and animals. Your pictures this week are beautiful. I especially like the ones of the prairie smoke and the bluebirds. Wonderful captures. genie

Paul in Powell River said...

A beautiful part of the country!

KB said...

The birds are so colourful.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Interesting, I have never heard of alvars before. I'll have to keep my eyes open for more information on it. Plus, I wonder if it is a legal Scrabble word?

Island Rambles Blog said...

I want to see those bluebirds...we are just reintroducing bluebirds here but they flew away and can't find them now!!

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

This is a place of beauty.Looks like there is something for everyone,from flowers to birds and so much more.

George said...

Thank you for this informative introduction to alvars. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with the term, but I would enjoy a visit to this beautiful place.

Randy said...

Wonderful place. I love the Bluebirds.

Dianne said...

I love the effect of the Pararie smoke ... Beautiful captures!

Arija said...

Lovely bluebirds and pastures.

Fun60 said...

Thanks for sharing the photos and info. I have never heard of alvar before. Really interesting.

Stephanie said...

Lovely images, especially of the bluebird.

Rose said...

What a wonderful place that must be...really enjoyed the pics.

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East Gwillimbury is a rural town less than an hour north of Toronto, Canada's largest city. My family calls me CameraGirl because I take my camera with me wherever I go.