Sandy Lake & Environs well represented in iNaturalist Nature Challenge – let’s keep at it!

Screenshot of the City Nature Challenge 2019: HRM project
Stats as reported on May 1, 9:30 a.m.
Click on image to enlarge it
Go to project website

The ‘City Nature Challenge 2019: Halifax Regional Municipality’ project ran over the days April 26-29, 2019 and generated an impressive 6839 observations including (approximately) 839 species by 229 observers.

From the Facebook Page:

Some interesting stats so far (which may change this week):

– we rank in the Top 40 of all competing cities for total observations and species identified
– among latitudinally challenged cities, we rank #1 in observations per capita
– we soundly beat Calgary and Richmond and are the “most biodiverse Canadian city in the competition”
– We rank #1 for lichen observations per capita among all cities

Global winners will be announced on May 6, and we have local prizes to give-away too! Stay tuned, and get those observations into iNaturalist

For Sandy Lake & Environs, there were by my count 149 observations by 7 observers with, very approximately, about 55 different species recorded. Final numbers for observations and species will likely be higher as more may be added up to May 5, as long as pics are dated Apr 26-29. The map of observations (as of May 30) is shown below:

Screen capture from a section of the HRM Map for the Nature Challenge showing locations at Sandy Lake & Environs, Multiple observations at some of points for 149 observations in total on May 1, 2019. 

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iNaturalist eyes on Sandy Lake & Environs


As I write this post, we are in the midst of a “Nature Challenge” to residents of Halifax (HRM, Halifax Co)

“Help put Halifax Regional Municipality on the global nature scene! On April 26-29, 2019 over 165 cities across the planet, from Columbia to New Zealand to Calgary Alberta, will compete for the most Biodiverse City, and we need your help. Whether your an avid naturalist or a dog walker, everyone can participate: it’s easy, fun, and will encourage you to get outside. We will be using the iNaturalist digital platform to record observations, under this project.

Signup to iNaturalist today and then join our ‘City Nature Challenge 2019: Halifax Regional Municipality’ project!

If you’re new to iNaturalist, then we can help {either contact us via or follow instructions online at}.

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Please keep an eye out for the “Hemlock Vampires”

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
Connecticut Agricultural Experiment

There is a recent posting on iNaturalist of a putative occurrence of Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA), aka the Hemlock Vampires, in Hants Co.

If confirmed, the Hants Co. sighting would be the first outside of Digby, Queens, Shelburne, Yarmouth and Annapolis counties in SW Nova Scotia.

Regardless, please keep a watchful eye on hemlocks in the Sandy Lake (Bedford) area – in fact on all hemlocks in NS – and photograph and report anything that looks like HWA to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency &/or ISANS &/or Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry – (Wildlife Manager, Biodiversity)
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In a nutshell: why we need to protect lands on the west side of Sandy Lake

We already have ~1000 acres protected, most of it on the east side of Sandy Lake. So why did Walter Regan ask at the Dec 6, 2018 presentation:  “Why do we need those lands on the west side?” ( I am pretty sure Walter knew the answer.)

The following slides/maps explain it all “in a nutshell”:

Click on map for larger version

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Presentation on “A natural history perspective of the forests, wetlands and surface waters of Sandy Lake (Bedford) & Environs” available on YouTube

Short URL (link) for this page:

“By popular request”, I have posted a video incorporating the slides and accompanying audio of my Dec 6, 2018 presentation to the Sackville Rivers Association on YouTube. (I had previously posted a PDF of the slides; the video with audio is the “popular request” part. Thanks to Karen R for editing the audio.)

View: Natural History of the Forests and Surface Waters of Sandy Lake (Bedford, NS) & Environs (YouTube)
1 hr 9 mins. Links to 5 separate segments of the video are given below.

From the description for the talk:

Thurs Dec 6, 2018: A natural history perspective of the forests, wetlands and surface waters of Sandy Lake (Bedford) & Environs

Place & Time: 7pm at 45 Connolly Rd #206, Middle Sackville (the SRA offices)
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Sandy Lake frozen over on Dec 13, 2018 & salt signal increases in streams entering lake via Johnson’s Brook

Revised Dec 17, 2018

Sandy Lake and streams in Dec 13, 2018
Click on image for larger version

On December 13, I repeated a set of observations on pH (a measure of acidity) and EC (electrical conductivity, a measure of salt content) that I had made just over a month ago (Nov 8, 2018) on streams entering Sandy Lake via culverts at the southwest corner.

The lake was frozen solid. I am told it is the first time it has frozen over before January in about 20 years.

Electrical conductivity of Sandy Lake itself has increased over the years:

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Thus Dec 6, 2018: A natural history perspective of the forests, wetlands and surface waters of Sandy Lake (Bedford) & Environs

Place & Time: 7pm at 45 Connolly Rd #206, Middle Sackville (the SRA offices)

Description: As a volunteer contribution to the efforts of the Sandy Lake Conservation Association to protect the ecological integrity of Sandy Lake and environs, David Patriquin conducted extensive observations on plant communities and surface waters of Sandy Lake and environs (including the Jack Lake lands and lands around Sandy Lake and Marsh Lake) over the interval June 14, 2017 to the present. His objectives were “to describe ‘what you see on the ground’, identify significant ecological attributes of the area, and make some assessment of existing or potential threats to the ecological integrity of the area.” David will provide a virtual tour of Sandy Lake and Environs and present his major conclusions about what he now sees as a major ecological and recreational asset for HRM.

David retired from his position as Professor of Biology at Dalhousie University in 2008. Since then he has been active several natural history and hiking groups with a focus on the Chebucto Peninsula.

View PDF of slides

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Sat Oct 20, 2018: Sackville Lakes Provincial Park event

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New documentary on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Nova Scotia

An informative, up-to-date documentary on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Nova Scotia has just been released by the Blomidon Field Naturalists.

This is all very relevant to Sandy Lake and Environs, where we have many hemlocks.
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EAC kicks off Biodiverse-city Guided Hikes with Sandy Lake walk on Sep 15, 2018

From EAC website:

Join the Ecology Action Centre and the Sandy Lake Conservation Association as we go for a hike at Sandy Lake and in its environs. Learn about the biodiversity of this special place (old growth forest! wetlands!), and how it fits into the new Green Network Plan for HRM. See for yourself why this area has been proposed as a regional park, and hear the story of why supporters of the area have been fighting for its protection.
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