July 2021

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The more than hungry caterpillar


Photo Credit Alex Tran


Gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) have been making headlines in Quebec since mid-June. The very hungry caterpillars have taken over the region’s forests and are devouring the foliage of many plant species. The invasive insect has been found in North America since the late 1800s, when it was imported to support the local silk industry. Like many species imported from overseas, some of the critters escaped and established the populations we find here today.

Although many of us first took notice of this voracious insect this summer, it’s certainly not the first time the region has experienced a gypsy moth infestation.

Chatterbox in the treetops

Photo Credit Daniel Jauvin

The red-eyed vireo is probably the most common bird in the Reserve. Since it is found in the treetops, you may have trouble spotting it, but you will certainly hear it during your hikes.

The red-eyed vireo can sing all day long, even when the sun is at its zenith and other animals are settling down for a nap. Listen for them at the beginning of summer tirelessly repeating their short, flute-like calls up to forty times per minute. With its white eyebrow-like marking bordered with black, grey cap and distinctive red eyes, this olive-backed passerine can be easily distinguished from other vireos, which are also talented singers. The small birds use their slightly hooked beaks to feast on insects they find in the foliage of trees.

By Johanne Ménard from the Société d’ornithologie de la Vallée du Richelieu. To learn more about the SOVDR and become a member: sovdr.org. (This text appeared in issue 16 of Nature sauvage.)

Coexisting with wildlife on the Reserve


Photo Credit Alex Tran


As the weather warms up, nature bursts back to life, offering Reserve visitors a unique sensory experience. If you’re lucky, you might be treated to such magical sights as a newborn fawn or a fisher hunting its prey.


For humans, some natural parts of animal’s lives can be disturbing, and we might feel driven to help an animal in danger or distress. So what should you do if you see an animal fleeing a predator or in some other kind of trouble?

Blast from the past

Lake Hertel restaurant – Feast in 1911


Photo Credit Marcel Paquette, Private Collection


After the Hôtel Iroquois (May Newsletter - Blast on the past) burned down in 1895, Thomas Edmund Campbell’s sons — owners of the mountain at the time — built a small restaurant on the shores of Lake Hertel. It served as a gathering place for the local population and, occasionally, a respite for firefighters battling a forest fire. The building stood until the 1950s when it was demolished to make way for the cottage (June Newsletter - Blast on the past).

About our Blasts from the Past
As owner and guardian of the Gault Nature Reserve, we plan to celebrate the university’s bicentennial by publishing a monthly photo in InfoGault. Each photo will capture a moment from the history of this beautiful site.


General public – Free online lecture series


To mark McGill University’s bicentennial anniversary, the Faculty of Science is putting on the Bicentennial Mini-Science lecture series, a monthly series of online lectures open to the public. All events are livestreamed, and there is no need to register to attend.


Upcoming lecture:
Thursday, August 5, 6 to 7 p.m. — Shaping the Future of Music — with Marcelo M. Wanderley, Professor, Music Technology, Schulich School of Music, McGill University.

Faculty of Science Bicentennial Events

McGill Bicentennial


Photo Credit McGill University



422, chemin des Moulins

Mont-Saint-Hilaire (Québec) J3G 4S6


Téléphone : 450 467-4010


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