Red headed woodpecker

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Click on image to enlarge

Brian and Sarah Robin report, “We’ve had an adult Red-headed woodpecker visiting our feeders (near Desboro) since at least May 19th, and it’s quickly established itself as the backyard bird-feeder boss. It looks like some juvenile brown feathers remain on its face and some wishful thinking has us believing it’s the juvenile that visited us last October.”

Grey Bruce Bird Records Committee Report Form

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

There are two ways to do this. Download a hard copy or a fillable form.

For a hard copy. click here to view form, then right click on form to print (or save a copy to your own computer).

Here is a fillable docx form. Click to download.then open, then click “enable editing” (at the top). fill out the form and then save it. Then the completed form can be emailed.

Northern Shrike

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Bird at feeder Jan 10 and 7 2015 001

Dian Wood reports:  I am surprised that a Northern Shrike would appear in the heavily forested area where I live. This immature Northern Shrike appears very healthy and although I observed the grey and rosy-pink feathers of a male Redpoll littered on my driveway, I am NOT ASSUMING it was the Northern Shrike who was responsible! To quote my good friend Bob, “Don’t assume that it is the Northern Shrike rather than a Merlin that is eating your small birds. Merlin certainly seems like a strong possibility in that case. Wait until you can actually see the bird and determine its identity.”  As I have learned, it is always good to get photographs especially in our dull days of winter! Lesson learned: get PHOTOGRAPHS to positively ID unusual birds!

Eastern Towhee in Tobermory, Jan 3/15

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015


Attached is a photo of a female EATO we spotted an hour ago (2 PM) in the Tobermory townsite. ‘Not sure if the bird was seen on the Dec. 17 CBC.

Michael and Martha Butler
Tobermory, ON

Red-headed woodpecker – two sightings now!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

I want to report what I believe is a juvenile red-headed woodpecker at my feeder. We have Downy, Hairy and Red-Bellied woodpeckers frequently. I have never seen a Red-Headed woodpecker, yet when I looked this one up it seemed to be the only possible answer because of large white patch across back and wings and a brown/grey head on a somewhat streaked, but dark body. Have they been seen in this area? Would love to see a mature bird.
Liz Hierons ( in the Walter’s Falls area.)

Reply:   We also had a Juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker at our feeders (we’re near Desboro). Ours turned up regularly for about a week in the middle of September. Its ‘alarm’ call is how we first noticed our woodpecker, the noise stood out from our usual backyard sounds. We had hoped to entice it to stay longer with delicious suet, but it moved on. This was the first we’d seen in the area.
Cheers, Brian Robin & Sarah Taylor

(Reply with your opinion about this possible sighting by emailing birding@owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca and it will be added to this post.)

Birds seen at Horseshoe Bay and Independent Ponds – September 25, 2009

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Shorebirds and a variety of ducks were seen locally today in 2 locations   | Read the full article ››

Nature Club News, July, 2017

Monday, July 24th, 2017


by John Dickson

A version of this column appeared in the OS Sun Times on Friday July 14, 2017

The month of June had the Owen Sound Field Naturalists on field trips all over Grey and Bruce Counties. Many OSFN members were taking part in and/or volunteering to help stage the 2017 Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Some were also helping to monitor the Piping Plovers that had returned to spend their summer here, to raise their families.

On Thursday June 8, President Kate McLaren welcomed everyone to the Club’s annual potluck supper at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church. Even the guest speaker Dr. Larry Peterson, of the University of Guelph, brought a favourite dish to share. President Kate McLaren, then chaired the AGM, which concluded with the presentation of the OSFN Community Conservation Award. The President called on Krista McKee to present this award to Bill Moses in recognition of: “. . . your ongoing support of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists, the Bruce Trail Club, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority Inglis Falls Arboretum and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, through your long-time volunteering, stewarding and writing; your related promotion of the planting and preservation of native plants, and your dedication to guiding the completion and publication of The Vascular Plants of the Bruce Peninsula.”

Dr. Peterson’s talk about ” The fascinating Biology of Orchids”, really did bring a new awareness for the audience of the diversity of not only the floral forms of the orchids themselves, but also pollination mechanisms, associations with beneficial fungi, and some of the successful adaptations to a wide range of terrestrial habitats. Several club members have followed up with Dr. Peterson with further questions since his presentation.

Sunday June 11, Lynne Richardson led a troupe of birders through the Loree trails to discover Field & Forest Birds of the Blue Mountains. Lynne explained how the area is changing, and the field area at the trail entrance is filling in with trees, and fewer grassland birds are to be found there, than in the past. In the woods though many typical forest birds were evident, including the ubiquitous red-eyed vireo. Close observation revealed one of their distinctive nests, woven and hanging along a branch, only about 15 feet off the ground. Soon after, a woodpecker was seen flying past, with its unique flying style. Once it landed it was identified as a yellow bellied sapsucker. The surprise though, was that a ruby throated hummingbird was following everywhere the sapsucker went, as if it was taking advantage of fresh holes in tree trunks left by the larger bird, to check for some nutritious sap for itself. Other highlights included a fleeting glimpse of a red headed woodpecker, and and indigo bunting which posed in the sun for leisurely viewing and for photos.

Chris Rickard and a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (photo by John Dickson)

Chris Rickard and a Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (photo by John Dickson)

Wednesday June 14, Chris Rickard led a hike entitled Butterflies of Bognor Marsh. At first few species were evident, but soon afterwards, more and more species were observed and carefully netted for closer observation. Of special note was a small tree stalk, leaking sap, to which several varieties of butterflies were attracted. These included the Mourning Cloak, and the Red Admiral. Other butterflies observed included the Summer Azure, Hobomok Skipper, the Silvery Blue, plus both the Canadian and the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies.

On Friday June 23rd, the OSFN members were invited to Saugeen Valley Lookout – A Tour of Nels Maher and John Weir’s Fern Garden and 40 Acre Naturalized Property, also the home farm property of Jean Maher (Weir) northeast of Durham. However, the day commenced with a moment of silence and contemplation, to honour the memory of esteemed and popular OSFN director and former President, Freeman Boyd had passed away suddenly, early the day before.

This diverse habitat of woodlands, fields and wetlands, is a showcase for naturalists, and a welcome home for many species of flora and fauna. Of special note were the fern garden with its screen canopy, to offer enhanced lighting conditions. The Maher family, with much appreciated help from the wider community, were able to salvage and clean up many areas of the farm, which were severely damaged by the deadly tornado that swept through the Durham area. Those in attendance were led on two separate educational tours of the property by Brian and Clare Maher, both sons of Jean and the late Nels Maher. The weather cooperated for a sunny picnic, which was enhanced by the special luncheon treats of fiddleheads, prepared and served, to perfection. The hospitality of the hosts was very much appreciated.

Showy lady slipper orchids (photo by Brian Maher)

Showy lady slipper orchids (photo by Brian Maher)

Upcoming activities include Ontario Nature’s butterfly ID workshop on Sunday July 16, at Kinghurst Forest Nature Reserve. Then on Thursday July 20, OSFN members can get some hands on experience with last September’s popular speaker Todd Morris, who is returning to our area for a Freshwater Mussel Field Trip.

Even though the Owen Sound Field Naturalists have fewer formal activities and events in the summer months, many members are busy exploring and observing the various changes in nature that take place in the wetlands, trees, grasses and in the skies. It is also a good time to sign up or renew memberships, and to consider youngsters who may be able to join up with our Young Naturalist programme, which starts up again in September. There is also a good opportunity to learn from the Club’s many superb publications available at the Ginger Press.

Freshwater Mussel Followup

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

We had a great turnout to our first indoor meeting of the season – over 50 members saw a very enlightening presentation by Dr. Todd Morris about freshwater mussels. An organism that I (and many others!) had almost completely overlooked and ignored, I know many of us are now eager to learn more about our native mussels. Some of us may even have gone looking for mussels at the local swimming hole the day after the meeting.

Here are a few links to articles and other resources about these fascinating little treasures:

Canadian Freshwater Mussel Guide – an online key to identifying mussels.

Norfolk Field Naturalists – an article summarizing Dr. Morris’ presentation to this group on November 12, 2013.

Freshwater Mussels of the SOSMART Area – slides prepared by Todd Morris and Scott Reid.

Ontario Nature, “The Mussel Crisis” – an article on freshwater mussels from Winter 2008/09.

Recovery Strategy for Five Ontario Freshwater Mussels – part of the Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series and dated December 2006.

Have any links to add? Email web@owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca!

A Spike, Elliptio dilatata (I think!).

A Spike, Elliptio dilatata (I think!).

Earth Film Festival

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

This spring, the  Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation is hosting  a  Earth Film Festival at the Roxy  Theatre on Thursday April 28.

We have chosen  some excellent films. Check out the poster that I have attached.

My committee is approaching local business and selected individuals to help sponsor this event. Sponsorship  , you will receive free tickets, acknowledgements on the film screen, program  and on posters.We will have a number of door prizes.

Give some thought as well,  think about attending. Tickets are now available at the Roxy Theatre.

Proceeds from this event will go towards school programs(wild water, trees  for schools), the Pottawatomi Memorial Forest  trails and signage.


So take time, mark it on your calendars. Hope to see out there,

New Sign. Sauble Dunes Nature Reserve

Thursday, February 11th, 2016
OSFN Club Members – this is an image of the sign to be installed, with an official ceremony,  tentatively planned for Sunday afternoon May 22, 2016.  Once we have this date confirmed we will share that with you, so you can plan to attend for this very special occasion.
The Lewington family was presented with the OSFN Community Conservation Award in the recent past.
(Click on sign to get an enhanced image.)