Announcements

Sydenham Bruce Trail Club Group Hikes

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

Just a reminder from OSFN Programming (announced at the January 9, OSFN meeting) that OSFN members (and the general public, too) are welcome and invited to join upcoming Group Hikes, which are being led by Sydenham Bruce Trail Club members who are also OSFN members. There are still several hikes left in January. The entire winter hike schedule and guidelines can be found at this link – https://www.sydenhambrucetrail.ca/hiking/group-hikes

Many thanks to the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club, for making these outdoor events available to everyone!


Here is a list of some hikes led by BT/OSFN members –


Sunday January 19
Beaver Springs south access
Meet: 1:15 pm at HD
This trail takes us over a small stream, around a farmer’s field and into a wooded area, crossing an old beaver dam before rejoining the trail. Walk or snowshoe.
Parking is on Irish Block Rd, 0.4 km north of Hwy 26 at km 65.0.
Map Reference: Map 31
T: Moderate P: Leisurely
Hike Leader: Danuta Valleau
Contact Info: call 519-534-1788


Thursday January 23
Bognor Marsh
Meet: 10:00 am at the parking area at km 29.7 at County Road 18 and 4th
Concession South.
We will explore the Bognor Marsh area on foot or on snowshoes, depending upon the conditions. Total time about 2.5 hours.
Map Reference: Map 30
T: Moderate P: Medium
Hike Leader: Bob Knapp
Contact Info: Please RSVP to 519-371-1255 or email rmknapp@yahoo.com


Wednesday January 29
Snowshoe Hike or Ski at McGregor Park
Meet: 10:00 am at McGregor Provincial Park Visitor Centre Parking Lot (parking fee in effect)
Meet up with the Happy Campers staying in Yurts 46 and 48 for a 2 hour snowshoe hike or cross-country ski. Hikers are invited to bring their own lunch and join the Happy Campers in their yurts following the hike. Bring icers as the park roads can be icy.
T: Moderate P: Medium
Hike Leader: Danuta Valleau
Contact Info: call 519-378-5630


Here are guidelines and terminology for the hike schedule –
WHERE TO MEET:
GXT is the Galaxy Theatre parking lot. Meet in the parking lot at the tall Galaxy Centre sign next to the traffic lights. The address is 1020 10th St. W, Owen Sound
MPL is the municipal parking lot by the river on the west side of 1st Ave. E
between 7th St. E. and 8th St. E.
GSCA is the Grey – Sauble Conservation Authority head office at 237897 Inglis Falls Road. Meet in the parking lot behind the office.
HD is the northeast corner of the parking lot at Home Depot on Highway 26 on the east side of Owen Sound.
If you wish to meet at the hike location please contact the leader ahead of
time to confirm the location.
HIKE RATING SYSTEM:
TERRAIN (T):
Easy: Mostly flat and good footing.
Moderate: Some hills and/or poor
footing.
Strenuous: Hilly with steep climbs and
some poor footing.
PACE (P):
Leisurely: 3 km/h or less
Medium: 3 to 4 km/h
Brisk: 4 to 5 km/h
Fast: more than 5 km/h
Map references are from the Bruce Trail Reference edition 29.
CAUTION Make sure that the described hike is within your fitness level. If you have questions or concerns about the hike please contact the hike leader beforehand.
PETS Please do not bring pets on the hike unless specified otherwise.
WHEN SNOWSHOEING:
Dress in layers to prevent overheating and bring water and snacks. Hiking poles are helpful for negotiating slopes and slippery sections. On bright days, wear sunglasses and sunscreen.

OSFN Indoor Meetings At Bayshore

Saturday, January 4th, 2020

After an over 30-year relationship with the Owen Sound Public Library, the Owen Sound Field Naturalists are moving to new premises for our Indoor Meetings. It is exciting, and yet sad, to know we have outgrown their facility.  We have greatly appreciated their hosting our meetings.

The OSFN Board have looked at several alternate meeting locations.  This spring we will be using the Harry Lumley (Bayshore) Community Centre (1900 3rd Ave E, Owen Sound, ON N4K 2M6).  The Board welcomes your comments. 

The Bayshore, and most other facilities the Board considered, cost over twice as much to rent for the evening as does the library, however, there are also benefits.  Some of the benefits include: we will have room for members and visitors and not have to worry about capacity; a kitchen is available for serving coffee; we are not required to put out the chairs or put them away; our clean up is minimal and there is plenty of parking.  There are also some conveniences that we are losing such as no longer having storage for our display, coffee items and name tags.  

See you at the Bayshore!

TC Energy’s proposed Pumped Storage Project

Monday, December 9th, 2019

There will be an Open House planned by TC Energy so that everyone can learn about TC Energy’s proposed Pumped Storage Project. Come out and enjoy some refreshments and a conversation about the project. Everyone is welcome.  Save Georgian Bay will be there early! 

Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Doors Open: 5:30 p.m.
Presentation: 6 to 6:30 p.m.
Open House: 6:30 to 9 p.m. (drop-in)
Location: Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre — Auditorium, 151 Collingwood Street, Meaford, ON 

At 6 p.m., TC Energy will provide an overview presentation of its proposed project. Following the presentation, TC Energy representatives will be available to provide information on the project, answer your questions and listen to your feedback.

There will also be information sessions on:
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020    
Location: Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre — Auditorium, 151 Collingwood Street, Meaford, Ont.
and
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020    
Location: Meaford and St. Vincent Community Centre — Auditorium, 151 Collingwood Street, Meaford, Ont.

For more information about:
The TCE Pumped Storage Project –
https://www.tcenergy.com/siteassets/pdfs/power/pumped-storage-project/tc-pumped-storage-fact-sheet-sept-2019.pdf
Save Georgian Bay –
https://www.change.org/p/federal-save-georgian-bay-fe02a3a7-9e1f-438d-91a7-258324ae1fdd 
https://www.facebook.com/SavingGeorgianBay/  

Christmas Bird Counts – Grey and Bruce Counties (2019)

Monday, December 9th, 2019

Held every year between December 14th and January 5th, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the the largest citizen science projects.

If you would like to join one of the counts in Grey or Bruce counties, the contact information and dates of the 2019 counts are listed below. If you are outside the area, or would like more general information about the project, head to the Bird Studies Canada Website.

CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNTS IN GREY AND BRUCE – 2018
LOCATION COMPILER DATE EMAIL
Owen Sound Erik Van Den Kieboom Dec. 14, Sat. erikkieboom@outlook.com
Hanover-Walkerton Gerard McNaughton Dec. 14, Sat. gmcnaughton@wightman.ca
Wiarton Jarmo Jalava Dec. 15, Sun. jvjalava@gmail.com
Kincardine James Turland Dec. 18, Wed. jaturland@gmail.com
Tobermory Tricia Robins or

Michael Butler

Dec. 18, Wed. tricia.robins@canada.ca or thomas.ormond@gmail.com
Meaford Lynne Richardson Dec. 28, Sat. lynnerichardson@rogers.com
Cape Chin Andrew Keaveney Dec. 28, Sat. uofgtwitcher@msn.com
Pike Bay Andrew Keaveney Dec. 29, Sun. uofgtwitcher@msn.com
Saugeen Shores Kiah Jasper Jan. 2, Thur. kiahjasper@gmail.com

Community Information Session – Hydro Electric Storage Plant, Meaford

Wednesday, November 13th, 2019

A local group, Save Georgian Bay, invites you to a community information session about the proposed hydroelectric pumped storage plant near Meaford.

To find out more about this group please visit http://savegeorgianbay.ca/ or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SavingGeorgianBay/

Nature Club News November 2019

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS November 2019

by John Dickson

The next featured presenter for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists is Adam Shoalts – naturalist, explorer, best-selling author and popular speaker. An active member of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Shoalts will be sharing stories about his solo canoe trip from the Yukon-Alaska border to Baker Lake near Hudson Bay, in 2017. He is also expected to be sharing images of the Blue Racer, an elusive snake on Pelee Island, which he was engaged to find and photograph in 2018.

Often referred to as Canada’s Indiana Jones, Shoalts’ newest book, Beyond the Trees, which documents that monumental journey, quickly acquired a prominent place on the bestseller lists in Canada, and will be available for purchase, at the presentation.

VENUE CHANGE Please note that this event has been moved (from the Library) to the Bay Room at the Bayshore Community Centre, and will start at 7PM Thursday November 14. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. For more information, please visit https://owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca/announcements/beyond-the-trees-w-adam-shoalts/


An Old Growth Forest expedition in the Marshall Woods, on October 12, introduced the small group of intrepid hikers to a forest where large old trees have been allowed to keep growing, resulting in impressively tall and thick specimens of Eastern Hemlock, Eastern White Cedar, Sugar Maple, Basswood, and Yellow Birch. The topography there is also of interest, with a watercourse that is naturally terraced, as it descends the hillsides to join the often enchanting Rocklyn Creek, just below the Niagara Escarpment there. Of this third annual hike in this richly diverse location, leader Bob Knapp declares – “I always see something new, even though I have visited there lots of times.”

At this time of year I especially enjoy seeing the Tamarack trees turn golden, especially against a green backdrop of other conifers who are keeping their foliage for the winter. Another bonus in this season is discovering nests, suddenly revealed to us when the leaves are scattered below.  Both in urban settings and deep in forests, I have recently seen at least three Baltimore Oriole nests craftily suspended in trees along with the same number of impressive hornet nests, also engineered and constructed to withstand the elements in the canopy. 




NeighbourWoods North held its final Big Dig event at the hospital grounds, on October 26, the focus being to plant newly donated trees before the ground freezes. Young trees need to be protected from voles, rabbits, and other small critters by wrapping. Fall mulching helps to protect the young trees from weather extremes. The turnout was impressive considering the weather forecast, and the work that day helped to ensure a healthier Forest of Hope and Healing. To learn more please visit https://www.neighbourwoodsnorth.com/


On October 27, Judy Robinson led the Young Naturalists club (YNC) on a hike to Jones Falls, and back, teaching them to observe closely the special places along the trails, and to discover those wildlife forms that have their homes right there among the rocks and trees and even on a Goldenrod stalk. They also explored the impressive rock formations and crevices, and were rewarded by arriving at the waterfall along the trail there.

Exploring rock formations (Photo by Jody Johnson Pettit)
Porcupine Quills (Photo by Jody Johnson Pettit)


The youngsters were also advised to have a good look at sites there, to see if they might be able to pick them out in February when Judy Robinson leads them here again, on snowshoes. The YNC monthly outing is generally from 2-4PM on the last Sunday of the month. For more information please visit https://owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca/young-naturalists/young-naturalist-program-2018-2019/



The Bruce Birding Club tour on November 6, led by Lynne Richardson and Shirley Harrison sampled some birding hotspots in the area from Thornbury to Collingwood. As Fred Jazvac reports “The hike centred on waterfowl habitat and any land birds we could find while looking for ducks.  In the best birds of the day department, the BBC’s first Northern Shrike of the fall stood out.  Finding 3 species of Scoter on any hike has the ability to put smiles on a birder’s face.  The 3 Greater Yellowlegs who are late migrating were a surprise, and so was a late fly by of a Double-crested Cormorant.”

The BBC’s two October outings ranged from Southampton to the Kincardine area on October 2, a hike which featured many warbler species not really expected this late in the season, while the October 16 tour from the Chesley lake area to south of Port Elgin had a wide variety of waterfowl, and many other birds either migrating through, or settling here for the winter.  There have been a few reports of flocks of Sandhill Cranes west of Copperkettle, and near Elsinore. 

Orange-crowned Warbler  (Photo by Bruce Edmunds)
Sandhill Cranes (Photo by David Turner)
Sandhill Cranes (Photo by David Turner)


Stew Hilts saw when he travelled “east to Stayner, past the little Edenvale airport, and off on a sideroad to Strongville, hundreds of Sandhill Cranes – the further we looked across the field, the more we saw. We drove around the entire large concession block and saw several more flocks.  We estimated about 1000 or more in total.  I can’t tell you how exciting this was.”

I too have seen several flocks of fifteen or so Sandhill Cranes flying over Owen Sound in the last month or so. However, I was very surprised to see two of them displaying acrobatic flight skills just a week ago, over Owen Sound Bay, swooping and diving, and then climbing again as they seemed to revel in the gusty southwest winds that morning.Others have been sharing their enjoyment of seeing the Paper (white) Birch trees, holding onto their yellow leaves, against a backdrop of sunshine, blue skies and – yes – newly fallen snow, creating a beautiful and delightful picture.  I have been told by more people this year than ever before, that Autumn is their favourite season. I happen to agree with that sentiment myself.


To close, a nature quote by Bob Bowles, who grew up in the Markdale area, and now lives in Orillia:

Those of you that have taken any of my Ontario Master Naturalist Courses or Workshops will have heard me say many times that in nature, everything is connected to everything else. Nature is an intermingled web of many species and when you pull at one you find it connected to everything else. This is really illustrated well in our fungi, mosses and lichens workshops since we find mushrooms, mosses, liverworts, and lichens all mixed together. It is not surprising when you read a very interesting report of one species of fungus that uses lichens and mosses to survive between major fires which helps the species survive and thrive.

Bob Bowles


Beyond the Trees w/ Adam Shoalts

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
Event
Beyond the Trees w/ Adam Shoalts
When
Thursday, November 14, 2019
7:00pm
-
All Ages
Where
Bayshore Community Centre (map)
1900 3rd Ave E
Owen Sound, ON
Other Info
***NEW VENUE***
We have been gradually outgrowing the facility at the Owen Sound Library and invite you to join us on November 14, 2019 in the Bay Room at the BAYSHORE COMMUNITY CENTRE, 1900 3rd Ave E, Owen Sound, ON N4K 2M6.

Best-selling author Adam Shoalts launches his newest adventure book, Beyond the Trees, the story of his nearly 4,000 km solo journey across Canada's Arctic, and chats and shares pictures from his recent expeditions as Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, including tracking rare snakes, sleeping alone in polar bear territory, canoeing through arctic ice,
and photographing elusive wildlife.

« Back to the calendar

Nature Club News May 2019

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS May 2019

by John Dickson

On Tuesday April 9, at Grey Roots, Audrey Armstrong delivered two presentations of Monarchs in the Queen’s Bush. Her detailed research and up to date information on these majestic migrants really helped to clarify the timetables and challenges they face, in order to produce butterflies here where we live, who are able to fly successfully to the home of their ancestors from several generations before them. Armstrong also provided support materials for the two audiences, including pamphlets and seed packages of swamp milkweed, the primary food source on which the Monarchs rely to raise their young.


On April 11, Bob Knapp presented Rocks and Rock Formations to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists club, highlighting distinctive rocks with interesting shapes, sizes, patterns and stories, which many in the capacity audience recognized from popular locations along the Niagara Escarpment. I received a message just the other day from someone who is now searching out these special landmarks, while she is hiking, and consequently, Knowing Nature Better, as the OSFN motto encourages.

Bob Knapp’s follow-up, guided hike to visit some of these locations is now scheduled for this Saturday May 4th.

Bob Knapp

Bob Knapp

You can also learn about a new field trip planned for May 8th – Springtime Woodland Stroll – on a naturally diverse property part of which is also adjacent to the Long Swamp, sure to be teeming with Springtime activities.


On Saturday April 20, the Sydenham Sportsmen Association held their annual clean up event in honour of Earth Day, with crews of volunteers heading out from behind City Hall. Some of their members are also working on a project to build Loon nesting platforms for the Rankin Resource Group, with expected installation at Boat Lake and Isaac Lake in time for their use next year.

On the same day, the sold out, fourth annual Celebrate Earth Day presentation aboard the Chi Cheemaun, featured U of Guelph Professor Emeritus Doug Larson whose lively story telling and passionate musical renditions really struck a chord with the audience.

Doug Larson. (Supplied Photo)

Doug Larson. (Supplied Photo)

As a bonus, Islay Graham presented the impressive display from her OSFN first prize winning entry in the Bluewater Science and Technology Fair.


NWN_Logo

On Saturday morning April 27, the NeighbourWoods North team were busy in the fresh snow, planting replacement trees at the Hospital, in Owen Sound.

You too can join them this Saturday, May 4th, for Nurture the Forest of Hope & Healing, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. As announced on their web page, throughout May “We will be caring for the trees at the Hospital Forest of Hope and Healing for the next three Saturday mornings. On the last Saturday in May we will be working at Kelso Beach.” Check their events page at https://www.neighbourwoodsnorth.com/events-1


Bill Moses was extra busy this past weekend hosting a Hike to the Creek for the OSFN Saturday, April 27, where many trees, and flowering shrubs were identified, including the colourful Daphne, and many different Willows, Dogwoods, Hazelnut, Rock Elm, the very thorny Honey Locust, both European Larch and native Tamarack, plus several roses, including Dog Rose, or Rosa canina.

Then, on Sunday, Jody Johnson Pettit reports “The Owen Sound Young Naturalists Club had a beautiful hike, April 28th with Bill Moses at the B&C Moses Sunset Bed and Breakfast just outside of Owen Sound. The children compared the needles and cones of the different pine and spruce tree species and looked closely at the various tree buds in the Moses Arboretum. Bill showed the kids how to make paper planting pots and showed off his hut, which is made of wooden pallet walls and covered with dried phragmites stalks for protection. He says it keeps about 90 percent of the rain and snow off the plants inside.

Bill Moses and his bee habitat, made from phragmites (photo by John Dickson)

Bill Moses and his bee habitat, made from phragmites (photo by John Dickson)

The highlight for many was the snapping turtle that was spotted sunning itself during the hike to the creek at the back of the property.”

Snapping Turtle (photo by Jody Johnson Pettit)

Snapping Turtle (photo by Jody Johnson Pettit)


As for birding activities, meanwhile, on the other side of town, Jim Hastie was paddling with three companions on Shallow Lake, and observed that Great Blue Herons were occupying at least ten nests in the Rookery or Heronry there. Throughout April David Turner has been rewarded with terrific sightings in the Flesherton Hills, and in the Beaver Valley, of American Bittern, Fox Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, many waterfowl, including on April 28, “seeing the great egret in breeding plumage is VERY encouraging. It’s the first time I’ve seen it since living here.” Many of Turner’s photos of flowers and mammals are also exquisite.

American Goldfinch (photo by David Turner)

American Goldfinch (photo by David Turner)


Kiah Jasper reported seeing his first Piping Plover of the year at Sauble Beach on Tuesday April 30, which is, I think, pretty much right on schedule.

Piping Plover (photo by Kiah Jasper)

Piping Plover (photo by Kiah Jasper)

Then on May 1st, Bruce Edmunds reported “Birding in the rain today with the Bruce Birding Club. Came across this Northern Waterthrush (warbler). Checked the radar. Ran back to the car and got the camera. Was not disappointed.” May 1, 2019, Kincardine, ON


This weekend May 3 to 5, The Sources of Knowledge Forum taking place in Tobermory is intended to demonstrate how research in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park, and the surrounding community contributes to knowledge of the Bruce Peninsula’s natural and human history. To learn more please visit https://www.sourcesofknowledge.ca/

At 7PM Wednesday May 8, the premiere screening of – Resilience: Transforming our Community – A different kind of climate change film – will be held at the Roxy. This uplifting film offers ways to build resilience in ourselves and our community by transforming the way we live. The film’s message, “let’s talk about it,” offers solutions at the individual, community and municipal levels – Doors open at 6PM, and admission is by donation.


The next night, May 9, in the auditorium of the Public Library, the Owen Sound Field Naturalists Members’ Night will feature several varied presentations by club members. Topics will include Fleabanes, wildlife images captured by a trail camera on a Nature Reserve, NeighbourWoods North, A Taste of Belize, Spring Wildflowers, and Islay Graham’s Piping Plover food and habitat display, entitled “Rake, Wrack and Risk”. The evening gets started with refreshments and social time just after 6:30, with the meeting itself getting underway at 7PM. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

To close, a Nature quote from Birgit Stutz and Larry Scanlon, extolling the majesty and beauty of Mount Renshaw and of Mount Robson – “the stunning highpoint of the Canadian Rockies… where climbers who reach its almost four thousand metre summit glory in views that extend one hundred kilometres in every direction, and rave about its vast meadows and many lakes, as well as the glaciers…. that spill into the aquamarine waters of Berg Lake…”

Nature Club News April 2019

Friday, April 12th, 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS April 2019

by John Dickson

On March 13, Nikki May’s presentation to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) – Prairie Ecosystems – featured intriguing details of the resilience of the root structures of various prairie grasses, and their ability to stay alive underground in spite of drought, floods, foraging by bison, and fire. Some of these grasses have both shallow roots and deep roots to ensure their access to nutrients.

Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)

Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)


On March 20th, the Bruce Birding club witnessed two to three thousand Tundra Swans, in a staging area near Grand Bend. Here they rest and fuel up to fly across Lake Huron, and across Lake Superior, to Manitoba, eventually arriving at their destination – the tundra. The BBC members also visited Pinery Provincial Park, where the resident Tufted Titmouse population and a few wild turkeys were observed at very close range through the large windows of the Visitor Centre there. Another highlight of the day was the discovery in Kincardine, of a pair of Snow Geese, with a Ross’s Goose (a smaller relative of the Snow Goose) keeping them company, and likely migrating with them. Within a day or two of this outing, David Turner of Flesherton, reported that there were about 25 migrating Tundra Swans along with a selection of other waterfowl, at Lake Eugenia.

American Woodcock, April 1st, Kincardine. Photo by Bruce Edmunds.

American Woodcock, April 1st, Kincardine. Photo by Bruce Edmunds.


On March 24, a full busload of the Owen Sound Young Naturalist Club visited the Butterfly Conservatory in Cambridge, to see and learn about, first hand, the many exotic butterflies on hand there.

An exotic "Ricepaper" butterfly from the conservatory. (File photo/Brian Robin)

An exotic “Ricepaper” butterfly from the conservatory. (File photo/Brian Robin)


One of the Young Naturalists, Kate Burridge-MacDonald also created artwork for a toque, which was voted the winner in a nation-wide contest as the basis for a design that will grace the hats of over 10,000 Junior skiers nation-wide next year! It featured a smiling polar bear, on skis, looking up at a puffin flying by, along with some clouds and snowflakes in the air. Congratulations Kate!


At the Bluewater Science and Technology Fair, the Owen Sound Field Naturalists award was won by Islay Graham, for her Piping Plover Project, demonstrating conclusively their preference for beach habitat with debris and vegetation, which not only provides some much needed shelter from predators, but also encourages the presence of more food for the Piping Plovers to find when they forage in the sand.


NeighbourWoods North is gearing up for its 2019 campaigns of developing and nurturing our urban trees. In a recent communication, with the heading Branch and Root news, they announced “It’s springtime and we’re getting ready for the spring planting and gardening season at the Owen Sound Hospital. Right now it looks like we will be busy tending the Forest of Hope and Healing every Saturday morning in May. Keep updated on these events through our website, or on Facebook, or Twitter.” For more information on how you can help here is the website link https://www.neighbourwoodsnorth.com/


On Tuesday April 2nd, Bob Knapp presented Rocks and Rock Formations in the Owen Sound Area, to a capacity audience in the theatre at Grey Roots. If you missed that one, Bob is also giving the same presentation to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at 7PM Thursday April 11, in the auditorium of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library.

BobKnapp_2019_04_11-01

On Tuesday April 9, Naturalist Audrey Armstrong will twice present Monarchs in the Queen’s Bush at Grey Roots, at 1PM and again at 2:30PM. For more details please visit https://greyroots.com/

On Thursday April 18, at 7PM, Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation hosts its Earth Film Festival, at the Roxy theatre, featuring Project Wild Thing, and The Messenger. This fund raising event will support projects of the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation. For ticket information please call the Roxy at 519 371 2833.

On Wednesday May 8, at 7PM, the film Resilience: Transforming Our Community created locally, will have its first screening also at the Roxy theatre. Admission is by donation. More information is available at www.resiliencedoc.info

The Celebrate Earth Day event, presented by OSFN, on Saturday April 20, featuring renowned Ecologist and Scientist Doug Larson, aboard the Chi Cheemaun, is almost completely sold out, with only a handful of tickets ($5. each) still available at the Ginger Press. For information about this event or other activities of OSFN please visit www.owensoundfieldnaturalists.ca/programs

To close, a Nature quote from Doug Larson and Peter Kelly, referring to the forces responsible for the rocks, trees and ecology of the Niagara Escarpment: “The relentless pressures of human development …may be the most imposing force in the Escarpment’s long history.”

Nature Club News March 2019

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS March 2019

by John Dickson

NATURE CLUB NEWS MARCH 2019

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists and Young Naturalists Club met on February 10, to learn about the Flesherton Hills and the rest of the property behind Grey Highlands Secondary School, all of which was, at one time, part of the Bentham Heritage Farm. In addition to learning about the diverse natural features and species of the property, it was explained that at one time there was oil exploration and drilling taking place there, along with such other locales as Hepworth. The quality of the oil, however was not high enough to justify continued pursuit of an oil industry here.

Springs and ponds in the Flesherton Hills are also the beginning of the Boyne River, which meanders to Hogg’s Falls and to the Beaver River. Nesting ducks, beavers, otters, and mink have been regular inhabitants of the wetland there for decades. Guidance for the day was provided by Richard Bentham, and John Burton.

This sign is a reminder of the good work and partnerships forged in the past to preserve this special habitat. (Photo by John Dickson)

This sign is a reminder of the good work and partnerships forged in the past to preserve this special habitat. (Photo by John Dickson)

This tree displays the many holes created by a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, in the forest of the Flesherton Hills (Photo by John Dickson)

This tree displays the many holes created by a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, in the forest of the Flesherton Hills (Photo by John Dickson)


On February 14th, Brian Robin brought his innovative and detailed nature photography to share with the audience at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church Hall. There were ooh’s and ah’s galore, and a lot of laughs, while folks were still learning about the many “bug” species who were captured by Robin’s camera lens.

Brian Robin keeping his audience enrapt, with the shared learning experience of his observations and his presentation. (photo by John Dickson)

Brian Robin keeping his audience enrapt, with the shared learning experience of his observations and his presentation. (photo by John Dickson)


On February 28th, Leanne Robinson demonstrated how she and her husband and small children travel by canoe in the far north, surviving on what they are able to harvest along the way, supplemented by the little they bring with them. Their son Emile learned to walk on uneven ground and while he was in the canoe, soon was able to recognize rose hips along the shore, and demand that they stop so that he could enjoy this wild food he enjoyed so much.

OSFN_2019_02_28


On March 2nd, there was a good turn out for Jeff Kinchen’s annual tracking outing, and even with the fresh new snow from that very morning, Kinchen was able to demonstrate how the evidence in the snow, on nibbled saplings and bushes, plus on the tree trunks, told the stories of who made those tracks, and why. Tracks observed included Jack Rabbit, Coyote, Fisher, Skunk, and White-tailed Deer.

This image shows where deer had rested for a while in the snow.

This image shows where deer had rested for a while in the snow.


Members of the Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association (SSA) have recently been inspecting, cleaning out and readying duck nesting boxes for this Spring’s arrival of Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers. They have also installed some newly constructed boxes which they have built in preparation for this upcoming season. Sites for this work include Hibou, Bognor Marsh, and the Sydenham River. Jim Hastie reported that all of the boxes at the Bognor Marsh had been occupied since the last inspection. While on site at the Bognor Marsh, we observed several chickadees feeding on the fronds of last year’s cattails there. Cheryl Jobbins also found a pussy willow there which had already opened.

Already opened Pussy Willow, found by Cheryl Jobbins on March 6th at Bognor Marsh (Photo by John Dickson)

Already opened Pussy Willow, found by Cheryl Jobbins on March 6th at Bognor Marsh (Photo by John Dickson)

Newly constructed and installed nesting box for waterfowl (Photo by John Dickson)

Newly constructed and installed nesting box for waterfowl (Photo by John Dickson)

SSA's Jim Hastie, Cheryl Jobbins and Wally Cunningham after having completed a work detail with nesting boxes, at Bognor Marsh (Photo by John Dickson)

SSA’s Jim Hastie, Cheryl Jobbins and Wally Cunningham after having completed a work detail with nesting boxes, at Bognor Marsh (Photo by John Dickson)

On Thursday March 7th, their monthly speaker was Stephanie Nickels of the Grey Bruce Health Unit, with her presentation on Lyme Disease, breaking it down into signs and symptoms, prevalence in our area. She then discussed the tick program at the health unit (personal protection, surveillance program, types of ticks in our area, submission process, etc.).

To learn more about the Sydenham Sportsmen’s Association please visit http://www.sydenhamsportsmen.com/


There have already been some reported sightings of Red-Winged Blackbirds, and of an Eastern Towhee, back to find and claim territories for sharing with mates when they arrive. The Bruce Birding Club is usually out for a day of birding, twice per month, to observe and document the birds that are in our area on those days. More information can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/brucebirdingclub/home

There have also been some owls observed in the area, including the Great Horned Owl, plus both grey and red morph Eastern Screech Owls.

This red morph Eastern Screech Owl was photographed by Cheryl Jobbins

This red morph Eastern Screech Owl was photographed by Cheryl Jobbins

I have been hearing more vocal Cardinals, with Spring on their minds, and many of the willow trees in the area definitely have that extra bright glow that tells me they are getting ready too.


On March 7th the Friends of Hibou invited Bruce Trail and OSFN members to join them in a snowshoe hike along the ice-bound shore and on the woodland trails at Hibou. Conditions were excellent and hike leader Marie Knapp shared some of the history of the property, now owned by Grey Sauble Conservation. We were able to hear several woodpeckers and there was also evidence of recent Beaver activity in the wetlands there.

Frozen shoreline at Hibou - photo by Carol Harris

Frozen shoreline at Hibou – photo by Carol Harris

John Dickson, Marie Knapp and Frank Bouma - photo by Carol Harris

John Dickson, Marie Knapp and Frank Bouma – photo by Carol Harris


Registration is now open for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival in late May and early June at MacGregor Point Provincial Park. This Festival continues to grow and to attract the best guides, on an even wider range of topics. To learn more visit
http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/huron-fringe-birding-festival


This Thursday March 14, in the Library auditorium, Nikki May, former President of the Saugeen Field Naturalists, will discuss Prairie Ecosystems, speaking about the different kinds of prairie in North America and Ontario in particular, their extent, history and ecology. The talk will feature iconic fauna and flora and their role in the prairie ecology. Learn about species you can grow in your own back yard to attract butterflies and bees.

Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)

Butterfly Weed in Canatara Park (photo supplied by Nikki May)

Grazing Bison. (photo by Rick May)

Grazing Bison. (photo by Rick May)

To close, a nature quote from Richard Outram, referring to the nature losses occurring around us, “Unless the prevailing misrule is corrected, a heritage loved and inhabited as such, will be gone.”