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Nature Club News April 2020

Nature Club News April 2020

by John Dickson

Although many planned Nature events and activities for humans have been suspended, re-scheduled or completely cancelled this Spring, the normal  routines of Nature seem to be right on track, and going ahead as usual, whether or not there are people on hand to observe, document, or just enjoy them. Many birds are establishing and protecting nesting sites. Robins are now finding worms to eat, a menu item that was likely hard to find a few weeks ago. The males of the American Goldfinch, although here all year long, are now well into a wardrobe change, donning their bright yellow costumes, accented by black tails, wings and caps. Meanwhile, snowshoe hares are  gradually transforming their white fur to brownish hues. Some of the earliest wildflowers are blooming, and many trees are starting to leaf out.  

Several Nature events have also been adapted to online formats using some of the newer technologies introduced in recent years.

Owen Sound Field Naturalists’ (OSFN) planned April 9 screening of the film Resilience, is being delayed while film presenter Liz Zetlin and her team plan to do a trial run with another group, along with a zoom post-screening facilitated discussion. Then hopefully the OSFN event can be re-scheduled too. In the meantime, everyone is welcome to watch the locally produced, but globally significant film on their own time at

The four part lecture series by Dr. Thorsten Arnold – How Can Food Systems Regenerate Our Earth? – has been converted to an online Webinar Series, which began with a successful first lecture recently and will resume at 1:30PM on April 19, 26, and May 3. To take in these engaging presentations, please visit eventbrite.

It is priced at $5, $10, and $15  according to your budget. To complement the lecture series Dr. Arnold also recommends these two supplementary sources: Movie: Symbiotic Earth – How Lynn Margulis rocked the boat and started a scientific revolution (link to background, or watch here) and Essay: Charles Eisenstein, “The Coronation

As I was reminded by Stew Hilts, the 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day will be on April 22. Efforts are now underway to convert OSFN’s Celebrate Earth Week event (originally to be held on the Chi Cheemaun) to be presented in an online format by renowned Naturalist and performer, Jarmo Jalava, and accompanied by his son Noah. They are aiming for April 25th, still part of Earth Week, and hope to confirm that soon. Updates will also be posted at

In addition, many offers of learning opportunities for the young (and not so young too) are posted on the websites and/or facebook pages of  the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre, and Grey Sauble Conservation.

Brown Creeper (Photo by Bruce Edmunds)
Eastern Bluebird (by Bruce Edmunds)

Sightings of migrating birds are increasing too. Although the Bruce Birding Club has suspended its group activities, BBC members are still able to report sightings of interest from their isolation and mental health walks, and often from their own yards. As Fred Jazvac of Southampton shared recently -“Spring is here and if we look around, we can see the changes in local bird life.”  Marshall Byle of Kincardine reports an impressive number of first of the year birds seen today (April 7) on his property.  

“A wave of migrants showed up here today bringing a number of firsts for the year along with big numbers of Dark-eyed Junco 57, Song sparrow 17.  Firsts were Winter wren, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Eastern Towhee, Fox Sparrow, and Brown Creeper.  The zip-line cable that I stretched across the pond seems to be a hit for a pair of Belted Kingfishers.”

Fred, along with Marilyn Ohler, reported “Around our house, on a mental health walk, in our neighbourhood, we saw a few interesting things as well.  We found where our local Merlins are building a nest near the top of a spruce tree, and then found a 3rd Merlin flying by.  The next mystery to solve is, are there two nesting pairs in adjacent territories.  We also saw a plethora (I like that word) of Dark-eyed Juncos today, mirroring the numbers that Marshall saw.  Their migration is probably at a peak. Singing birds heard today were Eastern Phoebe and Fox Sparrow. The Song Sparrows are dominating the neighbourhood.  A single Great Blue Heron did a fly over of our house, our first of the year along with a first sighting of a Cowbird.” 

Sharp-shinned Hawk, April 4th – a little north of Wiarton (Photo by Kiah Jasper)

Personally, I have been fortunate enough to see a Northern Shrike near the forest’s edge; to first hear and then see an American Woodcock performing its acrobatic and acoustic flying routine; to hear the wetlands come alive and louder with sounds of frogs and toads, as well as geese and ducks; to watch a Red-tailed Hawk and a Turkey Vulture share an ascending circular flight path together; and to see a Crow fly right in among the branches of a big pine tree, likely looking for the nesting sites of the grackles who did their best to drive it out of there. Many others in Grey and Bruce have reported: Sandhill Cranes with some courting manoeuvres; Wild Turkeys in mating displays; White-tailed Deer with a fawn; Baltimore Orioles have been seen in the Goderich area, and a few Mourning Cloak butterflies have been seen warming in the sunshine

A Raven and a Bald Eagle at Lake Eugenia. (Photo by David Turner)

New for the area, the fledgling Beaver Valley Birding Club, hatched by David Turner of Flesherton, has now really taken flight with frequent posting and sharing of images and information, again, on Facebook. This is a wonderful new avenue for observation and participation.

Common Grackle. (Photo by David Turner)

However, here are just some of the many Nature events that have been disrupted by the COVID-19 virus:
Grey Sauble Conservation has cancelled its PD day camp (April 24) and the Annual Arbour Day Tree Sale (April 25);
The Earth Film Festival, a major fundraiser for the Grey Sauble Conservation Foundation, has been postponed to October 9;
 The Sources of Knowledge Forum at Tobermory, hopefully to be rescheduled for this fall;
The Huron Fringe Birding Festival has been cancelled for this year.

To close, a welcome Nature quote from the painter David Milne (1882 -1953) whose formative years were spent near Burgoyne and Paisley – “On a bright day you go out and stand for a moment: a burden falls from you, you are refreshed, stimulated, uplifted.”

Webinar Series: How Can Food Systems Regenerate Our Earth?

A webinar series by Eat Local Grey Bruce, featuring Dr. Thorsten Arnold. For tickets and more information, please visit Eventbrite.

About this Event

Targeted to farmers and non-farmers, this talk series is designed to lay out why regenerative agriculture has massive potential to benefit our planet at large – healthy people, healthy biosphere, healthy climate, resilient community. Recent insights in microbial science give new rigor to what keen nature observers have suspected for long. A series of talks offer a hopeful message that is much needed in today’s world, with many intervention points for communities, entrepreneurs, and governments.


The webinar series includes four lectures, hosted at 1:30pm on four separate Sunday afternoons. See content and days below.

Each lecture will take 60 minutes of in-depth knowledge in an accessible format, plus 30 minutes of discussion, questions, and brainstorming. Talks build on each other. While there will be a repetition of core concepts as a refresher, regular attendance is recommended. Payment is on a sliding scale, please support Thorsten’s and our organization’s [Eat Local Grey Bruce] work as you can.

1) How the biosphere self regulates its climate: April 5th 2020

Did you know that vegetation actively builds a soil “sponge” that regulates watershed functions? With a functioning soil sponge of a landscape, rainfall events hardly ever lead to flooding and drought. Also, plants cool their own environment by transpiring water – between 250 and 500 times stronger than the global greenhouse does, at least locally. Temperature, moisture, wind patterns, and rainfall are all influenced by how we manage our landscapes — an overlooked opportunity in the debate how we can confront the global climate crisis.

2) Regenerative agriculture for biosphere self regulation: April 19th 2020

Agriculture covers more landscape area than any other land use. How we do agriculture thus also defines our landscape’s biosphere functions and climate resilience. New findings in how the soil actually works are leading to a massive shift in understanding of how we can grow plants – with deep implications for how we farm and manage our lands. Learn about the mycorrhizal revolution, about regenerative farming principles for crops and livestock, and hear about local leaders in this regenerative revolution!

3) Food systems for biosphere regeneration: April 26th 2020

Farm businesses require markets, and the “rules of the game” of their markets define what farmers can do and what they cannot do. Biosphere regeneration through agriculture can only happen if food systems send the right signals to farmers, or at least do not pose market barriers. This talk discusses barriers, opportunities and steps for establishing a food system that works for regeneration, with considerations for regulators, citizens, small businesses, donors,and regional governance.

4) Transforming land management and ourselves for biosphere regeneration: May 3rd 2020

Humans are very effective in engineering and managing complicated systems – it took us one century form using a steam engine to setting foot onto the moon. At the same time, we struggle with managing complex systems that self-regulate at all scales, starting with our immune system and guts or soil, community and watersheds dynamics, up to the global climate. This talk highlights strategies how we can holistically manage complexity and how we may better align our personal impacts with the needs of our only planet.

Each lecture will take 90 minutes of talk, plus 30 minutes of discussion, questions, and brainstorming. All talks are providing in-depth knowledge in an accessible format. Talks build on each other. While there will be a repetition of core concepts as a refresher, regular attendance is recommended.

The event is Pay what you can, no one will be turned away due to a lack of funds. Please be in touch if you have any questions or access needs.

Who is apart of organizing the series: – Eat Local Grey Bruce – Climate Action Team Bruce Grey Owen Sound – Owen Sound Field Naturalists – St George’s Anglican Church Owen Sound

About Thorsten: Thorsten Arnold has dedicated his work-life to promoting climate resilience in its various facets and seeks to build strong communities by sharing his learnings with others as writer, consultant, and educator. With his wife Kristine Hammel, they co-own Persephone Market Garden, an ecological vegetable farm that produces healthy, fair and simply good food. They have big goals of building the farm into a community hub and have already integrated a summer farm camp, farming workshops, and now a private farm & forest school that offers holistic education in sustainable living.

Thorsten received academic training in environmental engineering (BTU Cottbus) and Earth Systems sciences at the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the sea (ICBM) in Oldenburg, Germany. He later pursued a dissertation in watershed sciences and agricultural economics (Uni. Hohenheim, Germany). His academic training uniquely bridges the two pillars of climate dynamics: the global greenhouse gas forcing and the role of regional land use and agriculture. Thorsten advocated against selling public water utilities to international investors and against some destructive aspects of global trade deregulations and worked with national and international development agencies around climate change and sustainable agriculture.

Some resources sent by Thorsten:

In order to get up to date and understand some of the concepts that I am using, please consider watching the following videos:

If you have more time and interest, some movies I highly recommend, but you have to pay a little for these:

  • Symbiotic Earth (link)
  • Fantastic Fungi (link)

Sydenham Bruce Trail Club Group Hikes

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 –

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

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 –
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.
Easy: Mostly flat and good footing.
Moderate: Some hills and/or poor
Strenuous: Hilly with steep climbs and
some poor footing.
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.
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

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

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.
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 –
Save Georgian Bay –  

Christmas Bird Counts – Grey and Bruce Counties (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.

Owen Sound Erik Van Den Kieboom Dec. 14, Sat.
Hanover-Walkerton Gerard McNaughton Dec. 14, Sat.
Wiarton Jarmo Jalava Dec. 15, Sun.
Kincardine James Turland Dec. 18, Wed.
Tobermory Tricia Robins or

Michael Butler

Dec. 18, Wed. or
Meaford Lynne Richardson Dec. 28, Sat.
Cape Chin Andrew Keaveney Dec. 28, Sat.
Pike Bay Andrew Keaveney Dec. 29, Sun.
Saugeen Shores Kiah Jasper Jan. 2, Thur.

Nature Club News November 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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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…”