Nature Club News December 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS December 2019

by John Dickson

I regret to inform you that Peter Middleton has come down with a nasty case of the flu and will need to take some time to recover. He also regrets being unable to present to you this evening, but has offered a bonus session for the club, to be scheduled when he has recovered.

In the meantime OSFN Club Member Dan Ostler has kindly agreed to be our speaker this evening. You may remember that Dan filled in so admirably with a climate change talk two years ago. He has also received recognition as a favourite lecturer on International Cruise Ships. The topic tonight will spring from this tagline –

“Prompted by the recent volcanic eruption on White Island in New Zealand”

So, please join us at our Indoor Meeting at the Lumley Bayshore Community Centre tonight. As usual the meeting will get underway at 7PM, and we look forward to seeing you there.

Please note the last minute change of venue to the Lumley Bayshore (not at the Library) The evening gets underway at 7PM, in the Bay Room at the Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. 

Nature activities in November brought many birders out into the cooler weather, to welcome the latest migrating visitors who have arrived here for the winter from farther north, and others who are still passing through with more southerly destinations  entirely.

On Sunday November 10, two teenagers teamed up to plan and lead OSFN’s fall feature entitled  Birding Around the Bay – Waterfowl and More. Many thanks to Erik van den Kieboom and Kiah Jasper  for a very successful day of birding – with 41 species documented and highlights on the sometimes rainy day including Barrow’s Goldeneye, and Rough-legged Hawk.  Flesherton resident David Turner observed that it was  “A good day for ducks.”  

Barrow’s Goldeneye in Owen Sound Harbour (photo by David Turner)

Beth Anne Currie shares this report:

On Saturday November 16th the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO), one of 26 self-funded migration monitoring centres across Canada,  hosted their 16th annual dinner auction fundraiser at the Stone Tree Restaurant in Owen Sound.  Over 120 guests enjoyed a raucous evening of feasting, reacquainting with old friends, and listening intently to our guest speaker Andres Jimenez, who dazzled guests with an engaging presentation that focused on the flora, fauna, and artisanal fisher-people in his homeland of Costa Rica.  Andres reminded guests that we (Canada and Costa Rica) have a shared ‘care and concern’ about more than just breeding birds, as whales and other sea life begin their lives in the fresh waters in Costa Rica, before making their way to coastal estuaries in Canada. 

BPBO guests also enjoyed some friendly competition as tensions blossomed on the bidding sheets as the wide-ranging silent and LIVE auction items found their way toward new owners.  Special thanks to the BPBO Board of Directors, the staff of the Stone Tree Restaurant, our generous auction donors and our faithful supporters who, together helped us achieve a new fundraising target!  The Board and staff anticipate an intense year of problem-solving ahead, as high water levels and thrashing waves have been no match for crumbling infrastructure and roadways at Cabot Head this season. 

Here’s to unencumbered migratory pathways and productive nesting rates for the breeding birds of North America in 2020!  

The Bruce Birding Club’s November 20 outing was led by Doug Pedwell.  As Fred Jazvac reports:

“Exciting views of the day included seeing more than 20 Bald Eagles at Baie Du D’or, at one point we saw 3 Snowy Owls in one view.  A pure white male sat on the ground with two Snowy’s sitting in a nearby fence on a double post, one above the other, each looking the opposite way, with a cow standing in the background.  If ever there was an invitation to take a special picture, that was it.  At another site we had a snowy owl sitting on the ground with hundreds of Snowbuntings flying in the air behind them.”  

The club also made its annual trip to the Gull Weekend in Niagara, where the Ontario Field Ornithologists (OFO) features events and guided hikes, and can boast that “Niagara holds the world’s record of 14 gull species seen on 25 November 1995. OFO field trips often get 10 gull species when thousands of gulls feed along the river in November and December.” 

On Sunday November 24, the Young Naturalist Club met at the Woodford Hall, where they created and decorated beautiful and fun seasonal nature crafts with Norway Spruce cones, thistle seed heads from the Teasel plant, with paint, and glitter, natural wood products, and even musical components, all facilitated by Krista McKee. Then they embarked on a nature hike at the Crevice Springs section of the Bruce Trail, led by Dennis Knight, where they learned about some of the trees, ferns, and rock formations associated with the Niagara Escarpment. 

Christmas Bird Counts (CBC) will be taking place throughout Grey and Bruce Counties and beyond from December 14 in Owen Sound until January 5. To find the date, location and contact information for a CBC near you, or elsewhere, visit the Audubon website, then zoom in and click on a circle of interest to you at – 

A map view of the circles expected to be included in the 120th CBC is available here

Many in our area have been able to enjoy and capture some special features of this past month, including some strikingly beautiful clouds, often reflected in water, and of course the Tamarack trees, with their needles turned to a golden glitter in the November light, which I have heard is extra special for photography. 

To close, a Nature quote from OSFN’s speaker November 14 – “Few things encourage reflection quite like fresh mountain air and utter solitude.”  Adam Shoalts