Nature Club News For April 2022
by John Dickson
Lovers of beauty in Nature are in for a treat! In the words of the renowned former Sun Times Staff Photographer Willy Waterton –
“Last summer Audrey and I located and photographed 35 of the 48 wild orchids found in this area for an upcoming reprint of the 25 year old Canadian best seller Orchids of Bruce & Grey.This Thursday, April 14, 7pm at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound, we’re excited to present this talk about our orchid quest for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN).
The talk will also be presented live on Zoom. Please join us either at the Bayshore in person (non members, entrance by donation) or email in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org with Orchids as subject, to receive a Zoom link to watch. Either way, come with us on the quest and enjoy the vibrant colours of summer flowers during our cold spring! Regards, Willy”
April can be a month of celebration and discovery as we frequently notice sounds and sights for the first time this year – the distinctive songs of Robins, Killdeer, Cardinals, Song Sparrows, the melodious Eastern Meadowlark, and for me just yesterday, my first of year Eastern Phoebe. Back to our area now, Phoebes can now be optimistic that they can find enough of the flying insects that I have been seeing, to survive the remaining uneven weather; many local observers, me included, have reported seeing their first Mourning Cloak butterflies; there are still some Pussy Willows here and there, and leaf buds on trees are swelling with moisture and energy; trout can be seen upstream in many creeks, and muskrats are often visible along the banks. When I was cycling yesterday, I heard my first Spring Peeper Frogs, saw some bright yellow Coltsfoot, and although I haven’t yet seen Wild Leeks, or Trout Lilies, when I stepped into a hardwood bush area to see if any were evident, I was delighted to see a stunningly beautiful Scarlet Cup fungus.
More than half of the $5 tickets have been sold for Hap Wilson’s presentation at 2pm Sunday April 24 at the Bayshore Community Centre. Presented by OSFN and sponsored by Caframo, the prolific author, artist, and photographer Hap Wilson will deliver his 50 Years~100 Rivers: Guidebook Pathfinding keynote address to Celebrate Earth Week. Both Hap and his wife Andrea will also have his many books, including his new novel, Out of Abaddon, for sale by cash or credit card, and Hap will be glad to personalize any book purchases.However, there are still plenty of tickets at these outlets where you can obtain them in advance, before the event is sold out: Suntrail Source for Adventure in Hepworth, Meaford IDA Pharmacy, the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market, and the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library. Tickets will also be available at the Orchid Quest talk on Thursday. For more details about both events and more, please visit www.osfn.ca
Earth Day Grey Bruce 2022 is an exciting new, comprehensive and inclusive community event from 1:30 to 5pm Saturday April 23 at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market. From their website: This is a new opportunity for people in Grey Bruce to come together to share, learn and celebrate everything we want to protect. We invite everyone in our diverse community to take part in a playful, child-friendly event, including a parade, live music, art, crafts, dance and poetry. There will be booths offering information and resources on greener living, gardening, regenerative farming, mental health, nature groups and initiatives for climate action. We invite people of all ages and identities, as well as organizations and community groups from across our region, to join us. Opening Water Ceremony 1:30pm, Booths open from 2pm to 5pm, Parade 3:00pm, Live Music and Dance 4pm. For more information and details, please visit https://www.forourkids.ca/earthdaygb22
Congratulations have been pouring in for Owen Sound’s successful application to be designated a Tree City of the World, initiated by NeighbourWoods North. Kudos for all of the good work so far, and for the planning and implementation of this programme going forward.
Shawna Macivor and Lloyd Lewis of NeighbourWoods North stand in front of a backdrop of trees at the Centennial Tower in Owen Sound. The pair, along with fellow organization member Gord Edwards, asked the city to apply to become a Tree City of the World in 2021.
The weather finally cooperated on March 27, for the Young Naturalists Club to do some animal tracking with Jeff Kinchen and, as Jody Johnson Pettit shared “We followed deer, grouse, red squirrel and owl tracks in the snow.”
Photo by Jody Johnson Pettit
In addition to the more commonly seen birds, many keen birders are always noting “rare bird sightings” of species that are only occasionally, or very rarely, if ever, seen locally. In recent months, these have included Hoary Redpoll, Least Grebe, Horned Grebe, Black Scoter, Pied-billed Grebe, Ross’s Goose, Cackling Geese, Greater White-fronted Geese, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Red-shouldered Hawk, Short Eared Owl, to name just a few.
Bruce Birding Club (BBC) members have been sharing both their group and individual sightings of Spring bird activity. On his property, Doug Pedwell noted “While waiting out the quarantine, I have been paying attention to what is going on outside. A lone Pine Siskin seems to be travelling with the Goldfinches. Song Sparrows are already staking out nesting territories. The Starlings are already on the nest. I have found the odd Robin’s egg in various places. Today I heard my first Spring Peeper and the Wood Frogs are heading to full Chorus.” BBC coordinator Fred Jazvac confirmed “One of the behavioural characteristics of Pine Siskins is, when they are in our area, they hang out with American Goldfinches.”
To close, a quote from Grey Owl and Me, by Hap Wilson – “It was always about ‘the trail,’ and the ability to disconnect yourself from the things that are destroying mankind by destroying Nature…every time I stepped into the canoe, searching for lost rivers, or straddled my motorcycle and headed for the backcountry.”