Nature Club News for August 2023
by John Dickson
The Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) are preparing for their 35th season with a diverse array of speaker presentations and many field trips throughout the area. Much of the new season, including events in September, will be posted at www.osfn.ca over the next week or so. To ensure you receive up to date information from the club, it is recommended that you purchase or renew your membership online.
Of note, on September 9, Bruce County Forester Kevin Predon will be leading a Bruce County Hike at the Amabel Tract in Sauble Beach, on trails from Rankin Bridge Road through both County and Crown forests, adjacent to the “Hell Hole” Provincially Significant Wetland complex, the Sauble River, and into some spectacular hardwood and conifer forests.
Then, at 7pm September 14 at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre, popular speaker, hike leader and author Beth Gilhespy will present Building Sydenham: the Making of “Walking through Time.” Beth will discuss how she approached her Beaver Valley and Sydenham geology books. These sections of the Bruce Trail have lots of great geology to discuss. Her Beaver Valley book will be available for purchase and signing.
In addition, OSFN hopes to once again sponsor two local high school students to attend the Ontario Nature Youth Summit at Lake Couchiching September 22-24. OSFN has sponsored many students in recent years, and has received excellent feedback from those who have attended the Youth Summits.
The weekend is designed and situated to provide learning opportunities in an exciting and motivational setting with 90 fellow high school students, all with an interest in Nature studies. Potential candidates should email John Dickson at email@example.com no later than August 30, indicating their interest and availability to attend, as the registration deadline is September 5. For more information please visit https://ontarionature.org/events/youth-summit/
The Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy (EBC) is hosting a Monarch Butterfly Festival at Alvar Bay and at Bruce Peninsula National Park’s Visitors Centre on August 25th and 26th.
Experience two days filled with nature hikes, monarch tagging and release activities, captivating butterfly documentaries, and thrilling evening bat walks. Explore the beauty of Alvar Bay, learn about the vital work of EBC, and get your hands on free milkweed seeds to support Monarch conservation. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the wonders of nature and the extraordinary journeys of Monarch butterflies!
Monarch tagging and release activities that play a crucial role in monitoring their population and understanding their migratory patterns. By participating in tagging and release, you contribute to important research efforts and help protect these magnificent butterflies for future generations to enjoy.
In addition to the Monarch festivities, EBC will also be celebrating International Bat Day on the 26th with evening evening bat walks (Friday and Saturday at 8pm). Discover the fascinating world of bats and their vital role in maintaining our ecosystem’s balance.
For more detailed information please visit https://escarpment.ca
All activities for this Monarch Butterfly Festival are free.
James Turland of the Bruce Birding Club (BBC) has much of its fall season lineup organized, with several different leaders helping out.
The BBC is a group of avid bird watchers based in Southampton, Bruce County, Ontario Canada. The club also includes many members from Grey County, and meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month except during the summer. The outings are most often in Bruce County but several excursions each year take the group farther afield.
If you would like more information or are interested in joining the club please visit the Bruce Birding Club Website at: https://sites.google.com/site/brucebirdingclub/home and/or email James at firstname.lastname@example.org
Still with ornithology, Stéphane Menu, Station Scientist at the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, along with his crew, have now returned to Cabot Head for a new season of migration monitoring, from August 15 to October 31; 78 consecutive days. During this first week, most birds that were caught, banded and documented were Red-eyed vireos and 11 species of warblers. In addition, there were observations of a Bald Eagle pair with an eaglet on the nest, a young Peregrine Falcon, a young Cooper’s Hawk, a Great Horned Owl after a successful hunt and a Common Nighthawk. For more information please visit www.bpbo.ca
At this time of year I especially enjoy seeing the blooming Goldenrod and other wildflowers all aglow, waving in the summer breezes, and the Staghorn Sumac fronds, comprised of tiny individual flowers that glisten in the morning sunshine.
Another late summer treat I discovered back in 1992, while I was cycling along a road allowance in Sydenham Township, is to be accompanied by a flock of American Goldfinches, as they fly along with me, escorting me through their territory. A year ago, a dozen or more Monarch Butterflies performed a similar dance, fluttering along close by me in the morning sunshine, northeast of Kemble.
Then, just this past week, I was delighted to be led by a family of Eastern Kingbirds, guiding me as they flew along from fence post to wire to roadside bushes, during a couple of sunrise bike rides, while I was still cycling within the City of Owen Sound.
To close, a Nature quote from Verlyn Klinkenborg’s More Scenes from the Rural Life: “The grace of wildness changes somehow when it becomes familiar. When I say the grace of wildness, what I mean is its autonomy, its self-possession, the fact that it has nothing to do with us. The grace is in the separation, the distance, the sense of a self-sustaining way of life.”