Nature Club News for June 2023

by John Dickson

Like a Moth drawn to a light at night-time, Alan Macnaughton is very attracted to this area and especially to “Mothing” here too. 

Alan’s first big experience with moths was seeing a Luna Moth at Big Bay when he was 14, and having built his first moth trap when he was 16, he has been interested in moths ever since. Until the last few years, after Alan retired from university work and had more time for moth activities, most of his moth work has been done at a cottage he rents just outside MacGregor Point Provincial Park. He’s been visiting there for 35 years now. So, he has had a lot of time to become acquainted with Grey-Bruce moths. Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) first invited him to offer an outdoor Moth Night in 2020 in that same Park, and then in 2021 and 2022 in Owen Sound. The response to Alan’s Moth nights and morning viewings grew each year, with even more interest, and appreciation for sharing his passion for Moths  with OSFN and guests from the Toronto Entomological Association (TEA), at Owen Sound in 2021, and 2022.  Alan Macnaughton also accepted OSFN’s invitation to give a season wrap up Moth Talk, “The Moths All Around Us”, which will take place at 7:30pm on Thursday, June 8, at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. 

He says that Owen Sound, with its abundant natural and forested areas, is a great place to be an aspiring Moth’er or just a person who appreciates the amazing diversity of the insect world. Alan will explain why he finds moths so fascinating and why he especially likes the moths of Owen Sound and Grey-Bruce.

Everyone is welcome to attend this OSFN event, and admission is free or by donation, for non members. The Moth presentation will be preceded by a dinner event and the 2023 AGM. 

 OSFN also plans to offer this as a Zoom Webinar. If interested in receiving a zoom link, please email, in advance, to     with Moths in the subject line.

For more information please visit

Now into their final week of monitoring until the fall, here is an excerpt from Stephane Menu’s most recent report on behalf of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, where birds are banded, and documented along with many other avian observations:

Among the late-season migrants, it is always quite a surprise to have Blue Jays in this category! Most of the Blue Jays are sedentary except for the sliver of the population at the very north of their breeding range. A sliver maybe, but that is still a lot of birds: on June 4, there was a flock of about 400 Blue Jays rising up over the trees in the eastern horizon. As they rose and dipped, turned and mingled, it was extremely difficult to precisely count them: it was a 10-bird by 10-bird count done very quickly before they dove down into the woods again. If you ever happen to be in said wood as a large group of jays fall from the sky, the ‘whoosh’ sound they make would have you crouching in sudden fear! At least the first time you hear it. Quite remarkable!

We are now entering the final countdown of the Spring season, with the last day on June 10 fast approaching. Stay tuned for a quick summary next week! To learn more please visit   

May 29 at 10:10 AM
  · Lady oriole knows that everyday is celebrate female birds day! (photo by Carol Edwards-Harrison)

Jody Johnson Pettit  and Marsha Courtney were on hand for the Young Naturalists attending the 25th Anniversary Huron Fringe Birding Festival  at MacGregor Point Provincial Park. It was a beautiful afternoon for a nature hike, learning from Audrey Armstrong and Norah Toth about pollinator gardens, invasive plants and the various turtles, plants, trees, and frogs that live in the different ecosystems in the park. Always a special time to visit and see such natural diversity right in front of you.

First we ran into Audrey Armstrong who jumped in to teach us about the new pollinator garden by the visitor centre (photo by Marsha Courtney)
Secondly we had Norah Toth lead us on a hike on the Huron Fringe boardwalk through the wetland. (photo by Marsha Courtney)
and our highlight was this wonderful Grey Tree Frog (photo by Marsha Courtney)

Springtime is certainly very special here, with so many floral highlights on display. Just this past week, for the very first time I was shown the delicate blossoms on a Butternut Tree, and Horse Chestnut and Locust trees in the area are showing off their amazing blossom structures too. I arrived home one day last week, to be shown a great multitude of baby spiders on their delicate webbing draped over our peonies, with their blooming  still a few weeks away. And just this yesterday morning, while I gave a drink to the flowers out front, a gorgeous And just yesterday, a gorgeous Large Yellow Underwing moth, (a lifer for me – ID help from Alan) shifted somewhat, avoiding the gentle spray I was offering, and crawled out where it could be admired. Even on the edge of town here, I can hear Eastern Meadowlarks with their frequent and melodious warbling, and the other day I spotted a Brown Thrasher hopping through behind the houses here. So many Springtime highlights to appreciate and enjoy!

Green Heron at Hibou June 5 (Photo by William Gray)

NeighbourWoods North urban forest volunteers are wrapping up their busy Springtime campaign in the Forest of Health and Healing at the Hospital in Owen Sound this Saturday, June 10, from 9 to 11am. You are invited to see the work they have been doing and consider joining and/or supporting this important team. They will be doing some tree care, but also having some fun and celebrating with the dedication of their new shed with its own sign. Winners of the Annual Flowering Crabapple Blossoms Photo Contest will be announced. Coffee for adults, juice for youngsters, plus donuts and muffins will also be available, and perhaps even some music. See you there!

Photo by Rob Wray – taken locally during May
Indigo bunting first light

The Friends of Hibou are also celebrating 50 years since the establishment of Hibou Conservation Area. Here is the message you will find on their website:Saturday June 24th is getting closer. Do you have your ticket yet ($10 for adults, children free)? You won’t want to miss this exciting event, starting at 5pm with food and entertainment. Musicians will play from under the large picnic shelter at Hibou Conservation Area (GSCA). Imagine enjoying the music with the view of the water behind them. Bring your lawn chair and find a spot just right for you. The timing is perfect just following the Summer Solstice. Picture a beautiful evening as we celebrate fifty years of having this 2km of shoreline open to us to experience nature and take in all it has to offer us.Thank you to Wanda Westover (realtor) and Knapp Family Endowment Fund for sponsoring this event and making your ticket affordable.We encourage you to buy your tickets ahead of time. To purchase your ticket go to Runners’ Den across from city hall Owen Sound or contact Friends of Hibou to make a different arrangement:

To close, a Nature quote from Sylvia Tyson’s Joyner’s Dream – “My grandfather …  introduced me to golden mornings fishing on Georgian Bay, the mist rising off the water, and only the songs of the birds, the lapping of the water against the hull and the breeze rustling in the reeds to break the silence.”