NATURE CLUB NEWS FOR NOVEMBER 2021

Nature Club News For November 2021

by John Dickson



The Owen Sound Field Naturalists’ (OSFN) featured guest Jenna McGuire, will be at the Bayshore Community Centre, now at full capacity, at 7PM Thursday November 11. Through her live, in person presentation Exploring the Geology of the North Shore, Manitoulin Island and Lake Superior, she will be sharing what she has learned exploring the geology to the north of Grey-Bruce and how it ties into local geological and cultural stories.“I’m really looking forward to it. I have spent most of the pandemic engrossed in studying the origins and mineral nature of the glacial erratics of the area.”

Jenna McGuire (Supplied photo)

Jenna will also bring a variety of local and northern specimens with her for viewing. This event is open to the public, and those attending at the Bayshore are reminded to be fully vaxxed with proof, plus screening and wear masks.  Visit www.osfn.ca  The club also plans, once more, to provide the program virtually to those who are unable to attend in person. Anyone who has not received a zoom link via email, (non-members), but is interested in participating in the Zoom version is invited to  email web@osfn.ca, with McGuire in the subject line. 

Photo by Jenna McGuire

Stephane Menu, Station Scientist at the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO), included this eloquent and exciting paragraph in his recent blog:

“The morning of October 29 dawned overcast and windy, conditions that did not change over the course of the day. The strong East wind blew relentlessly all day whipping Georgian Bay in a frothy fury. As in the previous days, a few flocks of White-winged Crossbills appeared at first light, however it quickly became clear that October 29 was going to be different. Soon we were witnessing in amazement a near constant stream of low, fast-flying flocks of chattering White-winged Crossbills, all heading East against the strong wind, barely clearing the tree tops, occasionally stopping for a very short time. The River of Crossbills was at its highest flow between 8:30 and 10:00am when a befuddled but delighted team counted over 1500 of them as flocks after flocks flew over Cabot Head. The total for the day was 2500 White-winged Crossbills, an estimate of course, but one we felt was a conservative one. All the flocks were flying against the wind and none were seen going the other way. I have never seen anything like it in 16 years at Cabot Head. To think that a few days ago we were impressed with a total of 130 White-winged Crossbills! The following day, October 30, we counted about 400 White-winged Crossbills, a very respectable number but one that felt anticlimactic after the previous amazing show. On the last day of the fall migration monitoring, October 31, one small group of 20 White-winged Crossbills was seen. We wonder where all these birds came from and where they were headed.”


“Giving itself a Covid test?” October 31st, near Kimberley (Photo By Ingrid Remkins)
“I have been hearing this wee but pugnacious bird for the past week. Today I finally saw it…
Northern Shrike” North of Kimberley November 8 (Photo By Ingrid Remkins)

Perhaps some of those Crossbills made it to Collingwood where about 50 of them were observed on October 30, by an OSFN birding group led by David Turner. Earlier highlights in the Clarksburg area included a Greater Yellowlegs, the only one I have seen this year.

Other recent sightings have included Snakes, sunning themselves on roadways, paths, shorelines, in wooded areas and even on a deck. Bob Knapp observed a Water Snake near Cabot Head on October 28, and an Eastern Garter Snake on November 7 near Barrow Bay, while on a family outing there. On that same warm day, Jim Coles saw two Eastern Garter Snakes in the Arran Lake area. 

“This must be the day for garter snakes (November 7th). Saw this one near Barrow Bay.
I don’t think I have ever seen one in such a neat coil.” (Photo by Bob Knapp)

Fred Jazvac of the Bruce Birding club shared this report about an outing of fifteen birders, led by Lynne Richardson that included more Nature highlights than birds alone.

“Thank you, Lynne for a great day of birding.  Your annual trip is our best waterfowl trip of the year.  We saw 21 species of birds who make a living from the surrounding waters of the Thornbury to Collingwood area covered today.  We ended with a visit to a beach on Georgian Bay where the feature was the only exposed Ordovician rock in the world.  A period of about 450 million years ago which featured the arrival of plants and organisms on this planet.  The dark flat rock of the beach showed many exposed signs of these ancient fossils.  What a finish to a great birding day!” 

“I had the opportunity to watch this young Rough Legged Hawk today while it hunted.
Shortly after this it caught a vole or mouse in the grass in the field it was observing.
Such a beautiful raptor.” (Photo by Les Anderson November 7 )

“Rosemary Martin gave us a wonderful Aquatic Critter presentation at Harrison Park today. I’m positive that we all learned something. Some kids attended and it was so much fun for them as nets were available and Rosemary collected from the river so they could find aquatic life to be identified.” November 6 – Photos and text by Marsha Courtney
Rosemary Martin (Photo by Marsha Courtney)

For several years OSFN has also been sponsoring local high school students to attend Ontario Nature’s Youth Summit.  Once again, due to Covid-19 this year, the event was held virtually with students from around the province in attendance. Here is a report just received from one of them: 

My name is Anna Zandvliet and I live in Georgian Bluffs. When I heard about the Youth Summit, I was so excited to learn more about the environment and the First Nations people of Ontario.

A huge thanks for sponsoring me to attend this year’s Youth Summit for Mother Earth. There were so many amazing workshops, it was hard to choose. On Saturday, I attended talks on traditional medicine and bees while on Sunday, I participated in the how to speak Anishinaabemowin workshop and saw a presentation about the Bringing on Biodiversity campaign by Ontario Nature Youth Council. The language workshop was my favorite though all of them were great. It’s amazing how much you can learn about a culture from a few simple phrases in the language.
Also on Sunday, there was a great keynote speech by Dr. Dan Longboat. He really instilled the need for the whole world population to come together to solve the complex, culminating climate crisis as well the importance of using different knowledge systems. Dr. Longboat also presented a very condensed version of the Haudenosaunee creation story. Though it was a shortened version, there was still so much wisdom and appreciation to be gained from listening.

There was so much knowledge and wisdom in one ‘space’. It is an experience that really opened my eyes and I will always remember. I am thinking of pursuing a undergraduate in the environmental field and this has given me an important insight in the work being done, future steps and has deepened my knowledge and interest in the environment and reconciliation. It’s so inspiring to see the possibilities of change at a local level.

I recently got the recording for the traditional beading workshop and am excited to watch it and create an orange shirt day pin for next year’s day of truth and reconciliation.

Thank you so much, Chi-miigwech,
Anna Zandvliet

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