Nature Club News for October 2023

by John Dickson

Owen Sound Field Naturalists’ (OSFN) featured guest on October 12 will be Dr. Thorsten Arnold, who worked as an academic advisor and researcher on an important new movie which Arnold will be presenting to the Owen Sound audience: the Canadian Premiere of award-winning filmmaker John Feldman’s Regenerating Life – How to cool the planet, feed the world, and live happily ever after

As Arnold explains: “In short, the film talks about climate landscapes from a water and ecosystem perspective, about how biology is actively modifying and self-regulating the physio-chemical aspects of climate – the difference between an urban heat dome and a cool living-landscape anti-dome, so to say, and the science is solid. ‘Regenerating Life’ takes an ecological look at the environmental crises and by challenging the prevailing climate change story, offers new, attainable solutions.

Overall, the film identifies new pathways for climate action that can be done at a community level –  how to stop killing the biosphere and changing our food system toward farming in partnership with nature.

 Regional greening leads to regional cooling and more water availability… even with increasing greenhouse gases.” 

This presentation will especially appeal to those actively working with gardening and farming. October 12 will feature parts 1 & 2, followed by a discussion facilitated by Dr. Arnold. This OSFN special event begins at 7pm Thursday October 12, at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. However, OSFN President Brendan Mulroy, has announced that audience members are encouraged to arrive as early as 6:30pm in order to enjoy a social time, as there is little opportunity for that later in the evening.

Admission is free or by donation for the general public and there will also be an opportunity to donate to Regenerate Grey Bruce, which along with Eat Local Grey Bruce, the National Farmers’ Union Grey, the Greenbelt Foundation and the Sustainability Project, are sponsoring the work of Dr. Thorsten Arnold that he has been doing in the community recently.

For those unable or not wishing to travel, or if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, this event will also be webcast: this is the ZOOM link:    Meeting ID: 843 1497 7160Please note that a bonus, extra OSFN event at 7pm, Thursday October 26, will focus on part 3 of the film Regenerating Life, with a discussion about its special focus on farming. 

For more information please visit  or 

Painted Turtle sunning on a log in the Sauble River October 6. Photo by Robert Knapp

In addition, OSFN’s Young Naturalists Club (YN) is up and running, with the next event at 2 to 4pm, Sunday October 29, planned as an engaging Aquatic Invertebrate ID Workshop in Harrison Park, under the direction of Rosie Martin. There is plenty of room for more participants in the YN club, with an exciting lineup of activities planned.

 The Young Naturalist Club Programme Coordinator is Amanda Eriksen who can be reached via email at and those aged 7 to 12 can be registered with her for monthly activities, usually on the last Sunday afternoon of the month from September to June.

Off to look for the salmon swimming upstream  (photo by Marsha Courtney)

The Bruce Birding Club’s (BBC) Marilyn Ohler shared this report on their October 4 sightings:

Nineteen participants enjoyed summer-like weather for the trip led by Margaret, Carol and Norma. Highlights were many Sandhill Cranes gathering for migration, a busy flock of Bluebirds along Elsinore Road and singing Eastern Meadowlarks. We saw a Monarch butterfly still here and noted that many blackbirds are still migrating, including a group or two of Rusty Blackbirds. 

You can also see Marilyn’s report by following the link to ebird. interested in learning more and/or joining the BBC is invited to contact James Turland  at

Photo by William Gray

October 3  one of the Wood Ducks at Skinner’s Marsh
Bald Eagle – photo by Ingrid Remkins  October 2, north of Kimberley 

The NeighbourWoods North Team has been very busy, and t

hey have two more Autumn Tree Care  sessions planned from 10 to 11:30 on Saturdays October 14, and 21, at the Hospital site in Owen Sound. I have enjoyed many wildflowers and wild flyers in the meadows and pollinator gardens there when I jog along the Healing Path which now has more people using the trail system regularly too. New volunteers are welcome, but should have gloves to wear. Up to date info is available at their Facebook page under NWN.

Stephane Menu of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO) included these details in his recent blog:  ‘As forecast, the weather this past week was unseasonably warm, very warm. Days alternated between being very quiet or relatively busy at the nets. Golden-crowned Kinglets have started to move in good numbers through Cabot Head and are now the most abundant bird being banded on any given day: 30 Golden-crowned Kinglets banded on September 30 and 48 on October 3, for example. On that last day, we banded a total of 78 birds of 17 species, which is the highest number of birds banded in a day for the season so far. The distant second and third species were Dark-eyed Junco (six birds banded) and Common Yellowthroat (five birds). We also captured the first Fox Sparrow of the season, as well as the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The young male Pileated Woodpecker may claim the title of best bird captured for that day though, despite its ear-piercing calls.’ 

For more information on their work, please visit

A Boxelder beetle, taken in August while crawling around my front garden, much to the bemusement (or perhaps bewilderment) of my neighbours. Photo by Rob Wray

I believe that 2023 has become what I learned from botanist and author John Riley, is called a ‘mast year.’ Not only are the wild grapes and apple trees loaded with fruit, but I have seen and heard Beech nuts and Black Walnuts when they fell near me, either in the woods, or in a City Park, when a chattering squirrel dropped some walnuts with a loud crash quite near me as I was pedalling nearby. A good friend has reported a bumper crop of butternuts this year too. I am hopeful that the mountain ash tree next door will keep its fruit this winter for a change, for the Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings who may visit it this winter. 

To close, a Nature quote from A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende:  They rode through the magnificent scenery of cold forests, age-old trees, mountains and water: water everywhere, flowing down in hidden streams among ancient trunks…It  was all the dazzling and secretive work of nature…