Nature Club News September 2020

by John Dickson

NeighbourWoods North   On August 22, a successful yard sale was held, raising $1200. towards the purchase of more trees for the 1.4-kilometre Healing Pathway around the hospital Healing Pathway. Congratulations to those involved!  Lloyd Lewis has indicated that, although they will not start to dig out the path this fall, they will begin planting trees along the planned course of the path. Watch for these changes!   

In recent weeks I have cycled and run along this pathway, and have found it delightful with its meandering character and its always changing views. I have also observed the ever changing blooms on display in the Welcoming Garden near the front entrance to the hospital. Another success story.

Photo By John Dickson
Photo By John Dickson
Photo By John Dickson

Congratulations to popular naturalist and speaker John Reaume, who shared this announcement with me: “We published a book on the Spiders of the Guelph Arboretum and are currently working on gathering and photographing spiders for a hopeful book on the Spiders of Ontario”.

Reaume gave a terrific Spider talk in Owen Sound two years ago,  is a key player at Saugeen Nature, and has been a frequent contributor to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Here is a link to the seven current Guelph Arboretum Booklets. The spider one is the second one down…..

John Reaume (Supplied Photo)

Vicki Rowsell of Grey Sauble Conservation (GSCA)  announces that next up in their hike series is the Inglis Falls Arboretum! (237897 Inglis Falls Road, Owen Sound) Join GSCA and the Inglis Falls Arboretum Alliance to explore the trails, take deep breaths, and enjoy all the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature at a GSCA property.  September 12, 2020: Tree Talk Arboretum Walk – All ages are welcome (10:30am – 12:00pm) Join members of the Inglis Falls Arboretum Alliance for a walk around the peaceful Arboretum trails. You’ll learn about the history of the Arboretum itself and the amazing trees that make this area so special. The trees of the world section is a highlight where you can experience species from all over the globe! During this serene adventure we’ll also chat about some interesting tree facts – Did you know trees can talk to each other? You “wood” not believe some of this stuff! Advanced registration is required Please RSVP at and to check on future hikes (space is limited to ensure physical distancing). More information will be provided upon registration. 

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists are kicking off their 2020-21 season with Indoor and Outdoor events. At 7PM Thursday September 10, via ZOOM, Jenna McGuire presents The Life of Fungi –  “Let’s take a closer look at fungi and their mushrooms: How they live, contribute to the ecosystem, lifecycles, and the basic ways they are divided in groups. We will dive deep into the soil of the forest floor to see this mysterious world!”

Jenna McGuire (photo by Rob Gowan)

At 1:30PM Saturday, September 12, Robert Burcher will be leading an easy, two hour hike from the 7th concession of Meaford to the Trout Hollow site where John Muir lived for two years in the 1800’s. History, nature, archaeology and discussion of the recent “Muir as a Racist” controversy, all in one afternoon! A second hike may take place a week later if numbers warrant.  

Advance registration is required. Burcher will also have copies of his new book My Summer of Glorious Freedom – John Muir Saunters Around Southern Ontario in the Summer of 1864.   

Robert Burcher explaining the economics of John Muir’s time. (Photo by Brian Robin)

The Young Naturalists Club for ages 7 to 12 years, will have their first monthly outing on Sunday afternoon September 27 at GSCA, checking the Bluebird Boxes, and/or witnessing  the Salmon along the spawning grounds. To learn more about the Young Naturalists Club, or other OSFN talks, field trips and membership visit

 On several recent mornings I have noticed many Monarch Butterflies “roosting” in the trees in my neighbourhood, and occasionally have seen a dozen or more fluttering in the warm breezes. Stew Hilts, of Meaford, reports  “We’ve had two Monarch butterflies fluttering around for days now, apparently newly hatched, for they are bright orange with no tattered wings.  They come to the Marigolds and Butterfly Bush to feed.  At this time of year they’re no longer interested in the Milkweed; we presume this is the generation that migrates south. “

Monarch on marigolds. Photo by Photo by Maria Hilts

Fred Jazvac confirmed that the Bruce Birding club (BBC) is on hold regarding their twice monthly hikes, but continue to   share information about the location of birds, ID tips, birds seen, bird photos, etc. 

Common Loon on Lake Eugenia  – August 22,  by David Turner
Mother Pied-Billed Grebe with babies at Collingwood Harbor trails.  August 30, by David Turner
Question Mark  Butterfly,  by David Turner

Stephane Menu of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory opened the mist nets on September 2nd and discovered, among others -“an adult male Connecticut Warbler! It is only the fourth Connecticut Warbler ever captured in the 19 years of monitoring at Cabot Head. This elusive and secretive bird is hardly ever observed, especially during migration. I have heard its explosive, loud song in the boreal forest (of Northern Alberta) but I have never seen one in the wild. And I have never heard nor seen it in Ontario, let alone at Cabot Head, other than in our nets.Swainson’s Thrushes are now on the move, with two birds captured on September 1st, and five on September 3rd. This long-distance migrant, alongside Grey-cheeked Thrush, migrate mostly during September, and like the Connecticut Warbler, have a long way to go to fly to reach the continent of South America.”

Dennis and Gwen Lewington have been working for the past 35 years to enhance Eastern Bluebird populations in the area by providing nesting boxes since 1986, when they started with four. They increased the number each year until they had one hundred, on a route that ranged from Sauble Falls to Oliphant to Wiarton to Hepworth, and stabilized at about eighty boxes by 2010. In all of that time they monitored the success of the nests, and kept records that indicate a total of 3050 Eastern Bluebirds fledged, averaging 87 per year. Also using the boxes were many Tree Swallows, along with some House Wrens, Great Crested Flycatchers, and Black Capped Chickadees.  The Lewingtons were awarded the OSFN’s Community Conservation Award several years ago, in recognition of these efforts and for the establishment of Sauble Dunes Nature Reserve.

To close, a Nature quote from – Exploring an Urban Forest – Owen Sound’s Heritage of Trees – published in 2007 by the Bruce Grey Plant Committee of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists – in Memory of Nelson Maher –

“This is a priceless inheritance which needs to be carefully nurtured… to maintain this forest in a healthy condition.”