Nature Club News for September 2023

by John Dickson

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) welcome back popular speaker, hike leader and now an author Beth Gihespy, who will feature the Geology of the Niagara Escarpment in the Beaver Valley and Sydenham Club sections, as she explains both areas in connection to her Walking Through Time books. Her Beaver Valley book was published recently and will be available at the talk, entitled Building Sydenham: The Making of Walking Through Time. The Sydenham book is in the works and is expected to be published in a few months.

Gilhespy’s presentation is set to take place as part of the OSFN Indoor Meeting at 7pm Thursday September 14, at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Everyone is welcome and admission is free, or by donation. In addition, OSFN plans to offer the talk virtually via Zoom. Anyone interested in this version may request a zoom link in advance, by emailing with Rocks in the subject line.

Gilhespy will also be leading a hike for the club, on September 24 in the Kemble area. 

OSFN is pleased to announce that the club was able to sponsor two members of last season’s Young Naturalist Club to attend this summer’s Nature Camp featured by Camp Kawartha.  

The Young Naturalists are getting ready for another year! too. The Young Naturalist Club Programme Coordinator is Amanda Eriksen who can be reached via email 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.
In addition, OSFN will be sponsoring four local high school students to the Ontario Nature Youth Summit at Lake Couchiching September 22-24. OSFN has sponsored many students in the past decade, and has received excellent feedback from those who have attended the Youth Summits.To learn more about 

the Young Naturalist Club, about joining and/or supporting OSFN, with its many indoor and outdoor presentations, and its motto, Knowing Nature Better, please visit

I believe this is a Ruby meadowhawk but will defer to those more knowledgeable about dragonflies.
Taken on the badlands while birding. (Shallow Lake) (Photo by Rob Wray)

The Sustainability Project has announced that there is a Miyawaki “Tiny” Forest Media Unveiling at Peninsula Shores District School in Wiarton on Monday,  September 18, 9:30- 10:30am at

 115 George St, Wiarton, with light snacks available.

Beth Anne Currie shares the following information:

Hello hard-working friends and living-landscape supporters;  see the unveiling of a fast-growing Miyawaki (Tiny) Forest with a connected BIOSWALE which have been installed on Peninsula Shores District School grounds in Wiarton. a project that the Sustainability Project via Regenerate Grey Bruce, has been supporting over the past several months. These two inter-connected living systems will act as demonstration projects to showcase how living landscapes provide countless ecosystem services compared to treeless, lawn spaces. 

It’s time for the official ceremony, where funders, growers, planters, water-er’s, students, teachers, parents and countless volunteers can be recognized and celebrated….. We have made a short documentary about the project – where you can see and hear a bit more background on the project.


Bring your friends, neighbours and families. Hope to see you there!

Beth Anne

Song Sparrow is a good provider for the then nesting chicks a month ago. The young ones have since fledged and I can hear them chirping to their parents from the cedar hedge. Sept. 11. (photo by Carol L. Edwards-Harrison)

The Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory (BPBO) will host a Fall Open House, with everyone invited Saturday, September 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Tobermory, at the Bruce Peninsula National Park Visitor Centre. 

Come and join us at the Bruce Peninsula National Park visitor center, in Tobermory. We will be there all day with all kinds of activities and information.  You can learn all about the BPBO, and there will be Fall bird walks, display and information, plus audio/visual presentations.

For more information please visit where you can also get an update on the recent bird migration activity with Station Scientist  Stéphane Menu’s weekly blogs.  Here is an excerpt from his latest –

There’s a saying that ‘a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush’. a young Red-eyed Vireo was captured for the first time on August 31… Four days later, on September 4, the same bird was recaptured.  In this short span of time, it increased its weight by 23.5%, a remarkable physiological feast and a sure proof that this bird is getting ready for the long and sustained effort of migration. Fat is the preferred fuel for migrating birds, providing more energy per unit than proteins or carbohydrates. It’s energy they need in order to fly 10 or 12 hours non-stop at night, over a series of multiple flights to reach their final winter destination.

With its bountiful energy stores (and a good measure of luck!), our young Red-eyed Vireo will fly all the way to the Amazon in Brazil, with no assistance from its parents, guided by an internal compass and clock. Unfortunately, this bird – along with all long-distance migrants – will encounter many dangers on its way: bad weather, lack of food at stopover sites, predators like Sharp-shinned Hawks or feral/outdoor cats, collisions with windows, disorientation from artificial lights of ever-expanding cities, etc. It’s hard not to wish them luck as they embark on this, at times treacherous, journey.

Female Common Merganser, Lake Eugenia. Sept. 10. (Photo by David Turner)

In the past year I have been aware of the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at York University. (BEEC) and some of their many programme offerings. Here is a link to their website and the opening of their most recent message to me, with a link to their very interesting newsletter and their upcoming conference with a keynote speaker, all of which you can register for. I am looking forward to looking in on more of their activities too.  Our September 2023 BEEc Newsletter – Global Edition.  A reminder that BeeCon registration is only open until Sept 29 so don’t delay in signing up to attend this hybrid event Oct 12-13 – it’s free! (click here for more information, including a schedule).

I have been pleased to finally see some Orange Jewelweed on Saturday’s OSFN hike throught the Amabel Tract with Kevin Predon, and just yesterday I noticed a patch of the yellow variety, while running nearby trails. Another favourite visual at this time of year is the Jerusalem Artichoke with it sunshiny flowers waving in the breezes. 

September 9, Amabel Tract, Sauble Beach –  Red-spotted newt in its eft form or stage (photo by photo by John Dickson)

To close, a Nature Quote from A Bend in the Road, by Nicholas Sparks: “The moon cast its glow over the slow-moving water like a walkway of reflected light. With low-slung oak trees and the whitewashed trunks of cypress trees lining the banks, the view was soothing, ageless in beauty. The draping veils of Spanish moss only added to the feeling that this part of the world hadn’t changed in the last thousand years.”

July, 7:00 am or so, southwest of Bognor, on the edge of a wetland area and out they popped. (PHOTO BY ROB WRAY)