Nature Club News September 2019

NATURE CLUB NEWS September 2019

by John Dickson

Peter Thoem’s Owls Around Us presentation on August 25th drew a capacity crowd to the Grey Roots theatre for his entertaining and enlightening talk. Thoem has been a volunteer ambassador for the Owl Foundation since 2016.

Barred Owl (Supplied Photo)

The Bruce Birding Club has been out twice recently with both tours being led by Kiah Jasper.

On August 28th twenty one club members visited the Exeter and the West Perth Lagoons. Fred Jazvac reported that “Today was a great shorebirding day seeing 13 species, with the Baird’s Sandpiper seen at Chalmers Pond getting plenty of excitement as it was in Bruce County, making the eBird listers very happy.  The Red-necked Phalarope was the first phalarope of the year for the BBC, and that bird was well photographed.   Considering we were only in shorebird habitat, the total of 56 birds was excellent.” 

Gull complaining about the cold wind??? (Photo by Marilyn Ohler)

On September 4th – Kiah was once more the leader taking the group from Southampton to north of Elsinore, to Wiarton and Isaac Lake,

The best bird of the day was a flyover, early arrival Black Scoter.  A Lesser Yellowlegs gave lessons on patience, showing close-by observers,  how to swallow a large tadpole.  Two American Kestrels proudly showed off their new families to us.  65 species were recorded for the day.

Stephane Menu, Station Scientist at the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory reported that migration still seems slow, but a few highlights including Common Nighthawks, Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds, and a Gray-cheeked Thrush have been documented. Another observation was “On August 26, we were surprised by a large group of a species not usually seen in such numbers at Cabot Head: six young Bald Eagles were soaring together! These birds were all hatched this summer, and must have come from several nests on the Bruce Peninsula.” You can meet Stephane and other staff and volunteers, at the Observatory when they will be hosting their annual Open House on Saturday September 28, from 9AM to 2PM. Witness bird banding observations and see where the migrating birds stream in for a rest. For more details visit

Photo by Brian Robin

On August 30th, the Butterfly Gardens of Saugeen Shores held another Community Tagging Day, with 50 Monarchs tagged and released. Out of town visitor Joan Gamey-Langrell posted this:

Yesterday was an amazing morning. I got to learn about the Pod Squad and see them in action. What an amazing group of people. They are doing great work for the monarch butterflies. They catch them, tag them and release them. I got to send my first tagged butterfly south. It was very emotional for me. It is a great experience. Bring your children and grandchildren out to take part. It will be a forever memory. I know it will be for me. Thank you

Beth Gilhespy with Tortoise (supplied photo)

The Owen Sound Field Naturalists Club kicks off its monthly speaker series at 7PM Thursday September 12 at the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library. Guest speaker Beth Gilhespy is the past CEO of the Bruce Trail Conservancy and is a geology enthusiast. Her presentation will highlight the geology of the Niagara Escarpment. She will also lead a leisurely Owen Sound Bruce Trail hike on September 28.

Beth Gilhespy (supplied photo)
Geology Hike with Beth Gilhespy (supplied photo)

In addition, there is a plethora of outdoor activities planned for September, including an floral excursion in Sarawak, an Autumn Ramble at Anglesea Nature Trails & Managed Forest, and an introduction to Forest Bathing. For membership details and more please visit

In addition the The Young Naturalists’ Club is scheduled to begin on September 29, and is for children aged 7 to 12 years old. Younger and older children are welcome, however ages under 7 must be accompanied by an adult during each meeting. We typically meet once a month from 2:00 pm until 4:00 pm (please note offsite trips are planned), but for some events the times may vary. The program operates from September to June but with no meeting in December. Parents or guardians are encouraged to stay and participate or volunteer if they wish.  For more information please visit or contact  the Young Naturalists Coordinator Jody Johnson Pettit at

Recently I have heard from three different sources mention of some negative effects on the wildlife along the rail line west of Benallen, from ATV traffic. In particular that many frogs are being killed as well as the deterioration of the trail conditions for cycling, etc., from the unevenness that results from this usage. There have also been some suggestions about efforts to make this a more harmonious and less deadly sharing of the trail, since the wildlife use it too. 

Female Walking Stick (Photo by David Turner, Flesherton)

To close, a Nature quote from an upcoming OSFN speaker Alexis Burnett,

The Earth is the ultimate provider and for countless generations our ancestors knew how to survive and live in harmony with nature. By learning and practicing these skills we begin to experience nature in an ancient and meaningful way.