Nature Club News for November 2023

by John Dickson

Well-known local astronomer and former high school teacher John Hlyaniluk will present “Galapagos” at 7pm Thursday November 9, at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre. Galapagos is one of the most exceptional environments on the planet, with its ecology, geology and scientific value. The most important theory in science, expressed in Darwin’s Origin of Species, was supported by his observations there. Hlyaniluk’s talk will focus on several areas, including the discovery of the Galapagos Islands, their geology and how that has produced the distinctive species of organisms that exist there. Especially of interest are the current efforts to maintain this unique ecosystem, which is under threat from various sources. And much to their credit, the inhabitants have made the islands accessible to tourists in a wonderful harmony of nature and conservation.

Also of note, the Maher family will be on hand to make a special memorial donation to OSFN, as outlined here by Brian Maher:

“Nels and Jean Maher loved the outdoors, in particular the wilds of Grey and Bruce.

With a family of 6 children in tow we enjoyed camping, hiking, canoeing and cross country skiing together. There is a little family joke about children being conceived on camping trips.

Mom and Dad were first members of Saugeen Field Naturalists and attended meetings in Hanover, Durham and Dornoch, often with Joe Johnson carpooling with them. 

When Owen Sound started a Club they became Charter Members and later Honorary Members. They loved the club members and many activities and participated in building Boardwalks, Guiding and attending hikes, and running OSFN booths at community events. Often displaying Dad’s Fern Prints and Owl collection and selling Club books. The Publication Committee team was their favourite. The Club produced many world class nature books and as a career printer dad was deeply involved in publication of these at his business. His favourites were the Orchid and Fern Guides. 

In recent years Mom continued to get calls from folks looking to buy them. So she knew they were out of print. So when I sat down to discuss her estate planning as the Executor we agreed that a donation towards the reprint would be a nice Legacy to Nels’ memory. 

Jean attended her last meeting in March and Died just after her 89th Birthday in April ………..happy and active till the end. 

On behalf of the Maher Family I am so pleased to donate $10,000 from Mom’s Estate for the reprinting of The Ferns Of Grey and Bruce.

Thank You.”

Jean Maher (Supplied Photo)
Nels Maher (Supplied Photo)

Admission is free, with donations welcome. The evening presentation will also be available on Zoom and if interested, please request a zoom link by emailing, in advance with Galapagos in the subject line or visit
During the months of November and December, the display inside the doors at the Artists Co-op at 942    2nd Avenue East (the McKay Building), will feature OSFN publications, NeighbourWoods North, promotional materials and more that director Marsha Courtney has installed there.

Congratulations once more to Bob Bowles, one of four to be inducted this past week into the Orillia Hall of Fame. 

Originally from the Markdale and “Bowles Hill” area, ( I first knew him in High School there) Bob will also be OSFN’s keynote speaker to celebrate Earth Day,  on the Chi Cheemaun in April 2024. 

Bowles is an award-winning writer, artist, nature photographer, educator, and naturalist best known for his lifetime commitment and dedication to preserving and conserving nature and as the founder and coordinator of the Lakehead University Ontario Master Naturalist Certificate Program.

Thank you to Marsha Courtney for this report: On October 29 the Young Naturalists had an Aquatic Invertebrate lesson in Harrison Park with John Bittorf from Grey Sauble Conservation (GSCA), during which we found side swimmers, aquatic worms, caddisflies of various stages, scuds, and many more, and examined them with microscopes. Bittorf engaged the youngsters in the process by showing them the scientific steps of the process, followed by questions that were sometimes simple, and sometimes more challenging, to which they responded well.

John Bittorf of GSCA had a great hands-on set up. The kids all got to play around and we had some adults join in as well. (Photo by Marsha Courtney)

The second half of their afternoon included a successful nature hike to search for Fungi, and we found lots. Trying to keep it simple can be difficult as each one can be named differently depending on which book or app that is used. The kids had keen eyes to find them. More spaces are available in the Young Naturalists club, and to learn more please email Coordinator Amanda Eriksen at

We found lots of fungus. Trying to keep it simple can be difficult as each one can be named differently depending on which book or app that is used. The kids had keen eyes to find them. (Photo by Marsha Courtney)

BPBO fundraiser 

The Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory has announced a Fundraising on-line Auction, on November 21-27, and are saying “Get your Christmas list ready! There will be unusual treasures for all. We are also looking for items to auction, so if you have any treasures, please email us at  Stay tuned for more details!”

I was able to sit and watch this handsome coyote forage the edge of a field for its midday meal yesterday.
It was very thorough and managed to catch what appeared to be several mice in the 20 minutes or so I observed it.
A privilege to see it go about its daily routine .
(photo by Les Anderson 10/13/23)

Each November, I watch for and enjoy  the many shades of gold displayed by Tamarack trees. Insects are still evident – we had a praying mantis here until just after the heavy snow arrived. I jogged over to check some attractive red apples just off trail recently, but when I inspected two of them I found each had a large cavity containing what looked like a house fly in one and two in the other. A wasp was foraging on the leaves of a bloomless rose bush here just a few days ago too. I also had the pleasure of seeing two Clouded Sulphurs, and a few Cabbage White Butterflies fluttering nearby on a recent bike ride in behind Hibou. 

Of course, the bird migration continues with many sightings of shorebirds especially Dunlins, foraging as they pass their way through here, with many keen birders on hand to document their passing, with their eyes and their cameras too. 

To close, a Nature quote from John Terpstra’s Daylighting Chedoke – Exploring Hamilton’s Hidden Creek – “We paddle to the mouth of the creek through patches of lily pads and past conclaves of cormorants perched on the dead arms of fallen trees that have washed into the marsh, then glide under a bridge for the Waterfront Trail. Almost immediately Daniel spots a black-crowned night heron, the first of several … The heron flies off upstream as we approach…. We feel bird-led, or lured. We note a beaver lodge to our right. Yes, a beaver lodge…. We keep our eyes peeled for discovery.”  

A Clouded Sulphur on the rail trail near Storybook Park road this morning. Nothing special about the butterfly nor the pic, but November? November 5 photo by Rob Wray