One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals


leave a comment »

On the 25th of May, at 4:30 PM, the Huron Fringe Birding Festival Banquet begins at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Port Elgin. The highlight of the evening will be a presentation by Peter Middleton as he shares stories of his time as an ecotourism guide. Here, in his own words, is a brief snapshot of his sure to be humorous and intriguing presentation.



By Peter Middleton

PeterWhen one ventures into the field, it is always with a sense of anticipation and discovery. No two days are alike and the wonders of a living planet unfold in remarkable and unpredictable fashion. Daily experiences build over the years into a remarkable range of information and knowledge. The ability to share with others is one of the greatest joys for a naturalist – and one of the greatest sources of surprise.

As a wilderness and naturalist guide for most of my life, I have had the pleasure and challenge of dealing with situations, both profound and preposterous, provided by those with whom I travel and those who one must deal with (police, customs agents etc.) to ensure a trip goes as planned, or not. You cannot leave because you have not arrived!. Situations encountered become the source of great and often amusing stories: from participants going walkabout in Polar Bear country, to spending a night under the stars on an Antarctic ice sheet surrounded by a posse of Wedell seal that emerged from the icy waters and hauled out to join our group, obviously mistaking us for their own kind. From dealing with gun toting security forces, to amassing a credit card debit that my wife found to be excessive. There are many memories.

Becoming friends with the largest land carnivore in the world is not a highly recommended activity at any time, but was the apparent desire of one of my trip participants, who rambled off into the arctic expanse one day without telling anyone. This wish caused her leader some considerable concern when a young male Polar Bear decided to visit. Fortunately the experience did not end up as a shared meal experience! She survived and to this day, I am sure, does not understand the concerns expressed about her behavior. She had paid good money to come and see Polar Bears! And then there was the Arctic Wolf! These and other tales will be the basis of my presentation and will take us from the two Polar Regions to Africa, Amazonia, India and other locations around the globe. The talk will be illustrated with images taken on my trips. I may even answer the question of why gulls sit on white rocks, but only for those who attend.


Peter7Peter Middleton is a retired outdoor education teacher and principal. He has guided groups, to many areas of the globe, to observe birds, animals and plants, and interpret natural environments. Throughout his life, Peter has had an overarching interest in birds. His passion for birds began as a young boy in northeast Scotland, and continued to develop in Canada when his family immigrated in 1952. He is a respected field ornithologist who, over the years, has contributed to many projects including the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas, North America Breeding Bird Surveys, Grey-Bruce Records Committee and Endangered Species Recovery Programs. He served as president of the Owen Sound Field Naturalists.


The Huron Fringe Birding Festival runs from May 24 to June 2, 2013. Full program is now available at 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: