huronfringefest

One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Archive for February 2013

WHAT CAN BIRDS TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES?

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Peter Storck is a first time HFBF event leader. “Birds And The Evolution and Spread of Humans on Earth” is the title of his topic. Peter will demonstrate what human encounters with birds 600 years ago in New Zealand, 35,000 years ago in Germany and pre-humans three million years ago in South Africa, tell us about ourselves. 

Join Peter on Monday May 27 – 1:30 PM (indoors).

"Interesting Items, reflecting topics in my talk about bird and human/pre-human interactions in prehistoric and geologic time. How they come together will be both a surprise and part the audience’s enjoyment of my wandering through human and bird-time."

“Interesting Items, reflecting topics in my talk about bird and human/pre-human interactions in prehistoric and geologic time. How they come together will be both a surprise and part the audience’s enjoyment of my wandering through human
and bird-time.”

“Hello Birders”

Peter Storck relaxes with a friendly Monarch and assorted refreshments.

Peter Storck relaxes with a friendly Monarch and assorted refreshments.

I’m an archaeologist but also trained in human evolution and the Natural Sciences. My research at the Royal Ontario Museum concerns the first peoples to colonize Ontario, Canada and North America at the end of the last Ice Age.

I’ve worked in Alaska, Utah, Arizona, Mexico and northern Ontario (an exotic place too) but most of my work was in Central Ontario extending from near Peterborough to Thornbury, but in relict parts of the landscape few people would recognize.

Although I’m retired from active field work (well mostly), I still spend a lot of time writing, both non fiction and most recently fiction with an archaeological orientation), and keeping up, though books and the Internet, with recent discoveries in Paleolithic archaeology and human evolution, as well as continental drift and just plain science.

It occurred to me that birders might be interested in these things especially if birds were involved in any way. So after agreeing to do a presentation I have been busy dredging through my library for things about human-bird relationships in prehistory, paleontology and vertebrate evolution that might interest and surprise you.”

ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. redstart

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

 REGISTER NOW TO GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE ON THE EVENT OF YOUR CHOICE

Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park plus a number of other locations

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL, 2013

MAY 24 – MAY 27 & MAY 30 – JUNE 2

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK – PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

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A GRASSLAND DRIVE WITH JAMES TURLAND

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James and Feathered Friend

James and Feathered Friend

If you asked James when and where he likes to bird, he might well say always and everywhere. His philosophy is simple, “There are birds in all landscapes one just has to look”. James just dabbled in birds until his son turned twelve. It was then Simon found a Northern Waterthrush in the backyard. That sighting opened a door James didn’t know existed. He knew the common birds – but had no idea 200 plus species visited his yard. For James birding is not just about the numbers and rarities. It is cherishing memories of Orioles and Warblers close up, a spring morning chorus and even a Chickadee on your hand. He has led hikes for the HFBF for many years and enjoys the opportunity to show attendees some of Bruce counties Birding Hotspots. The festival is timed so spring migration is in full swing and birds are easy to find in their full singing splendor. He is an active e-birder and believes this is an excellent way to record observations for all to see almost instantly. He is also an active member of the Bruce Birding Club and compiler of the Kincardine Christmas Bird Count. James welcomes you to step through the door on his hikes Into the Bruce.

 A Trip to the Grasslands – A Birders Perspective – Saturday, May 25 – 7:00 AM

When asked where the best places to bird are, I am sometimes reluctant to answer. Not because I am trying to keep the sites secret but because I am embarrassed. The average person seems to think the best places for birds are remote and pristine, and they can be, but often these places are costly to get to. More realistically birders look for their feathered friends close to home. A birders yard is often an oasis of plants and feeders specially placed to lure birds closer. Birding doesn’t get better than finding a rarity right in your own backyard. Birders have a knack for looking at landscapes and seeing the beauty in the birds. A landfill site is not just a pile of garbage but also a mecca for gulls and other scavenging birds. Sewage lagoons are sanctuaries for shorebirds and waterfowl. Some urban parks are bird magnets and havens. I believe with a little urban planning these places could be enriched and turned into truly scenic wildlife habitats. For now we just have to keep up wind and dream a little.

When visiting Bruce County farmland I try to imagine a pristine prairie. Hidden within this idyllic sea of grass are specialized creatures waiting to be discovered. Because of a lack of perches some grassland birds have evolved to sing while flying and also incorporate aerial displays. Even if blindfolded the babblings of Bobolinks conjure images of fields and meadows. The amazing woo woos of the Snipe as it dips and dives way above its chosen territory is not easily forgot. Yet other songs are cleverly devised to misrepresentation. The Grasshopper Sparrows high-pitched trill could easily be mistaken for a Six Legged Hopper. Birds don’t get much more secretive than the Henslow’s Sparrow. It’s weak chip is usually only heard from the tall grass at night. An Upland Sandpiper’s presence signifies short grass and that probably means grazers are nearby.

Uplands Sandpiper - one of the few in its family that doesn't frequent the shore habitat.

Uplands Sandpiper – one of the few in its family that doesn’t frequent the shore habitat.

Other grassland signature birds we hope to see are Eastern Meadow Lark, Clay-Coloured Sparrow, Northern Harrier and Sedge Wrens.  

When Europeans first contacted North America, Ontario was nearly completely forested except for the occasional beaver meadow. By 1900 only 10% of the forest remained. Pockets of grassland species initially benefited and expanded into the newly created habitat. Most recently as pasture decreases and the land is subjected to more intensive farming practices the grasslands and all its inhabitants are in jeopardy. Severe bird declines in the prairies brings more significance to these eastern populations. There are solutions and we all can play a part.

Like the movie Field of Dreams tells us, ‘Build It And They Will Come’. For now, by suspending our belief, we can see the beauty in the present farmland. Hopefully evolving farm practices will allow future generations to enjoy managed pristine grasslands to which The Birds will Come.”

 brdfest2

ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

 REGISTER NOW TO GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE ON THE EVENT OF YOUR CHOICE

Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park plus a number of other locations

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL, 2013

MAY 24 – MAY 27 & MAY 30 – JUNE 2

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK – PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

(Festival Headquarters)

 

Written by huronfringefest

February 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm

BIRD BANDING WITH BRENDAN

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Brendan and Friend

Brendan and Friend

“I’m a birder, photographer and bird bander from Ottawa, ON. 

For the past 6 years, I have spent most of my summers on the Bruce Peninsula. This will be my 3rd year working with the Huron Fringe Birding Festival, going from a hike assistant to a hike leader, and now I will be doing daily banding demos.

I banded my first bird (a Gray Catbird) in the summer of 2008 while I was a participant of the Young Ornithologists Workshop at the Long Point Bird Observatory. The following year I was accepted into the Young Ornithologists Internship, a month-long program that helped to hone my banding skills. Since then I have spent over 7 months staying full-time at bird observatories, and I have banded close to 4000 birds of 127 species. In that time I have had the opportunity to see and band many interesting species, such as Yellow-breasted Chat, Connecticut Warbler, Barred Owl, Northern Shrike, Bonaparte’s Gull, Baird’s Sandpiper and many more.

Yellow Breasted Chat

Yellow Breasted Chat

Connecticut Warbler

Connecticut Warbler

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Bonaparte’s Gull

Bird banding data has many scientific uses, including documenting population dynamics, migration routes and species’ life spans. It also helps us understand the daily life of an individual bird, especially when colour bands are used.  Banding helps to determine the size of territories, and how faithful certain birds are to specific breeding and wintering territories.

I will be running banding demos on both of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival’s weekends, starting close to sunrise and going until around noon on Saturdays and Sundays. I look forward to meeting many of you this spring, and until then, good birding!” 

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Brendan’s Bird Banding Demonstrations take place on Saturday May 25, Sunday May 26 and again on Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2. Sessions start at 6:00 AM and end at Noon. For the safety of the birds, bird banding is weather dependent. Sessions are free. There is no need to register.

Just show up…early.

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HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL ON-LINE REGISTRATION. 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events 

REGISTER NOW TO GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE ON THE EVENT OF YOUR CHOICE

Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park plus a number of other locations

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL, 2013

MAY 24 – MAY 27

MAY 30 – JUNE 2

MCGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK

PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

(Festival Headquarters)

 

Mark Wiercinski – In His Own Words!

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Mark will be Event Leader on three different hikes for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival this year. We asked him to tell us what to expect and here – in his own words – is the full story as he sees it.

me_driving

“Okay it says early but 6 AM isn’t really early in bird world…six is almost too late! Seriously folks, some of these birds are up at 4:30! I know, I know, it is early for humanity…but hey, if I was doing a real bird survey it would have to start by 5 at the latest! I know…I know we tried that once and it was voted down…Alright so the hike itself…it is good. Lots of things still calling and lots of things moving around. The forests and wetlands are rich around MacGregor and it makes it easy to hear and see things. I do almost all of my bird identification by sound…so there is a lot of that on the hike. I get obsessed with finding the Least Bittern in the DU Ponds…and I always fit in a lot of biology of birds. Birds are just too cool…way too many interesting adaptions and behaviors…so it is easy to observe a bit and learn a bit and still have a blast.”

*(Saturday, May 25)

Sunday* – Warbler Wrestling: 6 AM to 11 – ish…

Wrestling…cool a new title for this program – I like it. So we honestly don’t fight with these birds…but it is a fight to figure them all out at times so the word ‘fight’ fits well. Warblers are hyper little critters that seem to conveniently hide behind a twig or leaf just as you spot them. Song is important to this one…warblers are best to learn songs. We always find at least a dozen or so species. There are certainly lots of other things to see and hear there so of course we find them too. I do try to focus on warblers though…we even should get the protected species. Did I say I was a biologist? Yeah I am…so Species At Risk is a big thing for me. And we can see a few if we get lucky! There is always a stop on the way out of the pond area…and we almost always get the Blue-Winged Warbler or the Golden-Winged Warbler…or both…or the cross over variation between the two … yeah there are genetics lessons in there too.”

*(Sunday May 26)

*Bayview – Coffin Ridge Hike and Wine Tasting!!!

“Okay so the wine tasting is best part of this one…but I do like the Bayview Escarpment trails. So it is fun too. There are loads of things to see…birds, plants, trees, rocks, and yep even a cave or two. But we really don’t go down into them. Last year we had a monsoon and cold winds dominated the hike so it was a challenge to get over ten species of birds on the hike. So this year is a cinch to beat that count. And talk about Species At Risk. We have them here too. Lots to take in for the hike part but seriously folks I can’t compete with the winery! It really is great part of this program…and who knew we could produce such lovely wine in our home turf! Way too cool.”

*(Saturday, June 1, 7:00 AM)

Mark takes a closer look at a Shrike.

Mark takes a closer look at a Shrike.

“Mark is one of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders and has participated every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike…but maybe more gray hair. The early hikes are the best way to find the most birds and it is at this time that Mark is really on his game…coffee not required, but it helps. Along the way, Mark provides many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behavior and habitat. His hikes are always full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between. Whether you’re a full-fledged birder or just starting out, his hikes will always inspire and entertain…it’s all about the sex, baby! ”

Okay that is what the web says…hmmmm makes me sound old…gray hair and an original from the first bird fest…you know I was only 11 on that one right – a child prodigy bird hike leader! Ha! Okay so I wasn’t eleven. And I wasn’t even a hike leader…I was a mist net demonstrator. I am not sure I even caught a bird that year. Oh well look at me now!

So I am a Biologist. That is the dominant theme of it all for me. I love the biology and ecology of the birds and the habitat and the bigger picture around birds. And yes, biology and ecology are two different things. Come on a hike and I will explain, or you may just “get it” on your own. Being a biologist means I have about twenty different words  – or maybe more – for poop. I do pay attention to the bigger picture around the birds and I try my best to fill in loads of information on the environment and how it all fits. I like that part. In fact it is often more fun to spend time and watch and learn something new on the most common of species out there. Chickadees have brains that grow or shrink depending on the time of year or the emphasis of what they are doing. Cool! And yes it is all about the sex baby…really it is! Biology is the study of life and wildlife biology is a study of that whole process.”

Mark Wiercinski

Biologist – LFCA TC Meaford | CISC FT Meaford

National Defence

139152 Grey Road 112, Meaford, Ontario, N4L 0A1

Mark.Wiercinski@forces.gc.ca


BirdingFestivalAd_2012

 ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

REGISTER NOW TO GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE

ON THE EVENT OF YOUR CHOICE

Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park

plus a number of other locations

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL

MAY 24 – MAY 27

MAY 30 – JUNE 2

 

  

A CONVERSATION WITH KERRY JARVIS

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I shared a warm beverage with Kerry Jarvis at Crema Café in Port Elgin the other day. The purpose of our get-together was to chat about his thoughts on his upcoming Huron Fringe Birding Festival Events. That’s when he proudly showed me a copy of Outdoor Photography Canada magazine.

The cover featured a stunning shot of an Eastern Grey Treefrog.

I taped our conversation.

Kerry Jarvis cover fall 2012

Kerry:             

“This is my first national magazine cover. I’ve been on other provincial and regional covers – but this is the one I’m most happy with.”

HFBF:           

“So you have the cover shot and the lead article?”

 Kerry:             

“Right…its called Frogs and Toads Through Your Lens.”

 HFBF:                       

“Where was it taken?”

 Kerry:             

“There’s a MacGregor Point Park connection here. My wife and I were camping there one week in late June. Throughout the week we had been hearing the distinctive trill of a Grey Treefrog. Early one morning she spotted it on a nearby tree. I grabbed my camera, tripod and flash hoping to document this wonderful creature. Normally they retreat or freeze on your approach. Fortunately this guy decided on the latter. I’m always of the mind that if you’re photographing something you should have some knowledge about the subject, its behavior and its habitat.”

 HFBF:           

Fortunately for us…is this the inspiration for your June 1 HFBF event you’re calling  ‘How and Where to Photograph Frogs and Toads?”

 KERRY:         

“Yes it is. In MacGregor I’ve seen and photographed 6 species of frogs and toads – Wood Frogs, Eastern Grey Treefrogs, Leopard Frogs, Green Frogs, American Toads, and Spring Peepers. So my event is coming right on the heels of my article. I’ll do a session indoors first. We’ll learn to identify by call and visual. There’s only 13 species in the Province – so it’s easier to memorize a dozen or so calls – and I’ll talk about different species habitat. I’ll share photo tips on how to approach frogs…and then we’ll do a photo hike to see what we can hear and identify…some of them are  pretty small and well camouflaged,  so sometimes you have to play detective to find them. This is the fun part of taking workshops at the HFBF, you never know what surprises you’ll come across.”

 HFBF:             

“What kind of gear does one need to shoot these little guys?”

 Kerry:             

“You don’t always need pro gear. If you have a point and shoot you’re in good shape. When I did this article several of the images were taken with my compact camera. Basically I’ll be sharing some tips on how to take better images of frogs and toads regardless if you have a digital SLR or a compact camera.”

 HFBF:           

“You’re also doing another event on Saturday, May 25 at 1:30.”

 Kerry:             

“Right…Listening to the Sounds of Nature. It’s about being more acute with our ears. Instead of looking at nature it’s about listening when you’re outdoors. It’s about understanding the sounds your hear in the bush from common birds, frogs, mammals, and other critters…even the sound of wind and thunder.”

 HFBF:           

“How are you setting this one up?”

 Kerry:             

“Over the years I recorded various sounds of nature: — frogs, squirrels, moving water, rain, wind, birds and matched them with visuals…there’s more to nature than meets the eye. I became intrigued with the abundance and variety of sounds that nature provides us.”

 HFBF:           

“Sounds good…sorry, but I couldn’t resist the pun.”

kj business card email

Kerry Jarvis is recently retired after 28 years at Seneca College where he was Program Co-coordinator for Event Marketing Management. He taught Marketing, Photography, Videography, and Event Management. A naturalist, educator, photographer, author, presenter, gardener and traveller, Kerry’s varied interests and background proves he loves everything in nature and he’ll go out of his way to experience and record it.

 


ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events 

 

 

REGISTER NOW FOR THE HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL

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ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN. 

 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events 

Huron Fringe Birding Festival

May 24 – 27 & May 30 – June 2, 2013

Our festival takes its name from the migration corridor along the Bruce Peninsula.  This “Huron Fringe” along the Lake Huron coastline offers birders, naturalists and photographers unique opportunities to discover nature in the early spring.  At the end of the migration period, birds are on nest, migrants are everywhere, insects abound and wildflowers are beginning to bloom.  From our base at MacGregor Point Provincial Park we are uniquely placed to explore Lake Huron’s shoreline and the Bruce Peninsula to discover all that spring has to offer.

Morning activities are filled with guided hikes concentrating not only on birds but wildflowers, butterflies and insects, in and outside the park.  Afternoons feature additional hikes, workshops on bird identification and nature photography, plus other natural interests.

Special events include a banquet with a special guest speaker.  Evening highlights include illustrated programs featuring excellent presenters and night hikes.

Join us for this eight-day Birding and Nature Festival held annually on the first two weekends after the May 24th (Victoria Day) long weekend.

To complete the online registration process please select the registration field from the Huron Fringe Birding Festival ‘drop-down’ menu.

If you have questions regarding the Festival or application process please contact our offical registrar at birdfest@rogers.com or Matthew Cunliffe at 519-389-6231.

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Written by huronfringefest

February 1, 2013 at 3:58 pm