Archive for April 2013
As I gaze out my window at my ice-bent birch tree, I’m reminded of the words poet Robert Frost once wrote:
“…Often you must have seen them / Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning … they click upon themselves / As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured / As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. / Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells / Shattering and avalanching …such heaps of broken glass to sweep away / You’d think the inner dome o heaven had fallen…”
April has played the trickster card weather-wise so far. We all woke up to an ice-crushed landscape with trees, shrubs, bushes, lawns and fields, each wearing a crystal coat after a night of frigid early spring rain. All of which tells us that nature is full of surprises.
Happily, though, we know that true spring weather is coming soon. MacGregor Point Park will soon be green, the wild flowers will be in bloom and birds will be busy. Hopefully you are well-registered with The Huron Fringe Birding Festival to be there and be part of one of North America’s premier Birding Events. Here is a brief list of some of the open activities you might be interested in. Check us out.
HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL • ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS EASY AT
A7 – Birds do it. Bees do it…and so do plants – with Richard Aaron. Flowers have different ways of ‘getting the job done.” Discover many of the diverse strategies plants employ to get pollinated.
A17 – The Wonderful World of Weeds – with Richard Aaron. Learn the “good side” of weeds – how they have been used for food, medicine and inspired inventions.
A18 – Managing Water – with Adrienne Mason. Join Adrienne on a hike through nearby river restoration projects where the interface of man, water and nature will be explored.
A26 – “Ears On” Birding. The emphasis is on listening to the songs of MacGregor Point Park birds.
A27 – Photographing Birds – with John Reaume. A discussion of equipment and techniques for bird photography plus visits to the bird blind, the Ducks Unlimited Pond and the nearby lakeshore.
A30 – Bird Watching from Soup to Nuts – with Fred Jazvec. Many of the fundamentals in a birder’s journey through the stages of beginner, intermediate and advanced, are covered in this workshop.
B4 – Relaxed Nature Walk – with Minerva Cook. A walk past Pitcher Plant Marl to the Day Use area north of the Visitor Centre to explore plant and bird diversity.
B5 – Identifying MacGregor’s Tree Species – with Joe Watson. You visit Turtle Pond and Algonquin Campground to learn about tree species and identification ‘keys’ in various habitats common to the Huron Fringe.
B9 – My Camera and Me – Focusing on Nature – with Jen O’Reilly. Discover the magic of light while taking dynamic, scenic, wildlife and close up photography. Learn and practice techniques professionals use.
B13 – Plants, Legends and Folklore of MacGregor – with Heather Starrs. Heather’s walk introduces you to the legends, stories and superstitions attached to many common and not so common plants found at MacGregor.
B18 – Bayview Escarpment – Coffin Ridge Vineyard and Winery – with Mark Wiercinski. (See our Blog “Hiking & Wine Tasting – The Perfect Day”, March 8.) Crevice caves, Hart’s Tongue Fern and Barred Owls are all found within this Nature Reserve Provincial Park. And wine tasting after an invigorating hike is a great way to end the day.
B20 – Legends of the Forest – with Heather Carscadden. Stories, legends and myths from around the world about the wonderful world of trees that surround us.
B22 – How and Where to Photograph Frogs and Toads – with Kerry Jarvis. (See our Blog “A Conversation with Kerry Jarvis”, February 1.) Learn where to find elusive frogs and toads, along with tried and true techniques that will help you capture these amazing, miniscule creatures.
B24 – Puzzled By Sedges – with Bill Crins. “Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses are hollow right up from the ground”. Sedges are an important species in the forest understory, but their field identification can be shallenging. Bill will tell you how to tell them apart.
B25 – GPS Scavenger Hunt – with Heather Carscadden. (See our Blog “And Now For Something Completely Different”, March 13.) Learn GPS basics and how GPS technology works; then use your knowledge to find hidden caches in a fun nature trivia scavenger hunt.
B31 – Birding South Bruce – Kincardine and Point Clark – with James Turland. Enjoy a birding adventure looking for spring migrants along the side roads of Southern Bruce County.
B35 – Woodland Trail – with Sarah Martin. A walk through a maple forest dune complex system located north of the Park between Port Elgin and Southampton.
B37 – Sunset Walk – with John Cummings. The Lake Huron shoreline offers some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. It’s the perfect ending for your Huron Fringe Birding Festival experience.
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Recently, James Turland led members of The Bruce Birding Club through some trying early spring weather in search of some good looks. It wasn’t a nice day, but James and Birders like him are a tough lot. Here’s Fred Jazvac’s account of the day.
“I would like to thank James Turland for his great effort in today’s bird hike. He led us to some excellent birds. The only flaw in his well-scouted plan was the weather. Arriving in Kincardine in the morning was like entering a different world. It appeared that winter was still at its peak.
Snow covered highways, high winds, squalls and snow everywhere. For those of us who came from other areas, it was a surprise to discover what was happening in Kincardine. As the morning progressed the snow stopped and except for the high winds the world appeared normal again.”
“Our journey started at Kincardine birding the sewage lagoons, the waterfront from Point Clarke to Kincardine and the harbor. Lunch was at the Erie Belle and from there to the southern boundary of Inverhuron Park, finishing at Baie Du Dor. In spite of the weather, James provided an enjoyable day for us. Thank you again, James and especially for filling in for Judith who broke a bone in her foot on a Caribbean Holiday. Our best wishes go to Judith on her operation tomorrow in Owen Sound.”
“Fourteen of us got to share some nice surprises. The winds and the cold provided an atmosphere that made our highlights of the day even more enjoyable when we saw the birds coping with the weather. The delights included the Fox Sparrows who gave us good looks at the lagoons, our first Eastern Phoebe of the year struggling while foraging in a stream and the Killdeer, who near the waterfront, also struggled. Many Great Black-Backed Gulls and the Golden- Crowned KInglets were the few birds that didn’t seem to mind the conditions.”
“The weather varied from snow squalls in the early morning, to overcast, to mixed sun and cloud. The winds were high varying from 20 to 40 K. The temperatures ranged from minus 5 to minus 1 C.”
“We saw 47 species of birds* and surprisingly, the wind and the cold made our laughs even more enjoyable.” (Fred Jazvac)
Throughout the Huron Fringe James’ reputation as a Birder extraordinaire is well known and respected. His hikes are always fun, funny, productive and memorable. James will be leading five events at this year’s Huron Fringe Birding Festival. They are:
• A3 – Birding the MacGregor Boundary. • A14 – The J/I Line – A Grassland Drive. • A35 – Birding MacGregor (Bruce/Saugeen Town line plus Viewing Tower and Bird Blind). • B11 – Birding MacGregor (South end of the Park). • B31- Birding South Bruce – Kincardine and Point Clark.
If you looking for a positive birding experience – James is your man. Check our website to sign yourself: http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events
All photographs courtesy of Doug Pedwell
*Number of species seen – 47
• Double-crested Cormorant (DCCO)
• American Coot (AMCO)
• Wild Turkey (WITU)
• Mute Swan (MUSW)
• Tundra Swan (TUSW)
• Canada Goose -(CANG)
• Mallard (MALL)
• American Black Duck (ABDU)
• American Wigeon (AMWI)
• Northern Shoveler (NOSH)
• Greater Scaup (GRSC)
• Lesser Scaup (LESC)
• Ring-necked Duck (RNDU)
• Bufflehead (BUFF)
• Common Goldeneye (COGO)
• Hooded Merganser (HOME)
• Common Merganser (COME)
• Red-breasted Merganser (RBME)
• Turkey Vulture (TUVU)
• Sharp-shinned Hawk (SSHA)
• Red-tailed Hawk (RTHA)
• Bald Eagle (BAEA)
• American Kestrel (AMKE)
• Mourning Dove (MODO)
• Rock Pigeon (ROPI)
• Killdeer (KILL)
• Ring-billed Gull (RBGU)
• Herring Gull (HEGU)
• Great Black-backed Gull (GBBG)
• Downy Woodpecker (DOWO)
• Hairy Woodpecker (HAWO)
• Blue Jay (BLJA)
• American Crow (AMCR)
• Eastern Phoebe (EAPH)
• Black-capped Chickadee (BCCH)
• Red-breasted Nuthatch (RBNU)
• White-breasted Nuthatch (WBNU)
• Golden-crowned Kinglet (GCKI)
• Dark-eyed Junco (DEJU)
• White-throated Sparrow (WTSP)
• Fox Sparrow (FOSP)
• Song Sparrow (SOSP)
• House Sparrow (HOSP)
• Northern Cardinal (NOCA)
• European Starling (EUST)
• Red-winged Blackbird (RWBL)
• Common Grackle (COGR)