huronfringefest

One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Archive for December 2014

2014 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,100 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Medieval Celtic Christmas Blessing from Huron Fringe Birding Festival

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Cardinal2

A  Jim Punnett Photograph

Written by huronfringefest

December 20, 2014 at 3:43 pm

KATHY & TONY HIGHLY RECOMMEND HURON FRINGE

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Talk to anyone in Marketing/Advertising and they will tell you: ‘The best advertising is word of mouth.’ Well, in May 2014, Kathy and Tony deGroot spent some time in MacGregor Point Park and attended the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. They posted a blog about their experiences on their site: http://www.tonydegroot.com. We’re reposting it with their permission…because we think it speaks for itself.

Roote Title

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is hosted by the Friends of MacGregor Point Park and is held each year on the first two weekends after the long weekend in May. We arrived on the Thursday before the festival to get settled in as we were camping in the park until Monday. It was a full five days of photography, hiking and pure nature appreciation in a wonderful setting.

Travelling to the Huron shores, we watched the temperatures drop from 18C at 8am in the morning to a cool 7C by the time we reached McGregor Point. Fortunately, the weather turned warm and sunny the next day and stayed that way for the rest of our visit.

MacGregor Point Provincial Park is one of our favourite parks for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, it is a wildly natural park with little human interference. Because of all the shoreline development, farming and residential land covering most of the area, this natural forest and shoreline seems to attract a vast variety of wildlife and is home to some unique and rare flora.
It was our second time participating in the Huron Fringe Birding Festival (HFBF). It’s a fantastic experience for birders and all types of nature lovers. They have a vast range of events with passionate and knowledgeable leaders. It was a great learning experience, plus a chance to meet other people who share the passion for nature appreciation, protection and enjoyment.

Our package from the HFBF included a checklist of birds and wildflowers in the park. We counted 56 different bird sightings during the weekend, including a few “lifers”. On one of our guided walks, we found 4 different snake species: Common Garters, Ribbon Snakes, Northern Watersnakes and a Smooth Green Snake. The Smooth Green Snake was very exciting for us as it was our first time seeing one and I have been searching for them for many decades. On another guided event, we were treated with another great find, an adult Eastern Newt. Although I have seen a few Newts in their terrestrial eft form, this was the first time for the aquatic adult.

Each morning we were greeted with an ensemble of singing birds all competing for the leading role. We could hear them from our tent starting before the sunrise. In the evening, many birds continued singing, and at night we enjoyed the antics of a pair of American Woodcocks as they were very active and vocal, calling and occasionally circling above our campsite. They looked so amazing with their silhouettes against the indigo blue evening sky. It was an unforgettable experience.

Another memorable moment occurred while photographing the sunset on Sunday evening. Every night at 9:10pm, the coyotes would start to howl. On this evening we were on the shoreline when they started and it sounded like it came from directly behind us, just past the treeline. We really felt honoured to experience such a close encounter as that pack went crazy with the adults howling and the pups all yelping.

The park is a Mecca for birders. Our campground had Nashville, Chestnut-sided and Yellow warblers, Ovenbirds, Veery’s, Red-eyed Vireos, Redstarts, Great Crested Flycatchers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Grey-blue Gnatcatcher, a variety of woodpeckers and many other of our more common yet much appreciated birds. On our hikes, outings and guided events we seen many other species such as the Blackburnian and Black & White Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Sora, Green Heron, American Bittern, Great Egret, Pied-billed Grebe, Turkey Vultures, Hummingbirds, just to name a few. The park has a good population of White-tailed Deer and we also sighted Porcupines, Beaver and Snowshoe Hares.

The festival and weekend was such an amazing time. We highly recommend the Huron Fringe Birding Festival as an enjoyable and affordable event of educational and social adventure. We will, without a doubt, be going back again and again.

Huron Sunset photo by Tony deGroot

Huron Sunset photo by Tony deGroot

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Full HFBF program will be available January 15, 2015 on: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org 

Registration starts MIDNIGHT –  February 1st 2015 at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org 

Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates…22nd May to 25th May and 28th May to 31st May 2015.

Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival.

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

YOU TOO CAN BE A ‘PLOVER PROTECTOR’

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PIPL Male by Log SB

As a special HFBF event last year, Stewart Nutt led a group to the nesting area(s) of the endangered Piping Plovers. There, they observed the Plovers’ behaviors as Stewart talked about their courtship, feeding, life history, territorial displays.

He also explained about the local attempts to protect this delicate species. On May 23, May 24 and on May 28, Stewart is once again leading 3 separate events he calls ‘Wouldn’t it be Ploverly’ to nesting sites to observe the birds doing what they do naturally.

If you’re a ‘Plover Lover’ and sincerely want to do your share to help look after these incredible birds the Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry has a job for you.

Piping Plover Employment Opportunities

Image 32014 marked the eighth year the endangered shorebird, the Piping Plover successfully nested on Ontario’s side of Lake Huron after a 30-year absence. A pair of adult Piping Plover successfully fledged four chicks on Port Elgin’s beach. Unfortunately, a record four pair at Sauble Beach experienced nest washouts, extreme weather and chick predation throughout the breeding season and were unsuccessful in seeing any chicks fledge. However, another nine chicks fledged at Wasaga Beach for a modest total of 13 for all of Ontario. Throughout this recovery process, volunteer monitors continued to play an important role in public education and contributing valuable monitoring data on a daily basis.

Website & Social Media Whiz

In preparation for the 2015 breeding season, the website, http://www.saublepipingplover.com needs structural fine-tuning and content refreshment. In addition, Facebook and Twitter accounts need to be established and aligned with the website. An honorarium will be provided for a web-savvy individual working with a volunteer committee to craft these enhancements prior to February 1, 2015. This work is intended to start as soon as possible and resumes will be received and considered on a perpetual basis until the ideal candidate is secured.

Coordinator of Volunteer Monitors

Starting in April 2015, a “dream” contract position will be available for a “can-do” individual with an interest in species at risk, birding and the coordination of volunteer monitors. This position requires a 20-week, part-time, 7-day/week involvement starting mid-April with an “on the beach” presence especially during long weekends – good weather or bad. Ideally, the successful candidate will live near Sauble Beach and have reliable mobility to work occasionally with volunteers on-site from Sauble Beach to Oliphant. Key requirements include an ability to schedule/manage volunteers, work in harmony with the MNRF field biologist, liaise with local government and business representatives, support an interim and final report and be an effective communicator in person, over the phone and via social media. Internet access and cell phone is required. The position will be reimbursed at a competitive rate for part-time contract work. Resumés should be received by February 27, 2015.

So when Stew again leads folks to the sites, you’ll be there to welcome them. And ‘Wouldn’t that be ‘Ploverly’.

Candidates should convey their interest to:

Piping Plover Employment Opportunities,

Stewardship Grey Bruce,

c/o Craig Todd,

Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry,

Midhurst District / Owen Sound Field Office,

1450 7th Ave. E. Owen Sound, ON

N4K 2Z1

email:  craig.todd@ontario.ca fax:  519-372-3305 or phone:  519-371-8465


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The full HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL PROGRAM will be available on-line January 15th 2015 on the Friends of MacGregor website at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org and right here on this Blog 

 Registration starts on February 1st 2015 at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org 

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates – 22nd May to 25th May and 28th May to 31st May 2015.

Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival.

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

 

 

WHY IS THIS MAN RUNNING? AND WHY IS HE RUNNING IN A KILT?

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"I'm telling ya' - I saw a Warbler just down the road...there!"

“I’m telling ya’ – I saw a Warbler just down the road…there!”

That’s just Mark Wiercinski. And only Mark knows for sure.

Whatever the answer though, it probably makes a ton of sense…to Mark. Some would say he’s the closest thing to a ROCK STAR you’ll ever see at HFBF. Others would agree that Birders and Biologists can strike you as strange ducks (pardon the pun)… sometimes.

That notwithstanding…be ready to run with Mark on three upcoming events during Huron Fringe 2015. Mark down these dates because he sells out fast…May 25 he’s revealing the mysteries of SEX AND THE SINGLE WARBLERon May 24 he’s WRESTLING WITH WARBLERS…and on May 31 he gets somewhat serious as he is DEBATING THE ISSUES: BIRDING BAYVIEW TO BOGNOR.

Sure this is just a tease. The full story on Mark’s excellent events is coming soon. So, be ready to book.

The full program will be available on-line January 15th 2015 on the Friends of MacGregor website at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org and right here on this Blog

 Registration starts on February 1st 2015 at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org

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Check out this video for a closer look at the festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_vvcLJdE74

Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates…22nd May to 25th May and 28th May to 31st May 2015.

Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival.

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

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Michael 2

brdfest2Yes, there is a lot to look forward to in 2015 as far as planning your HFBF weekends is concerned. New for 2015 a Saturday/Sunday Weekend Package in addition to our 4-day Weekend Package and of course our 8-day Festival Package.The up-coming program brings back popular leaders and  introduce new leaders and events.

An exciting blend of the familiar and new will be the highlight of the festival when the program is first revealed on-line (www.friendsofmacgregor.org) January 15, 2015 and on this blog.

Yes, January 15 is when you’ll get a full description of each event so you can begin pre-planning your HFBF weekends and be ready for on-line registration February 1, 2015.

Remember, some events sold out within the first few days last year, so pre-selection will help you secure the hikes and presentations you want…like our well-attended in depth birding programs.

Now that the final program is at the printers we can tell you that Michael Carlson, Judith King, Kerry Jarvis, Doug Pedwell, Mark Wiercinski, Justin Peters, Mike Burrell, and Larry Lamb, to name a few, will be back. Newcomers Sarah Rupert from Point Pelee and Scott Taylor (who is a Post Doctoral Associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), Willy Waterton, Audrey Armstrong and others will join them.

And for those who have been asking, Birding 101 is being introduced for all those who want to start learning how to watch birds.

Our Banquet speaker is Dr. Doug Tozer, Ontario Program Scientist, Bird Studies Canada, whose topic is LESSONS FROM LOONS: WHAT OUR WILDERNESS SYMBOL IS TELLING US.

New for 2015 – Parallel to our regular program we now offer an exciting new FAMILY WEEKEND. It features family-oriented programs and activities on the Saturday and Sunday of the 2nd weekend of the Festival.  You and your children will witness Bird Banding and be able to Learn Birding 101as a family friendly activity. There are Afternoon Outdoor Adventures for the children, Nest Box Building, Pond Exploration, Birds of Prey from Wild Ontario and a Campfire Program.

That’s a brief look at what’s in store at HFBF.

The full program will be available on-line January 15th 2015 on the Friends of MacGregor website at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org and right here on this Blog 

Registration starts on February 1st 2015 at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Check out this video for a closer look at the festival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_vvcLJdE74

Be sure to mark your calendars with next year’s dates…22nd May to 25th May and 28th May to 31st May 2015.

Follow us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival.

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

Email: birdfest@rogers.com.