One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Archive for May 9th, 2016


leave a comment »

Tick. Tock. HFBF start date is May 27.



Opening day is not that far away. If you haven’t registered for any event just yet there is still time. But procrastination time is really, officially over. Yes, there are still some open events available. Be warned, though, some only have a few spaces left. As for birding events, its not to late. Well known leaders like Joy Albrecht, Justin Peter, Brett Woodman, James Turland, Mike Burrell, Michael Carlson, Mark Peck, even Mark Wiercinski still have room on their events. So, what are you waiting for.


Register online NOW –

Here’s what’s open.

FRIDAY MAY 27                                                              

All Day

A3 8:00 am NORTH OF THE SAUGEEN – Joy Albrecht – Explore the backroads north of the Saugeen River. You will travel through the Chippewas of Saugeen Ojibway territory and inland habitats at the base of the Bruce Peninsula. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


A4 6:30 am KINCARDINE LAGOONS – James Turland – Hike the trails of this premier birding hotspot, locally known as “Pelee North”. If you missed seeing birds at Pelee, chances are you’ll find them here. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A5 7:30 am BIRDING THE EDGE OF MacGREGOR – Terry Crabe – The MacGregor landscape offers a variety of habitats that provide the right niches for a good number of different species. Travelling by car to these areas, we will seek them out on short walks into each habitat. (easy,car-pool) (limit 20)


A6 (NEW) 1:30 pm LET THERE BE LIGHT – Fran Sanagan – Learn how lighting influences your photographs. In this workshop, you will learn a variety of natural lighting techniques, and how to get the most out of outdoor flash photography. There will be an opportunity to share your photos and discuss the results. (easy) (limit15)

A7 1:30 pm ARE YOU A PLOVER LOVER? – Stew Nutt – If you’re not already, you will be after spending time on the beach with these charismatic, endangered birds. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A8 1:30 pm SHRUB & TREE ID IN MacGREGOR – Jim Coles – Using leaf and twig keys, we will identify the conifers and hardwoods in the vicinity of the Visitor Centre and learn about the role of site (soil characteristics) in determining species composition. (easy) (limit 20)


All Day

A12 7:00 am INVERHURON BIRDING & BOTANY – Dr. Scott Taylor – Inverhuron Provincial Park may be small, but the diversity of habitat and its shoreline location make it an excellent place to look for songbirds and unique plants. Join us for this exploration of the forest and shoreline habitats. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

A13 (NEW) 9:00 am MONARCH FRIENDLY HABITAT – Audrey Armstrong – Learn how to nurture monarch butterfly populations by growing your own easy to maintain monarch waystation garden. Following a slide show in the morning, the afternoon will be outdoors, making seed balls, looking for monarchs, eggs and larvae along the Lake Huron shore and visiting local waystations. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


A14 6:00 am BIRDING BY EAR – Michael Carlson – Do you have difficulty remembering bird songs and calls no matter how often you hear them? Michael is a natural at mnemonics. This field workshop will give you tips and tools you can use to sort out bird songs. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A15 6:00 am SEX & THE SINGLE WARBLER – Mark Wiercinski – In spring, love is in the air. Let Mark explain the unseen action in the trees. It’s always fun when Mark tackles this topic. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A16 6:30 am BIRDING THE 4 CORNERS OF MacGREGOR – James Turland – Visit wetlands, shorelines, forests and fields along the margins of MacGregor Park. You will enjoy James’ relaxed style and his ability to locate the birds. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A18 7:30 am PAISLEY BIRDING – Joy Albrecht – Join Joy birding the back roads from MacGregor to Paisley, with a stop at the Old Mill, Schmidt Lake and some roadside birding in the swamp on the way back to the Park. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


During the lunch break Eagle Optics will have binoculars and telescopes on display and for sale.


A19 (NEW) 1:30 pm ETHICS OF BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY – Terry Crabe – The Tower Trail provides many opportunities to view birds but what are the challenges for thecasual or professional photographer who wants to get the best shot. A birder and photographer, Terry will share the principles he follows. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A22 1:30 pm FROG FROLIC – Kerry Jarvis – Listen to, enjoy and locate the frogs who call MacGregor Park home. Our frolic will take us to several ponds to revel in the sights and sounds of these amazing creatures. If available, bring cameras and close-focus binoculars. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


All Day

A25 6:00 am FLOWERPOT ISLAND – Doug Pedwell – An exhilarating open-air jet boat will take you from Tobermory to the showcase island of Fathom Five National Marine Park. Flowerpot Island is famous for shoreline flowerpots, perched caves, rare orchids and birdwatching. If Lake Huron is too rough, a Tip of the Bruce tour will be an equally worthy substitute! (difficult, car-pool, jet boat, bring backpack & lunch) ($45 extra per person) (limit 22)

A27 7:30 am BIRDING SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULA – Todd Pepper – The southern Bruce Peninsula boasts a number of landform features providing a variety of bird habitat found both within the Huron Fringe and along the Niagara Escarpment. Participants will benefit from Todd’s knowledge of birdsong and breeding bird behaviour. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

 A28 6:00 am WRESTLING WITH WARBLERS – Mark Wiercinski – Warblers are very annoying. They move around a lot and hide behind the most inconvenient leaves and branches. Mark’s humour and tips about habitat and song will definitely keep you interested. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A30 7:00 am eBIRDING THE PARK – Mike Burrell – Mike will take you birding, then introduce you to eBird, the amazing online repository of bird sightings, abundance, distribution and seasonal occurrence. You’ll find out how easy it is for you to become a citizen scientist and contribute your sightings to this awesome database. (easy) (limit 20)


A33 1:30 pm DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES – John Reaume – Damselflies and dragonflies are members of the order Odonata meaning “toothed ones” which reference their awesome mouth parts. We will attempt to capture some of them in butterfly nets for closer examination. (easy, car-pool, bring binoculars/cameras/butterfly nets/field guides if you have them) (limit 20)

A34 (NEW) 1:30 pm SAUGEEN SHORES BUTTERFLY TRAIL – Kerry Jarvis – Want to know the best plants, trees and shrubs to attract wildlife? Join Kerry as he showcases various gardens throughout Saugeen Shores. Learn about the “magic plants” that are magnets for birds, butterflies, caterpillars and mammals. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A35 1:30 pm SONGBIRDS & SALAMANDERS ON THE FARM – Art Wiebe & Janice McKean – All living things need water to survive. Let Art and Janice introduce you to their backyard pond as they explain “natural habitat” and what it means to migrating birds, and the little critters who call it home. They will also talk about conservation programs that have assisted them in enriching these habitats. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


A36 (NEW) 7:15 pm SPIDERS OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA – John Reaume – Spiders have a bad reputation but in reality they are fascinating creatures. John will talk about their unique anatomy and interesting behaviours. Webs are not just for catching prey! Learn how to observe them. Understanding spiders will make you appreciate them more – it’s true! (indoors) (limit 60)


All Day

A37 6:00 am HOTSPOTS OF THE LOWER BRUCE – Alfred Raab – Habitats will be varied on this outing. We will visit Sauble Beach for a chance to see Piping Plover; inland lakes including Boat, Isaac and Sky lakes; grasslands around Ferndale and Black Creek Provincial Park. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

A38 8:00 am THE BRUCE RE-BECKONS – Willy Waterton – Join Willy in a quest to rediscover Sherwood Fox’s Bruce Peninsula, based on his landmark 1952 book The “The Bruce Beckons”. You will spend the day exploring Fox’s Bruce to see what still exists after 63 years. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


A40 7:30 am BIRDING IN AN AMPHITHEATREJoy Albrecht – The elevated steps of the Saugeen amphitheatre provide viewpoints over the river and riparian habitat. Here you will get a bird’s-eye view. (moderate, car-pool) (limit 20)


A42 1:30 pm DOWN & DIRTY PHOTOGRAPHY – Doug Pedwell – Participants will explore through photography the wildflowers growing along the Old Shore Road Trail. All types of cameras welcome. Be prepared to get down and dirty. (easy, car-pool, bring camera) (limit 15)


A43 (NEW) 7:15 pm WHAT’S THE FLAP ALL ABOUT? – Paloma Plant – The Fatal Light Awareness Program is sustained by a terrific group of volunteers. FLAP was the first organization in the world to raise concerns about bird collisions. They have instigated many changes to building design and lighting in urban areas. (indoors) (limit 60)



B3 6:30 am BIRDING KINCARDINE & AREA – James Turland – Hike the trails of Kincardine’s premier birding hotspot, locally known as “Pelee North”. You will see a variety of warblers, ducks and other migrants. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B4 8:30 am THE BIG SIT – Margaret Anderton – Join Margaret to see what can be seen from the comfort of a sitting position overlooking a pond, a field, forest and feeders. (easy, car-pool, bring a lawnchair) (limit 20)


B6 (NEW) 1:30 pm WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION? – Fran Sanagan – Bring your photographic questions to Fran. With his many years of experience, he will offer insights into how to get the photos you’re after. From raw images to photo editing, Fran can help you improve your technique with his tips of the trade. (easy) (limit15)


B7 (NEW) 7:15 pm TICK TALK: LYME DISEASE IN ONTARIO – Dr. Andrew Peregrine – Lyme disease is an infection that primarily occurs in wildlife. However, infections also occur in people. This talk will review current information on the importance of identifying Lyme disease in wildlife and people across Ontario. Practices to prevent infection in people and pets will also be discussed. (indoors) (limit 60)


All Day

B9 6:30 am BIRDING SOUTH BRUCE – Marshall Byle – This is car birding at its best. We will follow a scenic route in Southern Bruce County, stopping to bird various habitats. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B10 7:30 am A GEOLOGICAL JOURNEY – Bob Gray – Join Bob in exploring spectacular caves, deep gorges and a scenic broad glacial re-entrant valley along the Niagara Escarpment in eastern Grey County. (difficult, car pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


B11 6:30 am BIRDING THE 4 CORNERS OF MacGREGOR – James Turland – Visit wetlands, shorelines, forests and fields along the margins of MacGregor Park. You will enjoy James’ relaxed style and his ability to locate the birds. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B12 7:00 am BIRDING THE TOWER TRAIL – Ellen Smout – Join Ellen as she leads us along the Tower Trail, a favourite spot for local birders. We will see species that will nest in the boreal forest. We will scope the wetland from the observation tower and dyke. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


B14 1:30 pm WOULDN’T IT BE PLOVERLY – Stewart Nutt – Join Stew to visit endangered Piping Plovers at one of their few nesting sites in Ontario. You may observe courtship (Plovers) as well as other behaviours and learn about the many perils these birds face. You will find out how local involvement is helping this species recover. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B16 1:30 pm SAUGEEN SHORES: WATERSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY – Kerry Jarvis – Saugeen Shores is a treasure chest for photographers. Learn photographic waterscape techniques to enhance your photography skills and discover some of the majestic vistas in Saugeen Shores. (easy, car-pool, bring camera/accessories) (limit 15)


B17 (NEW) 7:15 pm SPARROWS – Sarah Rupert – Do little brown jobs have your head spinning? Join Sarah for a light-hearted presentation on sparrow identification. She’ll break the sparrows down into small groups, give you tips and tricks to figure out one of the more challenging groups of birds and show you some imposters that are often confused for sparrows. (indoors) (limit 60)


All Day

B18 6:30 am BIRDING THE BEYOND – Mark Peck will travel backroads and byways beyond the Park boundaries searching for various habitats and their niche birds. Knowing Mark, an expert on “nidiology”, you’ll find a nest or two also. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B19 7:00 am BIRDING THE HURON FRINGE – James Turland – A visit to Inverhuron Provincial Park and the Lake Huron shoreline will provide dune grassland as well as edge and shoreline habitats. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B20 (NEW) 8:00 am BEACHES & BIRDS – Karen Alexander – During this shoreline tour of varied coastal areas north of Sauble Beach, Karen will describe how different types of beach stewardship can influence the health and quality of coastal ecosystems. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B21 6:30 am BIRDING THE TOWER TRAIL – Justin Peter – Diverse habitat along the Tower Trail makes it a mecca for an eclectic mix of warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and more. Justin will help us find these birds by sight (and sound!) and will share tips about bird behaviour. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B22 7:00 am ROAD BIRDING FOR GRASSLAND SPECIES – Brett Woodman – Tour the local countryside looking for elusive nesting grassland birds of Saugeen Shores. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B23 7:30 am BIRDING HIDDEN SPOTS OF MacGREGOR – Ellen Smout – Travel some of the lesser known areas in the park looking for hidden gems. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B24 8:00 am BEGINNING BIRDING FOR ADULTS – Doug Pedwell – This event is for those who wish to learn about the world’s number one hobby – birding. Topics include binoculars, field guides and apps, identification marks of birds and eBird. (easy, indoor/outdoor, car-pool) (limit 20)


B26 1:30 pm WILDFLOWER DIVERSITY WITHIN THE FRINGE – Brett Woodman – Here’s your chance to learn about and appreciate some of MacGregor Point’s varied wildflowers. Brett will show you some of his favourite plants. (easy, car-pool) (limit 12)

B27 1:30 pm FIELD SKETCHING &/or JOURNALING – Sarah Rupert – Field sketching helps you hone your identification skills. Everyone can do it. Sarah will show you how sketching can help you document your observations in the field. (easy, bring pencil & notebook) (limit 20)

B28 1:30 pm BLUEBIRD LANDLORDS – Dennis & Gwen Lewington – Bluebirds are cavity nesters and natural cavities are not very abundant. Dennis and Gwen will take you on their “Bluebird Trail” which they have been maintaining and monitoring for over 32 years. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B29 1:30 pm ARE YOU A PLOVER LOVER? – Stew Nutt – If you’re not already, you will be after spending time on the beach with these charismatic, endangered birds. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


B30 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm BRUCE COUNTY CHICKEN DINNER(MacGregor Point Provincial Park, additional charge of $17. Dinner combined with B31 as a single event $23. Pre-registration required) (limit 60)

9:00 pm to 10:00 pm ATTRACTING MOTHS – Andalyne Tofflemire

B32 9:15 pm STARRY STARRY NIGHT – John Hlynialuk – John will introduce you to the wonders of the night sky, and tell you about dark sky events for 2016. Weather permitting, members of the Bluewater Astronomical Society will have their telescopes available for viewing the evening sky. (easy, indoor, outdoor weather permitting) (limit 30)


All Day

B33 6:00 am DEBATING THE ISSUES, & MORE, WITH MARK – Mark -Wiercinski This walking / driving tour travels between Bayview Escarpment and Bognor Marsh. Along the way, Mark will highlight issues affecting bird populations in Ontario. You will find out what this has to do with sex, which of course it does! (difficult, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B34 6:30 am WINGED PURSUITS – Nathan Miller – Join Nathan as he pursues the winged jewels of MacGregor Point Provincial Park and Bruce County. We will focus on finding birds during the morning and winged insects as the day warms up. All creatures found will be discussed. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

7:00 am to 8:30 am MOTH ID – Andalyne Tofflemire

B35 7:00 am BIRDING THE PERIMETER OF THE PARK – Justin Peter – Driving the varied habitats along the edge of the park provides a mix of warblers, flycatchers and other possibilities. An opportunity to view wetlands and the shoreline will also enhance this outing. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

B36 7:30 am BIRDING & BOTANIZING – Dr. Bill Crins – The Lake Huron shoreline, fen and edge habitats are featured during this walk from the Visitor Centre. We always benefit from Bill’s broad experience as an interpretive naturalist. (easy) (limit 20)

B37 8:00 am NEST QUEST – Mark Peck – On a leisurely walk in the park, you will take your love of birding to the next level. Find out how citizen scientists provide valuable conservation information while expanding their observation skills and learning about the nests of breeding birds. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


B38 1:30 pm SPEED, STRENGTH & STEALTH: ONTARIO’S RAPTORS – Wild Ontario – Ontario is home to some of the most amazing hunting birds on the planet! Come get nose-to-beak with these stunning predators, and learn about the incredible skills and abilities that help them do what they do. (outdoors)

B39 1:30 pm WITCHES & WILDFLOWERS – Heather Starrs – Legends and superstitions are attached to many common, and not so common, plants found at MacGregor Point. Heather’s walk will introduce you to stories about plants. (easy) (limit 20)


B40 8:00 pm SUNSET WALK – Doug Pedwell – Join Doug for a leisurely stroll along the shore of Lake Huron to discover the sights, sounds and scents of an early June evening in MacGregor Point Provincial Park. (easy) (limit 20)


One parent/guardian must accompany children from the same family. This person is allowed to participate in the event free of charge. See the website for parent/guardian registration details.



FAM1 9 am PLUGGING KIDS INTO BIRDING – Richard Tofflemire – Birding with kids can start right in your own backyard or in a provincial park! It is a family friendly activity. Learn about the equipment needed, field guides and apps and the easiest ways to identify birds. Bring binoculars if you have them, we will have some for you to use if you don’t. (limit 40)


FAM2 1:30 pm AFTERNOON ADVENTURES(Children will be divided into two groups. Each child will attend both afternoon programs.) (limit 40)

BINO BOY & ELYTRA GIRL – Andalyne & Richard Tofflemire – Everyone already has the superpowers they need to explore nature! Come out for a dynamic exploration of the forest and learn how much fun discovering nature can be.


MONARCH MADNESS – Audrey Armstrong – Not only are monarchs beautiful, but their life cycle and migration is amazing! In this hands-on interactive workshop, children will learn about monarchs and create really cool crafts. To help foster habitat for this Species at Risk, you will make “seed bombs” to take home.


FAM3 7:15 pm ANIMAL DEFENCES – CAMPFIRE PROGRAM – Park Staff – Join    Park Naturalists for an evening of deception, camouflage and chemical warfare as they investigate the defensive nature of MacGregor’s wild inhabitants. (outdoors)

9:00 pm to 10 pm ATTRACTING MOTHS BESIDE VISITOR CENTRE – Andalyne Tofflemire



7:00 am to 8:30 am MOTH ID – Andalyne Tofflemire

FAM4 9:00 am MORNING EXPLORATIONS(Children will be divided into two groups. Each child will attend both morning programs.) (limit 40)

BUILDING FOR THE BIRDS – Kerry Jarvis – Get in the birding spirit. Build your own structure for a nest or wildlife feeder. No carpentry skills are required; just bring your enthusiasm! (kit – $10 extra per child. All tools provided.)


POND EXPLORATION – Andalyne & Richard Tofflemire – Join Richard and Andalyne for an informal, hands-on look at the fascinating critters that make the pond their home. Dip nets, basins and hand lenses will help us look at the often unseen animals that live in pond water.


FAM5 1:30 pm SPEED, STRENGTH & STEALTH: ONTARIO’S RAPTORS – Wild Ontario – Ontario is home to some of the most amazing hunting birds on the planet! Come get nose-to-beak with these stunning predators, and learn about the incredible skills and abilities that help them do what they do. (outdoors)


Register online NOW

Registration inquiries: or 519-389-6231

Follow us on Facebook:

twitter: @HuronBirdfest