One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Archive for February 2020

Countdown to Planning for Spring Birds!

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Canada warbler.jpgCanada Warbler

As the sunshine increases and the days get longer its time to think about what you would like to do when the spring migration starts. Those of you that have been participants in the Huron Fringe Birding Festival that is based at MacGregor Point Provincial Park will be eager to register for some of this years events and hopefully pass the word along to friends regarding the variations of events at the festival. You don’t have to wait long now as the start of registration for the festival is:

March 1st 2020 at 6:00 am and here is a link

The bird migration will be in full swing when the festival starts as colourful warblers and a variety of other birds arrive in Bruce and Grey County. Even towards the end of the festival birds are beginning to set up their nests on their territories and can be heard and viewed as they pick their preferred nesting location and carry nesting materials to start their annual summer jobs.

Bruce and Grey Counties make up the Bruce Peninsula and this peninsula is a funnel for birds as they come from the south and work their way northward along the shoreline to their prospective breeding locations. Some birds stay in this area and some head farther north, but all traverse the peninsula as they avoid, if possible, passing over open water on their way to their breeding grounds. Bruce has one of the highest number of breeding species in Ontario as shown in the latest Breeding Bird Atlas of Ontario.

Cerulean 1.jpgCerulean Warbler

As well as the birds we normally see here each year migrants that take a different path due to weather or their guidance systems we see unique birds as well. During winter months we have seen both Common and King Eider ducks as well as Harlequin and Barrows Goldeneye drop by for a rest on their way to or from their wintering areas. In the Spring a few sightings of Sage Thrashers, Glossy Ibis, Loggerhead Shrike, Kirtland’s warblers, Cerulean warblers, Yellow-throated warblers and Hooded Warblers can produce a lot of excitement when seen or heard  during the Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

Kirlands warbler 1.jpgKirtland’s Warbler

Piping Plovers have been making a bit of a comeback recently in Ontario and during the festival you get a chance to see these birds nesting along the Sauble Beach shoreline. The nesting occurs during the festival schedule and you may get to see the plovers as they trade incubation duties to give each other a break and time to forage along the shore. This sandy area was also the location that Sage Thrashers have been known to visit on occasion during the festival weekends.

Sage thrasher 1.jpgSage Thrasher

During the festival breeding colonies of Brewers Blackbirds can be seen along the side of some of the area roads. This western bird is rare in Southern Ontario but shows up each year in Bruce to begin another generation of these interesting blackbirds.

Brewers male.jpgBrewers Blackbird male

A juvenile Reddish egret dropped by Oliphant to practice its unique method of fishing and drew interest of birders from across the province. Due to the coloring of the juvenile bird and the distance from its traditional range there was much discussion as the species identity was verified. This is far north of the range of this bird but it settled in nicely and stayed for some time as it foraged close to its Great egret cousins.

Reddish egret s.jpgReddish Egret

Even when the festival is over birding this area has brought several surprise birds during the remainder of the year. Eurasian Tree sparrows, Mountain Bluebirds, Hudsonian Godwit, Pacific Loons, Eared Grebes as well as a variety of Jaegers and Gulls.

Eurasian Tree sparrow 1L.jpgEurasian Tree Sparrow

Over 330 species of birds have been seen in the area that the Huron Fringe Birding Festival covers and during the festival the species count approaches 200 most years. One location for an event in the festival is the Kincardine Lagoon area fondly referred to as “Pelee North” by the locals as there have been 28 species of warblers seen there over the years.

This is a wonderful area to bird and the Huron Fringe Birding Festival gives you an opportunity to see specific locations under the guidance of some of the best leaders in the province. Get the word out to your birder friends before March 1st and then log in to schedule some time exploring a special part of Ontario during the most active birding period of the year. It’s difficult to cover a description of the large variety of events this year so check out the schedule of events here:


Looking forward to seeing all of you out for another Spring Birding Bonanza at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival 2020!! Then come back again other times of the year so you can enjoy other birds that visit this interesting part of Ontario.

Glossy ibis 2.jpgGlossy Ibis seen during the 2018 festival

Written by huronfringefest

February 23, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Posted in BIRDING