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The 2020 Huron Fringe Birding Festival Status.

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This time of the year as the birds are returning from their warm southern wintering habitats, we are eagerly getting ready for all the spring events to welcome them back. This year is somewhat different and its different in the whole world these days. A coronavirus called COVID-19 has gotten loose in the world and is changing many peoples lives as they try and cope with the new rules and regulations meant to limit the spread of the virus. Due to the safety aspects associated with group gatherings and the timeframe of the spread of this virus the Huron Fringe Birding Festival committee has decided to cancel this year’s festival. Hopefully everyone can stay safe and we can avoid faster spread of this virus. You can see the full context of the cancellation notice here on the festival website:

Even though the festival has been cancelled for 2020 I will keep you updated as to what birds are being seen around this area. The birds will be arriving and for those who can safely get out for a walk or a drive it will be interesting to see just what is arriving and when they get here. We can share some of our sightings and experiences and try to make life for all of us as interesting as possible.

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival Facebook page has been putting out some great information and giving folks a few more tools to check out so you can do some birding on your own and still ID the birds. If you want to find out what birds you can expect to see in a certain area head to and check out the “birds in your area” selection.

In order to see what birds are being seen in a specific area anywhere in the world head off to eBird at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and check it out using the “explore” button initially. Its easy to join eBird and then you can explore what is being seen anywhere in the world without travelling outside of your house.

When you get out and see some birds you can also input that information to eBird to help provide data and also to help you keep track of what birds you’ve seen and when you saw them. Its relatively easy to sign up but does take a bit of time to get used to all the features the program provides. Here is a video provided by Justin Peter regarding how ebird works.

Now is a time to embrace technology and learn how to use all the tools that are now being provided to enhance our experiences and learn more about the birds we so much enjoy.

Presently here in Bruce County American Robins have arrived in large numbers and today there was one out gathering nesting material to get started on their first family. Often these birds have two and possibly three families in one season if the food supply is plentiful. Some of the first shorebirds have been seen recently as two Pectoral Sandpipers and one Greater Yellowlegs signal the start of the great flight north for several species of shorebirds that breed in Canadas north. Today I also noted more insects flying in the area so the colourful warblers will soon be flitting around in the trees trying to find some food to fuel their bodies as they settle in or move further north. The Eastern Bluebirds have been checking out several of the bird boxes in hopes of finding the perfect home to start a family. It is a busy time of the year as birds arrive so get out as much as safely possible to enjoy the spectacle and keep a spot open on your 2021 calendar for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival when it returns again to help satisfy your love of birding.

Written by huronfringefest

April 1, 2020 at 9:45 pm

Posted in BIRDING

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

It’s a New Year and Time to Make Some Spring Plans!

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The snow has been giving us a bit of a break so far this year but there will be some ahead. It will soon be time to sit somewhere warm, get your computer or iPad going …….or maybe just peruse the paper copy of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival program and see what events might best fit with your interests. January the 15th the program is available online at:

and soon after paper copies of the program will be available at various locations in your communities. Registration will go live online at 6am on Sunday March 1st so you have time to think about what events will interest you most and possibly be fun for others in your family to participate in as well. Many of our leaders will be returning to lead some of the favourite hikes but there are also new leaders and new events this year so make sure you check out events for both weekends and see which appeal to you most. As you read this blog get your calendar out and mark May 22-25th and May 28-31st as weekends to get out and enjoy a bit of nature with former and new birding friends at the 2020 Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

Even sitting here typing and thinking about spring and all the migrating birds and the warmer weather gives me a warm feeling and seems to make the winter seem just a bit shorter.

We’ll get back to you with more information as the program becomes available and point out some of the highlights of this year’s festival. Meanwhile head off to the previous webpage link and make a shortcut in your browser so you can quickly see what’s happening in the festival this year when January 15th rolls around.

Many of the birds we will see are relaxing in the sunny south just waiting to get their new breeding plumage and make the trip north to entertain us in May. They make the effort to fly thousands of miles to, as well as through our area and its up to us to get out and enjoy as much of the spring bird and nature extravaganza as we can. Teaching all we are able of this seasonal event to our children and grandchildren and helping them enjoy it as well can be almost as rewarding as experiencing it ourselves. The world is changing so let’s enjoy nature each year as much as we can. Hope to see many of you in May at the 2020 Huron Fringe Birding Festival as I’ll be enjoying many of the events myself.

Written by huronfringefest

January 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Posted in BIRDING

There’s Still Time for Some Great Spring Birding in the Bruce

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The first weekend of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival came to a close Monday with a total of 182 species of birds seen or heard on the various events. Now we get to see how many more we can add to the total as the second weekend begins tomorrow (May 30 ). It will be interesting to see if we can break 200 species for this festival.

If you still have the urge to see a few birds, identify a few trees or wildflowers, or learn a bit of the history of the area there are still events available. Many are fully booked but you can register for a few that will give you an opportunity to meet some fellow nature lovers and learn from the knowledgeable leaders. We have some of the best event leaders in Ontario as you can see from their biographies at:

Take a few minutes to read about them and then take a bit longer to register and come out and enjoy the event that they are leading. Act quickly as events are nearing capacity on a few of the days.

Its been great weather so far other than 1 torrential downpour that caught several of us in the woods on a morning hike but soon we were dried out and all was forgotten as the birds just kept showing up.

Red headed.jpg

These are a few of the birds we have seen during the first weekend and I’m sure many will be still moving through in the few days ahead, but we’ll also see some of the birds that are now starting to nest.

Chestnut sided.jpg

There were many bird squabbles as the colourful males were fighting over territory and not worrying much as to how close we were to the action. This Chestnut-sided warbler was one of those that had other males vying for the same territory.


Some species like this Bobolink travel over 6000 miles to grace us with their presence before they stake their claim, raise their family and then head back to Argentina during our cold winter. Its just hard to imagine what some of these small feathered friends go through to come and see us during the summer.

Cape May.jpg

This Cape May warbler will head to the north of us to raise their family so this will be the only chance we have to see them in their bright breeding colours. In the fall they will head back south in much more reserved attire.

Scarlet tanager.jpg

A bright spot in anyone’s Spring migration is the Scarlet Tanager as it returns to our area. This bird breeds in this area and it’s well worth the hike into the woods to hopefully see the brilliance of the male as it stakes out its territory.

There are still photography events, botany events, birding events and events where you can sit and wait for the birds to come to you, as you make new friends and chat about your festival highlights

Its one of the top 100 festivals in Ontario and I’m sure looking forward to an early morning start for another 4 days of Spring action in Bruce and Grey Counties.

Written by huronfringefest

May 29, 2019 at 7:19 pm

Posted in BIRDING

May is Here and the Birds are Arriving!!

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May has arrived and more migrating birds are appearing every day in Bruce and Grey Counties. There are still opportunities to register for both all day and half day hikes during the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Some of our excellent leaders have room on some of their hikes for nature lovers that want to learn more about Bruce and Grey Counties in general or more about the birds and botany of the area specifically. I’ve lived here most of my life and I’m still finding new locations that offer many interesting birds, plants and scenery. Let one of our knowledgeable leaders introduce you to our area and the sights and sounds that spring migrations and a walk closer to nature can provide.
Here’s a link to the Festival web pages where you can check out the schedule of events, read over the leaders’ biographies, see what birds we have seen during past festival and most importantly register for one event or more to join in the fun.

Any photos in these blogs are birds that have been seen or events that have been run at previous festivals.

This is one of Ontario’s top 100 festivals and if you sign up for an event or two, I’m sure you’ll see why. MacGregor Provincial Park is itself a beautiful place to visit and events that take you out to various habitats show the diversity of birds, plants and other wildlife in the area around the park.

Take a few minutes to check us out or tell a friend about the festival if you’ve been here in previous years. It’s a great place to meet new people, see new birds, get some fresh air on some interesting hikes and thoroughly enjoy what nature provided us in this part of Ontario.

We have diverse habitats, many migrants as well as nesting birds and would love to share our area with you the last weekend in May and the first weekend in June. Join in the fun and pick one or two events that seem to interest you the most. Hope to see you out on the trail or sitting with your binoculars waiting for the birds to come to you.


Huron Fringe Birding Festival

Written by huronfringefest

May 2, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Get Ready for Some Nature Appreciation Days!!

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Soon the temperatures will start to rise and the snow will begin to disappear. Even though we are still in the grip of winter there is hope for the future. Registration opened for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival on March 1st and already people are signing up to enjoy many of the 90+ events the festival has to offer. Some of the events are already full but with so many to choose from there is still time to check it out at:
and pick something that interests you and gives you a spring song to listen to. The birds will be migrating through our area, leaves on the trees will be coming out and the air will be warming up. Take a little time in late May or early June to join us at the festival and go on a few events with our knowledgeable leaders to learn about, enjoy and appreciate all that nature has to give us.
It’s a perfect opportunity to ask questions, make new friends, explore new territory and enjoy spring in Bruce and Grey Counties.

Looking forward to seeing you there!!

Written by huronfringefest

March 8, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Spring is Just Around the Corner!

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Today as the snow is falling lightly on the ground and the birds are coming to the feeder its time to think of those warmer days ahead when the migrating birds start to make their return trip northwards. Think of the sunshine, the large numbers of colourful birds and getting out to enjoy that time of year with other friendly birders. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival in late May and early June is an ideal event to satisfy all those thoughts and as luck would have it……. you can now look over the 2019 festival schedule of events right here. .
The time to register for the festival is March 1st to May 23rd 2019 so it gives you some time to peruse the events and see which ones interest you. There are several to consider as there are almost 100 events to check out and excellent leaders for each of these interesting events. The range covers birding, botany, photography, history of the area as well as other topics. The keynote speakers at this year’s dinner are Mike and Ken Burrell speaking about some of the best places in Ontario to find interesting birds.

Head to this link and click on the Huron Fringe Birding Festival tab to see what birds have been seen during other festivals, leader biographies, and other interesting links. Then sit and dream about getting out again in that warm spring weather with your binoculars, scope and camera handy to enjoy some colourful birds or landscapes.

Blackburnian Warbler

Yellow Ladyslipper

Pied billed Grebe

Keep warm, dream a little of spring and check out our interesting schedule of events for the 2019 Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Put a little time aside to join in and see the fun and knowledge of nature this festival can bring to you in May and June. Looking forward to seeing lots of you there !!

Written by huronfringefest

January 24, 2019 at 2:15 pm

Posted in BIRDING