huronfringefest

One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

HFBF HAPPENINGS – PART TWO – BIRDS AND OTHER THINGS.

leave a comment »

Bill O’Keefe explains why the apples at the O’Keefe Grange are so special. After years of collecting and growing over 200 varieties of apples and pears trees, he has a lot to talk about. And the blossoms behind him testify to another great year.

grange

This was Todd Pepper’s first experience as a HFBF Leader and he was happy with what he found on his Friday hike…an Acadian Flycatcher at Isaac Lake. (Correction…A mistake was made on the photo of the bird and it was determined by some that it was a Least Flycatcher. The Acadian was heard according to the hike leader but that is not the picture of the Acadian Flycatcher that was heard. )

Todd Flycatcher

This little tidbit (as it were) from Fred Jazvac:

ploverWe opened our day at with Alfred Raab at Sauble where the Piping Plovers are. A Merlin flew within feet of us, made an abrupt turn and picked up a brown small bird right off the ground and began eating it on a near by post in full view.  He ate the bird in minutes. The agility and speed of this bird was amazing as it plucked the bird from the ground.  The bird didn’t have a chance.  The Merlin was not intimidated by our presence. This is worrying news as the brown bird was taken about 100 feet from the Piping Plover cage.  Thanks for the great day, Alfred.  We saw 81 species of birds on an all day hike with Alfred starting at 6:00 AM.  We started at Sauble and finished at Sky Lake.

 The Bruce Re-Beckons with Willy Waterton and Audrey Armstrong.

Willy

Willy took us on a tour rediscovering the Peninsula based on the 1952 book The Bruce Beckons by Sherwood Fox. While we covered many sites of historical interest, this gem stood out.  

church

Heading up the 40 Hills Road we stopped at St. Margaret’s Chapel.

It’s a beautiful little church, “built of the stones of its own hills and valleys,” in true turn of the century Anglican tradition.The dolomite limestone blocks are cut large and thick giving the small building a stance that says it will stand for ages.

church 3

 The interior is finished in dark timber with oak pews.

church 2church 4 The stain class windows, some with a local wildflower motif, glimmer in the dim interior as the light seeps through. A guest book revealed pages and pages of visitors from all parts of the globe.


THERE WILL ME MORE HFBF HAPPENINGS AS THEY HAPPEN AS THE SECOND HURON FRINGE LONG WEEKEND IS ABOUT TO BEGIN. KEEP US LOGGED IN.


THE BRUCE RE-BECKONS

leave a comment »

 

Beakons1

Sherwood Fox had a life-long love affair with the Bruce Peninsula. He knew and loved the land, the waters surrounding it, its natural history, richly varied wildlife and folklore. So much so that in 1952 his book The Bruce Beckons was published and immediately acclaimed as a delightful guide to a uniquely beautiful and fascinating part of Ontario. W. Sherwood Fox, was a distinguished scholar and president of the University of Western Ontario for twenty years, as well as honorary president of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists for several years. 

Now you can join award-winning photographer Willy Waterton in his quest to rediscover Sherwood Fox’s beloved Bruce Peninsula in The Bruce Re-Beckons (A37) on Monday May 25. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is offering this exciting daylong journey exploring the Bruce through the stories of Fox’s book with Willy Waterton as your personal guide. 

Willy Waterton ww copy

Willy’s family settled in the Balaclava area of Grey County in the 1840’s, where a creek still bears the family name. For the last 36 years as a full time photo journalist, he has recorded the people, places and events while exploring the nooks and crannies of Grey Bruce by foot, car, canoe, airplane, helicopter, skis and bicycle.

As Chief Photographer for The Sun Times. Waterton’s newspaper photographs have won over 100 provincial and national awards. He was named Ontario News Photographers’ Association “Photographer of the Year” in `1990. Willy Waterton has shot for numerous publications: the Toronto Star, Maclean’s, the Globe and Mail, Cottage Life, Bruce Trail News, Ontario Out of Doors, Canadian Geographic, Harrowsmith, Mountain Life, New York Times, Seasons, Ski Canada and the United Church Observer. He has photographed many assignments for The Canadian Press in this area. He is a contract photographer for Parks Canada, National Defence and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

This is one eventful journey into the heart of the Bruce Peninsula you will want to be part of. So register now because there are only a few spots open.

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

HFBF – Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals Two Years in a Row

Huron Fringe Birding Festival Registration: www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Registration inquiries: birdfest@rogers.com or 519-389-6231

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

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Email: birdfest@rogers.com.

 

THIS TOO SHALL MELT

leave a comment »

 

Lake1

Its no new revelation…Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are frozen over. The Huron Fringe is encased in frigid whiteness while it awaits both the melt and the migration. Rest assured though, the birds, butterflies, wildflowers, the dragonflies, damsels and frogs, the snow covered, ice-coated landscape and shorelines, the pastures, streams and woodlands that we all love…they will be there…waiting for you when HFBF welcomes you all beginning May 22.

Meantime, as of this writing, over 60 events are still wide open.

Best to guarantee yourself a spot…Now. Why wait for Spring.

Check out our schedule of events and register at: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org.


And here are a couple of Events you might want to consider:


Friday, May 22 – A3 – 6:30 AM – BIRDING INVERHURON & SURROUNDING AREA Marshall Byle

During this birding adventure Marshall will stop at various habitats along the shoreline to Inverhuron Provincial Park including the Tiverton lagoons. In the park you’ll explore the ancient dunes, riverbanks and varied forest types.

Marshall

Marshall Byle received his first field guide to birds when he was just four years old. That was the beginning of a life long involvement. Today, with over half a century of experience, he still loves to bird and to share the wonder of birds with others. As a member of the Huron Fringe Field Naturalists, Marshall brings years of expertise to his passion. You will enjoy Marshall’s mild manner as he leads you through some of his favourite spots in Bruce County.


 

May 30 – B23 – 9:00 AM – SCOPING IT OUT – Andalynne & Richard Tofflemire

It’s more than just identifying what you see. Andalynne and Richard will focus on how birds and bugs interact with each other. But don’t expect to cover a lot of distance because there’s so much to see right at your feet and above your head!

 May 31 – POND EXPLORATION – Andalynne & Richard Tofflemire

Join Richard and Andalynne 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.

Tofflemire

Richard and Andalyne met while working together at a nature hobby store and have been exploring the outdoors together ever since. This husband & wife team leads nature walks at multiple events & venues throughout the year, as well as connecting people with nature on a daily basis through their respective jobs. Richard is still Manager at Wild Birds Unlimited Guelph and Andalyne works as full-time Naturalist at Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory. With their combined knowledge of birds and bugs, and their similar level of enthusiasm, Richard and Andalyne enjoy guiding all ages to a more intimate connection with the natural world around them.


 

BREAKING NEWS:

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW THE HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL HAS BEEN NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 100 FESTIVALS IN ONTARIO.

 

brdfest2

The complete schedule is available at: http://www.friendsofmaccgredor.org.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival Registration: www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Registration inquiries: birdfest@rogers.com or 519-389-6231

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

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Email: birdfest@rogers.com.

 

THE INTROSPECTIVE MARK WIERCINSKI

leave a comment »

Mark BinocsI try to contain myself around these festivals…but inevitably I get too darned excited and just get carried away…I am the bird geek extraordinaire y’know. There. You have been warned. If you want that kind of goofy on your bird hike…then pick me. Be quick though. My one open event – B31 – 6:30 AM – May 31 – DEBATING THE ISSUES – BIRDING BAYVIEW TO BOGNORonly has two spaces left. So, Two Key Words…Register Now: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org.

Invasive species, forest fragmentation, hedgerow removal and wetland modifications are all happening at unparalleled speeds in Southern Ontario. You got questions? Concerns? What issues are affecting the bird populations in Ontario.? Need to know more? Curious about what consequences can be? Well I am too and have plenty of questions all the time. Keeps me up at night actually.

So this hike is going to be a work in progress and a dynamic sort of theme no matter what. The premise is to take on the issues and investigate the situations. Are there answers to all of the problems and questions? I doubt it.

Mr. W. being serious.

Mr. W. being serious.

Bayview Escarpment is a Provincial Park… Bognor Marsh is a public owned Conservation Area with a diverse working group that is involved with the management and access to it. The route between the two places is through farm country and privately owned areas. There are roads and wetlands and towers and fields and forests and waterways and lots of things to consider.

Do you wonder how the future of our environment is going to play out? Have you noticed changes you don’t like or understand? Are there successes in ecology and wildlife management? Or should we re-title that “human management?” Are parks good for you (?) or are they a pain in the butt? Do you like alternate energy? Should we be driving cars on bird friendly trips? Or maybe there is no such thing as eco-tourism!

Heck, if that doesn’t get you fired up a bit..then skip this one. (Did I mention that there are only two spaces left?) I really just want to make you think a bit beyond the identification and lists of birds and birding. Birds will be the background theme here for certain, but the bigger picture and the science and ecology of things will be the more interesting topic. I am not out to piss anyone off and I really don’t want to start any political debates…I just want you to know why birds are a good part of science. My mom taught me years ago not to get too involved in politics and religious differences. I took that to heart and I always do my best to keep an open mind. And we all need to listen to what our mothers taught us. Birds do give us insights into what happens in the natural world and really that is my hope here. Let’s talk about the birds ‘n all that.

Mr. W. practicing his snake charming technique.

Mr. W. practicing his snake charming technique.

 

The complete schedule of events is available at: http://www.friendsofmaccgredor.org.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival Registration: www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Registration inquiries: birdfest@rogers.com or 519-389-6231

brdfest2

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

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Email: birdfest@rogers.com.

 

A CREATIVE BIRDING ALTERNATIVE

with one comment

Sarah1

Sarah Rupert talks about her event – Nature Sketching and Journaling – A33 – May 24 – 1:30 PM 

Sarah RupertOne the best things we can do to learn more about nature is to really take the time to observe what we are seeing in the field. This is where a nature journal becomes and invaluable tool. By taking the time to make careful observations and record these observations, we begin to really understand what we are seeing, rather than just checking a name off a list. Sketching what we see can take our observations to an entirely new level! Everyone can learn to sketch in the field – the quality of the final product is not important…it’s the process of observing and recording that really matters. Nature journaling documents your adventures and helps you hone your observation skills. Everyone can keep a nature journal, even if you think you can’t draw. Join me and I will show you some easy tricks to start sketching and really observing nature in the field.

We’ll take some time to talk about different types of journals, from field notebooks to sketch books, from digital notes to art journals. Then we’ll head out into the field and have some fun with the some easy sketching exercises – you’ll be surprised what you’ll be able to capture by the end of the session.

Sarah3

Sarah has been birding her entire life. She hasn’t missed a spring at Point Pelee since her first visit at two and half months old. Sarah has spent many years exploring the wonder of birds and nature, which she loves to share with others through interpretive programs, writing and mixed media art. She eagerly awaits the arrival of spring and birders to Pelee each spring.

Sarah4

Sarah2

Registration is open at: www.friendsofmacgregor.org for Nature Sketching and Journaling – A33 – May 24 – 1:30 PM 

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

twitter: @HuronBirdfest

Email: birdfest@rogers.com.

 

 

A GENTLE REMINDER FROM HFBF.

leave a comment »

2015/01/img_1346.png

THE FULL BIRD COUNT IS IN!

with 2 comments

rack bA record-breaking total of 187 species of birds were sighted during the Festival this year. You can view the full list on the Bruce Birding Club Website: 

https://sites.google.com/site/brucebirdingclub/huron-fringe-birding-festival

Or visit http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org – open Huron Fringe Birding Festival – select – Birding Species List. Either link gives you the complete list of species sighted over 17 years at the Festival.

Thanks to Mary and Tony Rapati, James Turland, Bruce Edmunds, the Bruce Birding Club and all Festival birders over the years for helping our species list grow.

And thank you to those who submitted surveys during the Festival. We appreciate your comments and

suggestions. Your answers are giving us the kind of data we need to help us further improve the Festival.  

TAKE OUR ON-LINE SURVEY:

For those of you who have not yet completed our survey, we would ask that you click on this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8HLDDHB to access an online version. Only ten questions and your submission is, of course, anonymous.

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

 

MARK THESE DATES IN YOUR 2015 CALENDAR

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS  AVAILABLE  FOR VIEWING – JANUARY 15, 2015.

ON-LINE REGISTRATION  BEGINS  FEBRUARY 1, 2015

THE 2015 HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL – MAY 22 – MAY 25 & MAY 28 – MAY 31

MacGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK – PORT ELGIN

 

TO ALL HFBF EVENT PARTICIPANTS

leave a comment »

IF YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL OR PICTURES TO SHOW ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE ON ANY OF THE EVENTS YOU’VE ATTENDED, WE WOULD BE HAPPY TO
ILLUSTRATE AND/OR TELL YOUR STORY RIGHT HERE ON OUR BLOG.

20140528-081129-29489788.jpg
THIS FOUR LEGGED PLOVER WAS SENT BY STEWART NUTT.
SEND US A WORD FILE (ABOUT 500 to 800 WORDS) AND A COUPLE OF YOUR PICS (JPEG PLEASE) AND WE WILL POST YOUR STORY WITH YOU AS AUTHOR.
SEND YOUR STUFF TO: pepper.nanni@sympatico.ca.
GET YOURSELF PUBLISHED NOW!
HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU SOON.

Written by huronfringefest

May 28, 2014 at 8:18 am

Wiercinski’s Ramblings

leave a comment »

Mark Wiercinski is an original (in more ways than one). He has been leading HFBF events every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike…but with more (or less) gray hair. If you’re one of the diligent (and lucky) ones to have signed up for any of Mark’s instantly sold out events…here is a primer on what to expect as you try to keep up with his rambling humour in the field.

me_driving

MARK AND THE ZEN OF BIRDING: We’re off at 600 AM. ‘Really?’ you say. ‘Seriously!’ I say. That is NOT early. Any earlier and none of you would show up and there I would be talking to myself and the birds. Hmm, I guess I do that already. I will try to socialize more. I know I whine about this every year. Earlier is better if we really want to catch the cool stuff and get overwhelmed with the bird song. I like early hikes. They are the best for finding birds. Beware! ‘Cause this is when I’m really on my game. Coffee not required. But it helps. In spite of the craziness, I’ll regurgitate many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behaviour and habitat. Fledgling or full-fledged birder I always try to inspire and entertain…I’m full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between.

I’m doing a hike on Sex & The Single Warbler. “It’s all about the sex, baby.” Why? Because, I am a Biologist! That is the dominant theme of it all for me. I love the biology and ecology of the birds and the habitat and the bigger picture around birds. And yes, biology and ecology are two different things. I will explain on the hike; or you may just “get it” on your own. Being a biologist means I have about twenty different words (or maybe more) for poop. I do pay attention to the bigger picture around the birds and I try my best to fill in loads of information on the environment and how it all fits. I like that part. In fact it is often more fun to spend time and watch and learn something new on the most common of species out there. Chickadees have brains that grow or shrink depending on the time of year or the emphasis of what they are doing. Cool! And yes it is all about the sex baby…really it is! Biology is the study of life and wildlife biology is a study of that whole process. Don’t forget to ask me about chickadee brains … food in the winter…sex in the spring. Take a guess which season requires the bigger brain? Did I talk about this already?”

Bird song dominates. I always hope it is warm enough to get them singing and keep them going until the hike is winding down. The more they sing the less I have to talk. The forest, pond and marsh habitats will be mixed enough to make it all worthwhile. If the weather sucks, I try to tell lots of stories…anyway…since way too many of you have been on my hikes before I have to keep looking for new material and new one liners! Besides, trying to figure out my humour and keep up to the hyper little birds…that’s the real challenge.

I will do my best to find the cool stuff though.

WRESTLING WITH WARBLERS” Cool a new title – I like it. So we honestly don’t fight with these birds…but it is a fight to figure them all out at times so the word ‘fight’ fits well. Warblers are hyper little critters that seem to conveniently hide behind a twig or leaf just as you spot them. They really are annoying little critters that just don’t sit still. Song is important to this one…warblers are best to learn songs. We always find at least a dozen or so species. Seeing those birds is the goal…but remember I am a song guy and so I hear more than I see. So we cover lots of song identification. If the singing is not happening then we have to really dig in and find them in the trees and if that is not happening them I just make up stuff and fly by the seat of my pants! There are always plants and they conveniently don’t fly away.

I do try to focus on warblers though…we even should get the protected species. Did I say I was a biologist? Yeah I am…so Species At Risk is a big thing for me. And we can see a few if we get lucky! We almost always get the Blue-Winged Warbler or the Golden-Winged Warbler…or both…or the cross over variation between the two. Yeah there are genetics lessons in there too.”

We should track down at least a dozen or so warblers. We will have plenty of Redstarts too, the poster bird for the festival.

Remember, I am a biologist so there is lots to learn! I know learning! Wwwhhhaaaat! This is supposed to be fun! Don’t fret…it will be fun. I can always find a way to bring it back to humour…or sex…or something. And remember I am a Triple A Personality and often get way ahead of myself in topics and side trips…so we won’t be talking just about warblers. It will just be the theme that ties it all together.

Bognor MarshBirding ‘n Botany at Bognor Marsh. No description officially yet so I can say whatever I want! Woohoo! Field, wetland, forest even a bit of escarpment…Bognor will be fun…a learning experience for me as much as whoever comes along for the trip. It is a big swamp – one of the biggest wetland complexes in Grey County – with a good variety of habitat and decent trails as far as I remember. I will try to get there ahead of time and get familiar with it…but I am such a hair brain I will likely forget and just fake it on the day…ha!

But, seriously folks – the best thing is the wetlands. The fun part here will be extra wildlife along the way…snakes and turtles and other stuff. I will always be happy to talk about whatever else presents itself along the hike…hawks, ducks, herons, hawks, plants, turtles, hawks…and well did I say hawks yet? I like to fit it all in and like to put them all into perspective in the ecosystem. I did promise the organizers I would keep it fit for public consumption though and will do my best to stay focussed. Maybe.


 

For an up-close look at the what you can expect to experience at this year’s Huron Fringe Birding Festival click on: http://youtu.be/0_vvcLJdE74

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

CHECK OUT THE EVENTS THAT ARE STILL OPEN: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org

http://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL  – MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 to JUNE 1 -2014

MacGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK – PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

Email: birdfest@rogers.com

 

WEEKEND 2 – HFBF – ITS GOING TO BE A BIG ONE!

with one comment

Word is that the second weekend of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival promises to be one for the birds – i.e. – there will be lots and lots of them.

That’s what the local birders are all excited about. Why? Well, remember that frigid ‘Arctic Vortrex’ that made the winter of 2014 a thing of legend? It delayed everything spring such that the migration should be ramping up for the first HFBF weekend and the second should be busier than usual bird-wise.

All the more reason to visit: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org and check out our second weekend event availabilities. There are lots of hikes available designed to give you a most satisfying birding experience. It will be a peak time for birds that you won’t want to miss.

Two optimal viewing spots to see what is incoming are the Tower Trail and the Ducks Unlimited pond. The viewing tower and the bird blind are perfect for sightings. The habitat, a mix of wetlands and hardwood forests is just what the birds are looking for.

And, it so happens, that Justin Peter is leading a hike called BIRDING THE TOWER TRAIL’ (B32) on SUNDAY JUNE 1 at 6:30 AM and there are 16 OPENINGS AVAILABLE .

Come see what he is looking at. Justin counting raptors at the Strait of Gibraltar.

Come see what he is looking at. B32 – Birding the Tower Trail. June 1.

You’ll want to take advantage of this because Justin truly lives “for the birds”. In fact, he cannot remember a time when he was not interested in birds and nature.

He spent much of his childhood consulting his considerable nature book collection. At age 14, a family friend invited Justin to attend the birding course he was teaching for adults as part of the local school board’s continuing education program. He soon assumed the role of unofficial assistant in the classroom as well as co-leader and, later, leader of the field excursions.

After university he eventually landed work as a seasonal, and then full-time interpretive naturalist at Gatineau Park. Three years later, he began full-time work as Senior Park Naturalist at Algonquin Park, where spent 7 years, organizing the park’s educational programming based at the Visitor Centre, recruiting and mentoring promising young interpretive naturalists, and assisting with various park management activities.

Justin joined Quest Nature Tours in 2013 as Director of Programs, where he continues to apply and expand his interests in wildlife (including birds, of course!). Justin has participated in various bird-related projects. He married his interests in birds and in languages by participating in a migration-monitoring program at the Strait of Gibraltar in Spain.

He did a stint as a bird-banding assistant at the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac in Quebec.

His very favourite thing will always be leading bird walks. He is particularly interested in bird behavior and vocalizations, and enjoys raising others’ awareness of these aspects in the field.

That’s why Justin Peter is the perfect guide to a unique birding experience. REGISTER NOW FOR ‘BIRDING THE TOWER TRAIL’ (B32) on SUNDAY JUNE 1 AT: http://www.friendsofmacgregor.org

Follow Justin Peter on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/justin.peter.75

And on Ontario Birds: https://www.facebook.com/groups/377736792291721/

For an up-close look at your Huron Fringe Birding Festival experience

click on: http://youtu.be/0_vvcLJdE74

https://www.facebook.com/HuronFringeBirdingFestival

Recognized as One of Ontario's Top 100 Festivals

Recognized as One of Ontario’s Top 100 Festivals

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL – MAY 23 to MAY 26 & MAY 29 to JUNE 1

MacGREGOR POINT PROVINCIAL PARK, PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO

Email: birdfest@rogers.com