One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

The Festival is Keeping the Birders Entertained!

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The festival has started and the birds are being discovered!! My wife and I are registered for action on every day of the festival and so far the birds and weather are certainly cooperating.

The first day with Michael Carlson guiding us along we saw 105 species of birds and although the morning started out damp and overcast the birds did show up !

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This Red-headed woodpecker was one that although distant did give us a good view as it was deciding waht to do. Even if there was a bit of a lull in the action the rain from the previous day made for a few good photo opportunities as this columbine shows.


In one of the hardwood areas we managed to watch as an American redstart was busily gathering nesting material. Some birds are migrating through the area but others are setting up living quarters and are intending to stay and raise their young right here. Attending a guided hike and seeing the start of another generation of birds in the area is a wonderful way to spend a few days.

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The second day we went out Mike Burrell looked after helping us see many other birds and several species we hadn’t seen previously. Every trip through the Bruce peninsula seems to uncover more birds and more natural beauty as we learn of more places to revisit at various times of the year. The Grasshopper sparrows were willing to sit up and sing for us rather than skulk away in the long grass.

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The Eastern bluebirds were getting ready to set up a home but they couldn’t quite decide which bird box appealed to them most. As they made up their mind they gave us, who love to capture the moment a chance to do just that and show them posing in all their glory.

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On we went and new adventures awaited us. As the group trudged down the path from the Wiarton sewage lagoons after seeing a few birds on the water Mike noticed a kingbird that was quite a different color from the Eastern ones it was flying with.

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A rare visitor from the west, this Western kingbird got the crowd going as it flitted from tree to tree and had people doing their utmost for a photo to document the occasion. It was indeed a special opportunity to see a bird that seldom visits the area. Later on in the day as we visited Malcolm’s Bluff area east of Wiarton a Hooded warbler did come out to greet us and provide the group with some neck bending activity as we tried to follow its path through the forest canopy.

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Sunday we started the “Bird Til you Drop” day with Michael Carlson and after a few stops to pick up some of the local birds we were treated to a Michael Carlson special. His keen ears picked up the call from a Kirtlands warbler just as we were ready to head to Sauble Beach and VERY quickly the schedule changed. Due to the bird calling regularly we were able to track it down and get some nice views of this visitor to the area that breeds almost exclusively in the Jack Pine tree area of upper Michigan.

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It was going to be hard to top that bird for the day but others did give us a great view and gave us photographers a chance to document some of the birds that we saw.

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One of the Piping plovers from Sauble beach posed for us before taking up his nest duties as he changed over with the female. They now have 4 active nests in Sauble Beach.

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It’s nice to see these birds coming back a bit despite the challenge faced with predation of the Merlins, gulls and crows. As the day wound down we visited Isaac Lake and got views of the Sedge wren and a nice nest that the Yellow warblers were still building.

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It appears that this Yellow warbler has been very busy and possibly adding more to the nest as it makes another layer to cover up possible eggs laid in its nest by Brown-headed cowbirds. The cowbirds love to have another bird raise its young but the Yellow warbler has figured out one way to possibly foil the plans of the cowbird.

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These warblers are very busy as they contionually bring more nesting material to make their home the most comfortable in the area.

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Monday brought more sunshine and more birds. The weather has certainly cooperated and it appears that it will again be perfect for the second weekend of the festival. With James Turland leading us on a hike in MacGregor Park we saw several Black-billed cuckoos, Indigo buntings and also a bird advertising “Quick three beer” 🙂 . The Olive –sided flycatcher can certainly be heard as it calls for its beer !

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Raptors were also out and two Broad-winged hawks gave great views as they cruised the air currents overhead. Some of these hawks breed near here but many are on their way north as they cruise the skies over Bruce County.

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As you can see the birds are out and with the great weather next week there will still be lots to see and lots to entertain the birders and photographers. There are still some spots left so come on out and see what the Huron Fringe Birding Festival has to offer. There are some great leaders with a few spots left to give you some GREAT birding opportunities.



Written by huronfringefest

May 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

Posted in BIRDING

It’s Time to Venture out and Enjoy Nature and our Spring Birds !!

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May is always an exciting month and often offers us a variety of weather as well as a variety of chance meetings with nature as the woods and grasslands wake up from their winter rest! The birds are migrating north to start another generation and the ponds and fields are alive with signs of other wildlife starting out their families. It’s a great time to enjoy this renewal of nature before summer and its heat calms down the activities a bit.

If you haven’t joined in with any of the wonderful guided hikes that the Huron Fringe Birding Festival has to offer there is still a bit of time. Several of the first weekend hikes are full but there are a few spots left and some also left on the second weekend of the festival. Check it out at the following address and expand your knowledge of nature as several of our excellent leaders can give you a great head start on your quest to learn about the world around you.

James Turland, Martin and Kathy Parker, Marshall Byle, Henrique Pacheco, Peter Middleton, Ian Shanahan, Justin Peter, just to name a few, would love to point out some birds, and answer other questions you have about our wonderful world of nature. It’s a great opportunity to take a few hours and get a bit of exercise, possibly a few nice photos and experience the camaraderie with others who enjoy the same type of exposure to the wonders of Bruce and Grey Counties.

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Come out and see the birds in their colourful spring feathers, explore a bit of the area that you seldom see, learn about trees, reptiles, amphibians and whatever nature has to offer. We’re looking forward to seeing you and giving you an experience you won’t soon forget :).

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Check out the link above and give us an opportunity for us at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival to give you some great knowledge and entertainment!

Written by huronfringefest

May 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

Posted in BIRDING

Birding MacGregor with Ian Shanahan

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MacGregor Park is a haven for a wide variety of warblers, vireos, water birds and many other species during the spring migration. There are many of these birds still present during the second weekend of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival and having a knowledgeable leader like Ian Shanahan leading two of the events gives you a great opportunity to search some out. Check out Ian’s profile on the festival website and you will see that his love of birding will benefit anyone lucky enough to get on one of his hikes.

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Come out and see what birds Ian can point out for you as he takes the various trails of MacGregor Park. The warblers are in their best dress at this time of year and can be much easier to spot as they flit from branch to branch searching for insects.

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Around the park there are a variety of habitats to suit each warblers needs and Ian will be able to tell you what you could possibly see along the various trails covered on his two events. The birds are at their best in the mornings and both of Ian’s hikes are morning hikes. Get your binoculars, get your questions and enjoy a mornings walk in the park.

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To register for Ians events go to the registration page of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival and sign up for a great time looking for those beautiful feathered friends.

Written by huronfringefest

April 25, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Family Programs at the Festival

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Spring is a time to get outside and enjoy the sights and sounds the natural world has to offer. What better way is there than to take your children or grandchildren and teach them about nature and how to preserve and treasure what we now can experience in our area. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is much more than just about birds and has several interesting events that are geared towards young learners who want to enjoy what nature has to offer.

The events have knowledgeable leaders and cover subjects such as, Tracks and Scats (identify animal tracks and droppings), Take a Peek at the Beak (learn about shapes and types of bird beaks), Sciensational SSSnakes (a hands-on experience with reptiles and amphibians), Dyes from Nature and Spinning Wool (create a Tie-Dye bandana and also your own wool spindle to take home with you) and Frog Frolic (check out some ponds for species of frogs and toads).

These events cover a variety of nature knowledge and help give kids a much better understanding of the importance of nature in each and every day of our lives. They are FUN and INFORMATIVE!!!

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Bring out the kids and everyone can have fun and enjoy some of what nature offers!

Check out the schedule at: and don’t delay as some of the events are filling up!

Written by huronfringefest

April 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Tree ID with Jim Coles

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How often have you walked through a forest looking at the young as well as the mature trees wondering just what kind of tree they were? In the two events Jim is leading in the festival he will show you how to identify those trees using the twigs and leaves and also show why specific trees grow in specific soil and sunlight habitats. Going for a walk through the woods is fun but learning about the woods you walk through is even more satisfying.


Since birds live in and near trees you will probably also see and hear several species of birds along the way and knowing what species of trees are around will also help you know what species of birds will be inhabiting the area. In one of his hikes Jim will take you through his property and talk about forest management while on the other hike he will talk about the trees around the visitor centre and due to habitat why these are the species of trees that grow here.

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Trees make up a large part of the natural environment and if there’s something you want to know about them, Jim is the person to ask. Check out these half-day hikes on the afternoons of Sunday May 28th and Monday May 29th and really let your knowledge of trees start to blossom.


Check out the events at :

Written by huronfringefest

April 4, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Posted in BIRDING

The Big Sit with Margaret Anderton

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How often have you gone to look for birds but have them fly away from you as soon as you approach closely enough for a good view? Often it’s better to find a good bird habitat and sit down and wait for the birds to feel comfortable to have you included in their world. At home I find that when I go outside the birds head for the farthest tree to hide but after sitting for a few minutes those same birds come back quite close and don’t mind my presence as long as there are no fast movements.

Therefore we have a relaxing appropriately named event…The Big Sit…!!

Margaret is an excellent and knowledgeable birder and as you can see from her Bio a member of the Bruce Birding Club. If you aren’t up to some longer times hiking the trail, and have some time for a nice relaxing Friday morning to enjoy some birds check this event out.

Bring your binoculars, bring your camera and bring your lawn chair for an enjoyable way to bird and partake of what nature has to offer.

Follow this link and look for The Big Sit on Friday morning June 2 2017.

Written by huronfringefest

March 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Birding the Edge of MacGregor with Henrique Pacheco

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MacGregor Park is always a great spot to find birds in May and hiking with a knowledgeable and experienced leader like Henrique Pacheco will make this hike one to remember. You can see from the leaders biographies that Henrique, although one of the junior leaders in years, has a great deal of birding experience behind him.


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As well as seeing many species of warblers and other birds along this hike, Henrique will be able to answer questions you have about the habitat and the birds you see. Some that have been seen along the edge of MacGregor Park are the Hooded, Blue and Golden-winged warblers as well as many water birds. Check out the list of 245 species of birds that have been seen during the past year of the festival.

Henrique is leading a Saturday morning hike this year so if you like to wander a few trails, see some nice birds and learn from a keen young leader, sign up and enjoy a leisurely hike in the great outdoors.


Pied-billed grebes at MacGregor Park in the Ducks Unlimited wetland.

Check out this link for registration information.

Written by huronfringefest

March 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Malcolm Bluffs and Cape Croker with Alfred Raab

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The area that this hike covers does indeed often turn up some very special birds and the person that leads these hikes is a VERY knowledgeable birder. Alfred lives in the Bruce Peninsula in the summer and spends much of the winter birding and leading birding hikes in Panama in the months that only the hardy birds stay here.

Alfred’s eyes and his ears are always tuned to the forest or the grasslands and he can identify more species than I’ve ever seen. I think a trip to Panama in the winter may be in our future J.

Alfred leads OFO hikes as well as local hikes for the Bruce Birding Club and when he takes us up in the Malcolm Bluff and Cape Croker area we’re pretty well assured of seeing some fairly rare and interesting birds. Last year at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival those included Hooded, Cerulean and Mourning warblers to name but a few. Last year the Cape Croker area also provided great views of a Loggerhead shrike as well as several Wilsons snipe. There are always surprise birds that show up and having Alfred leading the hike and describing what he hears and pointing out where the bird might be is invaluable. If you are planning a birding trip in the winter Alfred can also give you an idea as to what might be on the birding list for a trip to Panama.

Here’s the view we had of a Mourning warbler at Malcolm Bluff in 2016.

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This is the Loggerhead shrike that was hunting in the ditch near Cape Croker.

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If you want to see some great birds in their beautiful habitat and have a very knowledgeable leader to learn from check out the Huron Fringe Birding Festival schedule and take a hike with Alfred at Malcolm Bluffs and Cape Croker.

Check out his events with the link below.

Written by huronfringefest

March 25, 2017 at 1:53 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Birding South Bruce with Todd Pepper

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As the Huron Fringe Birding Festival approaches I’ll try to give you a bit more information on some of the excellent and knowledgeable leaders that take their time out to help us learn about and appreciate birding as well as other interesting topics in nature. This blog post will highlight the achievements of Todd Pepper as he became the first Canadian member of the American Birding Association to see a representative of each of the world’s 234 living avian families. That’s quite a feat in that it requires a LOT of travel and even more determination to achieve this goal.

Here are a few of the links to some of the articles written after Todd achieved his goal.

This give you an idea as to the qualifications of Todd and the good fortune you would have to be on the hike he will be leading at the 20th Huron Fringe Birding Festival. If there’s something you want to know about birds, he’s a person to ask. It’s difficult for me to imagine just how much knowledge Todd has stored away and I’m sure he’d love to share as much as he can of his love of birds with fellow birders. Here’s an article that was written after he achieved his world record.

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Todd will be leading an all day hike titled “Birding South Bruce” so sign up before the spots are all filled up and let Todd tell you about his birding adventures as he shows you the birds from the area.

You can check out the festival schedule of events at :

Written by huronfringefest

March 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Posted in BIRDING

Spring is Approaching Quickly as is the 20th Huron Fringe Birding Festival

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The initial rush for registration has passed by, as has February. Now as the snow has almost disappeared it’s time to take another look at other interesting events that still have a bit of room left to register for.

To find out a bit about the leaders of the events simply click on their names on the “Schedule of Events” page or on the schedule while you are considering registering for an event. You will find some of the most qualified and knowledgeable people in respect to the event they are leading. If you want to learn more about any given topic in nature these are the folks to ask. When you go on any hike they will be more than happy to answer any of your questions about nature. It’s a terrific way to learn as you also get to physically participate and feel and see nature in the beautiful areas of Bruce or Grey County.

The varied types of events in the festival include birds, trees, wildflowers, butterflies, amphibians, photography (both learning and participating), history of the areas, and natural ways of how nature provided for our ancestors. Every one of the events has a LOT to offer. I wish I could spread myself thinner and participate in them all but I’m sure over the coming years I will do just that. This festival is a terrific opportunity to fully appreciate the beauty nature has to offer and learn from some of the most knowledgeable leaders, both old and new!

Take a look over the events and fill up your weekends. It’s a once a year opportunity to get out, enjoy nature, learn more about nature and meet new friends with similar interests. There are challenging hikes, very relaxed hikes and all hikes and other events will enhance your knowledge of the natural world around you.

I’m booked solid for both weekends and looking forward to each and every early morning 🙂 Come out and join in the fun!!!

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Written by huronfringefest

February 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Posted in BIRDING