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 Big Bird


FRIDAY MAY 27                                                               

All Day

FULL – A1 6:00 am BIRDING THE 45TH PARALLEL – Michael Carlson – Bruce Road 9 is known as the 45th Parallel Road. Michael will bird the Bruce Peninsula from coast to coast – Lake Huron to Georgian Bay up to this latitude. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

FULL – A2 6:00 am BRUCE BACKCOUNTRY BIRDING – John Haselmayer – Visit the upper Peninsula’s best known birding spots such as Dyer’s Bay, Cabot Head, the sparrow fields and Crane Lake. This outing combines great birding and outstanding scenery. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

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)


FULL – A9 (NEW) 7:15 pm BIRDING BY IMPRESSION & ALL THAT JIZZ – Fred Jazvac – Join Fred for his annual Festival kickoff ‘tips and techniques’ presentation. We all bird by JIZZ (birding by impression, GISS, right-brain birding, holistic birding, gestalt birding). Explore insights into how using impression applies to bird identification. (indoors) (limit 60)

FULL – A10 (NEW) 8:15 pm SUNSET AT THE HURON SHORE – Willy Waterton – Most people go inside after the sun sets but this is when some of the most stunning light occurs. This workshop will give you tips on taking images of the setting sun and twilight using your smartphone to DSLR. If you have a tripod, bring it along. (moderate, hiking along shore, car-pool, bring compact and/or digital SLR) (limit 12)


All Day

A11 6:00 am HURON SHORES TO MALCOLM BLUFFS – Mike Burrell – We’ll cover all the birding bases – shorebirds, ducks, grassland birds and forest birds. You’ll be amazed at the diversity. We may even find a Cerulean or Hooded Warbler on territory. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

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 way stations. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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)A17 7:00 am BIRDING THE EDGE – Todd Pepper – Back by popular request, Todd will bird the Lake Huron shoreline along the Old Shore Road Trail. He will lead us through habitats including fens, forests and wet beaches. (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)

11:00 am EAGLE OPTICS – 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 the casual 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)

FULL – A20 – 1:30 pm AROUND THE EDGE OF MacGREGOR – Ken Burrell – Ken is among the top birders in Ontario. With Ken leading, you may be surprised at the birds you can find on a lazy afternoon. (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)

A21 1:30 pm BIRDING BRUCEDALE TO MacGREGOR – Joy Albrecht – Wooded and open areas beside the shore from Brucedale Conservation Area to MacGregor Point’s Koehler Pasch property provide great birding opportunities. (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)


A23 4:30 pm SOCIAL 5:30 pm BANQUET & PRESENTATIONLust & Domain: An Exploration into Why Birds Sing – Dr. Lyle Friesen – Recent advances in the field of bioacoustics have revealed that birds communicate in highly sophisticated ways. The mysteries of the dawn chorus, a sublime avian phenomenon, will be highlighted. Champion singers, those with the most complex songs, the largest repertoire or that are marathon singers, will be identified. (St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, Port Elgin, Roast Beef Buffet, vegetarian option available). (Early Bird Price $40 extra per person – after April 15 or for banquet/presentation only $50 extra per person). Casual, bar available, pre-registration required, silent auction. Contact registrar by May 1 with dietary restrictions. (limit 110)


All Day

A24 6:00 am BIG DAY ON THE BRUCE – Michael Carlson – Are you a lister? Do you tick? From warblers at dawn to Whip-poor-will at dusk, you will keep tallying up your numbers. Your day’s list could be over 100 species. (moderate, car-pool, bring lunch & walking supper) (limit 20)

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)

A26 (NEW) 6:30 am WILDFLOWER WALK – Nature Conservancy of Canada Staff – Experience a section of a recently secured 1000 acre NCC property near the Johnson Harbour Road. You will see an array of wildflowers, many of which are rare elsewhere in Southern Ontario. (moderate, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

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


6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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)

FULL – A29 6:30 am BIRDING BEYOND THE J/I LINE – Ken Burrell – The Burrell brothers rank among the top birders in Ontario. Take your pick of either expert for a great morning of birding. Join Ken on a driving tour which will focus on the threatened and declining birds of the grasslands in nearby Bruce County. (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)

FULL – A31 – 8:00 am UP WITH THE BIRDS – Doug Martin – This hike takes you on a not-so-early morning walk along the Tower Trail to the Viewing Tower. Past experience on this event has resulted in a species list that will rival many other events. Can we do it again? (easy, car-pool) (limit 20)


FULL – A32 1:30 pm BIRDING & BIRD RESEARCH – Dr. Scott Taylor – Join Scott in a walk to the Ducks Unlimited wetland and hear about some of his research projects at Cornell while looking for late migrants and resident birds settling in to nest. (easy, car-pool) (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)


FULL – A39 – 6:30 am BACKROADS OF SAUGEEN – James Turland – Saugeen’s rural landscapes are a peaceful backdrop for Bobolinks and other grassland birds. This is James’ back yard and he is one of our favourite local leaders. (easy, car-pool) (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)


FULL – A41 1:30 pm RIVER WALK – Marshall Byle – Enjoy a walk through beautiful habitats ranging from cedars to mixed hardwood, all the while following a trout stream. Observe spawning rainbows and spring migrants including Scarlet Tanagers and warblers. (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)



Our second weekend features two separate trips to Chantry Island for an afternoon of birding and a lighthouse tour.

Our second weekend features two separate trips to Chantry Island for an afternoon of birding and a tour of the lighthouse and historic keeper’s cottage..

All Day

ONE SPOT LEFT – B1 6:00 am MALCOLM BLUFFS & AREA BIRDING – Alfred Rabb – Bird in a variety of habitats within the Malcolm Bluffs Nature Reserve and area. The soaring Escarpment cliffs provide spectacular vistas of Colpoys Bay. (moderate, carpool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

B2 (NEW) 8:00 am MORE OF THE BRUCE RE-BECKONS – Willy Waterton – Join Willy in a continuing quest to rediscover Sherwood Fox’s Bruce Peninsula, based on his landmark 1952 book “The Bruce Beckons”. You will spend the day hiking and exploring Fox’s Bruce to see what still exists after 63 years. This trip involves more hiking than A38. (difficult, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)


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)


B5 1:30 pm BOTANY OF THE FRINGE – Barbara Palmer – The Huron Fringe is a physiographic unit between the former glacial Lake Algonquin shoreline and the present day Lake Huron shoreline. Former cobble beach ridges, swales and ancient miniature dunes each provide their own combination of plants. (easy) (limit 12)

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

FULL – B8 (NEW) 6:00 am BIRDING NEYAASHIINIGMIING – Jarmo Jalava & Anthony Chegahno – Blending Aniishinaabe culture and traditions with the many interesting ecosystems found in Neyaashiinigmiing (Cape Croker) will be the highlight of this all day trip. This is the height of the breeding season and we will definitely find birds singing on territory. (easy, car-pool, bring lunch) (limit 20)

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)


B13 (NEW) 1:00 pm CHANTRY ISLAND – Marine Heritage Society – Chantry Island, an international Important Bird Area, offers protection of colonial nesting species such as egrets, herons, gulls and cormorants. This boat trip includes a tour of the lighthouse and historic keeper’s cottage. (moderate, flip-flops not permitted, weather permitting, car-pool leaves the Park at 12:15 pm, $30 per person to be paid at the dock) (limit 9)

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)

B15 (NEW) 3:00 pm CHANTRY ISLAND – Marine Heritage Society – Chantry Island, an international Important Bird Area, offers protection of colonial nesting species such as egrets, herons, gulls and cormorants. This boat trip includes a tour of the lighthouse and historic keeper’s cottage. (moderate, flip-flops not permitted, weather permitting, car-pool leaves the Park at 2:15 pm, $30 per person to be paid at the dock) (limit 9)

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 – 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 – Mark 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)


6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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)


B25 1:30 pm A BIT BAFFLED BY BOTANY? – Dr. Bill Crins – “Sedges have edges, rushes are round and grasses are hollow right up from the ground.” Bill helped compile the plant list for MacGregor Park; he can provide you with tips on how to identify any plant, including his specialty, sedges, and open your eyes to a whole new world on the forest floor. (easy, car-pool) (limit 12)

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)

B31 (NEW) 7:15 pm STORIES FROM THE SUBCONTINENT: A NATURALIST’S RAMBLES IN INDIA – Justin Peter – Justin has visited India several times and will share some of his experiences and observations during this illustrated talk. Visit some of India’s signature sites, see the countryside and people, and of course, some of its amazing wild things and places! (indoors) (limit 60)

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

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)


6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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)

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival uses online registration and payment at

Contact the registrar at or phone 519-389-6231 for contact information.



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.



6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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




6:00 am to noon BIRD BANDING – weather permitting

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)


The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is presented by the Huron Fringe Birding Festival Committee, the Friends of MacGregor Point and MacGregor Point Provincial Park. Festival headquarters are at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, located approximately five kilometres south of Port Elgin, Ontario on the shore of Lake Huron. The park address is: MacGregor Point Provincial Park, 1593 Bruce Road 33, Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada N0H 2C5. Registration inquiries: or 519-389-6231

Image 6The Friends of MacGregor Point Park present this Festival as one way to ensure the preservation of the natural legacy of MacGregor Point for future generations. The Huron Fringe Shop in the Visitor Centre provides 10% off “all things birds” during the Festival. For information about the Friends and events planned for 2016 visit their website



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SARAH RUPERT, (one of this year’s leaders), has spent many years exploring the wonder of birds and nature and she loves to share her knowledge with others through interpretive programs, writing and mixed media art. Here, she talks about her recent HFBF Event – Nature Sketching and Journaling – and sends along some photographs of her participants and what they saw.

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 natural 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. You’ll be surprised what you’ll be able to capture by the end of the session.


Participants in the Nature Journaling workshop quickly became part of the environment, enjoying the sounds of a Song Sparrow and the gentle waves along the shoreline, while getting to know their subject matter.


Dwarf Lake Iris in full bloom, much to the delight of the participants of the first weekend’s hikes.


The view of from the Tower overlooking the DU Pond on Tower Trail is always a highlight for participants.


A panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline from MacGregor Point Provincial Park.


To Sarah Rupert, this windswept pine along the MacGregor Point shoreline is a classic symbol of the Lake Huron Shoreline…and more good memories.


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Jim Punnett sent in these pictures and brief synopsis of the hike with Rod Steinacher.



“Our hike was in the Dyers Bay Road, Dyers Bay, Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, Sparrow Fields by Larks Whistle, and Crane Lake area.”




“The 1st photos, Eastern Meadowlark, American Bittern & female Red-winged Blackbird on Dyers Bay road. The photos of Rod and participates were also on the road.”


“Others were taken at the BPBO (Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory). The shipwreck was taken in the bay at the BPBO.”



“The last one is taken on Crane Lake Rd listening for sparrows.”


And one of our young attendees sent in this invitation to all registrants of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. Nice to see young folks developing a passion for birding. Could be a future HFBF leader in the making.

Please visit his site.


Me and my grandpa where at the festival this past weekend.  Here is the link to my website:  I have uploaded all of my pictures (Macgregor Point > Huron Fringe Birding Festival 2015) I took of birds, reptiles/amphibians, mammals, and butterflies. Feel free to use any of these pictures for the park use or another use.


Jacob Schumann

And Bob Taylor (out birding “Hotspots of the Lower Bruce” with Alfred Raab) sent us his shot of a Sandhill Crane and his Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.Bob Tylor -Sandhill crane Bob Taylor's Yellow-bellied sapsucker




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It comes as no surprise that Mick Pickup is set to receive this year’s Norah Toth Award. After all, the Norah Toth Award recognizes people who have contributed to the Huron Fringe Birding Festival in ways that makes a difference. Through his writings, his serving the Festival, the Friends of MacGregor, the Bruce Birding Club, the OFO and the inspiration for the Bird Blind – to name just a few – Mike’s contributions make him an obvious choice.

“It’s an honour to be able to get the award and the recognition from your peers and associates,” said Mike. “I feel very humble.” Which is perfectly in character for this gentle man that birders know and respect.


Mike was just 9 years old when birds first began to interest him. His father would take him for walks pointing out birds on the moors in Lancashire. He came to Canada via England and Ireland when he was thirteen. He spent many days hiking and exploring the Bruce Trail near his Georgetown home. Then came the cottage in Sauble Beach, and the eventual move to Port Elgin. It was here that he met his mentor, Martin Parker, a naturalist and ‘big birder’. Martin rekindled Mike’s interest in birding. And the rest is local history.

Mike volunteered for Bird Studies Canada doing Nocturnal Owl Surveys, Breeding Bird Surveys, and Forest Monitoring Surveys; as well he has worked on both the first and second Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario projects and in 2009 received the OFO’s Award of Distinction. Mike loves to share his knowledge with others. After he retired he carried this a step further writing books to give people ideas of where to go and what to expect in certain birding areas. He’s published three helpful books to date and is currently working on a fourth.

When he isn’t out in the field or writing you’ll find him with his other love…Mike, the model train enthusiast, has a layout in his basement that occupies most of his winter hours.

When asked what it takes to be a successful birder, Mike’s advice is simple…”get a good pair of binoculars, a field guide, get outdoors and enjoy yourself.” That’s something Mike has been doing for over 50 years.

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival honours and celebrates Mike Pickup’s Outstanding Volunteer Contributions with this year’s North Toth Award, Saturday, May 23 at their annual Banquet and Presentation.


Huron Fringe Birding Festival Event Registration:

Registration inquiries: or 519-389-6231

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A member of the Bruce Birding Club, the Saugeen Shores Camera Club and a past president of The Friends of MacGregor, Doug Pedwell has also participated in the Huron Fringe Birding Festival as an event leader and committee member for quite a few years now.


Since retiring from teaching Doug has indulged his lifelong passions of nature study, photography and travel. He can often be found wandering the back roads of Grey and Bruce Counties, camera in hand, searching for that perfect shot of flora, fauna, birds and landforms. You will definitely feel that a day with Doug in the field is informative, rewarding  and a whole lot of fun. Doug will be leading three events at this year’s Festival. Here is his description of what he expects to accomplish on Botany and Birding in the South Bruce Peninsula.

A new concept is being offered this year – Botany and Birding in South Bruce Peninsula. It begins with afternoon sessions at 1:30 pm and runs into the evening.  Travelling to the area around Wiarton, the group will head towards Skinner’s Bluff and Bruce’s Caves. These properties of the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority are homes to a variety of ecosystems which will provide us opportunities to encounter some spring wildflowers and some uncommon ferns.

Walking Fern

Walking Fern

We will follow sections of the Bruce Trail along the top of the Niagara Escarpment in the Skinner’s Bluff area, which will give us some great views of Colpoy’s Bay as well as a chance to see and hear some forest birds. From there we will head to Bruce’s Caves for some botany and geology. This area is a fern lover’s paradise and also contains a number of spring wildflowers.

Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

Walking in this area ranges from medium to difficult. The Talus slope at Bruce’s Caves is the most difficult portion.

Brewer's Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

From Bruce’s Caves we head to Wiarton where we will have a bite to eat. Bring your supper or you can get something at Tim Horton’s where we will make a pit stop for a civilized washroom.



We then bird our way back towards MacGregor Point Park via Wiarton Lagoons, Isaac Lake, Sky Lake, Red Bay, Oliphant, and Sauble Beach. All of which are local birding hotspots. We should see a variety of waterfowl and songbirds, grassland birds, nesting Bald Eagles and if they return, Piping Plovers.

Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger

(All photographs courtesy of Doug Pedwell. Follow our Blog. We will be posting more of Doug’s photos as well as comments on his other events over the next few weeks.)


A37 – 1:30 pm – BOTANY & BIRDING IN SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULAMonday, May 26.This all day event returns to the Park by 8:45 pm.  (Moderate, car-pool, bring lunch, snacks and water)   

B4 – 7:30 am – DOWN & DIRTY – WILDFLOWER PHOTOGRAPHY – Thursday, May 29.

B10 – 6:45 am – NATURE & LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY IN SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULA – Thursday, May 30. (Difficult, car-pool, bring lunch)  Bring DSLR camera & accessories.

Huron Fringe Birding Festival  - Recognized as One of the Top 100 Festivals in Ontario


brdfest2MAY 23 to MAY 26  & MAY 29 to JUNE 1



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Photo by John Brunjes

Photo by John Brunjes

Mike Burrell will be a busy birder for his first venture at HFBF. He will be leading two hikes, making two presentations and organizing an information booth over his time at MacGregor Point. But that’s nothing new to him since birds have been an integral part of his life for quite a while.

Mike Burrell has been a keen naturalist ever since he was a boy. His parents introduced him to birds and all other aspects of the natural world at a young age. In high school Mike spent much of his spare time volunteering at Long Point Bird Observatory and working at Algonquin Park where he really got hooked. Since then he has completed a Bachelor of Science degree at Trent University and a Masters of Science in Forestry Degree from the University of Toronto, both while completing fieldwork and theses on bird ecology in Ontario. Since then he has worked for Long Point Bird Observatory, the Ministry of Natural Resources and several private consulting firms. Mike is the Ontario Important Bird Areas Coordinator for Bird Studies Canada on the Important Bird Area Program and devotes much of his spare time to Citizen Science projects like eBird.

Take advantage of his expertise and knowledge and become a better birder by putting these programs on your HFBF agenda.

AROUND THE EDGE OF MacGREGOR – A15 – May 24 –  @ 6:30 AM

Join Mike for a morning of birding some of the hotspots near MacGregor Point. Several warbler species, Indigo Buntings, Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, as well as several other unique species are likely finds.

MAKE YOUR SIGHTINGS COUNT – A20 – May 24 –  @1:30 PM

Mike will present an overview of the Citizen Science project eBird, a comprehensive online bird database that is revolutionizing how birders go about their business. Contributing is simple and there are loads of fun tools that allow anyone to explore this huge database. Other Citizen Science projects will also be discussed.

Since its humble beginnings in 2002, eBird has captured the imagination of thousands of birders around the world. Birders are now flocking to the website to upload their bird sightings into the online database which is maintained by scientists and volunteers. Between 2006 (when the Canadian eBird portal was launched) and 2010, nearly 3000 users reported bird sightings to eBird in Ontario. During 2013 in Ontario volunteer eBirders submitted over ONE MILLION bird observations s! The growth of eBird is incredible and as membership increases so to does our understanding of bird distribution and abundance patterns. eBird is already an important tool for making bird conservation decisions and will continue to be in the future. On top of its conservation implications, it opens up this vast amount of data to anyone interested and will surely make us all better birders and record keepers. There are lots of incentives too, with a variety of user stats available. Come hear how you can get involved, and what eBird is already teaching us about Ontario’s birds.

For more information click here:

BIRD STUDIES CANADA BOOTH – Lunchtime on Saturday

Did you know that 70 sites in Ontario have been identified as Important Bird Areas? Stop in at the Important Bird Areas Booth to find out more about this and other programs that Bird Studies Canada offers and how you can be involved in helping to understand, appreciate and conserve our birds.


Grab your binoculars AND notebooks! While we are out enjoying the birds we will also be contributing to one of the biggest Citizen Science projects ever – eBird. After the hike we’ll have a quick demo of how simple it is to really make your observations count.  (Easy, car-pool – Limit 20)

Ontario’s Important Bird Areas Program: Critical Sites for Birds and Biodiversity – A42 – May 26 –  @ 7:15 PM (indoors – limit 60)

Come hear about some of Ontario’s most important sites for bird conservation and how your help can make a difference on a global scale. Ontario’s Important Bird Areas Program is a global initiative to identify, monitor, and conserve the world’s most important sites for birds and biodiversity. Using scientific criteria, nearly 600 Canadian sites have been designated. IBAs are found throughout the country. Ontario’s 70 IBAs cover more than 23,000 km2, largely along the coasts of the Great Lakes and Hudson and James Bays. Most sites regularly host large concentrations of birds, or significant numbers of species at risk. Join Mike Burrell to find out more about these amazing sites and learn how you can help make a difference.


MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 tor JUNE 1 -2014



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Bird Bander

David Lamble removes a juvenile Great Blue Heron form its nest for banding. Photo courtesy Grand Actions

Consider the varied interests of this year’s HFBF Keynote Speaker David Lamble. For 35 years a high school chemistry teacher, now a singer, actor and TV host in his retirement, but more importantly for us, a Master Bird Bander – one of only 100 in Canada.

Since 1978 he has banded 171,759 birds of 193 species (as of this writing), but who’s counting. As David says, “I am not good at keeping track…the totals are really personal goals/achievements…banding is not a competitive sport.”

David will be at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall in Port Elgin on May 24 evening to inform, entertain and enlighten us. He has titled his presentation: BIRDS AND SOME OF THEIR MYSTERIES. He’ll be talking about bird intelligencebird vision and of course bird banding and how it all contributes to our understanding of birds.

David’s love of birds began in 1978 with a banding study of Tree Swallows. He received his Master Bander Permit in 1986. By 1999 he had banded some 60,000 birds and received the Grand River Conservation Authority Watershed Award. His interest in our feathered friends expanded to include all species found in Southern Ontario. His major studies have now branched out to include Bobolinks, Snow Buntings, Ducks as well as his all-time favourite – the Tree Swallow.

He spends about 200 days a year in the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area north of Grand Valley where he meticulously documents each banding to better understand the habitat and needs of birds.

David’s banding goals are simple: find out where they go – try to ascertain if they return to the same place and measure a bird’s longevity.

“Banding opens us a range of things for research,” says David. “I think there are 286 species in Ontario. I’ve banded 193 so far. There are lots more areas in which I can still experience something new.”

Plan to joins us for the banquet and our special presentation on May 24 and discover for yourself why David Lamble is no ordinary bird lover.


Keynote Speaker – David Lamble


Saturday May 24 – 4:30 PM

St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, Port Elgin, 





MAY 23 to MAY 26 – MAY 29 tor JUNE 1 -2014



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With notes courtesy of Jeff Rollings (In The Hills) and Janet Baine (Grand Actions). Photo Grand Actions.


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I just had a look at the Huron Fringe Birding Festival brochure preliminary proof. Must say it contains some exciting information concerning the upcoming events. Now I can’t show you the complete contents. Some small adjustments and tweaks still need to happen. And we do want details and descriptions to be perfect before it’s released to your eager hands. So until then get your daytimer out or open your computer calendar and enter these dates.

Registration begins February 1, 2013 at

The Huron Fringe Birding Festival runs for two four-day weekends between

May 24 and June 2, 2013. 

Just as soon as the organizing committee lets me, I’ll be posting info regarding each event listed in this colourful brochure. So follow this blog and in the meantime –  have a look at this: