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Posts Tagged ‘Coffin Ridge Winery

Hiking & Wine Tasting – The Perfect Day

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In 2012 the Huron Fringe Birding Festival introduced a new hike with a new twist…a bus trip to Bayview Escarpment Provincial Nature Reserve combined with a visit to the Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery. Wine tasting after an invigorating hike is a unique way to end the day. Based on last year’s response the event returns on June 1st with leader Mark Wiercinski. Norah Toth was there last year. Here’s what she had to say about the inaugural hike.*

Norah with Binos

“I love Bayview Escarpment. It is one of my favourite provincial parks in the Grey Bruce area. As a nature reserve class provincial park it is set aside to protect over 439 hectares for scientific and research purposes. It does not offer camping; just quiet enjoyment of a very special habitat.”

Bayview Trail

“What first attracted me to Bayview Escarpment were the large rocks that are covered with lush ferns. There are many species of fern, probably well over 15, found in the park; but the most visible fern is the globally rare Hart’s Tongue Fern.”

Hart's Tongue Fern

Hart’s Tongue Fern

In many locations it forms a mat of green on rock outcrops.  It is truly amazing!” 

“Crevice caves along the face of the escarpment are often hidden by old growth cedar. In June you might still see ice and snow at the bottom of some of the crevice caves. Large erratic boulders and shallow soils over the dolostone bedrock create many microhabitats. Maple, Butternut and Beech are common tree species. Jack in the Pulpit, White Trillium, Blue Cohosh and One-side Wintergreen are just some of the spring wildflowers that thrive in Bayview Escarpment.”

Dutchman’s Breeches

“An old road that was in place before this became a provincial park has been converted to a trail and it converges with the Bruce Trail to create a circle route, which is just the right length for a casual walk. This old road provides evidence of logging, as do several pine plantations in the park. The Bruce Trail travels through the park as part of the preferred route.”

“And yes, habitat does mean there are birds. A number of species of warblers, flycatchers and woodpeckers are some of the residents. 


Nearby, in the Land Force Central Area Training Centre, Bald Eagles have been nesting for several years.”

” And then we visited Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery.”


“Here you can look over the crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay. Since I don’t drink, it seems like a strange place to visit for me, but the winery and vineyards have several attractions. It is the first winery in Grey County and has already received Double Golds at the 2012 All Canadian Wine Championships. They serve wonderful tasting platters, which include local cheeses, pates and breads.” 

Interior coffin ridge

“Their vineyards are carefully tended using sustainable viticulture methods with no insecticide use and careful attention to soil management. And this leads to the best part – the birding in the vineyard itself is great!  It provides lots of hedgerow type habitat and you just can’t go wrong!”


“The HFBF Program Committee debated about providing this trip in a different format, but in order for participants to take full advantage of the features of this event and not get lost on the way to the park, bus travel works the best. Besides, this way the hike coordinator has a captive audience and can keep you entertained for the entire trip!”

Canada Violet

Canada Violet





Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park plus a number of other locations


MAY 24 – MAY 27

MAY 30 – JUNE 2



Green Spleenwort

*Photographs courtesy of Doug Pedwell 

Mark Wiercinski – In His Own Words!

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Mark will be Event Leader on three different hikes for the Huron Fringe Birding Festival this year. We asked him to tell us what to expect and here – in his own words – is the full story as he sees it.


“Okay it says early but 6 AM isn’t really early in bird world…six is almost too late! Seriously folks, some of these birds are up at 4:30! I know, I know, it is early for humanity…but hey, if I was doing a real bird survey it would have to start by 5 at the latest! I know…I know we tried that once and it was voted down…Alright so the hike itself…it is good. Lots of things still calling and lots of things moving around. The forests and wetlands are rich around MacGregor and it makes it easy to hear and see things. I do almost all of my bird identification by sound…so there is a lot of that on the hike. I get obsessed with finding the Least Bittern in the DU Ponds…and I always fit in a lot of biology of birds. Birds are just too cool…way too many interesting adaptions and behaviors…so it is easy to observe a bit and learn a bit and still have a blast.”

*(Saturday, May 25)

Sunday* – Warbler Wrestling: 6 AM to 11 – ish…

Wrestling…cool a new title for this program – 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. Song is important to this one…warblers are best to learn songs. We always find at least a dozen or so species. There are certainly lots of other things to see and hear there so of course we find them too. 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! There is always a stop on the way out of the pond area…and 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.”

*(Sunday May 26)

*Bayview – Coffin Ridge Hike and Wine Tasting!!!

“Okay so the wine tasting is best part of this one…but I do like the Bayview Escarpment trails. So it is fun too. There are loads of things to see…birds, plants, trees, rocks, and yep even a cave or two. But we really don’t go down into them. Last year we had a monsoon and cold winds dominated the hike so it was a challenge to get over ten species of birds on the hike. So this year is a cinch to beat that count. And talk about Species At Risk. We have them here too. Lots to take in for the hike part but seriously folks I can’t compete with the winery! It really is great part of this program…and who knew we could produce such lovely wine in our home turf! Way too cool.”

*(Saturday, June 1, 7:00 AM)

Mark takes a closer look at a Shrike.

Mark takes a closer look at a Shrike.

“Mark is one of the original Huron Fringe Birding Festival leaders and has participated every year with the same passion and enthusiasm as he did on his very first hike…but maybe more gray hair. The early hikes are the best way to find the most birds and it is at this time that Mark is really on his game…coffee not required, but it helps. Along the way, Mark provides many helpful tips on bird identification through sound, behavior and habitat. His hikes are always full of information from birds to plant-life to wildlife and everything in between. Whether you’re a full-fledged birder or just starting out, his hikes will always inspire and entertain…it’s all about the sex, baby! ”

Okay that is what the web says…hmmmm makes me sound old…gray hair and an original from the first bird fest…you know I was only 11 on that one right – a child prodigy bird hike leader! Ha! Okay so I wasn’t eleven. And I wasn’t even a hike leader…I was a mist net demonstrator. I am not sure I even caught a bird that year. Oh well look at me now!

So 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. Come on a hike and I will explain, 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.”

Mark Wiercinski

Biologist – LFCA TC Meaford | CISC FT Meaford

National Defence

139152 Grey Road 112, Meaford, Ontario, N4L 0A1





Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park

plus a number of other locations


MAY 24 – MAY 27

MAY 30 – JUNE 2