One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Posts Tagged ‘outdoors


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Mark Binocs





FRIDAY MAY 27                                                              

All Day

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. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


A5 7:30 am BIRDING THE EDGE OF MacGREGORTerry 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. 7 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


A6 (NEW) 1:30 pm LET THERE BE LIGHTFran 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. 6 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 10 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A8 1:30 pm SHRUB & TREE ID IN MacGREGORJim 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. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


All Day

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. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A13 (NEW) 9:00 am MONARCH FRIENDLY HABITATAudrey 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 waystations. 16 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


A14 6:00 am BIRDING BY EARMichael 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. 10 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A15 6:00 am SEX & THE SINGLE WARBLERMark 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. ONE OPENING LEFT

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. 4 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 13 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


All Day

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. 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A27 7:30 am BIRDING SOUTH BRUCE PENINSULATodd 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. 4 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A28 6:00 am WRESTLING WITH WARBLERSMark 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. 4 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

A30 7:00 am eBIRDING THE PARK Mike Burrell 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. 10 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 14 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 2 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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! 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


All Day

A38 8:00 am THE BRUCE RE-BECKONSWilly 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. 10 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 6 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


A42 1:30 pm DOWN & DIRTY PHOTOGRAPHYDoug 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. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 20 OPENINGS AVAILABLE



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. 12 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B4 8:30 am THE BIG SITMargaret Anderton – Join Margaret to see what can be seen from the comfort of a sitting position overlooking a pond, a field, forest and feeders. 9 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


B6 (NEW) 1:30 pm WHAT’S YOUR QUESTION?Bring your photographic questions to Fran Sanagan. 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. 14 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 17 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


All Day

B9 6:30 am BIRDING SOUTH BRUCEMarshall Byle – This is car birding at its best. We will follow a scenic route in Southern Bruce County, stopping to bird various habitats. 9 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B10 7:30 am A GEOLOGICAL JOURNEYBob 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. 3 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


B14 1:30 pm WOULDN’T IT BE PLOVERLYStewart 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. 15 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 6 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


B17 (NEW) 7:15 pm SPARROWS Sarah 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. 3 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. ONLY 1 OPENING LEFT

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. 11 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B20 (NEW) 8:00 am BEACHES & BIRDSKaren 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. 16 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B21 6:30 am BIRDING THE TOWER TRAILJustin 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. 7 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B22 7:00 am ROAD BIRDING FOR GRASSLAND SPECIES Brett Woodman – Tour the local countryside looking for elusive nesting grassland birds of Saugeen Shores. 13 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B23 7:30 am BIRDING HIDDEN SPOTS OF MacGREGOREllen Smout – Travel some of the lesser known areas in the park looking for hidden gems. 5 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B24 8:00 am BEGINNING BIRDING FOR ADULTSDoug 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. 12 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 7 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 9 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B28 1:30 pm BLUEBIRD LANDLORDSDennis & 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. 3 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 13 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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) 16 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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

B32 9:15 pm STARRY STARRY NIGHTJohn 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. 2 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


All Day

B33 6:00 am DEBATING THE ISSUES, & MORE, WITH MARKMark 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! 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B34 6:30 am WINGED PURSUITSNathan 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. 14 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

7:00 am to 8:30 am MOTH ID – Andalyne Tofflemire

B35 7:00 am BIRDING THE PERIMETER OF THE PARKJustin 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. 3 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 11 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

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. 10 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


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. 15 OPENINGS AVAILABLE

B39 1:30 pm WITCHES & WILDFLOWERSHeather 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. 12 OPENINGS AVAILABLE


B40 8:00 pm SUNSET WALKDoug 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. 8 OPENINGS AVAILABLE



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



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)

brdfest2 - for online registration

Registration inquiries: or 519-389-6231

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twitter: @HuronBirdfest





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On our first day of registration we received 34 bookings in the first 30 minutes.

By the end of the day 117 had signed up not wanting to miss securing their favourite events and leaders. Seven events were fully booked on day one.

Barely a full week later and we’ve logged 166 registrations and 13 Sold Out events.

This puts us way ahead of our last two years and suggests that registrations will continue to fill up fast. So, if you are biding your time thinking you’ll take care of registration later…you might want to take another look at our list of hikes on http// and make some decisions…now.

Judith on a recen wintery Bruce Birding club outing.

Judith on a recen wintery Bruce Birding Club outing. If there are birds out there Judith can find them…in any weather.

Some of you may not want to miss Judith King’s two excellent birding hikes…excellent because Judith brings a lifelong interest in birds to her outings. She has taken personal trips throughout Canada, the United States and New Zealand searching out new and different birds and habitats. She has participated in bird atlasing in many Provinces and States across North America. Judith is a regular trip leader with the Bruce Birding Club. Her knowledge of the local area makes her a favourite leader during the birding festival.

Judith’s event, LOVING LAGOONS IN LOWER BRUCE (A2), takes you exploring the Ripley and Kincardine lagoons. Then you’ll continue up the shore of Lake Huron. The emphasis will be on warblers, with as many as 20 species possible at the lagoons. Pockets of migrating warblers may be found along the shore. There are 8 spots left on this event, at this posting, so register soon.

Or you can register for her BRANT TRACT, PAISLEY & BLIND LINE (A38) event which has you exploring the Brant Tract with its mixed woods and streams. You’ll travel along an old road to the bottom of the valley. Paisley will showcase bird feeders and several species of swallows. The Blind Line parallels the Saugeen River and passes through fields and mixed forest. Judith will help you find Grasshopper Sparrows, Clay-coloured Sparrows, Cliff Swallows, Bobolinks and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers. Only 6 spots remain on this event, at this posting, so don’t miss out.

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Sandhill Cranes in grass marsh. Photo Barbara Paterson Collins

Sandhill Cranes in grass marsh. Photo Bonnie Paterson Collins

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Huron Fringe Birding Festival (HFBF), and to most of you, thanks for coming back year after year.

Below is some information that you may be interested in and some that you may already be aware of…its a compilation and summary of the birds seen at the Festival this year.

The number appearing after the bird species name designates the number of days the species was seen on our hikes.* Please understand that our hikes cover most of Bruce County and some of the areas where the species were seen were not covered everyday.

The HFBF just completed its sixteenth year. Next year’s events will be announced on February 1, 2014. Take note that you can register online. Remember to register early as some of our events fill quickly. Our boat trip to Flower Pot Island was completely booked by noon hour on the first registration day. Some of our bird hikes were full after 2 weeks.

We keep our hikes small. Twenty for birding events, twelve for wild flower hikes and for some of our events we allow only eight people. Our prices are very low if you take the weekend packages.  We have some very generous corporate sponsors that enable us to do that.

184 species were seen during the festival.

• Common Loon (COLO) – 3 (days seen)*

• Pied-billed Grebe (PBGR) – 6

• Horned Grebe (HOGR) – 1

• Double-crested Cormorant (DCCO) – 8

• American Bittern (AMBI) – 3

. Least Bittern (LEBI) – 4

• Great Blue Heron (GBHE) – 7

• Great Egret (GREG) – 6

• Green Heron (GRHE) -5

• American Coot (AMCO) – 5

• Virginia Rail (VIRA) – 4

• Sora (SORA) – 4

• Ruffed Grouse (RUGR) – 7

• Wild Turkey (WITU) – 7

• Sandhill Crane (SACR) – 5

• Black-crowned Night-Heron (BCNH) – 1

• Canada Goose – (CANG) – 8

• Wood Duck (WODU) – 6

• Mallard (MALL) – 8

• Gadwall (GADW) -1

• American Wigeon (AMWI) -1

• Northern Shoveler (NOSH) – 2

• Blue-winged Teal (BWTE) – 2

• Redhead (REDH) – 1

• Greater Scaup (GRSC) -1

• Lesser Scaup (LESC) – 1

• Ring-necked Duck (RNDU) – 2

• White-winged Scoter (WWSC) -1

• Common Goldeneye (COGO) -1

• Hooded Merganser (HOME) – 3

• Common Merganser (COME) – 5

• Red-breasted Merganser (RBME) – 6

• Ruddy Duck (RUDU) – 2

• Turkey Vulture (TUVU) – 8

• Northern Harrier (NOHA) -3

• Sharp-shinned Hawk (SSHA) – 1

• Cooper’s Hawk (COHA) – 1

• Red-shouldered Hawk (RSHA) -1

• Broad-winged Hawk (BWHA) – 4

• Red-tailed Hawk (RTHA) – 6

• Bald Eagle (BAEA) – 5

• Osprey (OSPR – 4

• Merlin (MERL) – 7

• American Kestrel (AMKE) – 2

• Great Horned Owl (GHOW) – 2

• Eastern Screech Owl (ESOW) -1

• Common Nighthawk (CONI) – 5

• Mourning Dove (MODO) – 8

• Rock Pigeon (ROPI) – 4

• Black-billed Cuckoo (BBCU) – 6

• Black-bellied Plover (BBPL) – 2

• Semipalmated Plover (SEPL) – 2

• Killdeer (KILL) – 7

• Spotted Sandpiper (SPSA) – 6

• Upland Sandpiper (UPSA) – 3

. Ruddy Turnstone (RUTU) – 4

• Dunlin (DUNL) – 3

• Semipalmated Sandpiper (SESA) – 2

• Least Sandpiper (LESA) – 1

. Long-billed Dowitcher -(LBDO) -1

• American Woodcock (AMWO) – 5

• Wison’s Snipe (WISN) – 5

. Wilson’s Phalarope (WIPH) -1

• Bonaparte’s Gull (BOGU) -1

• Ring-billed Gull (RBGU) – 8

• Herring Gull (HEGU) – 8

• Caspian Tern (CATE) -3

• Common Tern (COTE) – 5

• Black Tern (BLTE) – 3

• Belted Kingfisher (BEKI) – 5

• Red-headed Woodpecker (RHWO) -1

• Red-bellied Woodpecker (RBWO) – 3

• Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (YBSA) – 5

• Downy Woodpecker (DOWO) – 7

• Hairy Woodpecker (HAWO)  – 5

• Northern Flicker (NOFL) -8

• Pileated Woodpecker (PIWO) – 5

• Blue Jay (BLJA) – 8

• Common Raven (CORA) – 8

• American Crow (AMCR) – 8

• Chimney Swift (CHSW) – 3

• Ruby-throated Hummingbird (RTHU) – 8

• Purple Martin (PUMA) – 1

• N Rough-winged Swallow (NRWS) – 4

• Bank Swallow (BANS) – 4

• Tree Swallow (TRES) – 8

• Cliff Swallow ( CLSW) – 7

• Barn Swallow (BARS) – 8

• Olive-sided Flycatcher (OSFL) – 3

• Eastern Wood-Pewee (EAWP) – 6

• Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (YBFL) – 1

• Willow Flycatcher (WIFL) – 3

• Alder Flycatcher ALFL) – 4

• Least Flycatcher (LEFL) – 8

• Eastern Phoebe (EAPH) – 8

• Great Crested Flycatcher (GCFL) – 8

• Eastern Kingbird (EAKI) – 8

• Gray Catbird (GRCA) – 8

• Eastern Bluebird (EABL) – 8

• American Robin (AMRO) – 8

• Veery (VEER) – 7

• Wood Thrush (WOTH) – 7

•  Swainson’s Thrush (SWTH) – 1

• Gray-cheeked Thrush (GCTH) – 1

• Hermit Thrush (HETH) – 2

• Brown Thrasher (BRTH) – 8

• Cedar Waxwing (CEDW) – 6

• Black-capped Chickadee (BCCH) – 8

. Tufted Titmouse (TUTI) – 1

• Red-breasted Nuthatch (RBNU) – 7

• White-breasted Nuthatch (WBNU) – 2

• Brown Creeper (BRCR) – 3

• Carolina Wren (CARW) – 2

• House Wren (HOWR) – 8

• Winter Wren (WIWR) – 8

• Marsh Wren (MAWR) – 2

• Golden-crowned Kinglet (GCKI) – 1

• Ruby-crowned Kinglet (RCKI) – 1

• Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (BGGN) – 5

• Red-eyed Vireo (REVI) – 8

• Warbling Vireo (WAVI) – 8

•  Philadelphia Vireo (PHVI) – 2

• Yellow-throated Vireo (YTVI) – 2

• Blue-headed Vireo (BHVI) – 2

. Northern Parula (NOPA) -1

• Blue-winged Warbler (BWWA) – 7

• Golden-winged Warbler (GWWA) – 8

• Nashville Warbler (NAWA) – 4

• Yellow Warbler (YWAR) – 8

• Chestnut-sided Warbler (CSWA) – 7

• Magnolia Warbler (MAWA) – 6

• Cape May Warbler (CMWA) – 1

• Black-throated Blue (BTBW) – 5

. Cerulean Warbler (CERW) – 2

• Blackburnian Warbler (BLBW) – 6

• Yellow-rumped Warbler (YRWA) – 7

• Black-throated Green (BTNW) – 8

• Pine Warbler (PIWA) – 4

• Palm Warbler (PAWA) – 5

• Bay-breasted Warbler (BBWA) – 3

• Blackpoll Warbler (BLPW) – 2

• Black-and-white Warbler (BAWW) – 8

• American Redstart (AMRE) – 8

• Ovenbird (OVEN) – 8

• Northern Waterthrush (NOWA) – 8

• Mourning Warbler (MOWA) – 7

• Common Yellowthroat (COYE) – 8

• Wilson’s Warbler (WIWA) – 3

• Canada Warbler (CAWA) – 4

• Hooded Warbler (HOWA) – 1

. Yellow-breasted Chat – 1

• Horned Lark (HOLA) – 5

• American Pipit (AMPI) – 1

• Eastern Towhee (EATO) – 6

• Field Sparrow (FISP) – 7

• Clay-coloured Sparrow (CCSP) – 2

• Chipping Sparrow (CHSP) – 8

• Savannah Sparrow (SAVS) – 8

• Vesper Sparrow (VESP) – 1

• White-throated Sparrow (WTSP) – 8

• White-crowned Sparrow WCSP) – 1

• Grasshopper Sparrow (GRSP) – 2

• Fox Sparrow (FOSP) – 1

• Song Sparrow (SOSP) – 8

• Lincoln’s Sparrow (LISP) – 1

• Swamp Sparrow (SWSP) – 8

• House Sparrow (HOSP) – 4

• Purple Finch (PUFI) – 4

• House Finch (HOFI) -1

• Red Crossbill – 1

• Pine Siskin (PISI) – 4

• American Goldfinch (AMGO) – 8

• Northern Cardinal (NOCA) – 8

• Rose-breasted Grosbeak (RBGR) – 8

• Indigo Bunting (INBU) – 8

• Scarlet Tanager (SCTA) – 8

• Baltimore Oriole (BAOR) – 8

• European Starling (EUST) – 8

• Eastern Meadowlark (EAME) – 8

• Bobolink (BOBO) – 8

• Brown-headed Cowbird (BHCO) – 8

• Red-winged Blackbird (RWBL) – 8

• Brewer’s Blackbird (BRBL) – 3

• Common Grackle (COGR) – 8

Number of species seen – 184

Bruce and Grey Counties are a natural paradise containing 48 species of orchids and 50 species of ferns accounting for two thirds of Ontario’s totals. There are at least 78 species of butterflies in our area. A local expert claims that there are 19 species of warblers nesting here and perhaps the most nesting birds in Southern Ontario.The Huron Fringe Birding Festival is based out of MacGregor Point Provincial Park near Port Elgin, Ontario.

(Compiled by Fred Javac)

Tree Swallow. Thanks to Heather & Mimi

Tree Swallow. Thanks to Heather & Mimi

 The 2014 Huron Fringe Birding Festival runs from

May 23 to May 26 and May 29 to June 1.

Registration begins February 1, 2014 at:

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The day dawned grey, overcast and cold. The chill wind off Lake Huron was unforgiving. After a week of cold, rain- filled days the forecasted promise of sunshine was no where in sight. It was 2 degrees at 5:30 AM at the Registration Tent when the ladies arrived to get ready to welcome the first wave of eager event participants at 6:00 AM.


A little later Doug Pedwell, on behalf of the HFBF Committee paid tribute to some of its generous sponsors with a special breakfast and presentation in the warmish Visitor’s Centre.


Not all of our sponsors were there, but those that were  received a “Thank You Plaque” with a beautiful photo of a Piping Plover.

(Left to Right) Peter Harrison, Keith Early, Ian Anderton, Paul and Helen Crysler, John King and HFBF Committee Member Doug Pedwell.

(Left to Right) Peter Harrison, Keith Early, Ian Anderton, Paul and Helen Crysler, John King and HFBF Committee Member Doug Pedwell.

Off we go

And the 2013 Huron Fringe Birding Festival walks into its first day. 

(P.S. The sun broke through in the early afternoon).


Just follow the signs.


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It may be hard to imagine given the weather we’re experiencing, but Festival Opening Day isn’t that far away, nor is the spring-like weather we all crave. As  May 24 draws closer events are filling up fast. But there is still room and time to register in a lot of others.


 Here is a brief list of some of the open activities you might be interested in. Check us out.



 May 24

A4 – MacGregor Tower Trail – Birding – with Bruce Edmunds. Hike the Tower Trail and check the Ducks Unlimited Pond from both the viewing tower and the bird blind.

A6 – Tree Walk & Talk – with Bob Gray. Hike the Lake Ridge Trail along the lakebed of two former glacial lakes to identify various trees. Learn how species associate with different site types.

 May 25

A12 – Birding the Saugeen First Nations Amphitheatre – with Joy Albrecht. Walkways and gardens are the backdrop to the Saugeen River. Visit the Southampton Pioneer Cemetery and Denny’s Dam on the far shore.

 A17 – The Wonderful World of Weeds – with Richard Aaron. Learn the “good side” of weeds – how they have been used for food, medicine and inspired inventions.

A18 – Managing Water – with Adrienne Mason. Join Adrienne on a hike through nearby river restoration projects where the interface of man, water and nature will be explored.

 May 26

A26 – “Ears On” Birding – with Judith King. The emphasis is on listening to the songs of MacGregor Point Park birds.

A30 – Bird Watching from Soup to Nuts – with Fred Jazvec. Many of the fundamentals in a birder’s journey through the stages of beginner, intermediate and advanced, are covered in this workshop.

A32 – Holy Hogweed! A Rogues Gallery of Nettlesome & Poisonous Plants – with Richard Aaron. From stings and blisters, to cuts and comas, learn about some of Ontario’s wild plants to avoid and what might happen if you don’t.

 May 30

B4 – Relaxed Nature Walk – with Minerva Cook. A walk past Pitcher Plant Marl to the Day Use area north of the Visitor Centre to explore plant and bird diversity.

B5 – Identifying MacGregor’s Tree Species – with Joe Watson. You visit Turtle Pond and Algonquin Campground to learn about tree species and identification ‘keys’ in various habitats common to the Huron Fringe.

B7 – Gardening for Wildlife – with Larry Lamb. Learn how to design your garden or backyard to attract insects, reptiles and butterflies.

 May 31

B9 – My Camera and Me – Focusing on Nature – with Jen O’Reilly. Discover the magic of light while taking dynamic, scenic, wildlife and close up photography. Learn and practice techniques professionals use.

B12 – Relaxed Nature Walk – Old Shore Road Trail – with Kim Toews. Enjoy a casual morning stroll along the Old Shore Road Trail in search of spring birds and wildflowers.

B13 – Plants, Legends and Folklore of MacGregor – with Heather Starrs. Heather’s walk introduces you to the legends, stories and superstitions attached to many common and not so common plants found at MacGregor.

June 1

B18 – Bayview Escarpment – Coffin Ridge Vineyard and Winery – with Mark Wiercinski. (See our Blog “Hiking & Wine Tasting – The Perfect Day”, March 8.) Crevice caves, Hart’s Tongue Fern and Barred Owls are all found within this Nature Reserve Provincial Park. And wine tasting after an invigorating hike is a great way to end the day.

 B20 – Legends of the Forest – with Heather Carscadden. The stories, legends and myths from around the world about the wonderful world of trees, which surround us.

B22 – How and Where to Photograph Frogs and Toads – with Kerry Jarvis. (See our Blog “A Conversation with Kerry Jarvis”, February 1.) Learn where to find elusive frogs and toads, along with tried and true techniques that will help you capture these amazing, miniscule creatures.

 B25 – GPS Scavenger Hunt – with Heather Carscadden. (See our Blog “And Now For Something Completely Different”, March 13.) Learn GPS basics and how GPS technology works; then use your knowledge to find hidden caches in a fun nature trivia scavenger hunt.

B28 – The Mysterious World of Moths – with Andalynne Tofflemire. An introduction to the ‘moth world’ as you become familiar with some of Ontario’s most commonly encountered moth species.

 June 2

B31 – Birding South Bruce – Kincardine and Point Clark – with James Turland. Enjoy a birding adventure looking for spring migrants along the side roads of Southern Bruce County.

B35 – Woodland Trail – with Sarah Martin. A walk through a maple forest dune complex system located north of the Park between Port Elgin and Southampton.

B36 – Wildflower Diversity Within the Fringe – with Brett Woodman. Here’s your chance to learn about and appreciate some of MacGregor Point’s varied wildflowers.

B37 – Sunset Walk – with John Cummings. The Lake Huron shoreline offers some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. It’s the perfect ending for your Huron Fringe Birding Festival experience.

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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