One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

Posts Tagged ‘Saugeen Shores


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Anne Cathrae is going over the list of display venues for the new 2013 Huron Fringe Birding Festival Brochure. They’ll be on display soon. Look for them. By the way, given the look on Anne’s face your are correct in assuming that she didn’t know her picture was being taken.


Jim Duncan, Norah Toth (check out Norah’s Festival Story posted January 12) and Judy Duncan sorting out brochures, rack cards and bookmarks all with our distinctive HFBF design. There are more than 80 individual events featuring Birding, Botany, Photography, Geology, Nature Hikes, and the list goes on.

Event rosters are limited and will fill up quickly so register early for best choice. Call, write or contact us on-line and make sure you’re part of it all. The Huron Fringe Birding Festival runs from May 24 to June 2, 2013.

The program is posted under Huron Fringe Birding Festival – Schedule of Events.

Registration begins February 1, 2013 at

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By Fred Jazvac

“I can hear it. Can you see it?”
Photograph by Liz Addison

If you scratch the surface of the Huron Fringe Birding Festival (HFBF) you will invariably find members of the Bruce Birding Club (BBC) peeping through. The simple reason being that both organizations have been happily, productively and inextricably linked for a number of years.

The Bruce Birding Club, which started in the fall of 2002, is a gathering of friends who share a common interest – the love of birds and nature. A former birding club in the area called the Bruce County Bird Finders Club (BCBFC) was the foundation of the BBC’s origin as a local birding club. The BCBFC had not operated for 9 months. Fred Jazvac, the only remaining active member of the BCBFC, restarted the concept by recruiting new people from the local Huron Fringe Birding Festival.

And it grew from there. Outings were held on Wednesday to avoid the days when the local curling club was operating. That change brought in Mike Pickup, a local, experienced birder and great contributor to the Friends of MacGregor Point Provincial Park. MIke the recruiter brought in Margaret Anderton and Tania Gilchrist. As news of the BBC spread out of town birders began to show up. Dave Schaus from Walkerton, John Cummings from Clifford, Ralph and Mary Anne Knowels from Kincardine who brought in James Turland, Jim and Judy Duncan and Mike and Helen Penfold from Owen Sound.

These new additions also brought a level of expertise and leadership that enhanced and improved the club. With these beginnings birders were attracted from a much wider area than Saugeen Shores They came from Collingwood, Thornbury and Kitchener and participated on a regular basis. From time to time visitors from farther away places in Ontario and even England have dropped in.

Some of the earliest members were the late Wendy Grava and Cynthia Isber. In 2002, Wendy Grava took it upon herself to keep a list of the sightings of club outings emailing them to members. Wendy designed an excellent template to report on the outings. It is still used today by the BBC with some modifications.

An outstanding volunteer in our area and former BCBFC member Mary Rapati took it a step further by keeping an archive of the birds seen by the BBC since 2003. Mary involved her husband Tony and between the two of them they have also kept records for other organizations like the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. This is a colourful and neatly appointed archive, which provides a history of birds seen in our area from 2003. If you wish a copy of it, please contact Fred Jazvac at

Our love of nature is evident in contributions made beyond the BBC. Club members have volunteered heavily in bird related activities in our area. BBC members make up 11 of the 12 members who run the Huron Fringe Birding Festival. They have been active today and in the past in compiling at least 4 different local Christmas Bird Counts. Our members also participate in five CBC’s locally. They have been heavily involved in the Breeding Bird Atlas, grassland and owl surveys, and in the Piping Plover project at Sauble Beach. BBC member, Stew Nutt ran that project in its most successful years.

One of our members, Judith King was honored by Bird Studies Canada for her participation in point counts across Canada. Our members have led bird hikes for the HFBF, the BBC, local naturalist clubs and OFO hikes. What is especially good about that is some of them were beginning birders who learned their skills by being members of the BBC. Because of this shared learning hike leaders for our outings come from volunteers from the club membership.

While we do not actively recruit members for the BBC, we never turn away people who are interested in joining us. At times we wonder if we have too many for an outing, so we tend to break up in small groups when birding and there is plenty of expertise there to manage the sightings. We pride ourselves in being different than other leader-led hikes because everyone participates in finding and identifying birds.

In some sense, the BBC is unique in that it has no President, no fees and no formal organization. It is held together by the friendliness of its members who come from all walks of life, through excellent communications, through sharing of photographs, sightings at their homes and rare and interesting birds that they see in the field. Bonnie Patterson-Collins, artist, hike leader, volunteer, early member of the BBC and photographer started the sharing of photographs.

Because of this closeness between club members, one wonders if the BBC is a birding club or a social club. What matters is having fun, enjoying nature and our time together. Best of all we are always learning from each other. Life is good.

Birding is an all-season activity. The BBC at Niagara.

Written by huronfringefest

November 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm