huronfringefest

One of Canada's Premier Birding and Nature Festivals

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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.

me_driving

“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

Mark.Wiercinski@forces.gc.ca


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 http://friendsofmacgregor.org/page/schedule-of-events

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ON THE EVENT OF YOUR CHOICE

Some events are already full

Brochures are available at MacGregor Point Provincial Park

plus a number of other locations

HURON FRINGE BIRDING FESTIVAL

MAY 24 – MAY 27

MAY 30 – JUNE 2

 

  

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