Tis sea­son to count birds

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - FORUM - JOHN DICK­SON

Fred Jaz­vac thinks an out­ing Nov. 4 may have had the largest turnout -- al­most 40 bird­ers -- in his more than 10 years of lead­ing Around the Bay with Fred - Water­fowl ID: Tips and Tech­niques.

Co­in­ci­den­tally, al­most 40 dif­fer­ent species were ob­served and noted dur­ing the four to five hours of the an­nual out­ing. High­lights in­cluded 48 greater white fronted geese at Leith, and a rare sight­ing of a red phalarope at the East Side Boat Launch plus about 20 species that are found near wa­ter, along with a bald ea­gle and a few song­birds.

Hav­ing an­nounced that this would be the fi­nal time he would lead this event, Jaz­vac was given a rous­ing cheer and a round of ap­plause in ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

On Nov. 8, Su­san McGowan, for­est health tech­ni­cal spe­cial­ist for the Mid­hurst - Aurora Dis­tricts, en­light­ened an au­di­ence at the au­di­to­rium of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Pub­lic Li­brary on her role in mon­i­tor­ing forests and re­port­ing her find­ings on the rel­a­tive health of trees. She shared de­tails of wooded ar­eas right here in Grey-Bruce and farther afield, with de­tails about beech, elm, ash, spruce and oak, as well as the cycli­cal ac­tiv­i­ties of for­est tent cater­pil­lars. There were many ques­tions af­ter­wards, and McGowan in­vited folks to re­port cases where healthy spec­i­mens are thriv­ing and could have greater dis­ease re­sis­tance, pos­si­bly through ge­net­ics, and po­ten­tially pro­vid­ing a good source of fu­ture seedlings. Visit www.osfn.ca for her con­tact in­for­ma­tion as well as a list of on­line re­sources re­lated to her talk.

On Nov. 25, Brian Robin led the Young Nat­u­ral­ists Club on a field trip at Kinghurst Na­ture Re­serve. His main fo­cus was to show and share in­for­ma­tion about win­ter sur­vival for many of the lo­cal fauna. Bird nests, beaver lodges, cav­i­ties in trees - all of these were there to be dis­cov­ered. Robin also brought with him and showed sam­ples of but­ter­fly co­coons, and even a win­ter­ing home of a pray­ing man­tis. Later he pointed out a ver­nal pool in the mid­dle of for­est, where am­phib­ians may be able to find some mud, and where many critters even have a type of an­tifreeze com­po­nent in their bod­ies. The young nat­u­ral­ists had many ques­tions ques­tions an­swered.

In the next month many mem­bers of the OSFN will be en­gaged in an­nual Christ­mas bird counts. Held ev­ery year be­tween Dec. 14 and Jan. 5, the counnt is one of the the largest cit­i­zen science pro­jects.

If you would like to join one of the counts in Grey or Bruce coun­ties, the con­tact in­for­ma­tion and dates of the 2018 counts are listed on the OSFN web­site at www.osfn.ca If you are out­side the area, or would like more gen­eral in­for­ma­tion about the project, head to the Bird Stud­ies Canada Web­site.

On Thurs­day, Dec. 13, John Reaume, an ac­com­plished wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher, nat­u­ral­ist, and physi­cian will present Spi­ders of Eastern North Amer­ica.

“Spi­ders have a bad rep­u­ta­tion but in re­al­ity these fas­ci­nat­ing crea­tures are very valu­able to us and have an amaz­ing life his­tory,” he says. “Un­der­stand­ing more about spi­ders will make you ap­pre­ci­ate them more - its true!”

The meet­ing be­gins at 7 p.m. in the au­di­to­rium of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Pub­lic Li­brary. Ad­mis­sion is free, al­though do­na­tions are wel­come.

To close, a cou­ple of na­ture quotes from our good friend Jake Do­herty, re­cently de­ceased:-”Was it a quick flurry of blow­ing snow, like a loom­ing north­ern mi­rage, or was it per­haps some­thing more pri­mor­dial, left be­hind from an ear­lier time in the an­cient forests?”

“The wind picked up, and a sin­gle yel­lowed, withered leaf twisted, then tum­bled to the ground ... in the fad­ing au­tumn.”


Mem­bers of the Young Nat­u­ral­ists Club hike at the Kinghurst Na­ture Re­serve.

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