Tis season to count birds
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.