Owen Sound Field Naturalists – August 2021

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On the morning of July 19, many hands did light work when the Owl Friends gathered to cut trails and clean up trash along the shore. Marie Knapp shared this – report. It was difficult to find a time when pandemic restrictions allowed. This event was a little different than usual.

“We contacted our current roster of volunteers and found the number we needed. Three pairs of volunteers worked on three different sections along the rugged shore. Because the water level dropped, more garbage was found. Several bags of garbage were left for staff to dispose of. Good work. No problem with distancing when working this way.

During this time, two groups of two and three worked on the cutting of the interpretation trail. Some areas were quite overgrown. The flooding in a few places was unusual but understandable given the downpours we had. The mowing went well and we gave the mosquito population the opportunity to feast.

It was great to see new volunteers joining us. Everyone deserves applause for the hard work and volunteerism to improve what we have at Hibou.

We could have another event in the fall. We welcome new volunteers. If you are interested, please contact [email protected]

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On August 3, Andrea Gress, the Ontario Piping Plover Program Coordinator, on behalf of Birds Canada / Oiseaux Canada, hosted an online season closing event for known nesting sites in Ontario. Most of the event was recorded and can be viewed at the link below. It includes presentations of updates by:

Marina Opitz in Wasaga Beach Provincial Park, where five chicks managed to fly and fly south in mid-summer;

Caleb Johnstone, on behalf of Plover Lovers of Sauble Beach, reported that they only had one late nest with just three eggs. Although all three had hatched, by this time there were still more juvenile gulls on the beach and they are one of the main threats for predation. A day or two after hatching, the first two chicks were predated, and when the third egg hatched, the chick was predated soon after by a Merlin. The local team continued to develop strategies to make the enclosure area less accessible to gulls with bamboo poles close together, as an example that may be promising for future campaigns. In addition, several visitors showed great interest and supported efforts to support Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach, as they face significant challenges to even maintain their populations;

Monica Fromberger-Darlington Provincial Park reported two nests of four eggs each, only one of which succeeded, these four chicks hatch, eat and grow, fly away and eventually head south.

Due to the pandemic, no team of volunteers were working with piping plover campaigns on Ontario beaches this year.

To see the presentation, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1O7d-Bc7E3ParSPBZLEnHNkraq4JzQsnE/view?usp=sharing

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NeighbourWoods North held their Four fourth annual garage sale fundraiser to Saturday July 17th and reported that the sale raised over $ 2,300 in funds for tree planting.

In addition, the tree maintenance sessions on Tuesday evening will now be interrupted because they have been so successful that the objectives for the summer have already been reached.

“Thanks to so many volunteers, new and old, we were able to walk a path through the Forest of Hope and Healing this summer while mulching the trees, cutting back the blooms around the saplings and watering when it was not raining. To be clear, this isn’t the larger healing trail that will eventually circle Owen Sound Hospital, but rather a smaller trail to encourage people to come and see the saplings up close.

“I can say from personal experience that this section of the path is a delight,” says John Dickson. “I have been walking through sections of it since last year and have often observed the changes in the growth and colors of the trees, as well as the monarch butterflies and the many species of birds on the way, especially the meadow beetle. , American goldfinches, kildir, and even a Wilson’s Snipe which startled me when he stole youp next to me there last fall.

The most recent announcement was that NeighbourWoods North and the Owen Sound GBHS Hospital held a official opening earlier this week for the amazing and beautiful Hospitality Garden which debuted in 2020.

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Bob Knapp of the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club reported:

On Friday August 13, a bio-blitz was hosted by the Bruce Trail Conservancy to examine flora and fauna. The event took place on the recently purchased 75-acre Bruce Trail property called Colpoy’s Cavern, near Bruce’s Caves.

The group was led by Bruce Trail environmentalist Mara McHaffie. Five Sentier Ambassadors, students hired for the summer, took part. Seven union delegates from the Sydenham Bruce Trail Club also attended.

Hike the length of the property, recording anything that interests you, wWe found a lot of wild ginger and many types of ferns as well as a few salamanders.

The large ash trees still appeared to be healthy, but it is likely that they will be affected by the emerald ash borer. What was remarkable was that no invasive species were recorded. This area has had very little human presence except where the Bruce Trail is, as well as the caves.

It was good to meet the young ambassadors who were very knowledgeable and environmentally conscious. The land stewards each have a different property for which they are responsible and they have enjoyed viewing this unique property with knowledgeable young people.

The recorded data will be used to make a plan for this property.

We are indeed fortunate to have so many Bruce Trail volunteers in the area who are interested in preserving great natural spaces.

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It is now mid August and the wildflowers put on a fabulous show all around Gray and Bruce, as I observed while running and cycling here and there – the blues, yellows, purples, pinks, whites and various shades of these draw the eye on roadsides and across meadows.

Many young birds with their parents are more visible lately – I have seen and heard young Familiar Sparrows, Baltimore Orioles, Northern Cardinals, American Redstart, and this morning a young Gray Catbird.

Two weeks ago I noticed a herd of about a hundred Rred-winged blackbirds swirling from the gritty edge of a road to the nearby wetland just on the edge of town.

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Spotted birds

Belted Kingfisher in Harrison Park by Fely Clarke

Tuesday of this week, I asked David Turner of Flesherton if the Great and the Little Knight had ever migrated here, and if so, where they could be found. Turner said that both are starting to come south now, mostly females and juveniles. “They were along the shores of the lake and some inland, and there will be more arriving in the next few weeks. Warblers are also moving south now. I encountered a large mixed herd at Stayner today.

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Photos of Pam Kinchen

Owen Sound Field Naturalists (OSFN) hosted a Moth Night on Wednesday August 4, with guest host Alan Macnaughton, in the Gray Sauble Conservation Arboretum area.

About ten participants attended to see the many dozen species of moths, largely thanks to the variety of habitats found there.

Several lamps were lit to attract moths and visited later to observe which butterflies were attracted and how many. The weather also cooperated and even mosquitoes weren’t a problem. People kept their distance, while observing some of the most striking specimens up close, including the Tiger Moths, Underside of the wings little lined, and much more.

For a larger view, click on the image

Many thanks to Rebecca Ferguson of Gray Sauble Conservation for her help in making some arrangements to use the site, which turned out to be the most suitable for hosting the event.

In addition to the Wednesday night activities, Macnaughton was able to set up several lights on Wednesday and Thursday nights, then review the results on the mornings of August 5 and 6. I was able to visit him briefly on the morning of August 6th and I too was amazed at the colors, shapes and sizes that I saw.

Macnaughton said during his two-night visit to Owen Sound, he observed 151 butterflies of 124 species. “I tried to take pictures of every butterfly I saw because I knew there weren’t a lot of butterfly records in Gray County.

The most attractive species was the Great Tiger Moth, or Garden Tiger Moth (scientific name Arctia caja). I found this in the traps on August 6th. There were three specimens of this species. The wingspan is around 3 inches, so it’s a big moth. To see, visit: https://inaturaliste.ca/observations/90132504

It is not found in the Waterloo region, and this was my first encounter with the species. Marvellous.

The most surprising sightings were two moths (genus Catocala) which were some distance from previous sightings. The Judith Underwing is rare (36 sightings in Ontario) and has previously been found near the northern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, so Owen Sound was not expected.

OSFN President Pam Kinchen was also present and said it was a good night for the moths and for the OSFN members. “Alan’s enthusiasm was infectious as he showed off all the different ways of attracting butterflies, showing them off, and taking pictures. He has a vast knowledge which was quite evident.

The event was very successful and Macnaughton was so happy that similar events were likely to be held again. “

Macnaughton added that, The butterflies that we will see vary considerably during the season. Probably every three weeks during the season, an essentially different set of moths will be seen. “

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Other outdoor programs are planned by OSFN, including a flora excursion with David Morris and a monarch tagging workshop with Audrey Armstrong.

For more details on these and other activities, visit www.osfn.ca

Finally, a Nature quote from The healer by John Wright:

“Only now was the freshness under the trees, the perfumed air on their faces, on their interests, on their curiosity about the flora and fauna so rich that they were still astonished that it was their home. … Sometimes a stream tickled the rocks in the woods beside them. As dry men of the desert, they felt refreshed just by such a delicious sound.


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