hummingbird- by John Dickson, Owen Sound Field Naturalists

On Tuesday April 9, at Grey Roots, Audrey Armstrong delivered two presentations of Monarchs in the Queen's Bush. Her detailed research and up to date information on these majestic migrants really helped to clarify the timetables and challenges they face, in order to produce butterflies here where we live, who are able to fly successfully to the home of their ancestors from several generations before them. Armstrong also provided support materials for the two audiences, including pamphlets and seed packages of swamp milkweed, the primary food source on which the Monarchs rely to raise their young.

On April 11, Bob Knapp presented Rocks and Rock Formations to the Owen Sound Field Naturalists club, highlighting distinctive rocks with interesting shapes, sizes, patterns and stories, which many in the capacity audience recognized from popular locations along the Niagara Escarpment. I received a message just the other day from someone who is now searching out these special landmarks, while she is hiking, and consequently, Knowing Nature Better, as the OSFN motto encourages.tree sparrow

Bob Knapp's follow-up, guided hike to visit some of these locations is now scheduled for this Saturday May 4th. See for details about this field trip.
You can also learn about a new field trip planned for May 8th - Springtime Woodland Stroll - on a naturally diverse property part of which is also adjacent to the Long Swamp, sure to be teeming with Springtime activities.

On Saturday April 20, the Sydenham Sportsmen Association held their annual clean up event in honour of Earth Day, with crews of volunteers heading out from behind City Hall. Some of their members are also working on a project to build Loon nesting platforms for the Rankin Resource Group, with expected installation at Boat Lake and Isaac Lake in time for their use next year.

On the same day, the sold out, fourth annual Celebrate Earth Day presentation aboard the Chi Cheemaun, featured University of Guelph Professor Emeritus Doug Larson whose lively story telling and passionate musical renditions really struck a chord with the audience. As a bonus, Islay Graham presented the impressive display from her OSFN first prize winning entry in the Bluewater Science and Technology Fair.

On Saturday morning April 27, the NeighbourWoods North team were busy in the fresh snow, planting replacement trees at the Hospital, in Owen Sound.
You too can join them this Saturday, May 4th, for Nurture the Forest of Hope & Healing, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm.

As announced on their web page, throughout May "We will be caring for the trees at the Hospital Forest of Hope and Healing for the next three Saturday mornings. On the last Saturday in May we will be working at Kelso Beach."
Check their events page at

Bill Moses was extra busy this past weekend hosting a Hike to the Creek for the OSFN Saturday, April 27, where many trees, and flowering shrubs were identified, including the colourful Daphne, and many different Willows, Dogwoods, Hazelnut, Rock Elm, the very thorny Honey Locust, both European Larch and native Tamarack, plus several roses, including Dog Rose, or Rosa canina.

snapping turtleThen, on Sunday, Jody Johnson Pettit reports "The Owen Sound Young Naturalists Club had a beautiful hike, April 28th with Bill Moses at the B&C Moses Sunset Bed and Breakfast just outside of Owen Sound. The children compared the needles and cones of the different pine and spruce tree species and looked closely at the various tree buds in the Moses Arboretum.
Bill showed the kids how to make paper planting pots and showed off his hut, which is made of wooden pallet walls and covered with dried phragmites stalks for protection. He says it keeps about 90 percent of the rain and snow off the plants inside. The highlight for many was the snapping turtle that was spotted sunning itself during the hike to the creek at the back of the property."

As for birding activities, meanwhile, on the other side of town, Jim Hastie was paddling with three companions on Shallow Lake, and observed that Great Blue Herons were occupying at least ten nests in the Rookery or Heronry there.

Throughout April David Turner has been rewarded with terrific sightings in the Flesherton Hills, and in the Beaver Valley, of American Bittern, Fox Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, many waterfowl, including on April 28, "seeing the great egret in breeding plumage is VERY encouraging. It's the first time I've seen it since living here." Many of Turner's photos of flowers and mammals are also exquisite.

piping ploverKiah Jasper reported seeing his first Piping Plover of the year at Sauble Beach on Tuesday April 30, which is, I think, pretty much right on schedule.

Then on May 1st, Bruce Edmunds reported "Birding in the rain today with the Bruce Birding Club. Came across this Northern Waterthrush (warbler). Checked the radar. Ran back to the car and got the camera. Was not disappointed."

This weekend May 3 to 5, The Sources of Knowledge Forum taking place in Tobermory is intended to demonstrate how research in Bruce Peninsula National Park, Fathom Five National Marine Park, and the surrounding community contributes to knowledge of the Bruce Peninsula’s natural and human history. To learn more please visit

At 7PM Wednesday May 8, the premiere screening of - Resilience: Transforming our Community - A different kind of climate change film - will be held at the Roxy. This uplifting film offers ways to build resilience in ourselves and our community by transforming the way we live. The film’s message, “let’s talk about it,” offers solutions at the individual, community and municipal levels - Doors open at 6PM, and admission is by donation.

The next night, May 9, in the auditorium of the Public Library, the Owen Sound Field Naturalists Members' Night will feature several varied presentations by club members. Topics will include Fleabanes, wildlife images captured by a trail camera on a Nature Reserve, NeighbourWoods North, A Taste of Belize, Spring Wildflowers, and Islay Graham's Piping Plover food and habitat display, entitled "Rake, Wrack and Risk". The evening gets started with refreshments and social time just after 6:30, with the meeting itself getting underway at 7PM. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

To close, a Nature quote from Birgit Stutz and Larry Scanlon, extolling the majesty and beauty of Mount Renshaw and of Mount Robson - "the stunning highpoint of the Canadian Rockies... where climbers who reach its almost four thousand metre summit glory in views that extend one hundred kilometres in every direction, and rave about its vast meadows and many lakes, as well as the glaciers.... that spill into the aquamarine waters of Berg Lake..."




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