Great Canadian Birdathon 2018: Mike McMillan’s Report

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018: Mike McMillan’s Report
Story by Mike McMillan, photos by George Pond At 5:10 a.m. I arrived at George Pond's to join George, Peggy McArthur, Allan McEwan and Shelia Smith for our eventful day. During a quick stop at a grassy area on Luscombe Drive across from Turkstra Lumber we heard the buzzing-insect-like sound of a Grasshopper Sparrow and the musical sound of a Song Sparrow. As we continued on our way to Bird Studies Canada to meet with Betty Chanyi, Diane Salter and Anne Wynia we stopped on Charlotteville Road 5 near Young's Creek where a pair of Mallards flew over head and a singing Swamp Sparrow made its presence known. Further on, after crossing the Turkey Point Road, about 100 yards ahead of us a coyote trotted nonchalantly across the road. After travelling south and crossing Highway 24 we turned west onto…
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Great Canadian Birdathon 2018

Great Canadian Birdathon 2018
By George Pond All Photos by the Author Well, another Great Canadian Birdathon is over. As usual, it was another fun, but tiring time. As a group we identified 132 species of birds and ate a cooler filled with chicken and other wraps, courtesy of the Blue Elephant in Simcoe. For over a quarter of a century I have been doing the Birdathon with Bruce and Ann Falls from Toronto and Steve Wilcox from Port Rowan. This year Bruce and Ann had decided that it was time to retire and Steve was busy with his daughter’s wedding. Fortunately, Ricky Dunn and her son Jeremy Hussel, who had joined us a few years ago were keen to go, and I was able to recruit my friend Rick Dowson from Simcoe to join us. We were delighted when the “birding bug” caught…
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Borneo: A Travel Journal

Borneo: A Travel Journal
By George Pond (All photos by the author) I suppose my “Bucket List” desire to visit Borneo goes back to my public school days of reading National Geographic. Here was a country still covered with pristine rainforest, where head hunters once roamed the dense jungle; where herds of wild Asian pygmy elephants were common, Orangutans claimed their canopy territories, where troops of Long-tailed and Pig-tailed Macaques lived in groups of 20 or more animals, and strange looking Proboscis monkeys, with their funny noses lived in trees along the river valleys. Here eight species of Hornbills, birds with massive bills, would fly overhead or sit on exposed limbs of dead trees; and various species of hawks and eagles patrolled the rivers searching for whatever nature provided. A land of abundant wildlife. Well, the head hunters have long disappeared as has most…
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Nature under the Midnight Sun: A Travel Journal

Nature under the Midnight Sun: A Travel Journal
by Inga Hinnerichsen (Note: All photos by the author unless otherwise indicated) Finland: The land of the Midnight Sun, thirty thousand lakes and five thousand islands. The land where people are born with cross-country skis on their feet. This is where I grew up. Last summer I travelled back for an overdue visit. First a few geographic, geological and historical facts. From top to bottom Finland is approximately 1100 km long. It's hugged by two arms of the Baltic Sea in the south and west. It borders with Sweden and Norway in the north and with Russia to the east. Compared to Canada, the southern edge is at the same latitude as White Horse and it stretches north to about Tuktoyaktuk. A thick glacier covered the entire country during the last ice age. The receding ice scoured away top soil…
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Norfolk county municipal candidates weigh in on environment issues

Norfolk county municipal candidates weigh in on environment issues
For those citizens of Norfolk County who place value in our biodiversity, and the intrinsic and aesthetic beauty of our natural spaces we provide for you here the comments from those candidates that took the time to respond to our e-mail. Note – some candidates provided us with background information and credentials (i.e. university degree) on themselves. We did not include those below. If you have any questions please feel free to contact: Bernie Solymár, Director of Environment, Norfolk Field Naturalists at 519-427-9969 or solymar@nornet.on.ca. Download municipal candiates responses to NFN questions on the environment
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Restoration Work at St. Williams Conservation Reserve

Restoration Work at St. Williams Conservation Reserve
By Inga Hinnerichsen In the past year I have helped out with ongoing work at the St. Williams Conservation Reserve. The forest reserve consists of mainly two tracts: the Turkey Point Tract and the Nursery Tract stretching north from Hwy. 24 between Forestry Farm Road and East Quarter Line Road. As the glaciers were melting after the last ice age and water levels began to drop, the receding shoreline left behind a series of sand dunes. Eventually, these dunes were overgrown with local vegetation. The area was cleared by early settlers and heavily eroded by the late 1800s. In the early 20th century it was planted largely with pine varieties to prevent further erosion and as lumber crop trees. Small pockets of Black Oak savannah remained on higher, dry ground. Part of the ongoing work in the Conservation Reserve are…
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Across Canada: A geographical journey

Across Canada: A geographical journey
Story and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen Author's note: My apologies for the fuzzy quality of the photos. The train wouldn't slow down for photo ops. A couple of years ago, during one of our trips to Australia, we traveled by the "Ghan" (called so, because of the Afghan camel drovers imported to access the interior), a famous train leaving Adelaide in the south and arriving in Darwin in the north 4 days later. We caught the train half way through the journey, in Alice Springs in the Red Centre. I have always liked train travel. Both Dave and I have travelled by rail in Europe a fair amount in the past. The Ghan is a notch or two up from your typical passenger train with comfortable private compartments including a small bathroom. The dining car menu and service is definitely…
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Fisherville Christmas Bird Count

Fisherville Christmas Bird Count
Compiled by Linda Thrower Thursday, December 28th, 2017. Wind chill around midnight was -30oC with a N.E wind of 15 km. By around 9:00 am, the temperature had risen to -19oC, but if you were dressed right, it was a nice day for looking for birds. But, you had to look for them, which gives this count a few more new lows than new highs. The day looked like this: Sandhill Cranes are back on the count but seem to be losing in numbers — 2011 – 10; 2017 – 2 (number the same as 2016). Lowest number of Canada Geese since 1999 when there were 1,967; now their number is 2,246. Lowest number of Tundra Swans since 1999 when 1 was also found. Last year’s number was 79, 2015 – 172, 2014 – 260. Gadwalls also have their lowest…
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Results from 31st Woodhouse CBC

Results from 31st Woodhouse CBC
These are the results of the 31st Woodhouse CBC held on Sunday, December 17, 2017. The Woodhouse CBC is centred seven kilometres east of Simcoe, at the crossroads of Highway 3 and Cockshutt Road at Renton in Norfolk County and roughly covers from Port Dover to Waterford and just west of Simcoe to east of Jarvis. Weather: The weather this year was better than the freezing rain of last year. Overnight and during the day it was dry and mostly cloudy. Temperatures overnight went from -5C at midnight down to -7C at dawn; daytime high was -4. The wind was mostly calm or light easterly. Total Species: 90 with no additional Count Week species (average for the last 30 years = 79; average for the last 10 years = 85) Total Individuals: 18,972 (average for the last 30 years =…
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In Memorium: Harry B. Barrett

In Memorium: Harry B. Barrett
Harry B. Barrett at the NFN 50th Anniversary Gala 1922 - 2017 First President of Norfolk Field Naturalists and Honorary Director On January 26th, 2017, the NFN and the entire community of Norfolk County lost one of its greatest. Harry B. Barrett was a philanthropist, historian, naturalist, family man and a dear friend of so many. In 1962 Monroe Landon, another of our great naturalists, called a meeting at his house. The objective was to revive the old naturalist club, which had fallen by the wayside during the war years. As one of the founding members of Norfolk Field Naturalists Harry B. Barrett was appointed the first President of the new club. In 2012 the NFN celebrated its 50th Anniversary and is today going strong after all these years. As a token of deep gratitude for his long and dedicated…
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