The Bruce Beckoned

The Bruce Beckoned
Ontario Nature's 85th annual gathering Story by Inga Hinnerichsen Ontario Nature celebrated its 85th anniversary combined with its Annual Gathering on the weekend of June 3, 4 and 5, 2016. The organisation was founded in 1931, then called the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. Today Ontario Nature has over 150 member groups, such as Norfolk Field Naturalists, all throughout this province. Together we share the love of nature and continue to work towards preserving natural areas, flora and fauna for future generations. The NFN participated with a small delegation: Bernie Solymár, Len Grincevicius, Diane Salter, Karin Jonasson, David Curry and Inga Hinnerichsen. On the way we stopped at Sauble Beach to observe a few rare Piping Plovers that were nesting on the beach. Sadly, later news told us that none of the nests this year were successful. Some were destroyed by…
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2016 Birdathon

2016 Birdathon
The 2016 Summer Lotus has the first of two articles on the 2016 Birdathon. The second part will be in the next issue. There's lots of great photos from George Pond.
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Coyote Watch

Coyote Watch
The NFN Information Session on Coyotes was a Big Success! Late last year a couple of individuals made a deputation to council about the "disturbing" increase of coyotes in Norfolk County over the last year or two. They claimed that coyotes are a threat to pets and humans. Their angst was due to a small dog being attacked on a home owner's driveway at night about 2 years ago and residents in Port Dover and Port Rowan (primarily) seeing coyotes in broad daylight. As a result, over the last few months of 2015 coyotes received a lot of local press and social media coverage. After some FaceBook exchanges with a number of persons, and a whiff in the air that Council was bowing to pressure from a few individuals, our Board of Directors decided to hold a special public information…
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Christmas Bird Count, Fisherville

Christmas Bird Count, Fisherville
Compiled by: Linda Thrower December 28, 2015 Sadly, The Fisherville Bird Count lost two of its long-time members this year: Jim Heslop and Wes Raymond. Sincere condolences to both families and friends, they will be greatly missed. Another reality has hit me this year, I do not think "bird" very well. I would have thought, with all the warm weather leading up to this count, and count day being the first really cold day, that the birds would have been out looking for food everywhere. Oh well, I was wrong again. There was a very nasty cold wind, so a big Thank You to all who participated. I do find it quite amazing what species we were able to find in spite of the weather. Here are the highs and the lows of the count. Species 2015 count (2014 count)…
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Christmas Bird Count, Woodhouse

Christmas Bird Count, Woodhouse
Compiled by: David Okines Greetings Counters, These are the results of the 29th Woodhouse CBC held on December 20th 2015. The Woodhouse CBC is centred 7 km 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. The mild weather this year was a change from recent counts but it made the birding harder. Overnight it was mostly clear but cloud cover increased to total cloud cover by late morning and then there were some sunny periods in the afternoon. All standing water was free of ice. Temperatures varied overnight from a high of -3 around midnight to a low of -7 by dawn and then increasing to a daytime high of +5. The wind was…
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Winter Birding in Haldimand County

Winter Birding in Haldimand County
By Inga Hinnerichsen Third time's a charm. I've tried to participate in this regular outing for the last 3 years. One year it was cancelled because of nasty weather, another time I had a sick hubby and a sick dog at home and couldn't go. I'm not an experienced birder, so outings like this present great learning opportunities for me. Finally, on Sunday, January 17, I met with the group of 10 birders led by Tim Lucas at the Port Dover pier. Just before I arrived a juvenile Bald Eagle sailed over the pier, I had missed it by mere seconds. One man had found us on the internet and came down from Mississauga. He later said it was well worth it. The forecast had the temperature falling well below freezing in the afternoon with light snow tapering off. While…
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Mushrooms: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Mushrooms:  The good, the bad, and the ugly
...and the Weird and the Wonderful, too. Story and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen Originally published in 2015 December Lotus Enter the mysterious world of Fungi. For the longest time they were considered plants, but in the late 1960's they were classified as their own Kingdom. Just like plants, the Kingdom contains Families which contain Genera which in turn contain Species. It is estimated that there are over a million species of fungi worldwide. Science has barely scratched the surface of the potential of their use in pharmacology. Penicillin is derived from a mold fungus. Psilocybin is a hallucinogen found in over 140 species and has been found helpful in treating depression, anxieties and other mental disorders. Fungi might even be able to clean up oil and chemical spills. Fungi help us make bread, cheese, beer and wine, besides making delicious…
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Tales from The Tip

Tales from The Tip
Story and photos by Inga Hinnerichsen Originally published in 2015 December Lotus Is anyone interested in spending a week at the Long Point Tip?" Diane Salter inquired during one of our watercolour painting sessions in Port Rowan. Diane had won the "Trip to the Tip" as a Birdathon prize supporting the Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO). Wow. I jumped at the chance! It turned out that three of us, Diane, Karin Jonasson and I plus Stu McKenzie and Ron Ridout clambered into the aluminium craft used to ship supplies and bird banders to and from the Tip on the morning of October 6. The boat was loaded with gear and supplies, both ours and the banders'. We had to bring food for the week + drinking water (and wine), sleeping bags, clothing for all weather conditions and cameras, binoculars and…
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Feral cats in Norfolk and elsewhere

Feral cats in Norfolk and elsewhere
Report compiled by Inga Hinnerichsen The feral cat issue is a major one in Norfolk (as it is elsewhere). Research backs that up. Feral cats are a serious threat, not just to birds, but small mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well as the health and well-being of livestock and humans. "As a recent study by Scott Loss at the Migratory Bird Center of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C. has shown, cats kill more than an estimated 3.5 billion birds and many more mammals, reptiles and amphibians every year. That means predation of cats on native birds far exceeds all other mortality factors - including habitat destruction, collisions with structures such as buildings, wind turbines, and pesticide poisoning. In Norfolk County, with county-based estimates of as high as 30,000 cats, that would eclipse…
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A sparrow is a sparrow is a sparrow: More birdathon fun

A sparrow is a sparrow is a sparrow: More birdathon fun
Story and photos by George Pond “Hey, is that a Harris’s Sparrow?” Diane Salter yelled excitedly as we scanned a number of migrating White-Crowned Sparrows that were feeding on Betty Chanyi’s lawn. “Wow, it sure is. I haven’t seen one of those in years.” Shelia Smith answered. “Better make sure we get some photos for E-Bird documentation.” Somebody else said. Eight of us, Peggy McArthur, Alan McKeown, Anne Wynia, Betty Chanyi, Diane Salter, Shelia Smith, Mike McMillan and I, from the Norfolk Field Naturalists, were doing our annual “Birdathon” to raise money for the work of Bird Studies Canada as well as a share that is channelled back to the Field Naturalists for its many conservation projects. We had a fairly good day and as a group identified a respectable 121 to 125 different species. This is always a fun…
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