North Durham Nature

Our Mission

To foster awareness and appreciation of nature through education, observation and experience.

To promote the protection and conservation of the environment through community activities.


What We Do

We provide educational opportunities and foster awareness of nature, particularly the flora and fauna, as well as earth sciences and astronomy.

We lead and facilitate field trips to learn and experience nature. We promote the protection of nature, biological diversity and sustainability within North Durham.

We carry out projects in co-operation with other community groups, to conserve and protect the environment within North Durham.

NDN is a member
of Ontario Nature Organization

 


NDN Events-2018

Event Director  -  email James at    James.Kamstra@aecom.com

Talks - 2018

 4th Thursday night at 7 pm
 Uxbridge Senior’s Centre – 75 Marietta Street Uxbridge   OR    Scugog Memorial Library. -231 Water Street, Port Perry   

bring a mug to enjoy a coffee or tea


May 31st, 2018 - Hawk Workshop - Geoff Carpentier and Mark Stabb - Uxbridge

Join Geoff Carpentier and Mark Stabb as they present an interactive workshop on hawk identification and behaviour. Through a series of slides and expert tips you will learn how to find and identify hawks. And, yes, there will be a quiz!

June 28, 2018 – Nature, Kids and the Anthropocene – Dr. Brendon Larson – Port Perry

In this new epoch, the Anthropocene, nature is everywhere subject to human activities. What might this change mean for how we, as conservationists and naturalists, approach the education of our children and grand-children about nature and its value?  Dr. Larson is a professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability at the University of Waterloo who is looking in depth at the challenge of conserving ‘nature’. 

Walks - 2018    

Details on meeting locations and to preregister:

Our walks this May are both in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve behind Rona and Walmart.  No Dogs Please

More information contact Derek ndnature7@gmail.com, 905 -852-5432

Sunday, May 27th, 2018 - Wildflower walk – Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

A afternoon walk  photographing and sharing our knowledge of spring flowers –the emphemerals.  Please meet at 1 p.m. See above details for location and pre-registration.  Please meet at the Elgin Park road entrance to the Preserve this Sunday. Ann Goldring has some Yellow Trilliums to show us.  Parking in the Rexall Parking lot is safer than the roadside.

Saturday, June 9th, 2018 - Bird Loop Hike - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

Meet North Durham Nature's Derek Connelly and Kim Adams for a hike to look for and identify the birds of the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve at 9:00 a.m. at the trail head.  Please contact Derek at ndnature7@gmail.com to pre-register.

Fees

All events are open to the public.

Membership in North Durham Nature is $40 for singles, $50 for families for calendar year.  All members receive a quarterly newsletter and priority email of events coming up plus more. Fees cover insurance, room bookings and incidentals. We are non-profit members of Ontario Nature.

A $5.00 donation is appreciated from non-members attending our monthly talks to cover refreshments, insurance and rental.  

For more information, please call Derek at 905-852-5432 or email   ndnature7@gmail.com

*New* - Like us on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/northdurhamnature

 

NDN Projects

Lafarge - Regan Pit (7th concession) Bird Boxes

NDN had a three year contract (2014-2016 )with the company to monitor 50 bird boxes which we recommended and located in the restoration area of the pit. The club selected Paul Rothfels "Mouse Proof" bird box design after recommendations from neighbours on the 7th concession. The design benefits of reducing predation without the extra costs of a baffle plus the willingness of Lafarge to pay for a secure pole system were factors in choosing the design.

In the first year 52% of the boxes were occupied and all successfully produced eggs and young.  The Tree Swallow occupied most of the boxes, six boxes raised Eastern Bluebirds, and one raised a Black -capped Chickadee. There were no House Wrens, sparrows, mice or other vertebrates in any boxes.

In year two 71% of the boxes were active and a slight increase was observed in target species, allthough House wrens arrived in late summer in a couple of boxes.

In year three  81% of the boxes  were occupied by 29 Tree swallow, 9 Eastern Bluebird, and I Black capped Chickadee families producing over a 100 fledged young. This is a huge success. Considering the concern over population declines in aerial insectivores our boxes have certainly helped the Tree swallow populations.  A more detailed report is available for members in the April 2017 club newsletter. 

In 2017 and now 2018 we have continued monitoring the boxes. Many thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in the monitoring over the years.

In Memory of Paul Rothfels a Gathering was held on March 4, at the Udora Hall from 2 - 4.  Click on My tribute to Paul and the OBIT

Margaret has passed on Paul's Bird box gig and materials to Keith Stait Gardner who has offered his workshop to the Nature club to assemble more bird houses to support the club. Last year we built 45 boxes and will have sold them by this summer. We plan to build another 26 this summer which will use up supplies left by Paul. If you are interested in purchasing a box check out our brochure (Rothfel's Bird Box)and order through Derek   ndnature7@gmail.com. or 905-852-5432. Thanks to Paul Rothfels the birds have a safe place to raise their young. 

For 2018  members  John and Lee Fisher will continue monitoring  at the Regan Pit anyone interested in helping let us know.

Uxbridge Countryside Preserve- Bird Houses

NDN took over from the Uxbridge Birders who had been monitoring and repairing the bird boxes first placed in the Preserve in 2008 by the Scouts. The number of boxes was reduced to 26 from 45 in 2014 to improve success. Changes in habitat caused by the invasion of Scot Pine and other plants had slowly reduced the meadow habitat which is important for swallows and bluebirds.  A Scot Pine thinning program is now in place on an annual basis. The  box system is not predator proof and was  modified with the help of the Uxbridge Scouts in 2015. Juice cans and plastic pipe along with an additional front was added to some boxes over the entrance  to act as a predator deterrent.   Tree Swallows accepted the change however Bluebirds did not use these boxes.  It is believed the Preserve can only support four Eastern Bluebird nests in any year because of the reduced meadow habitat.   Tree Swallows however are still increasing  and the reduction in boxes available appears to have lowered the House Wren population and competition. Two additional boxes will be installed this spring using the "Mouse Proof " model.  Two years of  intensive monitoring continued by six Uxbridge resident volunteer familes ( BIrd Box Buddies)  resulting in more accurate data. Thanks are extended to the Bird Box Buddies who put in many hours monitoring the boxes over the summer and the Township of Uxbridge for their support. The Spring Bird House Inspection 2018 indicated we are open for business and tenants will be arriving soon. We are looking for landlords? 

If you are interested in helping out, learning how bird boxes work or want to buy a box to save cavity nesting  birds contact Derek at 905-852-5432 or ndnature7@gmail.com.

BIRD HOUSES -Mouseproof Design long lasting , support your club - $45 each discounts for bulk orders

Uxbridge Countryside Preserve Canada 150 Species Count

- Follow the underlined link to read all about it over 180 sp countedCanada150 Species Challenge Met!

List of Plant Species 2017

List of Animal Species 2017

Our plan is to turn the count into an annual family event a Bioblitz every June !

Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

In the fall 2016 we continued our annual commitment and sent two young students, Hayden DeBarros and Rylee Brown to the Ontario Nature Youth Summit at Lake Couchiching, where they were engaged in interactive workshops and activities on topics including food security, endangered species, medicinal plants, sustainability and much more. You can read about Rylee's experience in the club newsletter. Interested students should contact us or click on Ontario Nature to find out more . If you are or know of interested teens in participating  contact us.

Late May - The  Great Canadian Bird-a-thon

North Durham Nature's Geoff Carpentier  participates yearly in this charity birding event. The James Baillie Bird-a-thon changed its name to Great Canadian Bird-a-thon, but it's still about counting birds for conservation.  If you would like more information or to sponsor Geoff please click on the underlined link above.  Thanks to everyone's generous donations, Geoff raises $1000's  to help fund projects to protect birds and their habitats.  25% of the money raised helps fund North Durham Nature's nature-based projects.  Donations are tax deductable!

Birdathon Results 2015

Birdathon Results 2016

Birdathon Results 2017

Conservation Action 2017 

(click on underlined text to open link)

Review of the Environmental Bill of Rights, 1993

Group Letter to Premier

Summary of Recommendations for Reform

Proposed Regional Natural Heritage System for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (EBR 013-1014)
Spring Wildflower Planting

NDN assisted the Uxbridge Scouts in a Prairie grass and forbs planting May 13th  in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve. 300 native plant plugs were planted in a 10 x 25 m rototilled plot. These plants will enhance the field with food and habitat for butterflies, bees, birds and other meadow wildlife.  If you would like to adopt a plant and help it establish itself through the summer by watering and weeding contact Derek 905-852-5432

Turtles

NDN adds its signature to Ontario Nature's call to ban hunting of Snapping Turtles in Ontario  and we were successful ! Now we need to figure out how to reduce road mortality.

Coming up each Fall

Volunteers wanted for Scot Pine ( invasive) thinning  in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve fields to keep the meadows open. Stay tuned for dates .

2016.

Feral Cats

A request was made to Uxbridge council to change the cat bylaw giving more freedom to cats.  As many of us know cats are major predators to birds and other native species. We apposed the change. Read our letter linked here. Feral Cats

Conservation Action 2018

Protected Places Campaign

NDN adds its signature to Ontario Nature's Protected Places Campaign.  You can show your individual support as well by signing the declaration (click on underlined text)

 

 

 Community Nature Related Events

  (underlined text links to details)

June 16th, 2018:  Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust Blitzing the Moraine 2018 presents - Uxbridge Bioblitz

Register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/blitzing-the-moraine-2018-uxbridge-bioblitz-tickets-41715360767 for details on time and location.

Butterfly Counts 2018:  June 24th - Oshawa and July 8th - Uxbridge and Brock. 

Please contact James Kamstra by e-mail at James.Kamstra@aecom.com to register.

Ducks Unlimited Canada Nest Box Program

Ducks Unlimited Canada is currently looking for project sites that will help provide habitat for cavity nesters like wood ducks and Goldeneye. If you have a wetland on your property larger than a couple of acres, and would like to provide habitat for ducks and other wildlife (like tree swallows and screech owls), then this program is meant for you!  Landowners are responsible for installing, maintaining and monitoring the nest boxes, but DUC provides the nest boxes and technical advice to landowners. Nest boxes are placed in wetland habitats like beaver ponds, where they will be most useful to ducks.  If you're interested in more details, please contact Jenn Lavigne at Ducks Unlimited Canada: (705) 721-4444.

EVENT REVIEWS    

TALKS

(underlined text links to reviews)

Thursday, April 26th, 2018 - Polar Bears of Ontario’s North Shore - Dr. Martyn Obbard

Dr. Martyn Obbard presented his findings of many years of polar bear research in northern Ontario on Thursday night to a record crowd of almost 70 people at the Port Perry library. He believes our impact on carbon dioxide levels has resulted in the decline of sea ice and the ultimate decline in polar bear populations in the areas he studied. He used a BBC video clip to show the importance of sea ice for polar bear hunting seals, and still maps  and graphs to indicate the ice decline over time with increases in carbon dioxide levels. He strongly believes that we must make wise choices to provide long term protection for the polar bears. Recently retired Dr. Obbard continues his quest to save the polar bear. 

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018 - Spiders of Ontario - Tom Mason -  Uxbridge 

Tom kept the audience of thirty people enthralled till 9 pm with his stories of his close encounters with scorpions, Black widows and spiders of every size around the world and here in Ontario. Their adaptations to fly with a balloon of silk many kilometres off shore, to spit and catch their prey, their traps, their lures, their incredible eyes , their sharp spikes, their jaws , their dances and jumps, ...gosh so much behavioural and physical variety in eight legged creatures. Tom has been bitten handling spiders but generally they tend not to bite at all just run away. He claims many of the bites we get which we blame on spiders are not spiders at all. In any case I am happy to just look and photo that big dock spider at the cottage!

January 25th, 2018 - AGM and Nature Quiz Night

A fun night of nature interpretation!  Approximately 30 participants circled around in teams to several tables with different nature objects (skulls, furs, nests, feathers, foot prints) and tested their ID skills.  The answers were revealed through a Power Point presentation delivered by North Durham Nature's Vice President, Cara Gregory.  Participants found some items challenging, but did very well, and enjoyed getting to know other members.  Thanks to members that contributed to the table items.

Annual Report

Minutes


WALKS

      (underlined text links to reviews)

May 20th, 2018 - Wildflower Walk - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve - Derek Connelly

Six of us joined the weekly flower walk Sunday at 1pm . Retracing last weeks route we added a few more flowers to the growing list . From last week the White and Red trilliums were still in bloom but some White's were showing pink as they age. Field Pussytoes, Jack in the pulpit, Strawberry, Blue and White Violets, , Miterwort, and Red Baneberry were some of the plants identified and photographed.  

Next week we meet at the Elgin Park road entrance to the Preserve Sunday. Ann Goldring has some Yellow Trilliums to show us.  Parking in the Rexall Parking lot is safer than roadside. Sunday May 27th 1 pm 

May 13th, 2018 - Wildflower Walk - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve - Derek Connelly

Twelve budding botanists enjoyed a walk in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve Sunday morning. While many flowers are still to come the group did identify over ten species. White trilliums were abundant and had recently opened their flowers. Sharp - leaved hepatica was also in flower, as was a small number of Dog toothed violet ( trout lily) and Canada mayflower ( Wild lily of the valley ). The day was warming up and flowers seemed to be opening as we waked so I imagine more will be showing by the end of the week.

We have agreed to meet again next Sunday at 1 pm to enjoy the advance of spring flowers. Thanks to all who shared their knowledge and enjoyment of the wildflowers.

May 11th, 2018 - Frog Walk - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

Mother nature finally came through and gave us a cool but dry evening for frogs. Thirteen of us including two children met in the parking lot for our frog evening.  After brief introductions Derek Connelly introduced other members of the nature club Cara Gregory and Geoff Carpentier who would be sharing their experiences too. Participants received a Toronto Zoo “adopt a pond “ brochure which has pictures of the Ontario frogs and Derek and Cara clarified which ten species were found here.  Pictures and sounds of frogs from the two frog watch cell phone Aps were used. Spring is the time when frogs and toads gather to sing and mate in small bodies of water.

Walking down to the wetland areas the first pond was relatively quiet until we passed by then a few spring peepers started up. As we approached the second pond they again were quiet until we settled down to listen and then our frog solo began. The temperature was 11C which kept many frog species quiet, a true symphony only occurs after about 15 C. Wood frogs one of the first callers of spring have a quacking sound which was heard over two weeks ago were now quiet and may have laid their eggs and returned to the forest. The American Toad’s trill heard last night in many backyards was absent tonight. Spring Peepers however kept up a good chorus of peeps which came from many directions as the sound bounced off the trees around the pond.

Geoff our bird expert heard the call of the Woodcock and a brief walk into the meadow allowed others to hear it too. The male does an aerial mating dance calling to impress a female sitting patiently in the field. A barred owl also called in the distance-“who who cooks for you”.

Back at the first pond Green Frogs were spotted resting in a trance like state near the surface awaiting for warmer days when they will start their banjo like call. Green’s and Bull Frogs ( the “Jug of rum call”) usually require about 17 C before they can be heard. The children continued looking with their flashlights and reported a Leopard frog too. It was hard to leave as darkness closed in and the sounds of nature continued. Thanks to all who shared their evening with us.

April 28th, 2018 - Canoe on the Nonquon River - Jay Thibert

North Durham Nature explored the Nonquon River in canoes today. A group of 10 paddlers bundled up and headed upstream on the Nonquon River from the bridge on Old Simcoe Road. The wind was strong and the temperatures stayed in single digits, but spring was in the air. We spotted the following species: Bufflehead ducks, Red-winged Blackbirds, Kingfishers, Swamp Sparrow, Robins, Red-tailed Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Canada Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Mallard Ducks, Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, (one very large flock) Rough-winged Swallow and six Trumpeter Swans. The Swans were a highlight as the flew overhead a couple of times. We enjoyed each others company and had a great morning on the water. Our eight year old paddler kept a strong pace to travel upstream for over two hours. We made it all the way to the eight concession and back. Thanks to all for a fun outing.

March 18th, 2018 - Uxbridge Countryside Preserve Bird Box Inspection

Ten adults and four children assisted Derek Connelly in this years spring clean out of the twenty four bird houses in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve. One family came up from Oshawa after reading about the event in their local paper. Participants were shown pictures of the birds, their eggs and nests and some of last years nests were examined for parasites before removal from the area. Tree swallow, Eastern bluebird, House wren and Black -capped Chickadee are the birds who use the bird  houses and the Blow fly is one of the problem parasites. Six of the participants volunteered to be part of this summers monitoring program to help the birds successful nesting. Cavity birds such as these now depend on nest boxes since more of their natural habitat ( old dead trees) is being removed. If you would like to help give Derek a call or email. 905-852-5432, or ndnature7@gmail.com 

Saturday, February 10th, 2018:  Winter Wetland Snowshoe Adventure

We had a great turn out for the Snowshoe Hike at the Nonquon Environmental Education Centre last Saturday - 79 participants (8 volunteer leaders)

All ages - children, parents, grandparents took part - many who have never been on snowshoes before!

Long, medium and shorter hikes took place. Snow conditions and temperatures were perfect for a day in the wetland. Families that have lived in the area for years were joined by newer residence of Durham in learning about this ecologically important (and beautiful) Provincial Wildlife Area. Everyone enjoyed feeding Chickadees by hand and participants shared in hot chocolate and cookies around a campfire at mornings end. Fun was had by all.

Thanks to Friends of Nonquon volunteers for their efforts in making this day such a success. Thank you to all the organizers & participants!

December 20th:  Feeder Tour 2018

Twelve people showed up for the start of the Bird Feeder tour this year in Uxbridge. Travelling from Mount Albert, Pickering , Oshawa, and Port Perry these keen birders descended on Uxbridge.  Visiting two town feeders and an estate in Uxbridge we then headed east to Scugog to visit three rural properties and an estate property. Our count for the day was about one hundred and fifty birds with thirteen species plus a possible Northern Shrike seen on the drive. Highlights were the Red Bellied woodpecker a Ruffed grouse video and the many enjoyable conversations . The Ruffed grouse was taped attacking a poodle in a backyard in Port Perry numerous times. Just one of the many funny local wildlife stories.  The local media joined us at 10 am to capture us in action which may have ruffled a few feathers however the advertising could help the birds in the long run. We learned about feeder types, seeds, habitat, bird boxes, windows, birds seen, and more, all of which will help us better serve our feathered friends.

Many thanks to the Feeder hosts who filled their feeders, opened their doors to keep us warm and shared their personal glimpses of nature with us. Thanks to those who joined the tour and shared their incites, we look forward to seeing you at another North Durham Nature event.

A list of birds seen is on our website.             www.northdurhamnature.com

Good Birding !  Derek Connelly

Feeder Tour Bird List

Special Events

Saturday, March 17th, Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre - Peterborough

Early Saturday morning, during March Break, 16 North Durham Nature membersand friends, met and carpooled together, on this excursion to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre, organized by North Durham Nature.  Upon arrival, Wendy, an education leader at the centre, and a volunteer, gave an interactive presentation on the 8 different species of turtles in Ontario, what makes them unique, their at risk status, the threats they are facing and how we can help.  A volunteer brought several live turtles around for participants to see up close, and told us their rescue stories.  Paddy, a 35 year old snapping turtle, graciously let Wendy use him to demonstrate how to safely pick him up and transport him to the side of the road, in the direction he was going of course!  The turtle nursery was also a highlight.  A fun time had by all!

 

Friends of North Durham Nature

Click on to link to websites -

Ontario Nature - North Durham Nature is a proud member of Ontario Nature, and is a part of its Nature Network (Lake Ontario North Region).

                                     - ON Conservation Awards - click on the underlined text to nominate a worthy candidate by March 25th.

Bird Studies Canada

Durham Region Field Naturalists

Pickering Field Naturalists - Thursday March 2nd, 2017 - 40th Anniversary Celebrations!

Scugog Lake Stewards

Butterflies of Ontario

Nature Conservancy of Canada

Thickson's Woods Land Trust:  Summer 2016 Newsletter

Conservation Authorities in our Area

Central Lake Ontario CLOCA

Lake Simcoe Region  LSRCA

Kawartha KCA

Toronto Region  TRCA

Wildlife Rescue

Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge – www.shadesofhope.ca

National Wildlife Centre – www.nationalwildlifecentre.ca

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre – www.sandypineswildlife.org


Event Archives - 2017

Talks - in the process of being updated


Walks - in the process of being updated