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AGM - February 23rd, 2017 - Uxbridge
Constitution changes accepted, Maximum 4 Year term for President and Treasurer possible if renewed after 2 years, all other positions on board may continue if voted in every two years. President Derek Connelly and Vice President Cara Gregory renewed for another 2 year term, new Directors Kim Adams voted in as Treasurer, Pat Baldwin as Membership Director. Other Directors staying include Mark Stabb secretary, Geoff Carpentier newsletter, Jay Thibert at large, James Kamstra events, Carol Apperson at large.
Presidents Message Constitution Change
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Saturday April 8th, 2017 – Waterfowl on Lake Scugog
On April 8th, 14 “waterfowlers” joined Geoff Carpentier as we searched the Port Perry waterfront and nearby areas for ducks, geese and swans. The pickings were at first slim because the ice had gone out on Lake Scugog and the birds were widely scattered . An Osprey was a nice treat along the causeway and several ducks were visible in the Osler Track. Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail, Bufflehead and Common Merganser were found. From here, Geoff took the group to the Nonquon Sewage lagoons, where he had arranged a permit for the group to enter. Now we hit the jackpot as hundreds of ducks of several species were found. A muddy walk along the northern berm of the lagoons yielded: Mallard, Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Common Golden-eye, Canada Goose and Mallard. Other nice birds for the day were Tree Swallow and Fox Sparrow. We all had a nice day on this cool early April morning! Thx to all who came out and shared the adventure.
March 19th 2017 - Bird Box Inspection Walk on the Bird Loop in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve
Eighteen interested nature enthusiasts enjoyed a sunny +10C stroll around a 3 km “Bird Loop” assisting Derek Connelly inspect the bird boxes for this year’s arrivals. The walk started with a review of the importance of boxes as nest cavities to replace the many dead trees we are removing for development and as hazards; the variety of birds that use them and what a typical nest looks like using an old Bluebird nest and eggs one of the preferred Bird House tenants. On the walk larger Duck boxes were pointed out by the pond and stories of some of the birds that use them told.
The nearby bird feeder was topped up with Black oil sunflower seed and Derek explained that keeping this feeder full by the everyone on their visits to the preserve could lead to being able to feed chickadees by hand in the future. Hiking up to Observation hill we finally reached the first Bluebird or Swallow box. Here cleaning, relabeling and the predator control structures were checked. The lookout from here gives everyone a good view of the landscape the birds use. Dropping down from the hill volunteers helped out checking boxes as we continued our circle of the Preserve.
Fortunately not one box had any sign of mouse or squirrel activity this winter. New labels and the addition of a screen ladder to help young birds climb up to the exit were identified on some boxes. A couple of boxes had come loose on their poles but fortunately one volunteer had brought his power driver which made a quick fix. An older box with a chewed wide hole finished the walk. It contained an old nest of a House Wren and on top evidence of an unknown bird nest start using well woven grasses and tissue into a circle? Was this a nuthatch? A House sparrow? Obviously more observations will be needed this summer.
Participants were invited to help this summer with the Bird Box monitoring and to join us at our next event a talk on Trees this Thursday in Port Perry. Derek thanks all those who added their experiences to the walk, helped out carrying equipment, checked, fixed and cleaned boxes. We now have a welcome home for our feathered friends If you are interested in helping monitor the Birds Boxes in the Countryside Preserve contact Derek Connelly at email@example.com or come out to a Nature Club event www.northdurhamnature.com
February 4th, 2017 - Winter Wetland Snowshoe at the Nonquon Provincial Wildlife Area
A successful joint venture between the Friends of Nonquon and North Durham Nature with approximately 50 participants! People of all ages gathered at the Pheasant Pen Classroom site at the Nonquon Wetlands, put on a pair of snowshoes, and went on several guided hikes lead by knowledgeable volunteers. The Big Brother's and Sister's of Clarington joined local families for this event, and were a welcome addition. The chickadees were glad to receive a hand feeding of sunflower seeds on this chilly winter day! Many animals signs were spotted along the hikes, including a beaver lodge, footprints left by a variety of animals, woodpecker holes, muskrat lodges, and a red squirrel tunnel. The hike was ended with a warm mug of hot chocolate and cookies, giving participants a chance to warm up and explore the displays in the building.
November 6 - Lake Simcoe Field Trip
James Kamstra of North Durham Nature led a group of 12 to the southeast area of Lake Simcoe to see what waterbirds could be found. Twelve eager participants ventured out on this mild and calm sunny day.
The first stop was Holm’s Point, on the York Region side of the lake. In a sheltered bay on the east side of Duclos Point, 3 Tundra Swans swam together. A solitary Red-necked Grebe was swimming and diving. A gathering of Bonaparte’s Gulls were having a feeding frenzy. Suddenly a Merlin came zipping along from the water, hot in pursuit of an unknown passerine.
At a parkette midway between Holm’s Point and Port Bolster we spied three Red-throated Loons in winter plumage among more numerous Common Loons. Eight female Black Scoters played in the gentle surf; and further to the right several White-winged Scoters. A flock of 11 Sandhill Cranes flew overhead.
From another lake vantage point at the end of Brock 2nd Concession we saw close to a hundred Horned Grebes spread out across the lake, as well as Common Goldeneyes and Buffleheads, a Long-tailed Duck and a tight gathering of Hooded Mergansers.
In all about 40 species of birds were noted including a good assortment of waterfowl.
Saturday April 2 – Waterfowl at Durham’s Lake Ontario Marshes
Four naturalists joined Geoff Carpentier on a trip to Cranberry Marsh on April 2nd. Despite a snowy start to the day, the weather turned perfect and allowed us to see 48 species of birds including 12 kinds of ducks, geese and swans, Horned Grebe, a beautiful adult Little Gull, Tree and Barn Swallows, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, a singing Fox Sparrow and more. At one point a Downy Woodpecker, Back-capped Chickadees and two White-breasted Nuthatches landed on birders’ hands to snack on some sunflower seeds. Perhaps the highlight was watching a pair of otters "cavorting" at the marsh. Presumably a male and female but possibly siblings, they spent over 30 minutes swimming slowly side by side, occasionally rolling over so that paws and tail were skyward, and at one point one was atop the other perhaps mimicking mating. Interesting to watch and as quickly as they arrived they were gone.