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-2017

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

Talks - 2017

 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


November, 23rd, 2017 - "The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions. " - Ginny Colling- Port Perry

Former American Vice President Al Gore's message continues through his trained team of action motivators.  Many of us saw his film The Inconvenient Truth now the sequel has just come out Truth and Power with 2016 data supporting the initial Climate change warning's and explaining the accomplishments at reducing greenhouse gases. Join Jenny Collings a local Port Perry gal who has been part of the Gore team as she explains why yes is the answer to  1) Must we change?  2) Can we change and 3) Will we change.  


January 25th, 2018 - Nature Quiz Night - Cara Gregory and Mark Stabb (NDN) - Uxbridge

Test your knowledge of North Durham's nature in this fun night of nature interpretation.  Sign up, upon arrival, to be a part of a team for this challenge.  Teams will have four minutes per table to identify the different nature items (skulls, furs, nests, shells, wings, etc.) placed on them, and record their answers.  After all teams have had a chance to rotate through the tables, Cara and Mark will present the correct answers, and discover the success of the teams!  Come with your own team already organized or form a team with other members when you arrive.  A great opportunity to meet and chat with other members, share your nature knowledge, and challenge yourself.  

February 23, 2018 - "From Birder to Birder Murder"- Steve Burrows (Royal Ontario Museum) - Port Perry

Local Pickering author and birder Steve Burrows wrote his first mystery novel, A Siege of Bitterns, published in 2015, which won him a major award for Best First Novel. He followed up with three more mysteries all incorporating birds and birding. Steve will tell us about how he developed his Birder Murder series from his own experiences with birding and birders.  On the North Durham Nature birding trip to Colombia he researched the details for his latest novel, A Shimmer of Hummingbirds.

 

March 22nd, 2018 - Spiders - Tom Mason (NDN) -  Uxbridge 

Spiders are a mysterious group of eight-legged invertebrates that now terrify more people than snakes do.  Tom will describe the life history of these fascinating organisms, their importance in the ecosystem and he will overview some of the more common species in Ontario.  Tom was formerly curator of birds and invertebrates at the Toronto Zoo and is Director of Canadian Organization for Tropical Education & Rainforest Conservation (COTERC) in Costa Rica.  Tom is well known as a spider expert, and is in high demand at every provincial bioblitz since he is one of very few who can identify most arachnids that he finds.

 

Walks - 2017    

Details on meeting locations and to preregister:  

Saturday November 4, 2017 – Loons and Waterfowl on Lake Simcoe Reserve

 9:00 am meet at Uxbridge Secondary School Parking lot

In late autumn a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds stage for a time on the eutrophic waters of Lake Simcoe, including the occasional rarity.  James Kamstra will take us to several vantage points along the lakefront where we can scan the offshore to view some of these colourful birds. 

Special Events

December - National Audubon's Christmas Bird Counts in north Durham

November 25th - Christmas Bird Count 4 Kids

Join North Durham Nature and Friends of Nonquon bird experts for an introduction to bird watching along the trails of the Nonquon Wetlands.  Learn how to identify birds, use binoculars, and feed chickadees while contributing to citizen science for bird conservation.  The count will begin at the David Carroll Classroom Site of the Nonquon Environmental Education Centre (1710 Scugog Line 10, Greenbank, ON), on the South side of the street at 9:00 a.m.  About 4 km North of Port Perry, and will finish there at noon.  Please bring your binoculars if you have them, as our supplies are limited.  The results of the count will be submitted to Birds Studies Canada.  For more information and to pre-register for this event please e-mail friendsofnonquon@gmail.com..

December 27th - Uxbridge Christmas Bird Count

December 30th - Beaverton Christmas Bird Count 

Birders of all ages across the America's participate in this 118 year tradition and once again, the birders of North Durham join forces with birders from over 2000 locations in the western hemisphere for the National Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count.  Join North Durham Nature bird experts for this annual event.  The two official counts in North Durham that you can participate in are the Uxbridge Circle and the Beaverton Circle.  Please contact Derek Connelly at 905-852-5432 or by e-mail at dconn50@powergate.ca to register for the December 27th Uxbridge Circle Count and John McLean at 905-862-3435 at jmclean@powergate.ca to register for the December 30th Beaverton Circle Count.

February 23rd - March 5th, 2018:  Cuba Natural History Tour (Special Tour for NDN)

A special tour has been arranged for members of North Durham Nature to experience some of the natural wonders of the largest Caribbean island.  With 25 species of endemic birds found nowhere else and still extensive natural habitats.  This tour highlights three main areas in the western part of Cuba. The surreal limestone hills of Viñales, the vast Zapata Swamp and the rainforest covered Escambray Mountains.  This tour is designed to sample the main habitats in the western half of Cuba to see as many of the wildlife species as possible, as well take in some cultural features. For details about the tour including price and logistics check the itinerary (click on underlined link - title above - to view).  If interested the tour should be booked by November 12, 2017.

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

Logo Contest - Deadline Extended!!!  Sept 19th, 2017

Contest Rules:

  1. Contest is open to any member of NDN or their extended family.
  2. The logo should be submitted in hard copy on letter-sized paper or as a scan that can be emailed.
  3. The logo should consist of original artwork and not be a copy.
  4. The logo should be handed in at an NDN meeting or emailed to: james.kamstra@aecom.com no later than June 15, 2017
  5. A prize (yet to be determined) will be awarded to the winner.
  6. The winning logo will become the property of North Durham Nature to be used on the website, newsletter, letterhead or wherever the organization sees fit without any further compensation to the artist.
  7. The logo can include one or more species of plant or animal that characterizes the nature of North Durham. 
  8. The logo should be clearly distinct from logos of other organizations.
  9. The artist must provide a verbal description of the logo and its significance in the context of North Durham with the application.
  10. The various submissions will be presented to members attending the June NDN meeting.
  11. Members present at that meeting will be able to vote for their preferred logo by secret ballot.  Subject to Board approval, the logo, which receives the most votes, will become the NDN Logo.

Lafarge - Regan Pit (7th concession) Bird Boxes

NDN had a three year contract 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 in the club newsletter. 

Many thanks to all the volunteers who assisted in the monitoring over the past three 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.

For 2017  members  John and Lee Fisher will take over monitoring  at the Regan Pit as Lafarge is interested in continuing this conservation success.

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 2017 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

Ontario Nature Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

Last 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 any interested teens in participating for 2017 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)

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

 

 

 Community Nature Related Events

  (underlined text links to details)

October 3rd, 2017:  Last of the Curlews - Fred Bosworth at 2 p.m.
October 15th, 2017: The Last Curlew presented by Tom Allen at 1:30 p.m.
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)

June 22nd, 2017 - “Natural Areas of the Oak Ridges Moraine” presented by Mark Stabb (Nature Conservancy of Canada) - Uxbridge 

Mark Stabb explained the  rolling landscape of the Oak Ridges Moraine highlighting specific areas the Nature Conservancy has been involved in protecting from old hardwood forests to globally rare oak savannah habitats. He promised to lead a hike to one of these areas this fall . Stay tuned !

February and April 2017
January and February 2016
September to November 2015

WALKS

      (underlined text links to reviews)

Saturday, November 4, 2017 - Lake Simcoe Field Trip

James Kamstra of North Durham Nature led a group of 10 to the southeast shoreline area of Lake Simcoe to search for staging migratory waterbirds.  They stopped at several areas where they could get good vantage views of the lake. 

 Places to look included Holme’s Point and Corner Park, on the Georgina side, Brock Soccer Park, and the ends of some Brock concession roads.    All three species of scoters were seen off Holme’s Point including a male Surf Scoter, three female Black Scoters and a couple pair of White-winged Scoters.  There were many Common Loons bouncing in the offshore waters. Mark Dorriesfield picked out a Red-throated Loon and another distant bird that looked very much like a Pacific Loon but was so far out that it was hard to be certain.  A large tight raft of about 1000 ducks out from Cedar Beach consisted or Redheads and Greater Scaups.  At least 1000 Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered more broadly along the lake’s eastern waters, as well as numerous Bonaparte’s Gulls, Common Goldeneyes, Long-tailed Ducks and a handful of Horned Grebes.  Lake Simcoe is clearly an important staging area for waterbirds in November.  

Sunday, September 17th - Happy Valley Hike with Mark Stabb

Tree planting in rows. Weeds mowed down between. A variety of mushrooms. Note the orientation indicates growth when the tree was standing. The giant serpent like tree, can we hold it up ! When a giant falls in the forest the open meadow provides the light for the next generation of trees. Intrigued?  Please visit our photo gallery to see photos taken on this hike.

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.

February and March 2017
April and November 2016
February and March 2016
September to December 2015
                   



 

Event Archives - 2016

Talks

Members Night - Jan. 28th

Your Pane is their Pain - Presented by Michael Mesure, Executive Director of the Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) - Feb. 25th

The Messenger (with Roxy Theatres) - March 6th

Birding in Columbia - March 24th

Rouge River:  Canada's First Urban National Park. - April 28th

Biodiversity Primer - May 26th

Colonial Waterbirds of Tommy Thompson Park - June 23rd

Monitoring Black and Polar Bears in Ontario - Sept. 22nd

Running on Empty:  California's Climate Disaster - Oct. 27th 

A Celebration of Nature Art - Nov. 20th

Walks

Snowshoeing and Winter Botany at the Nonquon Provincial Wildlife Area - Feb.7th

Amherst Island Hawks and Owls - Feb. 28th

Signs of Spring Hike at Goodwood Tract Conservation Area- March 20th

Waterfowl at Durham’s Lake Ontario Marshes - April 2nd

Amphibians in Crow's Pass Conservation Area- April 23rd

Birds, Bees, Wildflowers and Trees at the Ganton Hobby Farm - May 7th 

Warbler and Wildflower Ramble along the Ewen Trail - May 29th

Evening in the Beaver River Wetland - June 4th

Durham East Cross Forest Bioblitz (Phase 2) - June 11th

How the Natural World Prepares for Winter - Sept. 10th

Shorebirds and Lake Summer Insects - Sept. 17th

Waterbirds at the Lake Ontario Marshes - Oct. 16th

Autumn Waterbirds on Lake Simcoe - Nov. 6th

Christmas Bird Count for Kids (with Friends of Nonquon) - Nov. 26th

Official Audubon Christmas Bird Counts - Dec. 27th and 30th