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-2016

Event Director  -  email James at

Talks - 2016

 4th Thursday night at 7 pm,
bring a mug to enjoy a coffee or tea

 Uxbridge Senior’s Centre – 75 Marietta Street Uxbridge


Scugog Memorial Library. -231 Water Street, Port Perry

 (underlined text links to details)


September 22, 2016 - Monitoring Black and Polar Bears in Ontario presented by Erica Newton (Trent University) - Uxbridge  

Erica will discuss how both of Ontario’s bear species are studied, including how researchers find bears, monitor their movements, and estimate population size. She will touch on human-bear conflicts and what factors may cause a bear to investigate your home or camp. In addition she will discuss her own research on factors that affect the survival of Black Bears in Algonquin Park. Erica is a wildlife research biologist who has studied many species in the field including caribou, coyotes, Blanding’s Turtles and of course, bears.

October 27, 2016 - Running on Empty:  California's Climate Disaster presented by David Ganton Wells - Port Perry 

California is Hollywood, Disneyland and Silicon Valley; and also one of North America’s highest producing agricultural areas. Now deep in the grip of an epic drought, the Golden State is looking a lot like the Dust Bowl, and there’s no shortage of finger­-pointing as to the cause.  This presentation is the story of California’s natural disaster and man­-made catastrophe. Now the hard questions are being asked. Where did all the water go and what needs to change to save California from itself?

David Ganton Wells is a writer, producer and director of documentary films. He has produced historical documentaries, investigative journalism pieces and science films for CBC and others.  David is the winner of the 2015 Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program for his documentary “Invasion of the Brain Snatchers” produced for The Nature of Things.


Walks - 2016   

all walks require preregistration

(underlined text links to details) 

Saturday, September 10th, 2016 - How the Natural World Prepares for Winter

10:00 a.m. - Meet at the Pheasant Pen Classroom Site of the Nonquon Environmental Education Centre (19745 Old Simcoe Road, Greenbank, ON), on the East side of the street, 1 km North of Scugog LIne 10.  About 5 km North of Port Perry. 

Labour Day is often the date that brings the end of summer into sharp focus for the human population in Canada. In the natural world, preparations are well underway for the cold that lies ahead.  These may include migration, hibernation, producing seeds or laying eggs. We will learn about and see examples of these processes in the wetlands and uplands.  Led by Jay Thibert.

Saturday, September 17th, 2016 - Shorebirds and Late Summer Insects

4:00 pm – Meet at Gate of Nonquon Sewage Lagoons on Concession 8, Scugog (note this is one road north of Regional Road 8). Take east side of Concession 8 as the bridge is out.

The lagoons can be a great place to see shorebirds and other water birds at this time of year.  In addition, the surrounding meadows harbour late season insects such as butterflies, grasshopper and beetles. Led by Geoff Carpentier.  For more information contact Geoff at

Please note that anyone who wants to attend must get an individual permit for lagoon access before the walk (see below). You will need to show permit as these are rules by Durham Region.  No sharing of permits can be allowed.

Permits must be purchased for $10 in advance from the Scugog Waste Transfer Station, 1623 Reach Street, Port Perry. An electronic version of the Nonquon Sewage Lagoon Birder Permit is available in PDF format at

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 - Waterbirds at the Lake Ontario Marshes

10:00 am – Meet at parking lot on west side of General Motors office at end of Colonel Sam Drive, Oshawa.

The marshes along Lake Ontario in southern Durham are a great place to see shorebirds, waterfowl and other water birds in the autumn.  In particular, Oshawa Second Marsh and Cranberry Marsh can be productive.  We may also visit other marshes depending on time and recent bird reports.  Led by James Kamstra.  For more information contact James at  Please let James know if you are planning to attend.    


All events are open to the public and free.  A $5.00 donation is appreciated from non-members attending our monthly talks.

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.

call Derek 905-852-5432 or email


NDN Projects

Lafarge - Regan Pit (7th concession) Bird Boxes

NDN has 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 50% 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. The results are very encouraging .

In year two 54% of the boxes were active and again the target species were the only residents. Eggs were present by late May .

David Taylor and Derek Connelly volunteered to monitor for the first summer. Now in year three a number of volunteers are helping out, and our final report will be do at year end.   

Uxbridge Countryside Preserve- Bird Boxes

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. It is believed the gradual reduction in the meadow habitat and the increase in the House Wren population  is responsible for the poor success rate of Bluebirds and Swallows that use the boxes. The number of boxes was reduced to 26 from 45 in 2014 and a 50% success rate was achieved. Two bluebird families and one chickadee family were successful along with ten Tree swallows families.  The  box system however is not predator proof and was  modified with the help of the Uxbridge Scouts. Juice cans and plastic pipe along with an additional front was added to the front of some boxes over the entrance hole to act as a predator deterant. The Tree Swallows accepted the change however Bluebirds appeared to choose the old style box. Monitoring this year is now being done by six Uxbridge resident volunteer familes ( BIrd Box Buddies) on a more regular basis. 

If you are interested in helping out and learning how bird boxes work to save cavity nesting  birds contact Derek at 905-852-5432 or

Ontario Nature 2015 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

North Durham Nature sponsored 2 youths to attend the 2015 Youth Summit, hosted by Ontario Nature last September on Lake Couchiching.  The North Durham youths sponsored were from Uxbridge and Port Perry, and were two of 95 youths from across the province to attend.  Please click on their name below to learn more about the weekend from our two sponsored youth.

Aidan Bowers

Declan McDowell

Late May - The 2016 Great Canadian Bird-a-thon

North Durham Nature's Geoff Carpentier will be participating again in this year's Bird-a-thon. 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 last year, Geoff was able to raise over $2600 to help fund projects to protect birds and their habitats.  25% of the money raised helps  fund North Durham Nature's nature-based projects.  

Birdathon Results 2015



 Community Events

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Fall Program Offerings - Lakehead University - Ontario Master Naturalist Program 
Sept. 28th, 2016 - For All Trail lovers ... Goodwood Community Hall,  7 - 9 p.m.

An open house event to celebrate the almost 200 kms of trails and more than 5000 acres of public lands in the south part of Uxbridge Township.

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.

Wood Ducks

Community Action

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

Event Reviews


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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.

February and March 2016
September to December 2015


(underlined text links to reviews)

January and February 2016
September to November 2015


Event Archives - 2015

Native Plants and Bugs  June 25/15 with Paul LaPorte - Port Perry

Native Wildflowers  May 28/15 with Barb Pratt - Uxbridge

An Introduction to the Raptors of North Durham April 23/15 with Mark Stabb - Port Perry

Summer wildlife. Beaver River walk with Mark Stabb June 21st/15

Wildflowers in the Uxbridge Countryside Preserve with Derek Connelly and Barb Pratt May 31st/15

Birding in Glen Major Forest, Uxbridge Hot Spot with Derek Connelly May 23rd/15

Searching for Migrating Birds in Brock Township with John McLean  May 9th/15

Canoeing the Wind River, Yukon Mar 26/15 with Jay Thibert- Uxbridge

The Brook Never Sleeps at the Uxbridge Brook  March 19th/15

Bird Feeder Tour of the North Durham Area March 7th/15

Winter Wetland Snowshoe Hike at the Nonquon  Feb. 16th/15

The  Brook  Never Sleeps–Family Event -Uxbridge Youth Centre 2015