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)


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.

"Running on Empty" can be previewed on The Nature of Things on October 20th at 8 p.m. on CBC-TV.

January 19th, 2017 - Member’s Night - Port Perry  

North Durham Nature has its own gathering of nature experts, photographers and world travelers.  Several members will be making mini-presentations on nature in exotic locales and specific natural history themes.  


Special Event

November 20th, 2016 Afternoon  1-4 pm - A Celebration of Nature Art - Uxbridge

Nature provides much inspiration and subject matter for art whether it be paintings, sketches, sculptures or photographs.  Join North Durham Nature for an afternoon of nature art appreciation. View local displays of art inspired by nature during this annual event, while enjoying the live music provided by North Durham Strings.  The nature theme depicted by the art is wildlife, plants or landscapes from Ontario.  This year's event will feature a display of local children's art.  Local artists interested in participating in this event must register before October 29th.  For more information or to reserve a display table please contact Derek by e-mail at  or Cara at Click here for Art Criteria   If interested in submitting a nature art entry for the children's art display, please click on the following link to register: Children's Nature Art Registration Form

Walks - 2016   

all walks require preregistration

(underlined text links to details) 

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.    

Sunday, November 6th, 2016 – Autumn Waterbirds on Lake Simcoe

9:00 am – Meet at Uxbridge Secondary School parking lot at SE corner of Nelkydd Lane and Planks Lane, Uxbridge.

Waterfowl and other water birds such as loons and grebes congregate on Lake Simcoe in the autumn. We will be visiting several spots on the southeast and east side of the lake where we have good vantage points.  We will also check out the former Beaverton Sewage Lagoons which are now being managed as a conservation area.  Bring a scope if you have one.  Led by James Kamstra.  For more information contact James at  Please let James know if you are planning to attend. 


Saturday, November 26th, 2016 - Christmas Bird Count for Kids - NDN and Friends of Nonquon

9:30 am - 11:30 pm:  Meet 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.  About 4 km North of Port Perry.  

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.  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 please contact Cara by e-mail at

Saturday, January 21st,  2017 - Bird Feeder Tour

10 a.m. to Noon

Join Derek Connelly on a drive to visit the hottest feeders in North Durham ! Enjoy a cup of tea, viewing in  comfort while the birds deal with the winter weather. A chance to see how others set-up their feeders and what birds visit  them.  Preregister and if willing to host give me a call  at 905-852-5432 or email

Saturday, February 4th, 2017 - Winter Wetland Snowshoe Adventure - NDN and Friends of Nonquon

9:30 am - Noon:  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.

Come join North Durham Nature and the Friends of Nonquon for a winter wetland snowshoe adventure!  Explore the wetlands of the Nonquon Provincial Wildlife area wearing a pair of our snowshoes (weather permitting).  The picturesque winterscape provides many opportunities to see a variety of animal tracks in the snow, to get close to the beaver and muskrat's lodges, to view wildlife and to feed the chickadees (seed provided)!  Knowledgeable guides will share with you the wonders of this beautiful and unique area and answer your questions.  Both short and long hike options are available, as this event is open to all ages.  End your guided hike with a warm beverage.  For more information please contact Cara by e-mail at

May 27th, 2017 - Nonquon Springs to Life - NDN and Friends of Nonquon

9:30 am - Noon:  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.

North Durham Nature and the Friends of Nonquon would like to share this magical time of year in the wetland with you!  North Durham residents and their families are invited to explore the wetland with us.  Stations will be set up for visitors of all ages to explore at their leisure, and wetland experts will be on hand to share their knowledge with you. You may choose to spend time at a couple of stations, or visit them all!  Short-guided hikes will be run throughout the event as well.  The following stations will be offered:  Pondering the Pond, Feathered Friends, Incredible Insects, Biodiversity of Nonquon and Nature Creations.  For more information please contact Cara by e-mail at  

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

  (underlined text links to details)

November 5th 2016 - 8:30 - 12noon Annual Scot Pine thinning at Uxbridge Countryside Preserve

Join trail volunteers battle to preserve the meadows from the invading Scot Pine. Call Derek to register and  further details 905-852-5432 or Town trail coordinator Don Cook at 905-852-9181 ext 232 See link Scot Pine

December  27th and 30th, 2016 - Official Audubon  Christmas Bird Counts

Once again we join birders throughout the Americas in the annual bird count now in its 117 year. For North Durham there are  two counts you can join

For the Uxbridge /Scugog circle

Contact Derek Connelly at 905-852-5432

For the Beaverton ( Sunderland ) circle

Contact John McLean at 905-862-3435 

Participants of all abilities welcome but must preregister.  Fill up the feeders! Clean the binos! Find the bird book!  Its bird count time….. 

Fall Program Offerings - Lakehead University - Ontario Master Naturalist Program 

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


      (underlined text links to reviews)

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