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

Talks - 2017

 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)


January 26th, 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.  


Walks - 2017   

all walks require preregistration

(underlined text links to details) 

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.  For more information, please call Derek at 905-852-5432 or email

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NDN Projects

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. We will apply to Lafarge to continue this conservation success.

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. 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) this year 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. Check the NDN newsletter for more.

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 2016 Youth Summit for Biodiversity and Environmental Leadership

This fall 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 .

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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November 29th (Aurora Public Library) and Decemer 6th (Scugog Public Library) from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. Blitzing the Moraine Review.  What did we find? 
- Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust/Ontario Trillium Foundation.

Hello to our wonderful volunteers who made both the Bio-Blitz in East Cross Forest and McLeod Wood such a success!

We hope that you can join us for a review of what you found. You’re welcome to attend either session as both locations will be discussed at both sessions. We’d like to hear your thoughts too about how BioBlitz 2017 can be even better.

Please RSVP to this email or call us at 905-853-3171 x 30 to register.

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 (Dec. 27th)

Contact Derek Connelly at 905-852-5432

For the Beaverton ( Sunderland ) circle (Dec. 30th)

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)

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.

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