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

September, 28th  - “The Natural Side of Cuba" - Geoff Carpentier - Port Perry 7 pm

World traveller and local acclaimed naturalist Geoff Carpentier will present a naturalist's travelogue to Cuba. 

Known as a sun destination for Canadians, parts of Cuba are also a natural paradise with many bird and reptile species found nowhere else in the world.    Geoff will take us from the peculiar limestone knolls of Vinales, the forested Escambray Mountains to the vast Zapata Swamp, largest wetland in the Caribbean Basin, and show us some of the wildlife that live there." 

October, 26th - " Wildlife Tracks " - Don McLeod  - Uxbridge 7 pm 

Willow Beach Field naturalist Don McLeod will share his incites on how to observe the critters we don't always see.  Summer or winter there are clues to tell you whats about and what they are up to.

November, 23rd - "The Climate Crisis and Its Solutions.  " - Jenny Collings- Port Perry 7pm

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.  

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

December TBD - Christmas Bird Count 4 Kids

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.

Watch for more details to join in the annual winter bird fun.


Walks - 2017    

Details on meeting locations and to preregister  

Sunday September 17, 2017 – Summer’s End at Happy Valley Forest  

9:00 am meet at the Uxbridge Secondary School parking lot

Happy Valley Forest is an old-growth forest in the making near the west end of the Oak Ridges Moraine (near King City), which features scenic rolling terrain, mature mixed forest and nature trails. Leader Mark Stabb will introduce you to the history, ecology and conservation of this forest as we look for late season plants, birds and big trees in a variety of habitats.   

Saturday September 30, 2017 – Early Autumn Glory at East Cross Forest

 9:00 am meet at north end of Canadian Tire parking lot at Port Perry

East Cross Forest Conservation is another core natural area, but in the central part of the Oak Ridges Moraine.  A mix of dry sand barrens, mature mixed forest and beaver flooded wetlands allow a diverse range of flora and fauna to thrive here.   James Kamstra will lead this trip and will search for whatever flora and fauna are evident at this time of year.

Saturday October 14, 2017 – Mushrooms and Autumn Colour at Jim Baillie Nature Reserve

 9:00 am meet at the Uxbridge Secondary School parking lot

Autumn colour should be at its peak and an excellent mushroom crop is anticipated after the wetter than normal summer. The Jim Baillie Reserve is a little known nature reserve in the upper reaches of the Uxbridge Brook valley that is owned and managed by Toronto Field Naturalists. Led by Mark Stabb.

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. Geoff Carpentier 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

October 21st - Ontario Nature Regional Meeting- Port Perry 

North Durham Nature will host naturalists from other clubs at this members only event 

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


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)

Spring
Blitzing the Moraine 2017 - Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust

I hope you’ll consider joining us again in 2017 as a naturalist leader in one (or more) of our 3 bioblitzes scheduled for 2017.  Once again, we’re planning on 3-4 hour shifts with volunteers supporting your efforts.  This year we have blitzes planned for Durham, Stouffville, and King Township. 

Summer

June 25th Bee Wise Event Uxbridge Farmers market -Why bees matter

North Durham Butterfly Counts

Oshawa - Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

Sunderland - Sunday, July 9th, 2017


Two butterfly counts are happening in Durham Region and we are looking for eager participants.  Both counts are conducted in a similar manner to Christmas Bird Counts.  Several parties head out, with nets in hand, to count all the butterflies that they can find within their areas. The entire count circle is 25 km in diameter.  The Oshawa count extends from the north end of Oshawa to north of Port Perry, while the Sunderland Count includes portions of Brock, Uxbridge and East Gwillimbury Townships.  This year will mark the 23rd year for the Oshawa count and the 21st for Sunderland.  Over their history a total of 73 species have been documented on Oshawa and 76 on Sunderland.  The most in any given year were 55 and 62 species respectively.  Count results reflect weather conditions, butterfly migrations, population fluctuations and how early the spring is.  We pray for sun because few butterflies are on the wing when it is overcast.  About 30 butterfly counts take place across the province each year.


If you would you like to participate in either the Oshawa or Sunderland Count (or both), please contact James Kamstra before the count dates at (905) 985-4497 or email at james.kamstra@aecom.com.  Inexperienced counters will be put into parties with at least one expert.  These are whole day events starting at 8:30 am.  We break into parties of between 2 and 5 people and attempt to find all species and count individual butterflies in our respective areas.  The day ends with a grand tally at a local restaurant.  

Butterfly Guides - Rick Cavasin's Butterfly guides can be purchased for $12 at our club meetings, at Presents Presents store in Uxbridge, or call Derek 905-852-5432 


Claremont Field Centre (4290 Westney Rd. N, Goodwood) 

- 2017 Claremont Community Events and March Break 2017 Wilderness Survival Camp

- Summer Nature Day Camp 2017 


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

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 !

April 27th, 2017 - "Life in a Wetland" presented by North Durham Nature's Cara Gregory - Uxbridge 

Cara Gregory gave the most interesting talk on the work she does at the Nonquon Environmental Education Centre.
She took us through the year with examples of who comes there, what they might see and what they do.  Shifting gears, we learned about the wetland and other habitats that surround the Centre, what lives there and the trials and triumphs they face.  The evening ended with a great hands-on demonstration where we got to handle and/or see a Grey Tree Frog, Garter Snake, Eastern Red Spotted Newt and Snapping Turtle. What a great talk! Thx Cara.

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

January and February 2016

September to November 2015

WALKS

      (underlined text links to reviews)




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 dconn50@powergate.ca 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.


Official Audubon Christmas Bird Counts - Uxbridge Dec 27th 2016, Beaverton Dec 30th 2016

Once again we joined birders throughout the Americas in the annual bird count now in its 117th year.  Learn more about the count by visiting http://http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count

Follow underlined link to Audubon results:  Uxbridge CBC   Beaverton CBC . Written reports in the club newsletter. Join us to get one!
Uxbridge - 43 species; Beaverton 41 species 
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
                   



 

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