North Shore of Lake Ontario – June 25, 2022

On Saturday June 25, 2022, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group on an all day outing along the shore of Lake Ontario looking for whatever showed up. Here are a few photos from that day.

For the full report on the day, with many more photos, see David’s blog at Waterloo Region Nature Outing to the North Shore of Lake Ontario.

WRN Kids – Pollinators and Kites

kite flying

Pollinators and Kites

On Saturday, June 4, 2022, WRN Kids visited the Forest Heights Pollinator Patch to learn about bees, plant seeds, and fly kites.

This week at Nature Kids the topic was Pollinators and Kites. Dana Church, a local scientist who studies bees, came and spoke about her book The Beekeepers, and told us interesting facts about bees. It is important to learn about bees because many are endangered, and we need them to pollinate fruits and vegetables.

Flowers in bloom
Dana Church
Dana Church
group listening to speaker
planting seeds

We planted seeds and small plants in the Forest Heights Pollinator Patch, which is a volunteer managed garden in Meadowlane Park.

planting seeds

Then we went to fly kites in the field. The weather was warm with a slight wind which made it very good for flying kites.

Canada Anemone

Because it was the last meeting of the year we had cookies as a treat and received a book about birds. It was a fun morning outdoors.

Reported by Caroline

kite flying
kite flying
kite flying

Tree Planting in Memory of Betty Cooper

tree plaque

On Friday, May 6, 2022, a group of friends and WRN board members gathered at rare to plant a White Oak tree in memory of Betty Cooper.

For a full report on the event with many more photos, and transcripts of the memories shared by Elaine LaRonde and Mary Ann Vanden Elzen, see David Gascoigne’s blog at A Tree for Betty Cooper.

planting the tree
tree plaque

WRN Kids – Nature Photography

Nature Photography

On Saturday, April 30, 2022, WRN Kids visited Breithaupt Park for a photography outing led by Focus On Nature.

Today, we learned about nature photography. First there was a small presentation where we learned about the elements of photography which are: Line, Shape, Form, Space, Texture, Tone, Rule of thirds, SCUFI-Shoot Close Up For Impact, and Colour which has three properties: Hue, Saturation, and Brightness.

This is important to learn about because of a couple of reasons. Here are three: To have fun, to remember interesting things, and to show people things that you like after you see them.

by Calum
people taking photos
by Jackson

If you did not bring a camera they would loan you one. Then we went outside and split into two groups. The two groups then split up and went on a walk. During the walk you could take pictures of interesting things. The weather was a bit cloudy but with some sunny spots.

by Hunter

During the activities I felt very happy. I liked taking pictures of cool things that I saw. Some examples of what I saw: Trout Lily, Bloodroot, A squirrel tail, and a deep hole. To me it was very fun. My favourite part was the walk and taking pictures.

Reported by Calum

WRN Teens – Birding Walk

feeding chickadees

WRN Teens Birding Walk

April 30, 2022 was another 2-job Saturday for WRN Teens. In the morning, we did our usual monitoring of salamander boards and nest boxes at SpruceHaven farm. 

In the afternoon, we had a birding walk led by David Gascoigne in Riverside Park in Preston, Cambridge. We had beautiful weather and, with two new members, we had fun getting to know each other. There were few of the spring migratory bird species we had hoped to see but we practised our identification skills on Northern Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Tree Swallows, Buffleheads and lots more. David encouraged the Teens to start their “life lists” now, so it was an important first day for Teens who carefully recorded sightings.

Other firsts for some Teens included discovering Riverside Park and feeding chickadees in their hands.

As well as birds, we also saw a White-tailed Deer, Painted Turtles and Snapping Turtles, and for most of us, had our closest encounter ever with Raccoons! 

The Teens were very enthusiastic about everything and we had requests for a return visit. Thanks to David for sharing his knowledge and inspiring us all, both Teens and adults. 

feeding chickadees
watching racoon
racoon eating on railing

WRN Teens – Salamanders and Periwinkle

checking for salamanders
Saturday, April 23 2022
Morning – monitoring salamanders and nest boxes at SpruceHaven
Afternoon – invasive plant control at Montgomery Sanctuary
 
Haiden’s comments about salamander monitoring with Graeme and Linda on Saturday morning at SpruceHaven:
     On the salamander hunt we all had different jobs. We went around to different boards and lifted them up. Some of them we found salamanders under. We saw Red-backed Salamanders. They were curled up under the boards. Under other boards there were just sticks and leaf litter.  
     The most exciting part was when we lifted up a board and saw the blue-spotted part of a salamander. We all got excited because we thought that it was a Blue-spotted Salamander but when we flipped it over, we realized it was just another Red-backed Salamander that was upside down!
checking for salamanders
checking a nest box
Marg’s comments about nest box monitoring:
     At SpruceHaven, I was with the other group that Michelle led to monitor the nest boxes in Teens’ Row. We were excited to see an Eastern Bluebird nearby. We hope that some will use our boxes! There was also lots of Tree Swallow activity along Teens’ Row. Five of the nine boxes had evidence of the beginnings of nest building — a great sign to see our first time out. It was too early to see eggs but next time we expect the nests to have progressed enough for us to be able to recognize which species built them.
Millie’s comments about our Saturday afternoon work project with Fraser and Levi:
     This outing was at F.H. Montgomery Wildlife Sanctuary, to try and reduce the spread of Periwinkle, because it is invasive. After discussing what we were going to do, we headed into the forest. We started by pulling up some of the old tarps. We then placed the tarps over areas where Periwinkle was growing in order to stop it spreading. Then we placed logs over the tarps to keep them in place, as the area is sometimes flooded by the Nith River. Overall it was great to get out and try to stop the spread of this invasive species.
 
a tarp weighted with logs
carrying a tarp
placing a log on a tarp
talking about mussels
Sightings not already mentioned:
– In the morning, the nest box group had a short stop at Teens’ Hollow on the way back and were happy to see that the recently created double pond (where Teens planted 100+ trees in 2020!) has lots of water and is being enjoyed by Canada Geese, Mallards, and Red-winged Blackbirds.
 
– At Montgomery Sanctuary, Fraser explained that because of the flooding they often find Mollusk shells in the woods! He showed us the shells that had been gathered up recently which had amazing names: Fatmucket, Giant Floater, Spike, and Elk Toe! 
 

– Another fun sighting that day…  On the way to the nest boxes at SpruceHaven, our group saw a large egg on the laneway by the cell tower. We were surprised to see it whole and on the ground out in the open. I send a photo to one of our WRN mentors, David Gascoigne, who wrote back: “It is a Wild Turkey egg, probably from a fertilized female without a nest who simply dropped the egg there when it was time for it to emerge. I have seen this phenomenon before.” We were all duly impressed, then, that afternoon, at Montgomery, we saw the very same thing! David’s comments later about two Wild Turkey eggs in one day: “Two the same day is a little unusual, but I don’t think the phenomenon itself is all that uncommon. Over the years I would guess that I have seen it at least a dozen times.”

wild turkey egg

Mill Race Trail, St. Jacobs – Spring 2022

On Wednesday April 13, 2022, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group along the Mill Race Trail, St. Jacobs. Here are a few photos from that walk.

On Saturday April 16, 2022, a larger second group repeated that walk. Here are a few photos from that day.

For the full report on the walk with more photos, see David’s blog at Waterloo Region Nature Outing to the Mill Race Trail, St. Jacobs, ON.

WRN Kids – Cliffhangers

Small limestone cliff

Cliffhangers at rare – March 26, 2022

Today, we visited a cliffhanger event at RARE. It was a nature walk, guided by two of their leaders, Michelle and Istafa. Before we set out for our walk, a volunteer set up an ice breaker game for the kids. It was called cross the creek, and the coordinator drew a crosshatch grid in the dirt. You were to try to find the patches that were rocks in the creek and cross the creek. It was a fun game for the children, and the adults enjoyed trying to remember which patches were rocks and guessing the next one.

Turkey Tail
Turkey Tail
Cedar forest by river
Michelle and Istafa

Then, we went on the walk. Our first stop was to learn about the barn swallows. There was a large structure standing in the middle of a field, built to give the barn swallows a place to build their nests.

Talking at Bald Eagel statue
We also stopped at a wall of limestone, and the guides said we could look around, gently lifting logs and climbing limestone. We saw snake eggs, hibernating wasps, and even a few fossils engraved in the limestone.
Climbing limestone cliff
Small limestone cliff
Talking at the cliff
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk Cabbage

We made a stop at a swamp, and spoke about how the wetlands are so important to the ecosystem because it’s habitat for so many of the plants and animals.. We saw some skunk cabbage blooming beside the swamp as well!

Crossing water on a boardwalk

The weather was gray and it snowed a little bit, but despite that, we had a great time and the event was a complete success! We definitely recommend going and trying out the experience!

Reported by the Lee family.

100 Years of Birds and Birders at Lakeside Park

100 Years of Birds and Birders at Lakeside Park

For at least a century, Kitchener’s Lakeside Park has been a favoured birding destination for enthusiastic KWFNers from the past and WRNists of the present. In a way, the history of birding at Lakeside can be viewed as a history of the club.

This is a special edition of the Lakeside newsletter. It is a celebration of 100 years of birds and birders at Lakeside Park. March 5, 1921 was the date of the first known written record by a birder of the birds he saw at what was then known as ‘The Waterworks’ or ‘The Waterworks Swamp.’

Read the stories. Discover who that birder was, which birds he saw, what the landscape looked like back then. Find out how the landscape changed through time, and how that affected the birds observed. Read stories of birders of the past right up to the present. Find out what the future may hold for the park.

Mary Ann Vanden Elzen

To read the newsletter, click on:

Peregrine Falcon Fledge Watch 2022

Peregrine Nest Box

Kitchener-Waterloo Peregrine Falcon Fledge Watch 2022

We have a new coordinator for this year’s fledge watch.

If you are interested in joining the watch, contact Tara Hurley (hurley_tara@hotmail.com).

More details will get posted here when known. The next move is up to the falcons.

Peregrine Nest Box
Peregrine Falcon chicks from a previous year.

Long Point – March 2022

On Saturday, March 12, 2022, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a large group on a blustery all day outing to the Long Point area looking for birds. Here are a few photos from that day.

For the full report on the day, with many more photos, see David’s blog at WRN Outing to Long Point, Norfolk County, ON.

Linear Trail and Riverside Park – March 2022

Red Squirrel

On Wednesday March 2, 2022, David Gascoigne and Miriam Bauman led a group along the Linear Trail and then into Riverside Park in Cambridge. Here are a few photos from that walk (skate?).

group photo

On Saturday March 5, 2022, a second group repeated that walk. Here are a few photos.

group photo

For the full report on the walks, with many more photos, see David’s blog at An outing to the Linear Trail and Riverside Park, Cambridge, ON.