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Any young birders or students interested in birds and nature who are enrolled in pre-K, grade school, middle school or high school can download the new version 7.7 of Thayer’s Birds of North America – for FREE.

Just visit www.ThayerBirding.com, select the Windows or the Mac download and enter our special code: LambtonWildlifeYoungBirder Then click the Apply button and Free Checkout.

This amazing birding software, for Windows or Mac computers, features the 1,007 birds that have been seen in the continental United States and Canada. The software includes 6,856 color photos, 1,506 songs and calls, 552 video clips of birds in action, 700 quizzes and much, much more. Use the ID Wizard to identify unknown birds in your yard. Keep track of the birds you see. Compare any two birds side-by-side. Read all about the bird’s nests, eggs, feeding habits and more.

Thayer Birding Software’s founder, Peter Thayer, decided that this would be the perfect way to celebrate his 70th birthday!

“It is time to give back something to the birding community and to the millions of young birders (and potential young birders) who just need a spark to get them started on a life-long quest for knowledge about our natural world and the importance of preserving the habitat we still have. What better way than this to celebrate the year of the bird? Our goal is to give away one million free copies of the birding program to kids everywhere.”

Are you the local bird expert?  You soon will be!

College and grad school students, use the code STUDENT for a 50% discount. Teachers use the code TEACHER for a 50% discount. 

Wildlife professionals can get a 50% discount by using the WILDLIFE.

Larry Cornelis has extraordinary knowledge of the flora and fauna of Lambton County and beyond.  He expertly led a group of nearly 90 people through Lorne C. Henderson Conservation Area looking at various tree species, explaining what to look for when identifying trees, and engaging us with many facts about the importance of trees. 

A fairly recent popular term that Larry described is Forest Bathing – simply immersing oneself in a forest atmosphere.  With as little as 2 hours per week Forest Bathing has been scientifically shown to increase immunity, decrease the risk of cancer and help you to recover from illness faster, decreased risk of heart attack, help with obesity and diabetes, more energy and better sleep, mood- boosting effects, and decreased inflammation.

This two hour walk was enjoyed by all and everyone left understanding the significant role native trees play in providing habitat and food for the incredible biodiversity needed for a healthy ecosystem. 

Thank you Larry!  

Larry also provided a comprehensive list of books that he recommends for tree identification:

Trees of the Carolinian Forest; Gerry Waldron

The Sibley Guide to Trees; David Allen Sibley

Landscaping With Native Trees; Guy Sternberg & Jim Wilson

The Global Forest; Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Arboretum America; Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Forest Bathing; Dr Qing Li

The Hidden Life of Trees; Peter Wohllenben

Trees in Canada; John Laird Farrar

Almost 50 LWI members and friends joined leader Mike Kent today for a fascinating morning hike learning about mushrooms along the Lambton Heritage Forest trail.  A beautiful sunny sky accented the fall colours along the route while Mike provided detailed information about various fungi which could be observed less than a meter from the trail.  Binoculars and field guides were provided to help participants identify the mushrooms.  Mike made the event fun while also being extremely informative; there was something for everyone: from mushroom novices all the way to fungi aficionados.  There is little doubt this popular annual event will be repeated!  Thanks Mike for the extensive preparation and excellent event.

On Monday evening, September 24th, join Lambton Wildlife for a presentation on Sturgeon in the Great Lakes. Social gathering goes from 7:00 to 7:30pm with the presentation starting soon after.

Research surrounding lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) feeding ecology in the Great Lakes is dated compared to other aspects of their ecology, despite their threatened status. Recent research has demonstrated different migration strategies exist in lake sturgeon from the Lake Huron-to-Lake Erie corridor (HEC), but dietary links are lacking in this system. Additionally, food web structures have been known to shift with new biological invasions, however little is known about the effects they have on native species found within the HEC. These knowledge gaps led to the question of whether or not lake sturgeon feeding ecology varies both temporally and spatially within the HEC. This interdisciplinary approach of combining movement and feeding ecology can be applied to other species and other study systems.

I’ve been lucky enough to join on with the stewardship team for the Sydenham River Nature Reserve. On Sunday morning our group went out on one of our 3 annual visits (spring, summer, fall) and here is a quick blog post to give folks a feel for what this sort of work entails – and to recruit for any other interested volunteers! The purpose of the visit is both to submit our observations on any changing conditions on the property, keep an eye out for increases in invasive species, any fallen trees, and flooding; and also to document wildlife that we encounter. On that front we were very successful, documenting a total of 43 bird species including cerulean warbler, blue-winged warbler, scarlet tanager, and noting various evidence of breeding. We also added to on-going lists of plants and insects found on the property.

The day started out with a walk down a tractor lane-way past a farm field, where we stopped and listened numerous times for birds and watching for evidence that they are not just migrants, but potentially singing on breeding territory. A scarlet tanager pair with female making trips back and forth from a cluster of high branches carrying nesting material was noted, providing strong evidence that they are readying to breed. Cerulean warblers could be heard singing but they were so far up it was impossible to get views despite forays from the main trail.

Photo Credit: Taylor Jones

From there we hiked straight up towards the fork and west into the large field; the sun was hot on our backs as we hiked clockwise around the field listening and watching. In past visits we have travelled along the ravine system around this field however this time we stuck to the field, getting good looks at butterflies, dragonflies, and other insects including shiny green tiger beetles. Also noted, seemingly out of place in the hot field, was a wood frog.

Photo Credit: Taylor Jones

Once we reached the north edge we left the hot sun in favour of the cooler forest and made our way towards the river, looking for evidence of turtles, aquatic mammals, birds, and insects along the river. As we travelled we also carefully lifted up bark and wood to look for snakes or salamanders and rocks along the river to look for insects. One such rock turned up the alien-like dobsonfly larvae shown below; and what might terrify some people delighted our group of nature nerds.

Photo Credit: Dick Wilson

The river yielded good looks and listens to other bird species including yellow throated vireo, mourning warbler, and american redstart. We also noted water conditions and took GPS coordinates of a tree stand that had been used for past hunting before we headed back out to the main path. Once back, we again heard the buzzing of cerulean warbler song and this time were rewarded with great views.

Photo Credit: Mark Buchanan

We finished the tour and back to the cars to stop over on the north side of the river for some lunch and further listening and viewing. Throughout the walk and lunch there was a lot of interesting discussion around restoration. Because the SRNR is a very new Ontario Nature reserve, there is restoration required, much of which centers around some small farm fields on the property which need to be converted into wildlife habitat. A restoration plan with numbered objectives was created by the experts at Ontario Nature, fed by lots of input including BioBlitz events in 2017, steward reports, and of course their own site visits. Talking with the stewardship team has given me a better understanding about the pit and mound techniques planned, drilling/broadcasting seed, and the succession ecology which will eventually yield the final desired ecosystem. Vernal pools and mounds will allow the best use of water resources by establishing means for the floodplains to hold and retain moisture for longer periods of time. It will be exciting to watch things develop over the next few years.
Although these properties are stewarded by local nature clubs, they are owned by other organizations; in this case SRNR is of course owned by Ontario Nature. This beneficial relationship allows the resources and structure of larger organizations to support ownership and large initiatives but still have some local on-the-ground oversight completed by passionate local individuals. The steward team is consulted as a source of information but can also help with fundraising and advocacy.

Photo Credit: Mark Buchanan

There are a lot of engaging ways to get involved in Sydenham Field Naturalists – joining one of our property stewardship teams is one of these ways! SFN stewards 5 different properties and needs people of all different levels of experience who are committed to visiting the properties, making observations, and providing recommendations. Stewardship groups can offer a unique opportunity to learn and contribute to citizen science, even for those like myself who are still learning many of the plant and animal species.

Written by Taylor Jones, Sydenham Field Naturalist

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Meet: 6:00 pm at the entrance to Tarzanland

Eric will skillfully find migrating songbird for all to see and learn about. Great birding right here in Sarnia.

Leader: Eric Marcum 519-332-6122

Spring Wildflowers of Reid’s Conservation Area #2

May 13, 2018 @ 12:30 pm4:00 pm

Sunday, April 29 and Sunday, May13, 2018

Meet: 12:30 pm at Lambton Mall parking lot near Canadian Tire or 1:00 pm at Reid’s CA on Duthill Road.

Join Felicia on a leisurely walk identifying the woodland wildflowers on two seperate outings to see the different wildflowers blooming. These spring ephemerals bloom before the forest canopy leafs out taking advantage of the available sunlight.

Leader: Felicia Syer-Nicol 519-402-2326

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

Meet: 6:00 pm at the entrance to Tarzanland

Eric will skillfully find migrating songbird for all to see and learn about. Great birding right here in Sarnia.

Leader: Eric Marcum 519-332-6122

Take a tour of the new Sydenham River Nature Reserve this Saturday, May 5th, 2018.

Lambton Wildlife joins the Sydenham Field Naturalists group to walk around and explore the new reserve.

Meet at 10am at the end of Oil Springs Line, 2 kilometres east of Nauvoo Road.

Leader: Larry Cornelis 519-330-8981