Every spring for many years now, LWI holds a group camping outing on Pelee Island. 2016 was the first year for myself and Roberta attending. Pelee Island is an easy 1 hour and 30 minute ferry ride from Leamington. The campground is located only a few kilometers from the ferry dock and is well situated for making forays to the various corners of the island.
By late Thursday the LWI group camping site was well populated with tents, dining shelters, pop-up camper vans and one truck camper. Some members come as early as Tuesday, with most departing back to the mainland on the Sunday. A total of 21 campers attended, with ages ranging from elementary school up to ?? Most campers in the group brought bicycles, as the island is relatively small and quite flat. For some outings we did choose to drive, in order to facilitate moving to other locations depending on bird concentrations or lack thereof. We enjoyed group hikes, campfires, late night owling (successfully calling in screech owls!) and great camaraderie. The atmosphere at the campsite was very relaxed and driving on the island is slow and easy; everyone waves at other vehicles.
The island is a mix of agricultural land, vineyards, and protected conservation lands, each with its own unique habitat. I thought the best way to describe the nature aspects of the trip was to show some photos. 2016 was a record turnout for this popular LWI outing and we hope 2017 will be even better. I have split my photos into two posts; the first will be general nature photos, and the second post will focus on bird photos. Enjoy!
May, the best birding month of the year is just around the corner and that means it’s time to plan for the annual LWI Pelee Island camping trip! Every spring, a group of LWI members camp out on the island, enjoy the outdoors, take in the island sights, and most importantly enjoy extraordinary birding opportunities. Some of the activities from past years include: Calling in screech owls, evening campfires, participating in the Island birding competition: The Annual Botham Cup Bird Race, attending the Pelee Island Annual Springsong birding celebration evening banquet hosted by author Margaret Atwood.
If camping is not your thing and you still want to participate in the outing, there are numerous Bed and Breakfast places on the island, and you can still connect with the LWI campers for outings and other activities.
To help you plan here are some things you should be aware of: LWI reserves a group camp site, a large open, grassy site with a few picnic tables and no shade. The site doesn’t have hydro or water. Everyone in the group shares the picnic tables and the fire pit, and we pitch our tents in various places around the site and leave our vehicles close to the campground road. It’s a 2-3 minute walk to the washrooms but there are nice hot showers there, and a small campground store too. This LWI event is family friendly and the campground does not permit alcoholic beverages on the premises. The cost is $4/person/night payable to the campground office when you arrive.
The island is only 12.5 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide, so getting around by bike is possible. The island is very flat, however not all the roads are paved. It takes about 4 hours to bike the perimeter of the island. One of the benefits of being with the LWI group is that many of the campers have good knowledge of the island from previous years and they know the best birding spots. You can join in on the group birding hikes or take off on your own to explore.
The ferry to the island does book up quickly so reserve your trip early, the cost is $16.50/vehicle plus $7.50/person (each way).
The average daily temperatures in May are around 18 degrees, with nighttime lows running around 10 degrees. The island temperatures tend to be a bit cooler than the mainland so pack accordingly.
Hope you can join LWI for all or part of this great weekend of birding!
Lambton Wildlife Incorporated (LWI) has been protecting nature for over 50 years by bringing those with a love of nature together to work towards common goals in conservation, preservation, and protection of the natural environment in Lambton County. Through a range of programs and events we aim to foster an environment that encourages appreciating, learning, and teaching about the natural environment. In order to continue the voice and values of LWI, we must reach out to our younger generation to provide them with positive experiences in nature.
Nature deficit disorder may be a coined phrase but the symptoms are real. Today children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago with much of this time now devoted to viewing digital media. Time spent playing outside is correlated with increased physical activity, mental creativity, decreased aggression and better concentration in children. Recent research has also shown that children who play outside are more likely to protect nature as adults. The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11. This is where we come in. (more…)
Who’s back? Well the birds- at least some of them. The warm weather and longer days has me wishing I could go out everyday.!
This last week I managed to get out to Wawanosh, Perch Creek , Hiawatha Park , Dow Wetlands and a car tour of Lambton County.
Insert meadowlark here
I was lucky enough to find Meadowlarks at Dow Wetlands and Kettle Point. I’ve heard they had been seen elsewhere too!
Cedar waxwings are also back- filling the air with their trilling calls.
The Killdeers are calling, the bald eagles nest sitting and the hawks are paired off!
This is just the best time of year…each day may bring a new bird…let the chasing begin!
My husband Deryl and I spend much of our leisure time exploring the great outdoors. Our love for birding and photography has taken us to many locations in Ontario and beyond. In the past few years, we have added Geocaching to the mix. Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunting “game” that uses a GPS device to find hidden containers in both rural and urban areas. Some people describe it as using billion dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods. After signing the log in the container to prove you found the cache, geocachers go on-line and write about the experience.
Deryl regularly checks “e-bird” to discover the location of birds we would like to add to our Annual and Life Bird Lists. I then check geocaching.com to locate nearby geocaches and load the coordinates into my hand-held GPS device. Geocaching provides us with a chance to get exercise while travelling and has taken us to numerous trails and Conservation Areas that we hadn’t known existed.
While on a mini vacation to Fort Erie, searching for a geocache helped us to find 50 Monarch Butterflies resting on some bushes before continuing their southern flight across Lake Erie. I have never witnessed the mass migrations at Point Pelee, but this discovery seemed just as exciting!
We travelled one May 24 weekend to Columbus, Ohio where we discovered Highbanks Metro Park. This jewel of a park was free to the public. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we found a pair of Barred Owls at a nest site. Other highlights included a male Hooded Warbler, Summer Tanager and Acadian Flycatcher. Of course, we also managed to find several geocaches in the area.
After crossing the border back into Canada, we stopped for a stretch at a Conservation Area outside Windsor. Soon after locating another geocache, we discovered a Blandings Turtle, with a feather in his cap, sunning on a log.
Although we often include Peers Wetland in our weekend wanderings, I found my first ever Bronze Copper Butterfly because I wanted to find a new geocache hidden at the wetlands.
I have always thought young kildeer to be absolutely adorable. While searching for a geocache near Lake Erie, a juvenile fluffy killdeer ran across our path and hid amongst the long grasses.
One year we decided to visit the Alymer Wildlife Management Area to look for Tundra Swans. While signing the log for an on-site geocache, 2 Bald Eagles flew towards us and landed in a nearby tree. I wrote about this adventure and 2 geocachers who read the log on-line rushed out to the site to see the Eagles. They sent us a note to express their thanks and excitement!
Getting back to the Piping Plover….
We headed to the Bruce Peninsula for a summer vacation and were hoping to find a new life bird, The Piping Plover, which had recently started nesting along the Lake Huron Shoreline near Sauble Beach. Deryl’s research indicated a specific parking area. As I was scanning online for nearby geocaches to find on our vacation, I read a cache log saying that some geocachers had found a roped off beach area, monitored by volunteers, protecting an endangered species! They had unintentionally found the Piping Plovers!!! If we had followed our original plan, we would have been 5 km off the target and likely would have given up our search.
To date we have found numerous birds as a result of geocaching and look forward to more exciting finds in the future!
The business meeting and general elections are at 4:30 pm. The bucket draw opens at 5:00pm.
If people wish to bring items to donate to the bucket draw, they can bring them to the dinner. Bucket draw items can be nature related or something in nearly new condition. Popular past items are books, re-gifted items and sometimes experiences (such as dessert and a travel talk).
The banquet dinner will start at 6:00 pm. We will have chicken breast this year and dessert is homemade pie.
A meritorious service award will be presented after dinner. The bucket draw winners are also determined after dinner.
After a break, the members will hear short snapshots of historical LWI initiatives from five past presidents. Elizabeth Tasker will share the founding of Mandaumin Woods and Fernand Noel will explain the history of the Ausable Trail. Brenda Kulon will outline the challenges of creating the Karner Blue Butterfly Sanctuary. Janet Bremner will explain the club branding and Larry Cornelis will finish with the newest collaborative project – the Sydenham Nature Reserve.
See you there!
Camlachie United Church
6784 Camlachie Rd, Camlachie, ON N0N 1E0
Last spring I purchased a 600mm lens and headed out to Canatara Park to see what birds I could spot, and to see if I could actually photograph any of them. To be honest, I wanted to see whether or not I was going to enjoy a longer lens.
I’m not a birder, although I love them and wish I could identify more species than I can. I have often captured the birds visiting my feeders in the winter, but that’s always been for fun and to document the species.
Here are some of the shots I took on April 20th, 2016. Other than basic editing I didn’t do any major cropping to make the birds appear larger in the frame, which is always an option, if I have captured a sharp enough image.
I thought it was a pretty decent first try with a new lens, especially since I took them all handheld. Do yourself a favour, if you are shooting with a long lens, use a tripod or at least a monopod to get the sharpest images. Having some support will also save your arm some strain because long lenses are quite heavy and somewhat awkward!
This monthly presentation begins with a social gathering starting at 7pm. Come and get to know other Lambton Wildlife members and enjoy some refreshments.
Our speaker tonight is one of our own, Justin Nicol. Justin is a board member of Lambton Wildlife, the owner of Nature’s Way Nurseries and a local horticulturalist who loves trees.
During this presentation you will have the opportunity to learn about our cities’ and towns’ hardest working entities, trees, yes that right! This presentation will cover the benefits that trees in towns and cities have, as well as the challenges they face day to day. We will also address how we can help them thrive through recognizing some basic visual signs, and go over what trees can benefit from – from the time of planting, to a mature beautiful specimen tree in our urban areas. Hope to see you there!!
The following document was produced by the Lambton Wildlife President, Brenda Kulon, in 1985. The page was from a newly created directory and it includes a list of outstanding accomplishments up to that point in the club’s history.
It’s important to know where we came from and where we are going.