March 31, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Meet: 9:00 am at the Clearwater Arena or 10:00 am at the St Clair National Wildlife area. Tens of thousands of ducks and other waterfowl use the Lake St. Clair wetlands as a migratory stop over. In this case, we will be viewing mainly puddle ducks (aka dabblers) such as American widgeon, northern shoveler, wood duck and pintail to name a few. Lunch at Mitchell’s Bay.
Leader: Deryl Nethercott
Well, the weather outside was frightful, and most people decided to stay home and stay safe. But a few of us showed up anyway and had a nice morning, in spite of the weather!
We drove along the river, stopping at a few spots to look for waterfowl. We travelled as far as Sombra and then wisely called it a day.
We managed to see 20 bald eagles and 11 kinds of ducks; Redheads, Canvasbacks, Buffleheads, Long-tails, Common Goldeneyes, Common Red-breasted and Hooded Mergansers, Scaups and a scoter. We even saw one Ring-necked Duck.
Down River Ducks and Eagles
February 4, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Meet 9:00 am at the Centennial Park parking lot. This is our most popular outing. See waterfowl including diving ducks, geese and swans, as well as different gull species and bald eagles. Lunch at a restaurant in Sombra.
Leader: Paul Carter 519-466-8555
Twenty three LWI members ventured out on a cool fall day to walk the nature trail on the Fairbank Oil property just outside of Oil Springs. Larry Cornelis led the hike and the group was fortunate to also have the property owners Charlie Fairbank and Pat McGee accompany us to provide some wonderful stories about the history of the property and the oil industry, as well as to explain the various oil production devices and artifacts found along the trail. Charlie’s ancestors were prominent in the oil business dating back to the first oil wells.
The Fairbank property sits above the large oil field that spawned the oil exploration and extraction industry in the mid 1850’s, and the field continues to produce oil to this day from numerous wells located all over the property. Many small oil pumps are visible along the trail, dutifully moving up and down to pull the crude oil up from a depth of close to 400 feet. The unique aspect of the Fairbank approach to oil extraction is that many of these oil wells are using technology from the 1800’s. The site is being considered as a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Charlie had recently returned from Ottawa where he made a presentation in support of the application.
The trail entrance, with parking, is located on Gypsy Flats side road just south of Oil Springs Line. The well-maintained trail meanders through prairie and riparian areas along Black Creek. There are numerous signs indicating sections of the trail that are named for historical figures from the local oil industry. A sturdy and attractive bridge crosses Black Creek and we were told that birds nest under it each year. Larry Cornelis has conducted wildlife surveys on the property over several years, with many species being observed. Although not many birds, insects or animals were seen on this day, it’s certain that in spring and summer there would be lots to see. Tallgrass prairie species have been planted in many of the areas of this trail, with plans to continue to naturalize the property.
It’s a breath of fresh air when generous people allow the public to access their property and enjoy the natural beauty that resides there. We appreciate the creation of this nature trail and encourage all LWI members to visit.
Further information about the history of the local oil industry can be found by visiting the Oil Museum of Canada, located a very short distance from this nature trail. https://www.lambtonmuseums.ca/oil/
Christmas Bird Count
Participate in the Pinery / Kettle Point CBC and help count all the birds in the count area and stay for the chili dinner and compilation at the park visitor centre.
Contact Tanya Berkers
So what is a Christmas Bird Count and how do you get involved?
First, the CBC or Christmas Bird Count (not the Canadian Broadcasting Company) is an annual event held…well around Christmas.
Lets just go to the Bird Studies Canada web site where they can tell us all about it.
LWI members have been involved in counts for years. There is a count in and around the Pinery, the Kettle Point Count that LWI birders often attend. There is a also a US count, the Port Huron Count, which covers part of Sarnia through to Mooretown along the river. This count was originally set up between the Bluewater Audubon (Port Huron) and Lambton Wildlife Incorporated. Counts are done all over the province; the Wallaceburg Count is just around the corner. As a matter of fact there are 8 counts within 100km of Sarnia!
So what’s it like? Fun! Educational! …Cold!
Usually you sign up by email with the coordinator. If you know any other birders, ask them to come with you and send in your names. If you are hoping to go with more experienced people, just ask the coordinator if they can add you into an established group. The number of people going varies greatly.
Usually you meet at a common spot – like the Visitor Center at the Pinery. The areas are divided up and off you go to count all the birds you see and hear in your assigned area. Each Count area does it differently. Sometimes you may meet for lunch, other times mid afternoon for a supper. This is when all the sightings are discussed and the tally sheets are handed in for the coordinator to do their magic and turn it into the official report. This yearly report of birds in a fixed area is a great way to take part in citizen science. It’s a fantastic way to meet other birders, and I always learn something new!
Come on and join us this year- you’ll be glad you did!
Dec 17, 2017 Port Huron ( Port Huron/Sarnia) contact Janet Fox email@example.com
Dec 27, 2017 Wallaceburg CBC contact Steve Charbonneau firstname.lastname@example.org
Nature Trail at Fairbank Oil
October 29 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Meet: 12:00 pm at Lambton Mall parking lot near Canadian Tire, or at 1:00pm at the trail head on Gypsy Flats Road, south of Oil Springs Line.
This will be Lambton Wildlife’s first outing to hike the nature trail at Fairbank Oil near Oil Springs. It’s also an opportunity to learn about the history of the local oil industry.
Mystery Falls Hike
October 14 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Meet at 9am at Lambton Mall parking lot near Canadian Tire, or 10am at Elm Tree Road, west off Sylvan Road, at trail head.
Let’s enjoy the fall colours on one of the most scenic trails in our area to see Mystery Falls and the unique habitats.
Tour the ecological restoration projects including numerous wetlands and acres of tall grass prairie on the King family farm. There has been approximately 90 acres of restoration work done by Ontario Nativescapes. Refreshments provided.
The walk leader is Larry Cornelis. Larry is an experienced landscaper and has restored/naturalized numerous projects, including his own farm. He is naturalist local to Lambton-Kent where he has lived all of his life. He is a very knowledgeable resource of the flora and fauna of the area. He is an avid bird watcher and will tell you that he doesn’t get enough time to pursue the hobby. He is a board member of Sydenham Field Naturalists and Lambton Wildlife Incorporate and other local boards. Larry is a busy guy and always happy to be outside working with nature.
The event begins at 10:00 AM August 26 on the King farm. The event is south of Watford 1.2 Km east of Navuoo Rd on Churchill line. Proceed past St James Church and over the bridge. Look for activity on the north side of the road. Carpool meeting spot is the parking lot south of St Clair High School in Sarnia at 9:00 AM
The tour is considered an easy one. Longer walks may be necessary to view all areas of the restoration.
The walk is open to everyone without charge. Binoculars are always recommended. Footwear appropriate for the weather. There are no facilities available on the farm.
Contact Mary Martin for any questions.
Please join us on Thursday evenings in July and August to view local gardens featuring native plants. Each tour will commence at 7:00pm. Learn from the garden experts about creating gardens with native plants to attract wildlife and benefit our environment.
August 10 Residential Native Garden – 6719 Old Mill Road in “the Maples” subdivision off of old Lakeshore Rd **Please note the change in address from that published in the brochure.
This garden, owned by LWI members, is on a small, subdivision lot. Originally there was no landscaping other than turfgrass and a few foundation plants in front of the house as part of the builder’s package. The soil is heavy, compacted clay, and both the front and back yards are in full sun all day. Today, the property showcases an alternative to the suburban lawn that provides natural habitat and pleasing aesthetics. Last year the Sarnia Horticultural Society visited this garden.
The back garden was installed by Return the Landscape in 2013 and expanded by the homeowners in 2016. The front garden was installed by RTL in 2014. RTL also installed dry creek beds in the back garden to direct rainwater from the downspouts to a wet meadow complex with a diversity of plant species in the back corner.
The plants are native to the local eco-zone and were selected for their wildlife value, particularly for native pollinators such as butterflies and moths. Because of the clay soil and full sun exposure, most grasses and wildflowers selected are found in prairie or wet meadow environments. Wet meadow plants include Boneset, (Eupatorium perfoliatum ) Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum ) and Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum). During this visit, some of the more imposing prairie plants such as Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) and Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris) will be in bloom.