The 2019 Lambton County Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4KIDS), hosted by LWI’s Young Naturalist team and staffed by club volunteers was completed on Saturday, Dec 28th at Canatara Park, Sarnia Ontario. 25 kids, ages 6-12 participated with their parents or grandparents in our 2nd annual count.
Although bird numbers were down, as is the case all over the continent, the kids and adults had a great time! It was wonderful to see so many children and youth interested in birds and nature over the holidays. With all generations involved, it made for a unique event blending outdoor activity, citizen science, and family-friendly fun.
Leading groups of intrepid young birders were: Sharon & Deryl Nethercott, Amy Virostek, Brandon Edwards, Sean Jenniskens, and Mike Kent. As participants arrived our leaders put them through a quick bino bootcamp to learn how to use binoculars. Upon completion, they earned a tufted titmouse (our mascot this year) button. After the bootcamp, Thanks to Vortex Canada and Nova Chemicals, we were able to equip our participants with Vortex binoculars that we hope opened a window to an undiscovered world for some.
16 species of birds were seen by the groups for a total of 186 birds seen in the 70 minutes of counting. One group saw two Coopers hawks, and another group got a look at a Brown Creeper! Our most numerous bird was the long-tailed duck, with a total count of 70. The temperature was 3-4 degrees Celsius with overcast skies.
Each of our participants went home with a pinecone feeder kit, a nature magazine, and a titmouse button. After the count, each group reported their findings and enjoyed hot chocolate and warm cookies.
Anne Goulden did a tremendous job organizing and leading the event. Also assisting were Brandy Fenwick and Mary Martin.
To learn more about the Young Naturalist Club, check out this section of our site: Lambton Wildlife Programs
We also made a special annoucement at the CBC4KIDS event that for 2020 memberships will be FREE for Young Nats!
Sign up today to get your family in the know for kid-friendly events!
Fifty-three species of birds were reported at the Sydenham River Nature Reserve during the Breeding Bird Survey on Saturday June 8, 2019. There were five Species at Risk reported during the survey: Bald Eagle, Cerulean Warbler, Eastern Wood Pewee, Red-headed Woodpecker, and Wood Thrush. This biologically important nature reserve is owned by Ontario Nature with Lambton Wildlife and Sydenham Field Naturalists as stewards of the property.A big thank you to both Larry Cornelis for organizing the survey, and to all the volunteers who came out to assist: Quinton Wiegersma, Blake Mann, Edward lavender, Mike Kent, Larry Cornelis, Peter Chapman, Paul Carter, Roberta Buchanan, and Mark Buchanan.
A big thank you to all the leaders and participants for a successful Christmas Bird Count in Canatara Park on December 29. The data that was gathered is submitted to Bird Studies Canada and adds important information about bird populations and helps to develop conservation strategies.
Fifteen children participated in the count and they were able to use binoculars provided to the young naturalists program with funding from Nova Chemicals and Vortex Binoculars.
Mike Kent (Young Naturalists leader), Sean Jenniskens, Amy Virostek, Brandon Edwards, Brandy Fenwick, Sharon Nethercott, and Anne Goulden all assisted with the bird count.
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.
Hawk Cliff is recognized as one of the prime fall migration hawk watching destinations in all North America.
Every year hundreds of birders (and non-birders!) from Canada, the U.S. and other countries visit Hawk Cliff. Birders can normally expect to see 15 different raptor species, with typical count totals reaching several thousand birds per day. On a few exceptional occasions lucky visitors have witnessed the amazing spectacle of over 100,000 raptors of various species migrating past Hawk Cliff in a single day!
Others come to enjoy the many song birds and Monarchs that also pass Hawk Cliff on their journey to warmer climes, or to walk the beautiful trails of Hawk Cliff Woods. This is a stunning 230 acre property and is one of the most significant deep interior forests in Elgin County. Hawk Cliff Woods is a maple-beech forest with many Carolinian specialties, including the Tulip-tree and Pignut Hickory as well as the Endangered Butternut and American Chestnut. Rare birds such as Eastern Wood-Pewee, Acadian Flycatcher, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Wood Thrush thrive in the deep woods.
Please Contact Roberta Buchanan at email@example.com or by phone 519-864-1475.
Date: September 22, 2018
Place: Lambton Mall parking lot – Carpooling is an option as it is an 80 minute drive.
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (bring your lunch or visit nearby Port Stanley for lunch)
Daily Live-bird Demos at 11a.m. and 2 p.m.
What to Bring: water, insect repellent, hat, sunscreen, lawn chair, binoculars, lunch
Point Pelee National Park is a spectacular park to visit in any season, especially known for its spring and fall migration and its incredible biodiversity. Seven Lambton Wildlife members were fortunate enough to camp there from September 6th to the 9th.
Where to begin …. The best place to begin is to say a big THANK YOU to Paul Carter who did an outstanding job organizing the camping trip. His expertise, along with the expertise of Larry Cornelis, was truly appreciated by everyone. Each time we have the opportunity to hike with Paul and Larry we learn so much!
You will notice that in the photo Paul and Larry are sitting in red Adirondack chairs. The Red Chair Experience began three years ago in Gros Morne National Park, and it is a way of connecting Canadians with nature in our country’s most unique and treasured places.
During our stay we were lucky to see many of the species of flora and fauna that Point Pelee has to offer.
We saw numerous monarch butterflies, which was encouraging because we all know that these butterflies are struggling as a species (keep planting those milkweed!).
We were treated to many other butterfly species including Common Buckeye, Giant Swallowtail (caterpillar photos below), Red-spotted Purple, Painted Lady, and Crescent.
A highlight of the trip was seeing numerous five-lined skinks! These beautiful animals are Ontario’s only lizard species. They have scaly skin like all lizards and are fast, agile and prefer warm, dry habitats.
Dragonflies and Damselflies
There are a great number of species of dragonflies and damselflies in Point Pelee National Park. Two notable ones that Paul pointed out were the Carolina Saddlebags and the Lance-tipped Darner – both lifers for us! Some of the more common ones included orange bluets (?), twelve-spotted skimmer, and Common Green Darner.
We were surprised to see a Melanistic Garter Snake just outside the canoe rental shop at the Boardwalk trail. The melanistic color morph is a relatively common color morph that occurs naturally in the wild. Another great find was a Northern Water Snake – if you look closely at the photos you will see that it had recently enjoyed a meal.
We were treated to a number of wonderful bird sightings that included both migratory and resident bird species. It is hard to beat seeing fledgling birds. The first photo is of a fledgling cedar waxwing that one of the campers spotted at the Cemetery entrance. Other birds included immature and adult Bald Eagles, Osprey, Magnolia Warbler, Black and White Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, and Wild Turkey.
There is so much to enjoy at Point Pelee National Park – we hope that seeing some of the beauty of the park will inspire you to visit it soon!
Spring is such an incredible time of year. As you walk through Mandaumin Woods in the springtime you will be treated to so many wonderful sights and sounds.
Stop and listen to the number of different bird songs that are all around you – spring is a time when birds are migrating through Mandaumin woods and it is not unusual to see 20 or more species in a single outing! One of my favorite groups of birds are the Warblers. These colorful little birds find refuge in Mandaumin Woods as they find their way to breeding grounds further north. I have yet to find a nesting pair of any species of Warbler in Mandaumin but there certainly could be Yellow Warblers nesting there.
No other birds can match the song of the thrush. I have seen 3 different species of thrush at Mandaumin Woods but it is during the spring breeding season that their beautiful song echoes through the woods.
Other bird species abound in Mandaumin Woods – I was once chased, quite incessantly, by a pair of Indigo Buntings. They had built their nest quite close to the trail and they needed me to move along much quicker than my usual ambling pace!
Probably the most striking bird that can be spotted in Mandaumin Woods is the Scarlet Tanager. What a stunning bird!
Then there is the spectacular display of color provided by the spring wildflowers. Is there anything more beautiful than a forest floor covered in trilliums in full bloom? The constantly changing forest floor will keep you coming back week after week to enjoy the many wildflowers that bloom throughout the spring and summer.
View resident and migrant birds.
Each spring, migrant birds move through Canatara Park on their way to their nesting grounds. Walk with an expert birder to view resident and migrant birds.
The walk leader is Eric Marcum (519-332-6122). Eric is a long time birder with experience in the NE United States, northern Canada and many hours in and around Sarnia. Eric’s experience in hearing and identifying bird songs adds to the experience.
There are three walks scheduled starting on May 3 and continuing May 10 and May 17, 2017. Start time at 6:00 PM.
The walk, beginning at the main entrance to Tarzan Land (south-west corner of Christina St and Cathcart Blvd), is an easy one over flat chip covered paths and sidewalks.
The walk is open to everyone without charge. Binoculars are most useful. Photo opportunities exist throughout the tour.
See the Tourism Sarnia-Lambton web-site www.tourismsarnialambton.com/listing for more information about Canatara Park.
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!
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!