Winter Outing

WBFN Winter Tree Identification Field Trip in The Northumberland Forest. Photo© Sherry Tomkins


Walks and field trips are held throughout the year. Local activities are a good way for members to enjoy our area’s natural heritage, share their experience and learn through observation.





Upcoming Outings 2014






Sunday, November 16, 2014 - Birding Outing to Presqu’ile Provincial Park.

Leader: Doug McRae.

Directions: Meet at Hwy. 401 and Cty. Rd. 45 commuter parking lot at 8:00 a.m. or at the Park Store parking lot at Presqu’ile at 9:00 a.m. Looking for Purple Sandpipers, Snowy Owls and waterfowl. Bring rubber boots, since we will be wading to Gull Island. Also bring lunch and dress for the weather. Entrance fee to the Park is $10.75, so bring exact change or your Ontario Parks permit. Outing will end at about 2:00 p.m. For more information, contact Roger Frost at 905-885-9615 or ekrf@eagle.ca


Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper. Photo© Sherwood McLernon.








Christmas Bird Counts


Pine Siskin

Redpoll. Photo© Bruce Parker.

Presqu’ile-Brighton, Sunday, December 14, 2014. Compiler is Maureen Riggs, 613-475-3604, mriggs@sympatico.ca


Port Hope-Cobourg, Saturday, December 20, 2014. Compiler is Roger Frost, 905-885-9615,


Rice Lake Plains, Thursday, January 1, 2015. Compiler is Roger Frost, 905-885-9615, ekrf@eagle.ca


Christmas Bird Counts are held in a specific geographic area. Those living within the count circle are always invited to record birds visiting their feeders and contact the compilers with their list. They should check to make sure that they live within the count circle.


Snow Bunting

Snow Bunting. Photo© Sherwood McLernon.




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WBFN Outings Reports 2013




January 2013

Amherst Island Outing
On an overcast but not rainy Saturday, January 19, 10 intrepid Willow Beachers plus 3 TOC members from Toronto spent a rather productive day on Amherst Island which ended up with a tally of 40 species. The highlight was 6 Snowy Owls and a cooperative Barred Owl. 1 Short-eared Owl was seen but only by one person. The Owl Woods were quiet. The Rough-legged Hawks, both colour morphs, were also special, the more so since there are relatively few around in general this winter. Much of what we saw was seen well by all.

........Richard Pope


The chickadees welcomed WBFN members at the Amherst Island feeders. Photo© Katsu Sakuma





February 2013

Port Hope and area Bird Feeder Tour

A number of interesting winter birds were seen at feeders on the WBFN feeder tour. To view more photos including a red-bellied woodpecker at Elizabeth Kellogg's feeder click on the link to WBFN member Don Mcleod's Blog below.


American Tree Sparrow

American Tree Sparrow. Photo© Don McLeod

Nothern Mockingbird

Although trying to remain inconspicuous in this tangle a Northern Mockingbird was an interesting winter bird to find in Port Hope. Photo© Don McLeod


More photos of the Bird Feeder Tour can be found at WBFN Member Don Mcleod's Blog.

Click here to visit Don's Blog.





March 2013

Algonquin Park


WBFN March Outing

WBFN Members at the Algonquin Park Visitor Centre. Photo© Don McLeod

Willow Beach Field Naturalists (WBFN) March day trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, was led by WBFN member Katsu Sakuma. A big thank you goes out to Katsu for organizing and leading the trip, and to Ian Shanahan of the Algonquin Visitor Centre for showing us their collection of specimens including mounted mammals, birds, butterflies and skulls.

....WBFN Member Don McLeod

Pine Grosbeak

Pine Grosbeak (f). Photo© Don McLeod

American Marten

American Marten. Photo© Don McLeod

Golden Eagle

Algonquin Park Naturalist Ian Shanahan showing WBFN Members some of the specimens at the Visitor Centre. Photo© Don McLeod



More photos of the Algonquin Park Trip can be found at WBFN Member Don Mcleod's Blog and Picassa Web Album.


Click here to visit Don's Blog.

Click here to visit Don's Picassa Web Album.



Gray Jay

Gray Jay - from Park records, this 2 year old male has ID code ROSLGOKR. Don Mcleod photographed this male near the intersection of Opeongo Lake Road and Cameron Lake Road. Photo© Don McLeod


Presqu'ile Waterfowl Festival March 16th and 17th 2013


Presqu'ile Waterfowl Festival

A mixture of ducks off the Calf Pasture at Presqu'ile Provincial Park. Photo© Don McLeod


Waterfowl Festival

WBFN Members helped visitors to the Waterfowl Festival identify different species of waterfowl at viewing stations in the Park. Photo© Don McLeod


May 2013


International Migratory Bird Day - Grassland Birds of Northumberland, sponsored by Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative and Willow Beach Field Naturalists at the Alderville Black Oak Savannah


May 5 2013


Alderville Black Oak Savannah


WBFN Outing May


May Outing Alderville

May Outing Alderville

All photos are ©copyright Don McLeod.


Thanks to WBFN Member Don McLeod for these photos of the May 5th outing to the Alderville Black Oak Savannah.


President’s Walk Through Peter's Woods Conservation Park


May 25 2013


Peter's Woods Outing


Peter's Woods Outing


Peter's Woods Outing


Peter's Woods Outing

All photos are ©copyright Don McLeod.


Thanks to WBFN Member Don McLeod for these photos of the May 25th outing to the Peter's Woods.


More photos of the May Outings can be found at WBFN Member Don Mcleod's Blog and Picassa Web Album.


Click here to visit Don's Blog.

Click here to visit Don's Picasa Web Album.



Willow Beach Banding Group At Presqu'ile Provincial Park


Bird Banding

Photo© Bruce Parker


On May 18th and 19th Willow Beach Members Elizabeth Kellogg and Roger Frost conducted their annual bird banding demonstration at Presqu'ile's Warblers and Whimbrels weekend.


WBFN Member Don Davis has posted a video of the banding process from the weekend.


Click on the picture below to view.






July Butterfly Outing Report


Fritillary and Monarch

Aphrodite Fritillary and Monarch. Photo© Rod Lee


The WBFN Butterfly Outing took place on July 21 on Loyalist Rd. in Port Hope's Ward 2. Nine people attended the outing. In all, 22 species of butterflies were seen and identified on the morning's outing:

Littly Glassywing, Dun Skipper, Silver Spotted Skipper, Clouded Sulphur, Cabbage White, Wood Nymph, Northern Broken Dash, Delaware Skipper, Question Mark, Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Gray Comma, Aphrodite Fritillary, Northern Crescent, Mourning Cloak, Baltimore Checkerspot, Red Admiral, Summer Azure, Monarch (1), Great Spangled Fritillary, White Admiral, Mustard White and Striped Hairstreak.

The highlight for most of us was the number of Baltimore Checkerspots.

......... Elizabeth Kellogg


Baltimore Checkerspots


Baltimore Checkerspot

Baltimore Checkerspots. Photos© Rod Lee


Question mark

Question Mark. Photo© Rod Lee


September Outing Report



September Outing


Rory Quigley, Arborist with the Town of Cobourg led a walking tour of Cobourg 's Urban Forest on September 28. The group strolled through Historic Cobourg with an eye to its urban tree canopy and looked at the history of local trees, their relationship with insects, animals , people and the environment, as well as current urban forestry challenges.




October Outing Report


Birding Outing to Wicklow Beach, Chub Point and Lucas Point.


October Outing


Seven intrepid birders met in pouring rain and cold easterly winds at Wicklow Beach on Sunday, October 6, not expecting much birding excitement on such an inclement day. However, the stormy weather had galvanized many loitering migrants that had been enjoying the late summer sunshine until then, and there were small birds almost everywhere. Trees and bushes around the Wicklow Beach marsh held both kinglets, Song and Swamp Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Common Yellowthroats. The lake was quieter (forgetting the cormorants), with only a few White-winged Scoters, Greater Scaup, and Red-breasted and Common Mergansers, not yet in the huge numbers that will soon appear in offshore feeding frenzies.

Moving on to Chub Point we added a couple of Common Loons and small groups of Horned Grebes in drab winter plumage. Then we turned down Normar Road towards Lucas Point and the fun began. The weedy roadsides were full of dozens of actively feeding sparrows, mostly White-crowned but with White-throated, Song, Savannah, and Vesper. The woodlots held Hermit Thrushes, young Sapsuckers, flickers and Downy Woodpeckers, a couple of towhees, both kinglets, many robins, catbirds, a Blue-headed Vireo, Nashville and Yellow-rumped Warblers. A pair of croaking ravens passing by was harassed by noisy crows and a single Greater Yellowlegs flew south high overhead, calling – our only shorebird of the day.

Eventually we dragged ourselves away from this horde and went on to Lucas Point Park. Walking the clifftop didn’t give us many new species although we thought that three tiny ducks flying behind a couple of White-winged Scoters were probably early Long-tailed Ducks. But the edge of the woodlot at the west end of the park was another hive of activity. Several energetic Yellow-rumped Warblers kept dashing out from the trees in acrobatic loops and spirals to catch tiny flying insects in midair, two or three Blue-throated Vireos gave good views, Brown Creepers crept up tree branches, a phoebe hunted from a wooden fence, a Chipping Sparrow joined White-throats in a small puddle on the trail and in the bushes we found several more warbler species including a tail-wagging Palm, a lovely Orange-crowned, a bright male American Redstart, a young Blackburnian, and a Northern Parula. The rain had finally stopped, we realized with surprise that it was already almost past lunchtime, so we brought our unexpectedly excellent trip to an end, well pleased with our final count of 49 species on such an unpromising morning.

...... Margaret Bain.


White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow, fall, Lucas Point. Photo© Bruce Parker





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WBFN Outings Reports 2012




October 2012 Outing - Pelton Property Outing



On a misty Saturday morning on October 27th, Russ Donaldson and Petra Hartwig visited the Pelton Property to focus on the 6 hectare field where 400 trees were planted in April. The objective for this porperty is to restore the agricultural land to a natural woodland for the enchancement of wildlife habitat, and, of course be a presence to ensure that the land is not being used for inapproporaite purposes - similar to Peter's Woods and other Nature Conservancy lands in the area. Many pine and spruce planted in April looked robust, but only about 40% - 50% survived the very dry spring and summer. The best plants were about 30 cm tall. The property was walked at the north boundary to the north east corner which is probably the highest elevation on the property with a good stand of deciduous trees, including a huge oak about 1.5 meters in diameter. A good variety of birds weathered the day - over 100 wild turkeys, 2 grouse, many robins, chickadees, juncos, cardinals, a variety of sparrows, a hermit thrush and a hairy woodpecker. Russ broadcast another bunch of mixed prairie seeds as they walked the field - to add to the already ground cover of vegetation such as goldenrod, aster, mullen and other grasses.


Pelton Property

Photo© Petra Hartwig




March 2012 Outing - Durham Shore Waterfowl Outing.


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron, Second Marsh, March 31, 2012. Photo© Brian Cook.


On March 31, 2012 on a day which began cool and cloudy and ended up sunny, a small but intrepid group of Willow Beach naturalists birded the Durham shoreline and managed a total of 47 species including 15 species of duck.

...... Richard Pope


Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested Cormorant. Photo© Sherwood McLernon.



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WBFN Outings Reports 2011





November 2011 Outing - A.K. Sculthorpe Woodland Marsh section of the Waterfront Trail in Port Hope


On Sunday morning, November 6, 23 people gathered for a leisurely walk along the A.K. Sculthorpe Woodland Marsh section of the Waterfront Trail in Port Hope. The weather was really beautiful, although the waves on the lake made viewing the ducks there rather challenging. Through a spotting scope, observers could pick out Common Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Bufflehead, Greater Scaup, White-winged Scoter and a single Surf Scoter. In the marsh itself were Mallards, American Black Ducks, and a female Northern Shoveler. Land birds were very scarce, consisting mostly of Black-capped Chickadees, but also including one Red-winged Blackbird, one American Goldfinch and one Brown Creeper. No one seemed to mind that we didn’t see many birds. It was just a lovely day to be outside.

....... Elizabeth Kellogg


WBFN Outing

Along the boardwalk at the A.K. Sculthorpe Woodland Marsh.


WBFN Outing Novmeber 2011

Checking out waterfowl on the Port Hope Trail.





October 2011 Outing - The Nature Conservancy Property, Harwood


It was a cool, rainy, windy morning, but a hardy group of WBFN members and members of Hazel Bird's family joined Mark Stabb and Hugh Bennett of the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) for a walk on the 290 acre property on Robson Road, led by Todd Farrell NCC Conservation Biologist.

The NCC is currently fundaising to secure this property in Hamilton Township, with an extended deadline of December 2011.



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See the feature below for more details. Donations may be made to the Nature Conservancy of Canada by cheque, credit card or transfer of shares.


Mark Stabb
Central Ontario Program Manager Nature Conservancy of Canada
18 Second Avenue Uxbridge, ON L9P 1J9
(905) 862-2642





September 2011 Outing - The Alderville Black Oak Savanna


Under an overcast sky, WBFN members joined Janine McLeod, Natural Heritage Coordinator, for a 2 hour walk through the globally rare savanna habitat.


WBFN September Outing 2011

WBFN members toured the Alderville Black Oak Savanna. Photo© Louise Schmidt.


Alderville Black Oak Savannah

Alderville Black Oak Savanna. Photo© Louise Schmidt.