WFIB

WFIB
White-Faced Ibis In Flight

Monday, March 28, 2016

What the Huffington Post Left Out (about Port Rowan)

A recent piece in Huffington Post listed six top coastal towns in Canada.  The list was comprised of Tofino B.C., Lunenburg and Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, Twillingate Newfoundland, Cavendish in P.E.I and our town Port Rowan.  See http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/allison-eberle/coastal-canadian-towns_b_9522064.html


The story was actually entitled 6 Coastal Canadian Towns That Will Blow You Away.  And, yes, it is nice that a “hamlet” like ours gets this kind of recognition for its great vacation opportunities.  It seems stroppy to quibble but……….



What about the birds?


Among the many attributes (camping, beachcombing, swimming, hiking and shipwreck diving to name a few) that the Huffington Post listed for Port Rowan there was not one mention of birds.
So just to help out Huffington Post readers I figured some further information was in order.

Six Things you need to Know about Birds in the Port Rowan Long Point Area

1. Port Rowan is situated within a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.  Reserves are internationally designated protected areas intended to show a balanced relationship between people and nature.  There are 16 in Canada.


2. Because of its geographic location, sticking out 32 km into Lake Erie, Long Point attracts large numbers of birds during migration. Many birds, tiring as they fly over Lake Erie in the spring, head to Long Point as the nearest landing point.  Here they can rest and feed before continuing on their journey.


3. According to E-bird Canada, four hundred species of birds have been observed in Norfolk County – most in Port Rowan/Long Point. That is more than 81% of the species that have been recorded in Ontario.


4. So it makes sense that Port Rowan is home to the national office of Bird Studies Canada (BSC), Canada’s leading national charitable organization dedicated to bird science and conservation.
Old Cut Field Station


5. Affiliated with BSC is the Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO). Founded in 1960, LPBO was the first organization of its type in North America.  Three research and banding stations are operated by LPBO where they have banded an amazing total of 972,216 birds since 1960.  The Old Cut field station, a ten minute drive from Port Rowan, is open to the public beginning this weekend (April 1).




Black Tern at the Wetlands last Spring
6. On Hunter Drive in Port Rowan there is a unique feature – wetlands recently converted from sewage lagoons.  The sewage lagoons have been decommissioned and the site has been transformed into an engineered wetland. This change will also restore the balance of the property with prairie grasses and other native shrubs and trees.  Threatened birds like bobolinks and meadowlarks may be attracted to the enhanced habitat and begin to nest here. In the last decade, nearly 30 per cent of all the bird species that have been seen in Canada have been observed at this spot.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Port Rowan Wetlands Opens

(This story originally appeared in the Norfolk News on September 30th.  Since then birders have observed a  Hudsonian Godwit, the first recorded at the Wetlands. Below is a shot of the Hudsonian Godwit taken Sunday evening.   






Wetlands Opening

It was fitting, perhaps, that a shorebird joined the crowd that had gathered on Hunter Drive North for the official opening of the Port Rowan Wetlands Sept. 24.

A pectoral sandpiper came in low and glided through the assembled group of dignitaries and interested observers. The bird landed on the newly constructed concrete walkway just metres from the viewing platform.

It was easy to imagine that the sandpiper was paying tribute to the newly restored area.

Birds have been coming to the former Port Rowan Sewage lagoons for years, of course.

Steven Price, president of Bird Studies Canada, whose national headquarters is just to the southwest of the site, recalls driving here from Toronto about 40 years ago.

“We’d tell people to go to the cannery road and turn north,” he said, recalling that the lagoons provided easy access to see swallows, waterfowl and a few shorebirds.

In the last decade, nearly 30 per cent of all the bird species that have been seen in Canada have been observed at this spot. That works out to 190 different species according to E-Bird, an online database of bird observations.

Although the pectoral sandpiper is a species that is doing well, fourteen species at risk have also been observed here, said Price, whose organization was one of the partners involved in establishing the wetlands.

With the completion of the adjacent wastewater treatment plant in 2012, the sewage lagoons were decommissioned.


Funds were then obtained to transform the site into an engineered wetland and restore the balance of the property with prairie grasses and other native shrubs and trees.

Water that once went directly into Dedrick Creek now moves through the wetlands and is naturally filtrated. This natural cleansing works to keep pollution, toxins and nutrients out of the water system.

Mayor Charlie Luke referenced the construction of the new wastewater facility and pointed over his shoulder to the wetlands.

“This is the icing on the cake, here for generations to come,” said the mayor.  

Steering committee members like Peter Bryan-Pulham, senior drainage superintendent for Norfolk County, spoke of how the Drainage Act, often a piece of legislation that is a challenge to navigate, actually worked in favour of getting the project done as the various partners worked together.

“It is a good example of groups who can sometimes be at each other’s throats agreeing on a common objective to restore sewage lagoons that aren’t much use to people when they are closed,” Price declared.

He expects that threatened birds like bobolinks and meadowlarks may be attracted to the enhanced habitat and begin to nest here. Nighthawks and chimney swifts could be drawn to the wetlands area too.

The county hopes that people from around the province and from across Canada will come as well.

They’ll be interested in how they may be able to replicate this unique Norfolk venture that benefits the natural world but will also be of economic value to Norfolk and Port Rowan.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mushroom Hike

The Norfolk Field Naturalists have a hike this weekend.

They are calling it the:
Lots of mushrooms from a previous NFN Hike


Fascinating Fungi:  Mushroom Identification Hike


It is on Saturday, October 3rd from  1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Join NFN on a fall hike in Backus Woods to look for and identify mushrooms and other fungi of all shapes and sizes. 

Bring a camera as you can't harvest mushrooms in this NCC property.


Meet at the 3rd Concession entrance to Backus Woods (by the Turkey Cairn).  Dress appropriately for the weather. 

For more information contact Inga at 519-875-5601.

More information on the Norfolk field Naturalists can be found at http://norfolkfieldnaturalists.org/




Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Goings on in Port Rowan/Long Point This Week.

It has taken a long time but it appears that the grand opening of the Port Rowan Wetlands will take place this Thursday.

Some of you will remember the sewage lagoons on Hunter Drive North.  They were decommissioned three years ago and since then they have been in the process of being converted into a functional table wetland.


We’ve been observing the complex process of the transformation over these past three years.

The most obvious changes occurred this spring.

That was when the berm that separated the two ponds was removed.

Now there is a long point that looks like an island.

According to by Shirley Rothery, Chair of the Long Point Biosphere, 

at the north east where the municipal drain enters the wetland
the bottom will be contoured so that it rises gradually to the height of the island. This will help to keep water circulating in the wetland from the north east where it enters to the north west where it will exit. The variation in the water depths will encourage the growth of different types of vegetation and attract different birds and animals.”

You can read a summary of the project at http://www.longpointbiosphere.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/biosphereBeacon_summer2015_loRes.pdfIt is on page 7.of this informative newsletter from the Long Point Biosphere.

Tall prairie grass has been planted on both sides of Hunter Drive.  This will eventually transform thearea into an ecosystem once common in the area.  It will benefit wildlife and help protect the cold water creek from erosion.
Snowy Owl at the Port Rowan Wetlands December 2014

E-Bird records 190 species seen at this site http://ebird.org/ebird/hotspot/L382681?m=&yr=all&changeDate=Set . Last Saturday one of our B & B guests observed 35 species on a quick trip to the wetlands.  They are located just 600 metres north of our house.  The ongoing transformation will certainly promise that even more species will be seen in future years.


Barn Swallow / Forest Birds Workshop - September 24, 2015

Also this week, there will be a couple of presentations at Bird Studies Canada (BSC) headquarters on Thursday evening.  BSC’s Kristyn Richardson will talk about stewardship programs for swallows.  She will be followed by wildlife biologist Gregor Beck and BSC’s Jody Allair.  They’ll talk about forest birds that are at risk.  The workshop runs from 7:00 to 9:00 PM at BSC headquarters,115 Front Road in Port Rowan on Thursday, September 24th.







Sunday, June 28, 2015

Update

It has been  a while since we posted.

In fact, it was May 23rd when we noted the presence of a pair of White Faced Ibis which, according to Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO), was the last day they were seen.

Barn Swallows

Our family has been volunteering for the nonprofit group Bird Ecology and Conservation Ontario. Zoe Lebrun-Southcott and Andy Campomizzi are running a Barn Swallow and social cues program.  Read more about it at http://www.beco-birds.org/portfolio-item/barn-swallows-and-social-cues/ 

Unfortunately the structures we are monitoring haven't been productive. We see lots of other birds though during our twice weekly monitoring sessions including the Green Heron (pictured above) which seems to be present fairly regularly.

Long Point Bird Observatory  (LPBO

Speaking of LPBO, their 56th spring season ended at the Tip on June 10th. The day before they had observed a Cassin's Kingbird. This was the first ever at Long Point and the first live one in Ontario since 1970.  According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this bird should be in Mexico or the south west United States. (http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cassins_Kingbird/id)

Birds are moving around the Long Point/Port Rowan area all year.  And consider this: It is only 48 days until the Fall Monitoring season opens on August 15th.  Here is a summary of the spring season from LPBO.  http://www.bsc-eoc.org/longpoint/index.jsp?targetpg=lpbosight

Counting Butterflies

An interesting event is coming up this Saturday July 4th. Adam Timpf is coordinating a Butterfly Count.

He tells us that the the butterfly count runs like a Christmas bird count. 

"Groups of people cover different areas counting and identifying every butterfly they find. People spend the entire day in the field and then get together around 5:00 for dinner and to compile the results," says Adam. 

If you are interested in participating contact Adam at adam.timpf@gmail.com

Wetlands



Some of you will remember the old Port Rowan sewage lagoons.  They are being transformed into wetlands as this story from the Port Rowan Good News does a good job at describing.   http://www.portrowangoodnews.com/port-rowan-wetland-restoration-will-be-first-of-its-kind-to-transform-sewage-lagoon-to-functional-wetland/

We've been watching a family (maybe two families) of Common Gallinule at the wetlands recently.  Hopefully, we'll have some pictures soon.  

Meanwhile, here is a Black Tern from that location from earlier this year. 



Saturday, May 23, 2015

Birds of May



We have been favoured by some interesting birds in the last week.


Along with many others, we've had some good views of a pair of White-faced Ibis which were in the area for about a week.  They could be found just off Lakeshore Road about 500 metres east of Port Royal.  They are pictured  in flight above and feeding to the right. They may still be around.


Graham got a good shot of a black tern  at the Port Rowan Wetlands on Friday May 22nd. (to the right).















Thursday, April 23, 2015

Come to Bird and Wildlife Events in Port Rowan and Nearby




Some Events in Early May


*The Festival by the Bay runs Friday May 1 to Sunday May 3rd.  Visit the shops and then do some birding. See http://www.festivalbythebay.ca/index.html


*The St. Williams Nursery & Ecology Centre’s Spring Public Sale is back.  It is on Saturday May 2nd & Sunday May 3rd. Customers will have access to the very best source-identified native trees, grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers found in Ontario, all at special wholesale pricing. Details at https://www.facebook.com/events/1559699544278713/


*Birds by the Bay: Celebrate International Bird Migration Day on Saturday May 9th with the Long Point Bird Observatory and Bird Studies Canada.  Events start at 9:00 a.m. at Old Cut. Contact Bird Studies Canada for more info.


*If your interest is in wildflowers, Backus Heritage Conservation Area hosts the Mother’s Day Wildflower hike on Sunday May 10th from 1-3.  http://www.lprca.on.ca/pages/1357673545/Events-Calendar


There is always plenty to do and see here. Check http://www.norfolktourism.ca/ for a complete list of events.