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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ALL EVENTS

All of our leaders are volunteers who give their time and expertise freely. All participants are encouraged to share their knowledge and enthusiasm. Remember to bring along any items you think you might need such as water, field guides, binoculars, insect repellant, etc. Some walks may be more rigorous than others, so please assess your ability to participate. If you are unsure of what to expect, check with the contact person listed. Pets on hikes are strongly discouraged as they startle wildlife, damage nests and interfere with the enjoyment of other participants. Hikes are sometimes cancelled or rescheduled. You are advised to check the PN website before setting out to ensure that the hike has not been rescheduled.

Visitors are welcomed on all trips. Don't be afraid to ask questions and have members show you
how to use field guides or other resource materials. We were all novices at one point and we are all still learning. The Pickering Naturalists assume no responsibility for injuries of any kind sustained by anyone as a result of participating in any of these activities.
The following club outings are available to all, please contact us via e-mail for more information. (pn@pickeringnaturalists.org)
Note: The following winter outings may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather. Please contact Steve LaForest (Acting Outings Coordinator) if you are planning to attend so he can inform you of any trip changes.


Sunday, October 22, 2017 – DURHAM WATERFRONT

Leader: Steve LaForest

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points.

Meet at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 9:00 a.m.

Depending on weather conditions and water levels, we will visit Frenchman’s Bay, Duffin’s Creek Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Oshawa Second Marsh and areas along the lake. Expect to see late fall migrants, waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds.

Please contact Steve LaForest (Outings Coordinator) if you are planning to attend so he can inform you of any trip changes.


Sunday, November 26, 2017 – NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye

This is a joint outing with the Durham Region Field Naturalists.

Meet at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 a.m. Please call or email Steve LaForest if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours.

Minimal walking difficulty – short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. We will stop for lunch at the Tim Horton's in Chippewa but you can bring your own it you wish. Bring binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine's Gull, and Thayer's Gull. We will likely see Purple Sandpiper, Black Vultures and Tufted Titmouse.

    OTHER OUTDOOR OPPORTUNITIES

TOC Outings Check here for more details: http://www.torontobirding.ca/site/outings

OFO Outings Check here for more details: http://www.ofo.ca

DRFN Outings Check here for more details: http://www.drfn.ca/trips.htm

    PREVIOUS OUTINGS

Saturday, August 12, 2017   Perseid Meteor Shower

 Leader: Steve LaForest 
Meet at Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, at 8:30 pm

Annually in mid-August, the earth sweeps through debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. The encounter results in a meteor shower. As the tiny particles streak through earth's upper atmosphere, they leave trails of hot gas. From the ground, the trails show up as "shooting stars." Conditions are ideal this year, with a no moon and a very dark sky.  We can expect to see dozens of meteors an hour. 

The highlight for this year's outing will be Saturn, our most spectacular planet. The ringed planet will be visible all evening - we may also be able to see its large moon Titan. In addition, we will observe many stars and constellations; some nebulae and star clusters; and some artificial satellites; as well as a distant galaxy.   

People may want to bring their binoculars for looking at stars. If you have a spotting scope (or even an astronomical telescope) it might be a good idea to bring that along too. For those who have neither - a pair of eyes will do! There will be some mosquitoes at dusk, so please dress accordingly - you may well wish to consider repellant. Also note that it is generally quite a bit cooler after sunset, so bring along a jacket and maybe a sweater as well. For the ultimate in meteor-viewing pleasure, a folding lounge chair is ideal. 

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (# 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side. Note – do NOT follow signs into the main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road. 
 
For a star map, visit the website www.heavens-above.com 

Anyone wishing to check ahead may contact me through email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org. If conditions look questionable on Saturday August 12, I will send an email that afternoon to reschedule to the rain/cloud date of Sunday August 13, at 8:30 pm
 
Everyone is welcome to attend. Note that this is a family-friendly event! 


Sunday, July 23, 2017
 – 
DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES WORKSHOP 

 

 Leader: Richard Aaron 

This all-day field trip (from 10 a.m to around 4:00-4:30 p.m.) is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills. In this eighth year of our popular odonate workshop, we will be revisiting the Minesing Wetands near Barrie, but different locations. Local expert dragonhunter Chris Evans will show us all the best spots. We can expect to see 12-15 species of damselflies and 18-20 species of dragonflies. We may find special ones like Hine's Emerald (the only location in Ontario!), Rainbow Bluet, Eastern Red Damsel, Blue-tipped Dancer, Ocellated Darner, Spiny Baskettail and Delta-spotted Spiketail. 

Directions will be given to those who register. PN and TEA members get first priority for registration. 

Please register with Carolyn King at 905-720-2784 or cking8000@gmail.com

   Monday, July 3, 2017 BUTTERFLIES AT ENNISKILLEN C.A.

 

  Leader: Rayfield Pye

Joint outing with Durham Region Field Naturalists.

Meet at Enniskillen C.A. at 1 p.m.

Weather permitting, we should see many fine butterflies.

Driving directions: Exit Hwy 401 at Waverly Rd. Travel North on Regional Rd. #57.  Turn Left at Concession Rd. 7.  Turn Right on Holt Road and follow the signs.  Drive past the main parking lot to the second parking lot where we will meet.

Difficulty: Light walking.

Bring water, sunscreen and insect protection, also butterfly nets & guides and close-focusing binoculars if you have them.

   Saturday, June 3, 2017 CARDEN BIRDING

 

  Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am or at McNamee and Wiley Road at 10:00 am

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

Whether you are already familiar with the area or you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome. 

It's not just birds. Opportunities abound for observing butterflies, odonates and for botanizing. Please contact John if you are going so we can ensure rides and coordinate car pooling. 

 

   Saturday, March 18, 2017 COLONEL SAM SMITH AND HUMBER BAY PARKS

Saturday, March 18, 2017 COLONEL SAM SMITH AND HUMBER BAY PARKS

Leaders: Steve LaForest and Ross Lamb

Level of difficulty: some walking, mostly standing at various observation points.

Meet at 8:00 am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO station parking lot (Bayly at Liverpool Rd.) to carpool

Expect to see many ducks and gulls that over-winter along the shores of Lake Ontario.  We should see Horned and Red-necked Grebes and may also be fortunate enough to see Tundra Swans as they migrate north around this time.  

We may also venture a little farther west, depending on what birds have been reported recently.  This trip can be enjoyed by both experienced and beginner birders.  We will be out most of the day (weather permitting).  In general, we stop at a local restaurant for lunch, but you can bring your own if you prefer.  

Dress warmly.  The lakeshore can still be cold in mid-March.  And don’t forget your sunblock.

Please contact Steve (Acting Outings Coordinator) if you are coming so we can coordinate car pooling.


    Saturday, February 11, 2017   WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leaders: Steve LaForest & Ross Lamb

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation point.

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

(Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville.

Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to beginners and experienced birders alike.

We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin, and likely as far as LaSalle Park in Hamilton, if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress very warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact Steve (Acting Outings Coordinator) if you are coming.

 


    Saturday, January 7, 2017 Bird Feeder Tour

Leaders: Steve LaForest/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact Steve (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

 

    Friday, December 30, 2016 Christmas Bird Count

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those who choose.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds.

If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda naturenut0@gmail.com as soon as possible to register your interest.

For more information on Christmas Bird Count (CBC) click the link >>

 

    Sunday, November 27, 2016 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call or email John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. We will stop for lunch at the Tim Horton's in Chippewa but you can bring your own it you wish.

Bring binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one). Starting at the Dufferin Island area for Tufted Titmouse, we will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls.

In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine's Gull, and Thayer's Gull. Past trips have turned up Red Phalarope and Purple Sandpiper plus Lark Sparrow and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.


    Saturday, October 8, 2016 DURHAM WATERFRONT

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 9:00am.

Depending on weather conditions and water levels, we will visit Frenchman's Bay, Duffin's Creek Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Oshawa Second Marsh and areas along the lake. Expect to see late fall migrants, waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds.


    Sunday, September 11, 2016 PRESQU‟ILE SHOREBIRDS

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu'ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:45am. Park admission is required.

This is our annual late summer visit to Presqu'ile Provincial Park south of Brighton. The outing has a moderate amount of walking over flat ground.

We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing, butterflies and odonates too.

We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. The wetlands usually give us additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl.

Call if you are planning to attend so we can coordinate carpooling or notify you of rescheduling if the weather is poor. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too.

 


    Saturday, June 4, 2016 CARDEN BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am or at McNamee and Wiley Road at 10:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

Whether you are already familiar with the area or you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome.

It's not just birds. Opportunities abound for observing butterflies, odonates and for botanizing. Please contact John if you are going so we can ensure rides and coordinate car pooling.

    Saturday, May 7, 2016 THICKSON"S WOODS AND LOCAL MARSHES

Leader: John Stirrat
Meet at Thickson's Woods at 7:30 am.
We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants. The "early start" should let us experience more birdsong but late-comers can catch up to us when they get there. We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.
All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for all levels of birders – beginners will appreciate the many brilliant male songbirds; more experienced birders will be challenged by trying to identify the songs.
Bring field guides and binoculars. We will be stopping at a local Tim Horton's for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.

   Saturday 26 March 2016 Colonel Sam Smith Park/Humber Bay

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: some walking, mostly standing at various observation points.

Meet at 8:00 am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool).

Expect to see the relatively large concentrations of wintering waterfowl off various vantage points from both Humber Bay East and Humber Bay West parks.

We will also travel farther west to Colonel Sam Smith Park for additional species and possible Horned and Red-necked Grebes.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming so we can coordinate car pooling.

    Saturday, 13 February 2016 WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Plan to meet at 8:00am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

(Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville.

Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner.

We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

    Saturday, 2 January 2016 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those who choose.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds.

If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda as soon as possible to register your interest.

    Saturday, 9 January 2016 BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Leaders: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

   Sunday, November 29, 2015 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call or email John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. We will stop for lunch at the Tim Horton's in Chippewa but you can bring your own it you wish. Bring binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Sabine's Gull, and Thayer's Gull. Past trips have turned up Red Phalarope and Purple Sandpiper plus Lark Sparrow and Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

   Saturday, October 24, 2015 DURHAM WATERFRONT
Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Depending on weather conditions and water levels, we will visit Frenchman's Bay, Duffin's Creek Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Oshawa Second Marsh and areas along the lake. Expect to see late fall migrants, waterfowl, raptors and shorebirds.

   Cancelled --- Saturday, September 12, 2015 PRESQU'ILE SHOREBIRDS

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu'ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:45am. Park admission is required.

This is our annual late summer visit to Presqu'ile Provincial Park south of Brighton. The outing has a moderate amount of walking over flat ground.

We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing, butterflies and odonates too.

We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. The wetlands usually give us additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl.

Call if you are planning to attend so we can coordinate carpooling or notify you of rescheduling if the weather is poor. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too.

Saturday, September 26, 2015 RICE LAKE PLAINS PRAIRIE DAY

Those who attended our June meeting saw Mark Stabb's presentation on the Rice Lake Plains. Mark encouraged us to attend Rice Lake Plains Prairie Day. The day consists of nature workshops, hikes, art sale, entertainers and displays. There will be food available for purchase at the site – a mix of first nation foods, plus pop and water. It's a family friendly event with admission by donation.

The drive to the Alderville First Nations Black Oak Savanna will take about an hour and 15 minutes. Alderville is located north of Cobourg.

Further information can be found at http://aldervillesavanna.ca/eventstours.html#MBD

   Wednesday August 12 at 8:30 pm. – Perseid Meteor Shower at Greenwood Conservation Area

Leader: Steve LaForest

We will meet in the parking lot on Church Street, on the east side, just south of the fifth Concession Road (the same place as in previous years). The rain/cloud date will be Thursday August 13 at 8:30 pm.

Meet at Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, at 8:30 pm. Annually in mid-August, the earth sweeps through debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. The encounter results in a meteor shower. As the tiny particles streak through earth's upper atmosphere, they leave trails of hot gas. From the ground, the trails show up as "shooting stars." Conditions are ideal this year, with a no moon and a very dark sky. We can expect to see dozens of meteors an hour.

The highlight for this year's outing will be Saturn, our most spectacular planet. The ringed planet will be visible all evening - we should also be able to see its large moon Titan. In addition, we will observe many stars and constellations; some nebulae and star clusters; and some artificial satellites; as well as a distant galaxy.

People may want to bring their binoculars for looking at stars. If you have a spotting scope (or even an astronomical telescope) it might be a good idea to bring that along too. For those who have neither - a pair of eyes will do! There may be some mosquitoes at dusk, so please dress accordingly. Also note that it is generally quite a bit cooler after sunset, so bring along a jacket and maybe a sweater or two as well. For the ultimate in meteor-viewing pleasure, a folding lounge chair is ideal.

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (# 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side. Note – do NOT follow signs into the main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road.

For a star map, visit the website www.heavens-above.com

Anyone wishing to check ahead may contact me through the website: www.pickeringnaturalists.org or email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org. If conditions look questionable on Wednesday August 12, I will send an email that afternoon to reschedule to the rain/cloud date of Thursday August 13, at 8:30 pm.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Note that this is a family-friendly event!

   Sunday July 12, 2015, 10 a.m. – DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES

Leader: Richard Aaron

Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park odonate survey) will be leading this joint Toronto Entomologists' Association-Pickering Naturalists outing. This all-day field trip (finishing around 4:00-4:30 p.m.) is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills. In this sixth year of our popular odonate workshop, we will be returning to the area west of Hamilton and investigating some different sites. This is a wonderful area rich in odonate species, and includes such specialties as Eastern Red Damsel, River Bluet, Carolina Saddlebags, and Dusky Bluet. This trip is limited to 16 people with priority given to TEA and PN members. Contact Carolyn King to register: (416) 222-5736 or cking@yorku.ca. Directions will be given when you register.

Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, insect net, binoculars, field guide(s), and a hand lens (if you have one).

   Saturday July 4, 2015, 2 p.m. – BUTTERFLIES OF HEBER DOWN

Leader: Rayfield Pye

Meet at the parking lot of Heber Down Conservation Area. We will walk the trails along the hydro line. There are a good variety of habitats here for different species of butterflies – meadows, wetlands and woodlands. Bring water, sunscreen and insect repellent. If you have them, these would also be useful: insect net, close-focusing binoculars, and field guide(s).

   Saturday, May 30, 2015 CARDEN BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am or at McNamee and Wiley Road at 10:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

Whether you are already familiar with the area or you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome.

It's not just birds. Opportunities abound for observing butterflies, odonates and for botanizing.

Please contact John if you are going so we can ensure rides and coordinate car pooling.

   Saturday, May 2, 2015 THICKSON"S WOODS AND LOCAL MARSHES

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Thickson's Woods at 7:30 am.

We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants. The "early start" should let us experience more birdsong but late-comers can catch up to us when they get there. We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.

All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for all levels of birders – beginners will appreciate the many brilliant male songbirds; more experienced birders will be challenged by trying to identify the songs.

Bring field guides and binoculars. We will be stopping at a local Tim Horton's for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.

    Saturday 14 February 2015 WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

 
Note: The following winter outings may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather. Please contact John Stirrat if you are planning to attend so he can inform you of any trip changes.

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool).

We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville. Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner. We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

   Sunday 18 January 2015 BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Note: The following winter outings may be postponed or cancelled due to inclement weather. Please contact John Stirrat if you are planning to attend so he can inform you of any trip changes.

Leaders: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool).

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

   Sunday, November 30, 2014 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine's Gulls. Last year we saw Thayer's Gull plus Red Phalarope and Purple Sandpiper too.

    Saturday, October 25, 2014 DURHAM WATERFRONT

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points.
Meet at 8:00 am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool).

Depending on weather conditions and water levels, we will visit Frenchman's Bay, Corner Marsh, Cranberry Marsh Hawk Watch, and Oshawa Second Marsh.
Expect to see late fall migrants, shorebirds, waterfowl.

    Saturday, August 23, 2014 PRESQU'ILE SHOREBIRDS, ETC.

Leader: John Stirrat
Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu'ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:45am. Park admission is required.

This is our annual late summer visit to Presqu'ile Provincial Park south of Brighton. The outing has a moderate amount of walking over flat ground.

We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing, butterflies and odonates too.

Call if you are planning to attend so we can coordinate carpooling or notify you of rescheduling if the weather is poor. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too. This trip is scheduled earlier in August this year so the park store may still be open for snacks.

   Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10 a.m. - Dragonflies & Damselflies Workshop - Richard Aaron

Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park odonate survey) will be leading this joint workshop with the Toronto Entomologists' Association. This all-day field trip is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills. The Carden Alvar, with its underlying limestone, has unusual and interesting habitats rare in Ontario. We will visit fields, streams, marshes and ponds, where we expect to see a good variety of odonate species. While the main workshop will be finishing around 4:00-4:30 p.m., you will be offered the opportunity to stay later to search out odonate species that don't fly until later in the day.

This trip is limited to 16 people with priority given to TEA and PN members. Contact Carolyn King to register: (416) 222-5736 or cking@yorku.ca. Directions will be given closer to the date. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, insect net, binoculars, field guide(s), and a hand lens (if you have one)

Saturday, June 14, 2014 KAWARTHA MYSTERY TOUR

Leaders: Janice Melendez

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 7:00 a.m. or at gate to Lindsay Sewage Lagoons (48 Lagoon Street, Lindsay, ON) at 9:00 a.m. (take highway 401 east to highway 35/115; exit at highway 35 north to Lindsay and continue north for ~ 30 kms; turn right onto highway 7 east; turn left onto 36 (= first set of lights after overpass). After passing blue water tower on left side, watch for Wilson Road, turn left onto Wilson Road, and immediately turn left onto Lagoon Street, proceed to dead end which faces the lagoons).

We will begin at the Lindsay Sewage Lagoons, and from there the rest is a mystery, but will be based on advance scouting of the area to most likely include nearby wetlands, nature trails, and local Ospreys.

We will end up at Janice's cottage by lunchtime with more opportunities to enjoy the Kawarthas from the dock or along the back road to the swamp.

The focus will be on birds, but there will also be opportunities for butterflying, odonating, and botanizing. Bring binoculars, scopes, guides, insect repellent, sunscreen, rubber boots, water and a lunch.

Beginners and experienced birders welcome. Please contact John (Outings Coordinator) if you are coming so we can coordinate car pooling, even if meeting up at lagoons so we know to wait for you.

Rain date of Sunday, June 15th.

Saturday, May 31, 2014 CARDEN BIRDING

Leaders: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am or at McNamee and Wiley Road at 10:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

Whether you are already familiar with the area or you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome.

It's not just birds. Opportunities abound for observing butterflies, odonates and for botanizing.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming so we can coordinate car pooling.

Saturday, May 3, 2014 THICKSON'S WOODS AND LOCAL MARSHES

Leaders: John Stirrat

Meet at Thickson's Woods at 7:30 am.

We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants. The "early start" should let us experience more birdsong but late-comers can catch up to us when they get there. We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.

All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for all levels of birders – beginners will appreciate the many brilliant male songbirds; more experienced birders will be challenged by trying to identify the songs.

Bring field guides and binoculars. We will be stopping at a local Tim Horton's for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.

Saturday, 29 March 2014 Rescheduled PRESQU'ILE WATERFOWL

Leaders: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points.

Meet at 8:00 am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). Presqu'ile Bay is a major stopping area for waterfowl as they make their way north in the spring. For waterfowl, Spring starts as soon as the ice starts leaving the bay. The ducks congregate along the retreating ice edge, diving under the ice to find areas of newly exposed food. Numbers can reach 20,000 birds on some days and twenty different species seen on one day is not an unusual occurrence.

Dress warmly for the times that we are out. Bringing a lunch, snacks, water, etc. is recommended.

If time and conditions allow, we may stop in Cobourg to check out the harbour on the trip home.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming so we can coordinate car pooling.

Saturday, 8 February 2014 WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville.
Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner.

We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

January 12th, 2014 Bird Feeder Tour

Leaders: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool).

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 4 January 2014 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those who choose.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds.

If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda as soon as possible to register your interest.


Sunday, December 1, 2013 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. There are enormous numbers of gulls on the river at this time. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine's Gulls. In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp though. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one). We will probably stop for lunch at the Tim Horton's in Chippawa or you can bring your own if you prefer.


Saturday, September 28, 2013 Bird Banding Outing – Tommy Thompson Park Bird Research Station

Leader: Jan Wenckstern

We will depart at 8 am from Scarborough. Please contact Jan if you would like to carpool, call 416-284-5863 email jwenck@rogers.com, or meet at the foot of Leslie Street at the entrance of the park by 9 am. We will walk to the banding station which takes about half an hour. At the station we will observe birds which have been extracted from mist nets. Master bander Nigel Shaw will explain how the data is collected.
Hopefully we will be able to see a number of migrating birds being banded. The station has banded over 1,000 birds so far this year.

Saturday, September 7, 2013 PRESQU‟ILE SHOREBIRDS, ETC.

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu'ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:30am. Park admission is required.

This is our annual visit to Presqu'ile Provincial Park south of Brighton. The outing has a moderate amount of walking over flat ground.

We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing too.

We may also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. We have observed additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl there as well as butterflies and dragonflies on past outings. Although the permit policy is still in force for the wetlands, we have been able to arrange entry as a group without permits in the past.

Call if you are planning on attending so we can coordinate carpooling. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too.

Sunday, August 25, 2013 BUTTERFLIES & DRAGONFLIES OF DARLINGTON


Leaders: Carolyn King & Steve LaForest 905-720-2784 can be contacted via email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org

10:00 am at Darlington Wetlands

From Hwy 401 Exit 425 (Courtice Rd./Darlington Prov. Park), take South Service Rd. east for 2.5 km to Park Rd. (Ontario Power Generation), enter and drive south 0.8 km to the parking lot on the right. (Note: the South Service Road will be right in front of you when you reach the end of the ramp off 401)

Darlington has several large ponds that provide excellent habitat for dragonflies and damselflies. At this time of year, there should be a variety of odonate and butterfly species. We will also look at other insects, spiders and wildflowers around the ponds. Bring lunch, binoculars, field guides (as well as nets, hand lens and insect containers, if you have them). Note that the site is near the lake and may be cooler than inland locations, so please dress accordingly.

Construction of a water main just south of the ponds has cut back on the habitat, so we may visit another site after lunch.

Friday August 9, 2013 (Rain / cloud date Saturday August 10) - Perseid Meteor Shower Outing

Leader: Steve LaForest

Meet at Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, at 8:40 pm.

Annually in mid-August, the earth sweeps through debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. The encounter results in a meteor shower. As the tiny particles streak through earth's upper atmosphere, they leave trails of hot gas. From the ground, the trails show up as "shooting stars." The reason for the early outing this year is that the bright moon which will make it virtually impossible to see any meteors on the peak evening. On the night of the outing, the bright moon will set early, leaving us a dark sky for observing meteors and stars. We can expect to see dozens of meteors an hour.

Highlights for this year's outing will include two planets. Venus is spectacularly bright in the sky at dusk, and the ringed planet Saturn will also be visible. In addition, we will observe many stars and constellations; some nebulae and star clusters; the International Space Station and some artificial satellites; as well as a distant galaxy. For insomniac observers, Jupiter and Mars will rise in the predawn sky, but not until about 4:00 am.

People may want to bring their binoculars for looking at stars. If you have a spotting scope (or even an astronomical telescope) it might be a good idea to bring that along too. For those who have neither - a pair of eyes will do! There may be some mosquitoes at dusk, so please dress accordingly. Also note that it is generally quite a bit cooler after sunset, so bring along a jacket and maybe a sweater or two as well. For the ultimate in meteor-viewing pleasure, a folding lounge chair is ideal.

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (# 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side. Note – do NOT follow signs into the main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road.

Anyone wishing to check ahead may contact me through the website: www.pickeringnaturalists.org or email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org. If conditions look questionable on Friday August 9, I will send an email that afternoon to reschedule to the rain/cloud date of Saturday August 10, at 8:40 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. Note that this is a family-friendly event!

Sunday, July 14, 2013, 10 a.m. - Dragonflies & Damselflies (Durham Region) - Richard Aaron


Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park odonate survey) will be leading this joint outing with the Toronto Entomologists' Association. This all-day field trip (finishing around 4:00-4:30 p.m.) is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills. We will visit a diverse range of habitats including fields, streams and ponds. We expect to see a good variety of odonate species.

This trip is limited to 16 people with priority given to TEA and PN members. Contact Carolyn King to register: (416) 222-5736 or cking@yorku.ca. Directions will be given when you register. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, insect net, binoculars, field guide(s), and a hand lens (if you have one)

Saturday, 25 May 2013 - Carden Birding

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

Whether you are already familiar with the area or you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome. Please contact John if you are going so we can coordinate car pooling.

Saturday, 11 May 2013 - Starting at 10.am to Pegg's backwoods

This is a joint outing with Pickering Naturalists and Durham Region Field Naturalists.

Join Doug Lockrey for a 2 hour stroll through the woods as we examine plant life and the sheer beauty of spring flowers! Plan to join the group at the entrance to Claremont Conservation Area, Concession 7 just west of Westney Road.

Sunday May 5th 2013 - THICKSON"S WOODS/ CRANBERRY MARSH/SECOND MARSH

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Thickson's Woods at 8:00 am.

We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants. We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.

All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for all levels of birders – beginners will appreciate the many brilliant male songbirds; more experienced birders will be challenged by trying to identify the songs. Bring field guides, binoculars. We will be stopping at a local Tim Horton's for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.

RESCHEDULED to Sunday, 14 April, 2013 - Algonquin Park

Leader: John Stirrat/Janice Melendez

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 6:00 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool) to carpool and travel to Algonquin or meet at 9:00 a.m. at the West Gate of the Park. There is an entrance fee for each vehicle.

We will not be returning to the Pickering area until well after supper time. Bring lunch or, if you prefer, the Visitor Centre will be open for soup, sandwiches, and drinks.

We should be able to see the boreal specialties - Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee – as well as winter finches. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 9 March 2013 LONG POINT AREA

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 8:00 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool). We will be driving to the Long Point area and travel time will be well over two hours (with a compulsory stop at the Tim's in Simcoe). We will not be returning to the Pickering area until after supper time.

Hopefully our trip will coincide with the large number of Tundra Swans that stop over in the Long Point area on their migration to the Arctic tundra. It is a magnificent sight if we hit it right. We should also be able to see migrant Sandhill Cranes and wintering Rough-legged Hawks and Bald Eagles. Depending on the weather patterns, we may see some early migrants like Horned Larks and Killdeer.

Although most of the trip will be in the comfort of our vehicles, dress warmly for the times that we are out. We will most probably stop at a local restaurant for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 16 February 2013 WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville.

Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder.

The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner. We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 5 January 2013 BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Leaders: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a
morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at
local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars
at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the
early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact John (Outings
coordinator) if you are coming.

Sunday, 30 December 2012 CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those who choose.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds. The area is divided into 10 "territories", each to be covered by a team.

If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda as soon as possible to register your interest. There is a $5 participant fee for administrative expenses. A get-together for refreshments and tallying the day‟s observations will follow around 5 pm at Rosemary and Jonathan Oliver‟s home.

Sunday, December 2, 2012 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).
We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, California, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine's Gulls. In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.

Sunday, Nov. 25 - 2 to 5 pm Geology of the Scarborough Bluffs

Leader: Dr. Nick Eyles

Geology professor, author and a host of CBC's The Nature of Things
This walk with Dr. Nick Eyles of the University of Toronto will take us through the last 80,000 years of geologic history which is known as the Wisconsin Glaciation.
The deposits of this ice age are famously exposed at Scarborough Bluffs. At Bluffers Park and Sylvan Park, we will see evidence of the formation of ice dammed lakes much deeper and larger than the present Great Lakes. The last glaciation reached a peak some 20,000 years ago when ice was 1 km thick over Southern Ontario: the ice only left 10,000 years ago.

We will discuss climate change in the post glacial era and evidence for much smaller lakes in a warmer drier climate and what it might mean for the future.

Location: meet at the Bluffers Park car park (the eastern one). Bluffers Park is at the foot of Brimley Rd.

Sunday, September 9, 2012 - Presque'ile Shorebirds

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu'ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:30am. Park admission is required. We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and then passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing too. We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. The wetlands usually give us additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl. Note that the policy is still in force for entry to the wetlands. Each person entering must have a permit.

The permit application can be downloaded from the Brighton municipal website http://brighton.ca/photos/custom/ 2012%20wetland%20permit%20request.pdf
or obtained in person during business hours at the office at 67 Sharp Road, Brighton. The annual fee is $5 per person. You must carry your permit with you whenever you visit. Please obtain your permit in advance if you plan to enter the wetlands with us. At present, there is no group permit available.

Call if you are planning on attending so we can coordinate carpooling. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too.

Sunday August 12, 2012 Perseid Meteor Shower

Leader: Steve LaForest

Meet at Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, at 8:40 pm.  

Annually on approximately August 12 - 13, the earth sweeps through debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle.  The encounter results in a meteor shower.  As the tiny particles streak through earth’s upper atmosphere, they leave trails of hot gas.  From the ground, the trails show up as "shooting stars.”   That evening, the moon won’t rise until 2:20 am, so we’ll have ideal viewing conditions. We can expect to see as many as 60 meteors an hour.

Highlights for this year’s outing will include several planets. Both Mars and Saturn will be visible in a close conjunction with the bright star Spica.  We'll also see many stars and constellations; some nebulae, star clusters and artificial satellites; as well as a distant galaxy.   Jupiter will join the show, but not until very late - about 1:00 am.  For insomniac observers, Venus and Mercury will rise in the predawn sky, at about 2:25 am and 4:55 am, respectively.

People may want to bring their binoculars for looking at stars. If you have a spotting scope (or even an astronomical telescope) it might be a good idea to bring that along too.  For those who have neither - a pair of eyes will do!  There may be some mosquitoes at dusk, so please dress accordingly.  Also note that it is generally quite a bit cooler after sunset, so bring along a jacket and maybe a sweater or two as well.  For the ultimate in meteor-viewing pleasure, a folding lounge chair is ideal.

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (exit # 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side.  Note – do NOT follow signs into the main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road.

Anyone wishing to check ahead may contact me through the website: www.pickeringnaturalists.org or email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org.  If conditions look questionable on Sunday August 12, I will send an email later that afternoon to reschedule to the rain/cloud date of Monday August 13, at 8:40 pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

Note that this is a family-friendly event!

Sunday July 15, 2012, 10 a.m. DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES (Durham Region)


Leader: Richard Aaron
Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park odonate survey) will be leading this outing, being held jointly with the Toronto Entomologists' Association.  This all-day field trip (finishing around 4:00-4:30 p.m.) is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills.  We will visit a diverse range of habitats including fields, streams and ponds.  We expect to see a good variety of odonate species.  This trip is limited to 16 people with priority given to TEA and PN members.

Contact Carolyn King to register: cking@yorku.ca. Directions will be given when you register. Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, insect net, binoculars, field guide(s), and a hand lens (if you have one)

Saturday June 23, 2012 Thickson's Woods - Come for a Morning in the Meadow

Roses are blooming, willow flycatchers are calling and northern crescents are flitting along the paths.  Come experience the meadow on a June morning.  While you're here, maybe you can take time out to help keep the nature reserve vibrant and healthy.

Sunrise near summer solstice happens about 5:30.  The dawn chorus includes gray catbirds, song sparrows, yellow warblers, morning doves, house wrens and robins.  If you come early, you'll have a couple of hours to experience morning in the meadow before 8:00 a.m. when we plan to spend some time with chores necessary to help keep the meadow welcoming for all its residents and visitors.
There aren't any guided walks at 6:00 a.m., just a chance to wander along the grassy pathways and take in the sights, sounds and smells of a meadow morning.  Flattened grass shows where a couple of white-tailed deer bedded down.  A baby cottontail may race ahead along the path before disappearing beneath the branches of a gnarled apple tree.  Young orioles and cardinals call for food from the shrubbery as busy parents rush back and forth bringing breakfast.

Sunday, June 10, 2012 - CARDEN BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bailey and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.
If you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome.
Please contact John if you are going so we can coordinate car pooling.

Saturday, May 5, 2012- THICKSON"S WOODS BIRDSONG

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at Thickson's Woods at 8:00 am.

This outing is complimentary to the birdsong workshop to be held before the regular PN meeting on May 3rd. This will allow some opportunities for practicing some of what we cover during the workshop – hands- on identification by ear of the migrants moving through the woods.
Whether you attended the workshop or not, all birders are welcome. This should be an excellent outing for all levels of birders – both beginners and more experienced birders should be challenged by trying to identify the songs. Bring field guides, binoculars. We will finish by noon.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 21 April 2012 - Algonquin Park

Leader: John Stirrat/Janice Melendez

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 6:00 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool) to carpool and travel to
Algonquin or meet at 9:00 a.m. at the West Gate of the Park. There is an entrance fee for
each vehicle.

We will not be returning to the Pickering area until after supper time. Bring lunch or, if you
prefer, the Visitor Centre will be open for soup, sandwiches, and drinks.

We should be able to see the boreal specialties - Spruce Grouse, Black-backed Woodpecker,
Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee – as well as winter finches.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 10 March 2012 - Amherst Island

Leader: Steve LaForest/Janice Melendez

Difficulty: mostly driving, walking paths to the Owl Woods could be icy.

Meet at 8:00 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool). We will be driving to the
Amherst Island area and travel time will be around 2.5 hours. We will not be returning to
the Pickering area until after supper time. Bring lunch, drinks, etc. There are very limited
facilities on the island.

Driving directions: Highway 401 east to exit 593. South on Route 4 (Bath Road) to Hwy 33.
The ferry to the island is just to the west (right then left). The ferry runs on an hourly
schedule from 6:00 am to 1:30 am. It leaves Millhaven thirty minutes past the hour and
Stella (Amherst Island) on the hour. The fare is $9.00 per passenger vehicle.

Amherst Island has gained international recognition for concentrations of wintering hawks
and owls that are often present. Up to 10 species of owls have been recorded during a
single winter. Short-Eared, Long-Eared and Great Horned owls are among the resident bird
population. Visitors from the Far and Near North -- Snowy owls, Saw-whet owls, and the
rare Boreal owl as well as Eastern Screech and Barred owls add to the owl population during
late fall and winter. Both Red-tailed and Rough-legged hawks are usually present.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Sunday, 19 February 2012 - WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: Steve LaForest/Janice Melendez

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot
(Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte
Road in Oakville.

Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there.
We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and
beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters
will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of
some of the species will appeal to the beginner.
We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even
as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the
lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch's) for lunch
but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you
are coming.

Saturday, 8 Jan 2012 - Bird Feeder Tour

Leader: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot

Bring your binoculars, 'scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a
morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at
local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars
at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will finish at the Oliver's feeders in the
early afternoon. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact John (Outings
coordinator) if you are coming.

Sunday, November 27, 2011 - Niagara Gulls

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.
Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river.
Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine‟s Gulls. In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.

Saturday, 10 Sept 2011 - Presqu‟ile Park

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu‟ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:30am. Park admission is required. Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and then passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing too. We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. The wetlands usually give us additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl. Note that last year‟s policy is still in force for entry to the wetlands.

Each person entering must have a permit. The permit application can be downloaded from the Brighton municipal website or obtained in person during business hours at the office at 67 Sharp Road, Brighton. The annual fee is $5 per person. You must carry your permit with you whenever you visit.

Please obtain your permit in advance if you plan to enter the wetlands with us. At present, there is no group permit available. You can also download it from our website click here>>.

Call if you are planning on attending so we can coordinate carpooling. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellent too.

Saturday, 23 July 2011 - DRAGONFLIES & DAMSELFLIES (Hamilton area)

Leader: Richard Aaron & Kyle Holloway

Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park odonate survey) and Kyle Holloway, will be leading this joint outing with the Toronto Entomologists' Association. This all-day field trip (finishing around 4:00-4:30 p.m.) is a great opportunity to work on your odonate identification skills. We will visit a diverse range of habitats including fields, streams, ponds and abandoned quarry pits. This is a wonderful area rich in odonate species, and includes such specialties as Eastern Red Damsel, River Bluet, Carolina Saddlebags, and Dusky Bluet. On past trips, we have seen up to 30 species in a day.

This trip is limited to 16 people with priority given to PN and TEA members. Contact Carolyn King to register: (416) 222-5736 or cking@yorku.ca. We will meet at 8 a.m. in Pickering to carpool, or if you prefer, you can meet the group at 9:30 a.m. in north Flamborough.
Directions will be given when you register.
Bring lunch, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, insect net, binoculars, field guide(s), and a hand lens (if you have one).

Saturday, 11 June 2011 - CARDEN BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bailey and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.

We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. We expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds,
Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Wilson's Snipe, Vesper and Grasshopper Sparrows). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides, water and a lunch.

If you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. Beginners and experienced birders welcome. Please contact John if you are going so we can coordinate car pooling.

Wednesday, April 27, 8am 2011 - Altona Forest

Leader: Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 8:00 am at Altona Forest

Doug Lockrey, will be
meeting a number of retired local business people and naturalist club
members who wish to appreciate and photograph developing plants, along
with observing migrating birds. Contact Doug Lockrey by g-mail
(lockrey33@gmail.com) or phone--905-666-3897.

Saturday, 7 May 2011 - THICKSON"S WOODS/ CRANBERRY MARSH/SECOND MARSH

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 8:00 am at Thickson's Woods

We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants.
We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.

All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for all levels of birders – beginners will appreciate the
many brilliant male songbirds; more experienced birders will be challenged by trying to identify the songs.
Bring field guides, binoculars. We will be stopping at a local Tim Horton's for lunch but you can bring
your own if you prefer. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.


Saturday, April 16, 9:30am 2011 - Altona Forest

Leader: Larry Noonan

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 9:30 am at Altona Forest


An opportunity to appreciate the marvelous forest
with its newly-established boardwalking along the 6km. trail. Contact
Doug Lockrey by g-mail (lockrey33@gmail.com) or phone--905-666-3897

Saturday, 12 March 2011 - LONG POINT AREA

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 8:00 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool). We will be driving to long Point area about 2 hours with a stop at Tim's - will be returing home for supper.
Hopefully our trip will coincide with the large number of Tundra Swans that stop over in the Long Point area on their migration to the Arctic tundra. It is a magnificent sight if we hit it right. We should also be able to see migrant Sandhill Cranes and wintering Rough-legged Hawks and Bald Eagles. Depending on the weather patterns, we may see some early migrants like Horned Larks and Killdeer.

Although most of the trip will be in the comfort of our vehicles, dress warmly for the times that we are out. We will most probably stop at a local restaurant for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 12 February 2011 - WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly/Liverpool) We will carpool and drive to Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Rd- Oakville
Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner.

We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch"s) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 8 January 2011 - BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Leader: John Stirrat/Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with stops to view feeders.

We will meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). Bring your binoculars, "scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point.
Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact Doug or John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Sunday, 2 January 2011 - ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those who choose.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds. The area is divided into 10 "territories", each to be covered by a team.
If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda as soon as possible to register your interest. There is a $5 participant fee for administrative expenses. A get-together for refreshments and tallying the day‟s observations will follow around 5 pm at Rosemary and Jonathan Oliver‟s home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.
Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).
We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine‟s Gulls. In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.

Saturday, 16 October 2010 MIGRANTS OF THE SHORELINE MARSHES

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. We will be hiking (moderate effort) around the local shoreline marshes.
These shoreline marshes attract flocks of fall migrants, both land birds and water birds. We will visit a selection of our best local wetlands, potentially including Frenchman‟s Bay, Corner Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Pringle Creek, Corbett Creek and Oshawa Second Marsh. Our choice of marshes will depend on which have shown the best birding. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one). Since the lakeshore can be quite cool at this time of year, please dress appropriately.

Saturday, 11 September 2010 Presquile Shorebirds

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu’ile Park at the Beach 4 (Owen Point) parking lot at 9:30am. Park admission is required. We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and then passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. Opportunities will occur for botanizing too.

We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. Last year the wetlands gave us additional shorebirds, rails and waterfowl.

Note that there is a new policy in force this year for entry to the wetlands. Each person entering must have a permit. The permit application can be downloaded from the Brighton municipal website http://www.brighton.ca/uploads/file/2010BirdWatchingPermit.pdf or obtained in person during business hours at the office at 67 Sharp Road, Brighton. The annual fee is $5 per person. You must carry your permit with you whenever you visit. Please obtain your permit in advance if you plan to enter the wetlands with us. At present, there is no group permit available.

Call if you are planning on attending so we can coordinate carpooling. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellant too. Please call John if you are attending so we can coordinate car pooling.

Sunday 22 August, 2010 - Dragonfly Field Trip/Workshop 10 a.m.

Leaders: Richard Aaron and Kyle Holloway 

This workshop in the field is for people who want to work on their odonate identification skills. Richard Aaron (co-founder of the Rouge Park Odonate Survey) and Kyle Holloway, will be leading this joint outing for the Toronto Entomologists' Association and Pickering Naturalists, looking at dragonflies and damselflies.

We will meet at the Darlington Nuclear Station property, where there is a large pond with a marsh, and we may move on to Pumphouse marsh, Greenwood C.A. or other sites with varied habitats. We will look at all the odes, but the emphasis will be on the species that the participants would like to learn or brush up on.

We expect to see a variety of darners, meadowhawks, spreadwings and bluets. Bring nets, binoculars, field guides, lunch, water, and magnifying lenses if you have them.

It will be limited to 16 participants, so please contact Carolyn King soon to register: cking@yorku.ca
Directions will be given when you register. Priority will be given to TEA and PN members.

Saturday, 15 May 2010 SPRING WILDFLOWERS IN PEGG’S BACKWOODS

Leader: Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: minimal walking.

Meet at 9:30 am. Park on Concession 7 Pickering at the Pegg‟s driveway (Concession 7 west of
Westney Road opposite the Claremont C.A, entrance).
Betty‟s photography and Edge Pegg‟s nature expertise were well honed in the woods behind their
house. It will be my pleasure to accompany you on a stroll to examine closely the plant life and the
sheer beauty of the spring flowers. Bring any botanical references and your binoculars. This is a
combined Pickering Naturalists/Durham Field Naturalists outing.

Saturday, May 1, 2010 THICKSON”S WOODS/ CRANBERRY MARSH/ SECOND MARSH

Leader: Geoff Carpentier

Difficulty: Driving, walking and standing.

Meet at Thickson’s Woods at 8:00 am. We will be investigating the woods, meadow and marsh for early migrants. We will then go to Cranberry Marsh and finish at Second Marsh.

All birders welcome. This is an excellent outing for the beginning birder. Bring field guides, binoculars and a lunch. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless there is interest in continuing.

Saturday, April 24, 2010 SURPRISE SPRING OUTING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: Driving, walking and standing.

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.
Where we go will depend on recent bird activity in the Pickering through Oshawa corridor.
This time of year usually has early passerines – warblers, thrushes, etc. – so we will probably
concentrate on the wooded areas that these migrants favour on their way through our area.
You will have to come out to see where we end up birding. We will finish by mid-afternoon unless
there is interest in continuing.

Saturday, 20 March 2010 LONG POINT AREA

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Meet at 8:30 am at the Pickering GO station (Bayly and Liverpool). We will be driving to the Long Point area and travel time will be well over two hours (with a ―compulsory‖ stop at the Tim‘s in Simcoe). We will not be returning to the Pickering area until after supper time.
Hopefully our trip will coincide with the large number of Tundra Swans that stop over in the Long Point area on their migration to the Arctic tundra. It is a magnificent sight if we hit it right. We should also be able to see migrant Sandhill Cranes and wintering Rough-legged Hawks and Bald Eagles. Depending on the weather patterns, we may see some early migrants like Horned Larks and Killdeer.
Although most of the trip will be in the comfort of our vehicles, dress warmly for the times that we are out. We will probably stop at a local restaurant for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Saturday, 20 February 2010 Photography Outing - 7.30 a.m

Leader: Max Skwarna

Duration: 3 to 4 hours, easy walking

Calling all photographers! Have you been itching to get out with your camera but unsure of where to go and what to shoot? Join us for a morning in the wild at Lynde Shores, perhaps our most photogenic conservation area. From friendly chickadees that land on your hand and colourful feeder birds amidst snow-covered birches to habitat shots of Cranberry Marsh in hibernation and icicles and waves on the shoreline, learn how to get the most out of your camera. Waterfowl are always on hand, and with luck, beaver, deer, or fox, too. Special topics include macro photography, shutter speed options, use of flash, and backgrounds. As a professional photographer, Max will give you the benefit of his many years of experience behind the eyepiece.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a point-and-shoot, a digital SLR, or an older film camera – please join Max for his very first PN photography outing. Please bring a tripod if you have one. Visit the PN website to view a selection of his recent winter scenes, or check out his website at www.ashleyandcrippen.com (see links there for nature & birds).

For additional information, please call Max at (416) 925-2222.

Meet at: Lynde Shores C.A. parking lot, Bayly St. (also known as Victoria St.), Whitby

Directions: From the west, take Hwy 401 to Salem Road (exit 404), go south ~1 km to Bayly St., turn left and go east ~6 km to Lynde Shores C.A. parking lot, on right (south) side. If coming from the east, take Hwy 401 to Brock St. (Whitby) exit 410, go south ~½ km to Victoria St., turn right and go west ~ 5 km. Transit users – please call Steve LaForest (905) 720-2794 in advance to arrange a pickup at the Whitby GO station.

Saturday, 13 February 2010 WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Difficulty: minimal walking, mostly standing at various observation points

Plan to meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville.
Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced birder. The ease of identification and relative closeness of some of the species will appeal to the beginner.
We will explore from the Bronte area over through Burlington, Windermere Basin and even as far as Grimsby if the conditions and interest warrant. Remember to dress warmly – the lakeshore area can be windy and cold. We will stop at a local restaurant (Hutch‘s) for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

 

Saturday, 9 January 2010 BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Leader: Doug Lockrey

Difficulty: mostly driving with some minimal walking.

We will meet at 8:30am on the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool). Bring your binoculars, ‗scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point.
We will also have the pleasure of observing feeders from the warmth of two homes. --our first stop will be to examine feeder and Rouge Valley birds from the home of Jonathan & Rosemary Oliver, and our last stop will be to view the birds while enjoying a wonderful repast at the home of Betty Pegg in North Pickering.
Carpools can be arranged at the GO station. Please contact Doug or John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming..


Saturday, 2 January 2010, CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

Difficulty: mostly driving with some walking for those comfortable in doing so.

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Ajax and Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds. The area is divided into 10 ―territories‖, each to be covered by a team. If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda as soon as possible to register your interest. There is a $5 participant fee for administrative expenses. A get-together for refreshments and tallying the day‘s observations will follow around 5 pm at Rosemary and Jonathan Oliver‘s home.


Sunday, November 29, 2009 NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.

Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots. Expect the weather to be cold and damp. It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).
We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine’s Gulls. In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.


Saturday, October 17, 2009 MIGRANTS OF THE SHORELINE MARSHES

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00am. We will be hiking (moderate effort) around the local shoreline marshes.

These shoreline marshes attract flocks of fall migrants, both land birds and water birds. We will visit a selection of our best local wetlands, potentially including Frenchman’s Bay, Corner Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Pringle Creek, Corbett Creek and Oshawa Second Marsh. Our choice of marshes will depend on which have shown the best birding. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one). Since the lakeshore can be quite cool at this time of year, please dress appropriately.


Sunday, September 20, 2009 FLOWERING PLANTS

Leader: Doug Lockrey 905 666 3897 lockrey33@rogers.com

Meet at 10:00am at the south platform at Cranberry Marsh. Join Doug for a one-hour walk examining the flowering plants in and around the marsh. Doug has identified and photographed many of the area wildflowers--he will have several albums of photos. Come for the plant observation; stay for the Hawk Watch.
Directions: From the east along Bayly St., go through Lakeridge Road to the first street--south down Hall's Road toward the lake, to the second roadside parking area. From the west, travel on Bayly/Victoria past Lynde Creek Conservation Area to Hall’s Road.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009 Pickering Waterfront Trail

Leader: Ross Lamb

This pleasant morning walk will begin at 9AM and proceed east along the boardwalk beside Lake Ontario through Alex Robertson Park towards Simcoe Point and Duffins Marsh at Rotary Park in Ajax, then back again.
We’ll begin at the East parking lot at the south-most end of Liverpool Road in Pickering.
Late summer migrating birds, dragonflies, butterflies and blossoms should be prominent. Wear comfortable footwear and weather-appropriate clothing. The expected time for completion is around 12PM.


Saturday, September 12, 2009 PRESQU’ILE SHOREBIRDS, ETC.

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO station lot at 8:00am or at Presqu’ile Park at the Beach 4 parking lot at 9:30am.

Park admission required. We will concentrate on migrant shorebirds on the beaches and then passerines in the woodlots. The beach area at the park may be the closest viewing opportunity we have to see these long distance migrants on their way south. We will also visit the Brighton Wetlands outside the Park. Opportunities will occur for botanizing too.

Call if you are planning on attending so we can coordinate carpooling. Bring binoculars, spotting scopes (if you have them), field guides, lunch and water – sunscreen and bug repellant too.


Saturday, August 22, 2009 Oak Ridges Moraine Trail

Leader: Ross Lamb

Once more, we will meet at 8:30AM at the south entrance of the former Claremont Conservation Area. From the 401, head north on Westney Road and continue north of Highway 7. Turn left on Concession 7 Road. Go about 300 metres; the park gate is on the right hand side.
From there we will drive together to the parking lot which is on west side of 7th Concession Rd. north of County Rd. 5 (9th concession Road).
This vigorous hike will proceed through deciduous and coniferous forests, along sections of the Trans-Canada trail. Participants are advised to wear hiking boots or heavy-terrain shoes, bring sunscreen, bug spray, bottled water, a snack and even a hiking/walking stick. Some of this terrain is rough and uneven and involves traversing tall hills. We hope to complete our outing not long after 12 noon.


Perseid Meteor Shower & Stargazing Outing

WEDNESDAY August 12, 2009
Rescheduled from Tuesday August 11

Perseid Meteor Shower & Stargazing Outing
Leader: Steve LaForest

Wednesday August 12

Highlights for this year's outing will include several planets. Saturn will be low in the west at sunset, so those who arrive right on time will have the best chance of seeing it. Jupiter is incredibly bright, and we'll be able to observe several of its moons too. Mars and Venus will be up as well, but not until about 3 am! We'll also see plenty of stars and constellations, some nebulae, star clusters and artificial satellites, and even a galaxy.

Wednesday August 12

Meet in Ajax at Tim Horton’s at 8:00 pm, then carpool and drive up to Greenwood C.A. Please note that I will leave promptly at 8:15, to reach the C.A. early. For those who wish to meet us at the viewing site, please go to Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, for 8:30 pm.

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (# 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side. Note – do NOT follow signs into main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009 Altona Forest and local wetlands

Leader: Ross Lamb

9:00AM is our starting time for this hike through the recently created Altona Forest park. The morning outing begins at the forest’s parking lot on the east side of Altona Road north of Highway 2 and south of Finch Avenue. After completing the 3km worth of trails through shaded woods and ponds we will proceed west along Finch Avenue to other local wetlands within the Rouge Park system.

Be prepared for potential boggy areas with water-resistant footwear and mosquitoes, for which you’ll need insect repellent. Expected completion should be before 12 noon.

Saturday, July 25 2009 Bluebird Trail and the forests of the Claremont region

Leader: Ross Lamb

We will meet at 8:30AM at the south entrance of the former Claremont Conservation Area. From the 401, head north on Westney Road and continue north of Highway 7. Turn left on Concession 7 Road. Go about 300 metres; the park gate is on the right hand side. Our hike will take us through varied terrain of woodlands, a rehabilitated gravel pit and formal trail. Hiking boots are not required but recommended. Participants should bring sunscreen, bug spray, bottled water, and a light lunch or snack. There will be a slight emphasis on wildflowers but binoculars will be useful too.

We should be able to complete this hike sometime in the mid-afternoon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 West Pickering Waterfront Trail

Leader: Ross Lamb

We’ll start at 9:00AM in the parking lot at the entrance of Rouge Beach Park. From the 401, go south on Port Union Road; turn left at Lawrence Avenue East and continue eastward until the road ends. This brings you to the entrance to the park. The parking lot is near the footbridge. From the mouth of the Rouge River, our route will proceed eastward through Petticoat Creek Park to the western shore of Frenchman’s Bay at the lake and back. The walk will be done on a fairly level surface and offer us great views of Lake Ontario as we ramble past a large White Pine woodlot, marshlands and a dune complex. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for wildflowers, butterflies and resident birds.

This walk should be finished before noon so a lunch or snack is optional. Sunscreen, insect repellent, bottled water and weather-appropriate clothing are recommended.

Saturday, 13 June 2009 - Whitby Waterfront Trail Hike

Leader: Ross Lamb

Meet at 8:30AM at the south end of the parking lot at Whitby Harbour. From the 401, head south on Brock Street in Whitby (NOT Brock Road). Go approximately 1km south past Victoria St. East and then, at the lakeshore, enter the harbour parking lot on your right (west side).

We will enjoy a walk past regenerated meadows and woodlands along a mostly paved waterfront trail. This walk will find us heading east towards Intrepid Park, due east of Thickson’s Woods, and then back. Hiking boots are not required but comfortable footwear is recommended. Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, bottled water, and a light lunch or snack. Binoculars and cameras are optional. We should be able to complete this walk sometime in the early afternoon. .

Saturday, 6 June 2009 - CARDEN ALVAR BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at Pickering GO parking lot (Bayly and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.
We will be driving to Wiley Road, north of Kirkfield. Expect to see lots of grassland birds (Bluebirds, Bobolinks, Meadowlarks, Upland Sandpipers, Common Snipe, and Grasshopper Sparrow). In addition, we should be able to see the endangered Loggerhead Shrike. Bring binoculars, guides and a lunch.

If you have never been to the Carden area, this is an opportunity to see this unique environment and its resident bird life. The Carden Alvar has been described as the best grassland birding area in Ontario. Beginners and experienced birders welcome.

Please email John if you are attending so we can coordinate car pooling.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 - Rouge Park Hike

Leader: Ross Lamb

M eet at 9.00 am in the southeast parking lot at Reesor Rd. and Steeles Ave East. This is a moderate hike through scenic woodland park. Bring field guide binoculars and lunch. We should be done by mid afternoon.

Please contact Ross Lamb (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.


Saturday, 14 Mar 2009 - TORONTO WATERFRONT

Leader: John Stirrat

M eet at 8:30 am at the Pickering GO station. We will be driving to Colonel Sam Smith Park (foot of Kipling) and working our way back along the Toronto waterfront. Expect to see many ducks and gulls that over-winter along the shores of Lake Ontario. We should see Horned and Red-necked Grebes and may also be fortunate enough to see Tundra Swans as they migrate north around this time. This is another trip that can be enjoyed by both experienced and beginner birders. We will be out all day (weather permitting). We will probably stop at a local restaurant for lunch but you can bring your own if you prefer. Dress warmly. The lakeshore can still be cold in mid-March.

Please contact John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.


Saturday, 14 Feb 2009 - WEST LAKESHORE BIRDING

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot. We will carpool and drive to the Bronte Harbour at the foot of Bronte Road in Oakville. Birding the west end of Lake Ontario is unique for the large rafts of ducks found there. We are certain to see a number of species. This is a great outing for both experienced and beginner birders. The variety and possible great sightings like Eiders or all three Scoters will appeal to the experienced

Saturday, 10 Jan 2009 - BIRD FEEDER TOUR

Leader: Doug Lockrey

Meet at 8:30am at the southwest corner of the Pickering GO Station parking lot. Bring your binoculars, ‘scopes, bird books, friends and a thermos of coffee, to enjoy a morning tour of the Pickering country roads. We hope to view a good variety of birds at local feeders and alongside the roads. Dress warmly, as there will be embarking from cars at various spots as we drive from point to point. We will also have the pleasure of observing feeders from the warmth of two homes. --our first stop will be to examine feeder and Rouge Valley birds from the home of Jonathan & Rosemary Oliver, and our last stop will be to view the birds while enjoying a wonderful repast at the home of Betty Pegg in North Pickering. Carpools can be arranged at the GO station.

Please contact Doug or John (Outings coordinator) if you are coming.

Sat, 3 Jan, 2009 - CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT

Leader: Glenda Jones

The Pickering Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event in which club members and other interested birders count birds throughout all of Pickering during the daylight hours on a day near Christmas. Our CBC is part of an international Christmas period census of birds. The Pickering area is divided into 10 “territories”, each to be covered by a counter or team. If you have not participated before, you could accompany a more experienced birder or team. Please contact Glenda (905 427 6999) as soon as possible to register your interest.

There is a $5 participant fee payable to Bird Studies Canada to cover their administrative expenses. A get-together for refreshments and tallying the day’s observations will follow around 4:30 pm. Thanks to our hosts Jonathon and Rosemary Oliver (905-509-8489 385 Woodgrange Ave, Pickering).

Sunday, 30 Nov, 2008  - NIAGARA GULLS

Leader: Rayfield Pye (a joint outing with the Durham Field Naturalists)

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bailey and Liverpool) at 8:00 am.
Please call John Stirrat if you are coming so we can organize carpooling. The drive from the GTA to Niagara Falls will take a couple of hours each way.  Minimal walking difficulty -- short walks from parking spots.  Expect the weather to be cold and damp.  It can be very cold on the river so dress warmly. Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one). 

We will be visiting several locations along the Niagara River to learn about Gulls. In late November, there are enormous numbers of gulls on the river. Among the more common gulls, there may be Lesser Black-backed Gull, Little Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake or Sabine’s Gulls.  In past years, Purple Sandpiper and Brant have also been seen.

Saturday, October 18, 2008  ASTRONOMY

Leader: Steve LaForest (905) 720-2784 stevelaforest@hotmail.com

Meet at 7 pm at Greenwood Conservation Area – From Hwy 401, exit at Westney Rd., go North ~7 km to Whitevale Rd. (Concession Rd. 5), turn left and go West 2 km to Church St., turn left and go South ~1/2 km to parking lot on left.  The dark skies of Greenwood C.A. will give us an excellent setting for viewing autumn stars and constellations as well as a couple of planets.  The highlights of the show are Venus and Jupiter, the brightest objects in the sky right now, after the sun and moon.  We’ll also bid a fond farewell to the summer triangle, have a look at some early winter constellations, and view the Andromeda galaxy. Steve will arrive early, shortly after sunset at 6:26, as Venus will then be at its best.  Later in the evening, the waning moon will cap off our viewing session.  Bring binoculars and spotting scopes, if you have them.  Star maps will be provided.


Saturday, October 11, 2008                 MIGRANTS OF THE SHORELINE MARSHES

Leader: John Stirrat

Meet at the Pickering GO parking lot (Bailey and Liverpool) at 8:00am. We will be hiking (moderate effort) around the local shoreline marshes.  These shoreline marshes attract flocks of fall migrants, both land birds and water birds.  We will visit a selection of our best local wetlands, potentially including Frenchman’s Bay, Corner Marsh, Cranberry Marsh, Pringle Creek, Corbett Creek and Oshawa Second Marsh.  Our choice of marshes will depend on which have shown the best birding.  Bring lunch, binoculars and your favourite field guides (as well as a scope, if you have one).  Since the lakeshore can be quite cool at this time of year, kindly dress appropriately.


Sunday, September 21, 2008                                FLOWERING PLANTS

Leader: Doug Lockrey 905 666 3897 lockrey33@rogers.com
 
Meet at 10:00 am at the south platform at Cranberry Marsh.  Join Doug for a one-hour walk examining the flowering plants in and around the marsh. Doug has identified and photographed many of the area wildflowers – he will have several albums of photos. Come for the plant observation; stay for the Hawk Watch.  Directions: From the east along Bayly St., go through Lakeridge Road to the first street--south down Hall's Road toward the lake, to the second roadside parking area. From the west, travel on Bayly/ Victoria past Lynde Creek Conservation Area to Hall’s Road.

Please see Club Newsletter for additional field trips scheduled throughout the year.

Meeting Places

Field trips start at one of the following meeting places and car-pooling is encouraged:

  • Go station
  • Halls Road
Please pay attention to the meeting times as they vary.




Thursday 12 August, 2010 Perseid Meteor Showers Outing - 8.45pm

Leader: Steve LaForest 

Meet at Greenwood C.A., northwest parking lot, at 8:40 pm. Rain / cloud date Friday August 13 Each year on about August 12 - 13, the earth passes through debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. The annual encounter produces a meteor shower. As the tiny particles streak through our planet's upper atmosphere, they leave trails of hot gas. From the ground, the trails show up as "shooting stars." The moon will set just after sunset, so we'll have ideal viewing conditions. We can expect to see as many as 60 meteors an hour.

People may want to bring their binoculars for looking at stars. If you have a spotting scope, it might be a good idea to bring that along too. For those who have neither - a pair of eyes will do! There may be some mosquitoes at dusk, so please dress accordingly. Also note that it is generally quite a bit cooler after sunset, so bring along a jacket and maybe a sweater or 2 as well. For the ultimate in meteor-viewing pleasure, a folding lounge chair is ideal.

Highlights for this year's outing will include several planets. Venus, Saturn and Mars will be low in the west at sunset, along with a crescent moon, so those who arrive right on time will have the best chance of seeing them. Jupiter is also visible, but it won't rise until quite late in the evening - several of its moons will also be visible. We'll also see many stars and constellations; some nebulae, star clusters and artificial satellites; and even a distant galaxy.

Directions for Greenwood C.A.: From Hwy 401, take the Westney Road exit (# 401) and go north 6 km to the 5th Concession Road, turn left (west) and go 1 km to Church St., turn left (south) and go ~0.2 km to the parking lot on the left (east) side. Note – do NOT follow signs into main C.A. parking lot off Westney and Greenwood Road.

Anyone wishing to check ahead may contact me through the website: www.pickeringnaturalists.org or email pn@pickeringnaturalists.org. If conditions look questionable on Thursday August 12, I will send an email that afternoon to reschedule to the rain/cloud date of Friday August 13. Everyone is welcome to attend.


 

 

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