News & Informative updates about the MPFN, the Environment and Local Nature Stories

Important News!

Our Mission

To study and
appreciate nature.
To protect and preserve wildlife
and the environment.
To stimulate public interest in,
and promote protection
and preservation of nature.

Who we are

The Midland Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Club (MPFNC) is one of the oldest affiliates of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The objective of the Club is to promote public awareness of natural history, conservation and the environment. We feature lectures by expert naturalists on a range of fascinating topics at our monthly meetings. We also schedule  outings (field trips) and nature study.

We meet on the 3rd Thursday of the month, 7:30 PM at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre No meeting in December, July or August.  Our June meeting is held at Tiny Marsh.

For a printable schedule of meetings & events click: 2022 Bookmark_Brochure 001

The MPFNC is involved in many projects in the area including the Christmas Bird Count as well as environmental and wildlife surveys, the Tiny Marsh BioBlitz and the Sweet Water Harvest at the Wye Marsh. The club also supports the Owl Foundation at the Christmas Bird Count Potluck Wrap-up at the Wye Marsh. This year we raised $440 for the Owl Foundation of Vineland through our famous Mystery Gift Not-So-Silent Auction.

Cover for Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists
Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists

Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists

Our objectives are: (a) To study and appreciate nature (b) To protect and preserve wildlife and the

We have an "Odd Duck" hanging about in Midland Ontario Canada on Dec. 4, 2023. You won't find this one in your Sibley's or Peterson's. A Common Goldeneye X Hooded Merganser hybrid. I wonder if they were put together with "Duck Tape". I fix my duck with duct tapewhen she breaks. That’s what I do.If my gorilla has a crackI use Gorilla Glue.My monkey needs a monkey wrenchjust every now and then.And chicken wire is what I useto mend my broken hen.For snails, I use nails,and, for penguins, I use pins.For fish, I’m fond of fish pastefor fixing fractured fins.So bring your broken beasts;I’ll give them tender loving care,and make them good as new at mystuffed animal repair. — Kenn Nesbitt ... See MoreSee Less
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The MPFN Xmas Bird Count needs Counters, Feeder-Watchers, Feeder-Hosts and Drivers! Sat. Dec. 16, 2023The date of the MPFN Christmas Bird Count, Sat. Dec. 16th, is fast approaching!We need bird counters, but we also need people who may not know one bird from another but know how to drive a car!Some of our more experienced birders prefer not to drive and would love to have a chauffeur. There's a role in the Xmas Bird Count for everyone. Our Xmas Bird Count Coordinator David Schandlen needs to hear from you by the end of the day Wednesday Dec. 6th so that he has time to organize the teams, assign their areas and get the materials and instructions they will need distributed. David's email is 705 526 8320. Thanks to all who have volunteered so far. But we need more of you to step up! This is your chance to do something for the birds! They do so much for us, entertaining us all year long and making this world a better place in which to live. The best time to see lots of birds is usually early morning, so most of our birding teams try for an early start. Sunrise on Dec. 16th will be 7:50 AM and sunset will be 4:39 PM, although bird activity usually tapers off in the mid-afternoon. Whatever time you have available to participate, however, would be greatly appreciated. A half day, a couple of hours - let David Schandlen know and he'll do his best to accommodate you. There is also an opportunity to participate without even leaving your home. You can be a feeder-watcher, just by spending some time counting and identifying the birds in your own yard. If you live within the bounds of our count circle (see attached map) and you'd like to participate as a feeder-watcher, reply to this email and we'll send you the instructions on how to compile and submit your count. Or you can be a feeder-host! If you have feeders and live within the bounds of our count circle (see attached map) you can let us know that you would allow the counters in your area access to where your feeders are stationed. They'll come to your place on count day and tally the birds for you. Again, let us know by replying to this email Give us your address, let us know where your feeders are and how to access them. Don't delay! Volunteer today! ... See MoreSee Less
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Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, Nov. 29, 2023, Midland, Ontario, Canada. The Bald Eagleby Warren ClementsBald Eagles are not really bald.In fact, they'd be rather appalledTo have their white hairMistaken for bare.They're covered, whatever they're called. ... See MoreSee Less
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The Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists Christmas Bird Count Needs You! Time to volunteer!Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists to host 124 edition of the Audubon Christmas Bird Count Saturday Dec. 16, 2023Photo caption: Snowy Owl seen on the 2022 MPFN CBC; photo Ken MacDonaldOn Saturday Dec. 16, 2023 the Midland-Penetanguishene Field Naturalists will be the local organizers of the 124th Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This annual tradition started in 1900. Our local club held their first count in 1981. We missed only one year in 1986. That was just after the federal government tried to shut down the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre in 1985. This important conservation project was rescued by the formation of the volunteer organization the Friends of Wye Marsh, who took over the management of the resource. It took us a year to reorganize the Christmas count, but since 1987 our club members and other volunteers have beat the bushes for birds every December, even during the challenging times of the Covid pandemic. That will make 2023 our 42nd count. Once again our Christmas Bird Count Coordinator will be David Schandlen. If you’d like to volunteer for the count you can contact David at schandlen@simcoe.ent 705 526 8320. The deadline to respond is Wednesday Dec. 6th. David needs time to organize the teams, assign their areas and distribute the information they will need. When you respond to David, give him your contact info (email and phone number), where you live which will help David know where to assign you in our contact circle, a brief assessment of your birding experience and let him know whether you are able to drive or would like to carpool with other birders. Birders and non-birders of all abilities can participate in a Christmas Bird Count. We need spotters, drivers, cheer-leaders, as well as those walking field guides who can ID every sparrow. Often it’s the novice birder who manages to spot that special bird. David will make sure the teams are well balanced with people that can work well together for the birds.Once the counting is done, we party! Our Christmas Bird Count Wrap up/Christmas Party will once again be held at the Wye Marsh Wildlife Centre on the evening of the count day, Dec. 16th. Doors will be open around 5 PM so that we can eat at 6PM. We’ll go over the day’s birding reports and then we’ll hold our ever popular Mystery Xmas Gift Auction. Participants bring their mystery gifts, festively wrapped with a cryptic poem or riddle subtly hinting or perhaps misleading as to the contents. Then our auctioneer goes into action. After what is often a very spirited competition, the gift goes home with the successful bidder and the proceeds go to the Owl Foundation of Vineland. Win Win all round!Remember, the Christmas Party is not just for CBC counters, but is open to everyone – all members, their guests, and CBC volunteers. We hope to see you all there.So why do we count birds every December? Here’s a link to a very interesting article from Audubon that outlines some of the history of the count and how the CBC is a prime example of how observations from first-time volunteers and experts alike can make a big difference in understanding our world. You may find some of what we have learned from the CBC disturbing. But knowledge is power and we can use the knowledge gained to benefit ... See MoreSee Less
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Red Phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius, Minet's Point, Barrie, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 23, 2023. A very uncommon bird in our area, since they are high arctic breeders and long distance migrants who usually make their way between their winter and summer homes by following the ocean coasts; the most pelagic of our North American Phalaropes. Similar in their non-breeding plumage to the more common Red-necked Phalarope, but a little larger and heavier bodied, able to ride those choppy ocean swells, with a stouter bill, and longer wings adapted to their longer migration. This one seems to be a first year male which probably explains why we're seeing it so late in November. The females are the first to leave the breeding grounds, the adult males leave once their nest tending and chick rearing chores are done, leaving the first of the year birds to bring up the rear. Of course it's never too late for a phalarope. The Phalaropeby Marque Dobrow Have you heard of the phalarope bird?Now I give you my word ~ its name isn’t absurd.In terms of physique it couldn’t be slimmerWhich helps to make it an excellent swimmer.Their feathers are most often black, red and white,Then they’re grey in the winter: what a wondrous sight. Within the Arctic region they breedWhere you’d think it too cold to perform such a deed.In the Northern Hemisphere they lay eggs, then laterSpend their winters the other side of the equator. Female phalaropes will court with their mateWho in turn builds a nest so he may incubate.The she-bird is larger in size than her fella,So if she gained weight, I doubt he would tell her.But here’s a grand fact that I think is worth hearing:It’s the male who does the young phalarope-rearing. And so, as these verses are nearing their endPlease consider the phalarope your friend.If ever you see one from the ground down belowKeep your eyes gazing skyward and call out “hello”. ... See MoreSee Less
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Box 393, Midland ON L4R 4L1

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