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 environment (c) To stimulate public interest in, and promote protection and preservation of nature. We are a non-profit organization.

American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla, Port McNicoll, Ontario, Canada, June 6, 2024.Redstart by Ruth Bowen HerseyI see the American redstartfirst thing in the morningbefore I even sit down in my birdwatching chairand before I can get my binoculars out of their case.It flashes the brilliant orange on its wings,vivid against their black background,as it flies from the ground to a branch above.I open my Notes appand type “American” with my thumbsand surely it is a good thingthat instead of“president,”“hegemony,”or even“flag,”my predictive text suggests:redstart. ... See MoreSee Less
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A message from Kate Harries and the MTM (Marl Lake - Tiny Marsh - Matchedash Bay) Conservation Association: Turtle nest protection has started at Tiny Marsh. Protectors patrol the dykes on foot or bike (cyclists, watch out for basking snakes, they don't hear you coming). If a turtle is seen at work, the site is marked and the protector carries on up the dyke. Upon return, if the turtle is finished, a cage (kindly manufactured by Elmvale high school students) is taken from one of several caches and placed over the nest. Or wait till she's done.Protectors do one or more days a week, early morning or dusk are good times. There is some data collection. If you are able to do a patrol, that would be great. Nesting season lasts about a month.For more information, get in touch with Ingrid Egner <> and she will fill you in. ... See MoreSee Less
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I believe these are the flowers of Western Poison Ivy, Toxicodendron rydbergii, photographed in Midland, Ontario, Canada on June 5, 2024. Both Western Poison Ivy, T. rydbergii, and Eastern Poison Ivy, T. radicans, grow in our area. The Western variety won't grow in vines like T. radicans and can grow in drier environments. They aren't really ivies but rather members of the cashew and pistachio family. Do their flowers have a fragrance? Sadly, we'll never know as who would be foolish enough to stick their nose in? Ode to Poison Ivy by Catriona McDonaldHail, shining jewel of the forest’s edge,who, guarding the damp and shade-worn oaks,graces the green boughs of the sun-warmed hedgeand hides in the root-skirts of the Wort Folks.Strong oils weep, coating your arrows-leaves:a warning, a curse to any so arrogant,ignorant, or foolish, your fierce spearsfine punishment for woeful woodland thieves.Erroneously thought malevolent,human ruin ignites your caustic tears.Ahhh, Poison Ivy, glorious in her guardianship of the borders and edges (and hedges!) of North America! Europeans have Nettles, we have this lovely. And I say this without sarcasm–she is utterly gorgeous, both as she emerges in the spring, and when she turns to fiery crimson in the fall.One of the most irritating things (other than the urushiol oil which serves as her defense) is the manner in which Poison Ivy is casually lumped into “invasive” species by layfolks because she is aggressive and inconvenient to many a human (in fact, her oils only affect humans and a few other higher primate species). She is not, in fact, invasive, but native to North America. Her spread has been enabled by humans’ own behaviors, our tendency to clear forest and mow fields gives her the perfect propagation ground. Sister Ivy maintains her sovereignty and is a harsh teacher for the unwary.So be cautious, be respectful, and listen to her warning. Not everything is for us, but Poison Ivy’s lessons certainly are. ... See MoreSee Less
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Eastern Phantom Crane Fly, Bittacomorpha clavipes, North Simcoe Rail Trail, Minesing, Ontario, Canada, June 1, 2024. According to Wikipedia, Phantom Crane Flies are “known for the odd habit of spreading out [their] legs while flying, using expanded, trachea-rich tarsi to waft along on air currents.”It turns out that the phantom crane fly is one of the very, very few creatures on Earth that fly without using their wings (perhaps vestigial or used only for a bit of steering?). They are literally swimming, somehow taking advantage of a high Reynolds number (let’s say, 265?) to sludge through the atmosphere without those wings that evolution gave them. Consequently they look more like seed pods drifting on the wind than they do insects.Still Life with Phantom Crane Fly and Vanity Mirrorby Sandra Meek Absent the light-speckled thicket camouflage is losther zebraed legstriple-jointed quills like folding seeing-eye canes half-ratchetedsplayed into place a bruised lilt as she lurches her stilled wings the veined gauzeof obsolescence riding the fan’s current that’s caught hera cottonwood’s parachuting seedan image of home you keepdreaming as a mortgage you’d signed and somehow forgottenthe house rotting without youand you living basement by basement what you’d witnessed in swamped forest airspectacle’s creature a dozen unspooling legsjust a tangled matingyour bed long made beneath bare-bulbed earthshelved one-eighty-proof rumthe Ford you’d street-raced through neighborhoods kepttaking you nowhere and one night into a ditchthe dealer you idolized the one you let driveyou passed out proving you were your father’s daughter and could take ithis name was Triphis name wasn’t Triphe was famous for the hugefalling-down house he’d kept a half dozen runaways at to sell for himincluding your friend Troy in the backseathow nostalgic they were for that lost houseyou kept for two years in a nightstand drawer the rolled socks he leftthat night in your caras if you could remember him unpeeling themmaybe they’re still there the wayheroin killed Troy but not for decadesthe way your ghosted jaw would achewhen you’d wake unable to voice the difference between seedpod and wingthe thready body both labyrinth and a taut unspoolinglegs hollowbreathing a diffusionbatting the silvered surfacethe slivered roomthat expansive mirage sealed therethe glass you slip over heryou cup your hand therefling her out the windowsome other breeze to catch herone you didn’t snap on by a switch igniting the wallhis name was JeromeI was an acid trail in a setof fitting room mirrors dissolving to youvacancy chain in reverseyou learned to be by being leastmost distantthe oso gullible one batting a fractured room of glassyou let her goratherI made her gone ... See MoreSee Less
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Pumpkinseed, Lepomis gibbosus, also known as pond perch, common sunfish, punkie, sunfish, sunny, and kivver, May 30, 2024, Copeland Forest near Craighurst, Ontario, Canada. When I was a youngster I used to take my bamboo fishing rod and a rubber worm to Meux Creek, behind my mother's family home in Neustadt, Ontario, Canada. One day I caught a bucket full of these beautiful sunfish. I took my catch into my Great Aunt Reta and asked if she could cook them up for supper. Reta made a deal with me. For every sunfish that I released back into the river she would give me a nickel. I made a good living as a commercial fisherman that summer and was able to add several comic books to my collection. Self Portrait with Fish and Waterby Todd DavisIn the world underwater, in that world beyond this worldnear the cattails where bass patrol their spawning beds, earlysummer light clings to the turquoise sides of pumpkinseed sunfish,so named because of the shape their bodies take, not the colorationof their ctenoid scales, tangerine stippling that stony blue, giving wayto a yellow that seeps to the base of the pelvic fin, an aquaticcanvas as if painted by that artist who cut away his own earout of love, leaving a blackened hole the sounds of his joyousscreams rushed into, a coal-dark flap like the one at the sideof this fish’s face who shows me that the world is always receding,fleeing the shape of my shadow as I walk these banks. ... See MoreSee Less
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Box 393, Midland ON L4R 4L1

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