Selected Items from the Nature Network News – 2007

(Used with permission of Ontario Nature)

Not a Fen? By Maria Papoulias, Ontario Nature

For many years, the residents of Red Bay, on the western edge of the Bruce Peninsula, have spoken with pride of their special “fen” at Ontario Nature’s Petrel Point Nature Reserve. Thus, many of the “fen’s” proud neighbours were rather shocked when it was announced at this year’s Red Bay Community Event that Petrel Point is actually not a fen at all.

In order to qualify as a fen, the surface substrate would have to consist of a deep layer (at least 40 cm) of organic material (peat). However, when staff were sampling the substrates at Petrel Point this summer, they found only very thin deposits of organic matter at the surface, underlain by deep, fine sand. This means that Petrel Point is NOT a fen!

In fact, the Petrel Point Nature Reserve is a fine example of “Great Lakes Coastal Meadow Marsh”, a community type that is considered both provincially and globally rare. Ontario Nature is proud to conserve a portion of this very special habitat and we thank all of our neighbours in Red Bay for their enthusiastic support of the Petrel Point Nature Reserve.

See the Eastern Loggerhead Shrike By Lou Probst, Carden Festival Chair

You may have heard on the CBC that on September 25th about 50 members of the Ontario Landowners Alliance, an extreme property rights group, gathered on the Carden Plain to announce they would cut down all the hawthorn trees from 10,000 nearby acres. Hawthorns are the preferred nesting sites of the Easter Loggerhead Shrike. The bird is classified as endangered in Ontario and across Canada with only 20 nesting pair identified in 2007. 12 on the Carden Plain and 8 in Napanee. The Wildlife Preservation Canada operates a successful captive breeding and release program on the Carden Plain and on the Bruce Peninsula to augment the population.

The Landowners Alliance is protesting the new Endangered Species Act in Ontario that comes into force in 2008. They claim that if a Loggerhead Shrike should nest on their land the farmer will be forbidden to drive, walk or work within 400 meters of the nest. Of course this claim is wildly exaggerated but it achieves their objective of stirring up the crowd and getting publicity.

Fortunately, most of the Loggerhead Shrike nests on the Carden Plain are located on conservancy property, not accessible to the chain saw wielding Alliance members. Also the hawthorn eradication process appears to have lost its momentum after clearing a few acres. The Loggerhead Shrike will probably survive this latest threat to its existence.

If you register to attend the Carden Nature Festival on June 6, 7, 8, 2008 you can take guided tours that will probably let you see a wild Loggerhead Shrike and will definitely let you see a captive Loggerhead Shrike. The 2008 Carden Festival will be held in partnership with Ontario Nature. Registration on

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