The Upper Credit Field Naturalists Club

The Upper Credit Field Naturalists Club is made up of people who share a common interest in the natural environment: enjoying it, preserving it, and learning more about it, in all of its incredible complexity and beauty.

  • We organize a variety of activities throughout the year, including the ever-popular Spring and Christmas bird counts, wildflower walks and other field trips.
  • We hold regular monthly meetings which are our cornerstone activity.
  • We also publish to members as quarterly members’ newsletter, The Bluebird, which contains club news, details of upcoming speakers and field trips, and articles on wildlife and the environment.
  • The membership form is here.

For more about us, check our ABOUT page.

Dragonfly exuvia BeechLake

Dragonfly exuvia, from a Swift River Cruiser, Macromia illinoiensis.  The white tubes are the trachea which connect the developing body of the adult inside the nymphal case through to the outside air as the nymph ceases to use its gills while it comes out of the water to emerge. I had the wonderful privilege of watching and filming thIs take more than 4 hours to come out of the lake, find a spot to anchor itself, and go through the slow orderly sequence of emergence, finally flying away as an adult.   (Photo by Mark Whitcombe)

Are our Chimney Swifts already gone?

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On Wednesday, sale August 12th, I couldn’t see or hear any Chimney Swifts above downtown Shelburne during about 15 minutes of noon-time observation near the church where I had previously seen them diving into a roosting chimney during the daytime.  On Thursday and again today, August 14th, I couldn’t see or hear any Chimney Swifts above downtown Orangeville after 30 minutes of observation around the two chimneys (Broadway, and Mill Street) I’d previously seen them using during daylight hours.

It seems quite possible that they have they left already on their migration. That’s within the standard timeframe of mid-August onwards.

We first saw them on June 2nd, and our interpretation was that they had only recently arrived. On July 29th, I and others twice observed birds diving into and leaving the Broadway chimney, spending less than a minute inside the chimney each time. That’s typical behaviour for feeding pre-fledglings.  If so, then from recent fledgling to migrating bird takes place in about 2 weeks.  Impressive!

The last Chimney Swifts I have seen this year were 4 flying above downtown Orangeville on August 4th.

We do not know the breeding success of the three roosts being used in our area.  It would take considerable attentive field work to determine that!

I’m amazed that about 10+ weeks is all the time they spend on their breeding grounds. Their breeding success is now so constrained simply by a lack of suitable chimneys in which to nest. That’s why it’s so important to identify and protect suitable chimney, as well as to better census Chimney Swift populations.

Citizen science is worthwhile!

Chimney Swift leaving chimney roost

Chimney Swift leaving chimney roost on Broadway in Orangeville