Click here or on the image to see the PDF:

In this issue:


Sunny Day at a South Shore Wetland (Photo: Dawn Ayer)

Wild Thing

by Cheryl Anderson

Wild Thing is SSJI’s outdoor education program. Cheryl Chapman is the organizer and program delivery person for Wild Thing. Cheryl has seven years experience delivering outdoor education programs for the Toronto Board of Education and eight years experience delivering the NatureHood program for Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory.

Over the 2023 – 2024 fiscal year Cheryl has delivered 14 different programs to local schools and the Picton Library as a volunteer. She has also led a series of small group tours to the Prince Edward Point National Wildlife Area with support from the Canadian Wildlife Service. Moving into the 2024 – 2025 fiscal year SSJI is hoping to expand the Wild Thing program to include youth from ROC Youth Services both in the grade nine to 12 age group and the grade seven and eight students.

One goal of the program is to involve grade seven and eight students in the design and implementation of a community garden. To begin the students will learn about how the various component of the natural world intersect using indigenous stories and songs - and viewing the Wisdom of the Universe mural at St. Andrew's church, Picton. The design component of the project follows, working with local artists. Viewing the garden as multi service to birds, amphibians, and reptiles as well as to humans helps to understand the concept of biodiversity. The garden will be prepared and built with cooperation of the Environmental Services and Sustainability Supervisor of Prince Edward County.

Meanwhile the older students at the ROC have indicated an interest Plein Air Creative Arts - nature and landscape sketching and nature photography in situ and an Earth Repair Program – invasive plant management projects. These programs will be offered at the Hudgin Log House and perhaps in Monarch Point Conservation Reserve with the cooperation of Nature Conservancy Canada and Sandbanks Provincial Park.

The on-going programs with local schools and the public library provide additional ways for young people to learn about and experience the natural world. Wild Thing targets the perceived anxiety felt by young people about the climate crisis and the future in general. By involving them in projects that give them information about biodiversity and hands on skills Wild Thing provides hope.

We thank the many donors that have assisted SSJI to support the Wild Thing educational program and continue to search for additional funding for this important aspect of our mission.

back to top

Upcoming South Shore Events

  • Listen to the Seeds and Flowers Storytelling by Cheryl Chapman on Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 from 10:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.

    For this event visit Picton Library, 208 Main St., Picton, ON. See Seeds and Wildflowers Storytelling.

  • Join us for the Big Beach Clean Up on Sat., Apr. 27, 2024 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon.

    Meet at Lakeshore Beach (along Lake Ontario) in Sandbanks Provincial Park. RSVP.

  •  Go for a walk with John Lowry and look for Spring Wildflowers on the SSJI Stroll to Point Petre.

    Meet at the corner of Cty. Rd. 24 and Army Reserve Road on Sat., May 4, 2024 from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon. RSVP.

  • Participate in the 9th PECFN BioBlitz at Green Pt. Escarpment Forest, Sat., June 8 to Sun., June 9, 2024 for 24 hours. RSVP.

back to top

New Barn Swallow Nesting Structure erected at Prince Edward Point

by Cheryl Anderson

Members and supporters of South Shore Joint Initiative (SSJI), Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory (PEPtBO) and Prince Edward County Field Naturalists (PECFN) are elated by the sight of a new nesting structure for Barn Swallows at Prince Edward Point.

The structure has been erected by the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) very close to the location of the previous shed used by the Swallows. Following a design that has proved successful at Rondeau Park on Lake Erie, the structure is about 16 ft. long and 8 ft. wide with a peaked metal covered roof. It is raised 7 ft. from the ground on six “legs” set in cement and encased in stove pipe “critter guards”. The sides fall from the roof line about 4 ft. leaving ample room for Swallows to swoop under the sides to access the structure. In addition, there are entrance holes on two sides. Inside the structure the CWS technician has placed nests scavenged from the demolished building. The nests are secured on shelves and held in place with small scraps of wood. They are scattered throughout the structure at several levels.

Canadian Wildlife Service is to be commended on the speedy construction of the Barn Swallow nesting structure – and on the care taken to preserve and instal the old nesting material in the new structure.

New Barn Swallow Structure at Prince Edward Point (Photo: Cheryl Anderson)

During February members of SSJI, PEPtBO and PECFN met with CWS personnel and wrote letters to the Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jean-Francois Tremblay, deputy minister, Ryan Williams MP, Bay of Quinte, Tara Shannon, Assistant Deputy Minister Environment and Climate Change and several CWS officials. We raised alarm through social media and local and regional print, online, radio and television media. We were heartened by the support for the Barn Swallows from every corner. The Canadian Wildlife Service promised they would erect an alternate structure before the Swallows returned and they have kept the promise.

Barn Swallows are expected to begin arriving at Prince Edward Point in April. Their new home is waiting, and we all hope they find it to their liking.

For additional information: [email protected]

back to top

County did you know … Cloud Riddles

John F. Foster

1) I am fluffy. My bottom is flat. I appear over updrafts on warm days.

Who am I? ____________________

2) I look like the tail of a horse. I am very high up. I predict a change in weather.

Who am I? ____________________

3) I look like the scales of a fish. I am high up. My shapes are generally circular.

Who am I? ____________________

4) I am dark. I am low lying in the sky. Rain and snow often fall from me.

Who am I? ____________________

5) I can vary in thickness. I often rest on the ground. It’s hard to see through me.

Who am I? ____________________

6) I can be seen just after sunset. I am in the stratosphere. My shape is long and wispy.

Who am I? ____________________


(See answers in The South Shoreliner – Vol.5 No.3 – June, 2024)

back to top

The Mourning Cloak Butterfly – Harbinger of Spring

by Ken Sproule (KS)

Some might say that the song of the cardinal is the first sign of the coming spring in Toronto. But it is difficult to imagine when it's February and there's snow on the ground. For me it's the appearance of the mourning cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) that means spring is here.

The mourning cloak overwinters as an adult. It may find a niche under loose bark or roof shingles, a tree cavity, or an unheated building in which to spend the winter. It often emerges from hibernation before the snow has melted, making it one of the first butterflies to take flight in the year. I usually see it beginning in mid-March. Surviving for up to one year, it is one of the longer-lived butterflies. There are two generations per year in Ontario. It is native to North America and Eurasia.

The mourning cloak larva (also referred to as a caterpillar) feeds on a large variety of host plants including willows, poplars, elms, and hackberries. The larva's spines are a deterrent to predators. It remains with its siblings for some time and they will vibrate in unison when disturbed. When the larva reaches full size (approximately 5 cm) it will wander off in search of a site to pupate. This larva was found in High Park in mid-July.

In mid-June I spotted a mourning cloak larva wandering about the wall of a building at my workplace near the East Donlands.
A few days later I found this pupa (also referred to as a chrysalis in the case of butterflies) on the same building. The pupa is approximately 2.5 cm.

Mourning Cloak Larva (Photo: Ken Sproule)

Mourning Cloak Pupa (Photo: Ken Sproule)

Mourning Cloak adult emerged (Photo: Ken Sproule)

A week later the adult mourning cloak had emerged. Here it is waiting for its wings to inflate and dry.

Mourning cloak refers to the butterfly's resemblance to a cloak once worn when in mourning. Nymphalis is a derivation of nymph, a female nature spirit in mythology, and refers to a fountain. Antiopa refers to several female characters in Greek mythology. It is not clear why this two-part name (Nymphalis antiopa) was applied to the mourning cloak butterfly.


1) Butterflies of Ontario, ROM Field Guide, ISBN 978-0-88854-497-1

2) Butterflies of Toronto, City of Toronto Biodiversity Series, ISBN 978-1-895739-62-6

3) Animal Diversity Web:

4) Nature North:

5) Wikipedia:

6) DesertUSA:

7) Images: Ken Sproule,

KS) Sproule, Ken. 2017. The Mourning Cloak Butterfly – Harbinger of Spring. Toronto Field Naturalist 626: 10-11. Accessed Thurs., Mar.21, 2024.

back to top

At the Gates of Spring

by Charles G.D. Roberts1

With April here,
And first thin green on the awakening bough,
What wonderful things and dear,
My tired heart to cheer,
At last appear!
Colours of dream afloat on cloud and tree,
So far, so clear,
A spell, a mystery;
And joys that thrill and sing,
New come on mating wing,
The wistfulness and ardour of the spring–
And Thou!

1 - Roberts, Charles G.D. 2012. At The Gates of Spring in “Sir Charles Douglas George Roberts Poems”, P.15.

Poemhunter eBook.

roberts/ebooks/?ebook=0&filename=charles_g_d_roberts_2012_3.pdf . Accessed Tues., April 2, 2024.

back to top

The beauty and genius

by William Beebe1

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again.

1 - Beebe., William. 1906. The beauty and genius . Quote from “The bird: Its form and Function” and listed in AZQuotes - . Accessed Mon., March 4, 2024.

back to top

Sweet Honeysuckles for the Native Garden

by Clement Kent

Creating a Hummingbird Heaven or making Honeysuckle wine from Pollinators and Gardens by Clement Kent 1

Dec 26, 2023. Article used with the permission of the Author.

Did you suck sweet nectar from the spurs of honeysuckle flowers when you were a child? I certainly did! And so did the hummingbirds, our premier North & South American feathered pollinators. There are many honeysuckles for the pollinator garden, but knowing which ones are native is important, because some are foreign invaders.

Major Wheeler, Lonicera sempervirens. Reblooms! (Photo: Open Source)

The best species for people in eastern North America is the Trumpet HoneysuckleLonicera sempervirens, shown above. The variety ‘Major Wheeler’ grows in my Toronto, Canada garden quite nicely, and blooms several times per summer. The reds or oranges of the trumpets attract hummingbirds. If you can also grow the native Trumpet Vine you’ll have two summer sources of nectar for Ruby Throats. There are many named varieties of Trumpet Honeysuckle which do well in the US Southeast - see this article by Glynis Ward about her Atlanta, Georgia garden.

Twining Honeysuckle Lonicera dioica (Photo: R.W. Smith)

The best species for people in eastern North America is the Trumpet HoneysuckleLonicera sempervirens, shown above. The variety ‘Major Wheeler’ grows in my Toronto Canada Garden quite nicely, and blooms several times per summer. The reds or oranges of the trumpets attract hummingbirds. If you can also grow the native Trumpet Vine you’ll have two summer sources of nectar for Ruby Throats. There are many named varieties of Trumpet Honeysuckle which do well in the US Southeast - see this article by Glynis Ward about her Atlanta, Georgia garden.

The Twining or Limber Honeysuckle has beautiful spring flowers followed by red berries. It’s found from Canada down to midwestern states and is fully hardy. There are dark red to pale orange forms available. But is there ever confusion - some sources call this a vine, others a shrub. Some say it prefers shade, others say best blooms are in full sun. Check with local native plant people to discover where they find it.

Another very hardy honeysuckle is found all over the northern hemisphere and is grown for its delicious blue fruit, known as Haskap in fruit markets. Lonicera caerulea is called Blue Honeysuckle, Sweetberry Honeysuckle, or Honeyberry.

Haskap fruit in Poland (Photo: Jerzy Opiola)

The University of Saskatchewan has been breeding Haskaps for farmers for years and has full information on how to grow it. Cross-pollination between two varieties is recommended for best yield. Queen bumblebees are the most effective pollinators, as Sandra Danae Frier found in her M.Sc. at the University of Regina. Amusingly, one commercial website posted her photo below but misidentified the pollinator as bumblebees. Can you tell what they are?

Many spring and fall bee-flies mimic various kinds of bees or wasps to deter predators. 

Compare the two photos. The flies have bare abdomens and very stubby antennae, while the bumblebee has a colorfully hairy abdomen and much longer antennae.

Bee-flies on Haskap flowers (Photo: Sandra Danae Frier)

Below is a real bumblebee on Haskap flowers.

Bumblebee on Haskap flowers (Photo: Open Source)

Some people make a wine from Haskap fruit in places where wine grapes don’t grow, such as the mountains of British ColumbiaMoose Jaw Saskatchewan, or Beaverlodge Alberta. I’d love to be able to serve my pollinator gardening friends honeysuckle wine!

In the northland but also along the west coast down to California and Mexico is Lonicera inovlucrata, with common names twinberry honeysuckle, bearberry, and many more. It generally needs moist soils.

Twinberry (Photo: Sgerbic)

The Lewis and Clark expedition found the Orange honeysuckle Lonicera ciliosa, a large shrub native to the western forests.

Once we go into the Rocky Mountains or into the US southwest, a whole new set of native honeysuckles occur, but mostly growing at medium elevations, not down low. The Arizona honeysuckle, the Chapparal honeysuckle, and the Utah honeysuckle are a few of the species. Then as you go south into Central America many species of hummingbirds feed on many, many species of red or orange tubular flowers. Many of them are called honeysuckles but there seem to be few species south of Mexico.

I’d like to close this incomplete list of native North American honeysuckles with a closely related genus in the honeysuckle family. The “Bush honeysuckles” in the genus Diervilla are nice low shrubs for partly shaded places. In my back yard the Northern Bush honeysuckle Diervilla lonicera grows under trees in the same place where bloodroot blooms in earliest spring. The yellow flowers are late May to June in Toronto. This bush suckers but pruning after flowering keeps it under control easily.

Breeders have been at work creating bush honeysuckles with colorful foliage - I planted ‘Kodiak Black’ under the redbud tree in my front yard. Only later did I find out that this series has been bred from the Appalachian bush honeysuckle species Lonicera rivularis. Those in the southern might want to try the southern bush honeysuckleDiervilla sessifolia.

But whatever you do, don’t plant the Japanese Honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica. It is invasive in North America. It has become a real pest! Make sure the honeysuckle you’re planting is native to your area.

Cheers - hoist a glass of honeysuckle wine!

Clement Kent


Northern bush honeysuckle (Photo: Clement Kent CC-by-SA 3.0)

Note that I try to ensure all images are open source. However, many of them are protected by copyleft restrictions such as the Creative Commons licenses. If a picture caption has a link to a person, there’s a CC license for use of that picture.


  1. 1. Clement Kent. 2023. Sweet Honeysuckles for the Native Garden. Pollinators and Gardens Newsletter. . Accessed Tues., Feb. 20, 2024.

back to top

Click here to see Native Wildflowers Word Search in PDF

by John F. Foster


back to top


Photo Gallery

Dutchman’s-breeches (Photo: Dawn Ayer)

back to top


Naked Eye Astronomy – April/May 2024

by Steve Burr


On Tuesday 2nd of April, we started off with a last quarter moon rising just a couple of hours before sunrise. On Monday, April 8th the new moon provided Prince Edward County with a rare celestial event, a total eclipse of the sun by the moon. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon obscures the sun completely, casting a shadow on portions of the earth’s surface. The central path of this Eclipse was just south of the County providing residents with a great opportunity to experience this event.

Total Eclipse 2017 (Photo: Robert Mindenhall)

Eclipse Prominences 2017 (Photo: Greg Lisk)

Good weather conditions, in some areas, permitted observers the opportunity to view the Eclipse between 2:08 pm to 4:35 pm. Totality began at 3:21 pm and lasted for a duration of 3 m 16 s - Milford ( It was recommended to not view the sun directly without proper eye protection such as eclipse glasses (ISO 12312-2) or if a telescope was used, to fit it with solar filters specifically designed for looking at the sun.

Waxing Crescent Moon (Photo: Steven Burr)

The moon reached its first quarter on the 15th within 1.5” of Pollux in the constellation Gemini. The Pink Moon arrives on the 23rd of April. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this full moon is associated with flowers beginning to bloom at this time of year.

As Venus closes in with the sun, it is becoming more difficult to view it in the morning twilight. However, on the 7th of April, it passed less than a half degree South of the moon and was easier to spot. Mars is slowly distancing itself from the sun and rising higher in the morning twilight. On Saturday, 6th of April, Mars was within 2° North of the Moon just before sunrise and low in the southeastern horizon. Saturn is also visible in the early morning twilight, but will remain close to Mars throughout the month. Saturn was within 1.2° North of the moon on the 6th as well. In the night sky, Jupiter is moving closer to the sun starting off the month at 35° elongation and ending at 13°. As a result, Jupiter will soon be disappearing from the night sky.


We start off the month with a last quarter moon visible in the constellation Capricornus just before sunrise. The new moon arrives on the 8th of May followed by a waxing crescent moon on the 11th which passes within 1.6° South of Pollux just after sunset. Later in the month, the first quarter moon arrives on the15th clearly visible in the constellation of Leo. The Full Flower Moon arrives on Thursday, 23rd of May. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, it derives its name from the many flowers, sedges, bushes, and trees that blossom during this time of year.

The Aquariid meteor shower peaks on the 5th of May. Luckily this year, it peaks close to the new moon allowing for little interference from moon light. The Aquariid meteor shower has its origins from Halley’s Comet and is best visible in the early morning hours.

Venus is now too close to the Sun to be seen this month. Mars is still a morning planet just visible prior to sunrise but rising ever so slightly as the month progresses. For easy location, Mars is located less than a degree south of the Moon just prior to sunrise on the 5th of May. Jupiter is now lost in the evening twilight as it is too close to the sun to be seen. Saturn is rising earlier in the morning each day as it continues to put distance between itself and the sun.

Milky Way Panorama (Photo: David Cotterell)

M31 Andromeda Galaxy (Photo: Luis Cho)

Springtime is galaxy season for those with good binoculars or a telescope. It is during this time of year that we look outwards away from the centre of the Milky Way allowing us to view those far away objects. Unfortunately, the Andromeda galaxy which is visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch, is only observable in the sky prior to sunrise in the Constellation Andromeda. If you are interested in seeing these deep sky objects, please feel free to attend our local Astronomy club meetings to find out about public observing sessions at RASC or follow us on Facebook – RASC Belleville.

back to top


Migration of Birds

by William Beebe1

To write honestly and with conviction anything about the migration of birds, one should oneself have migrated. Somehow or other we should dehumanize ourselves, feel the feel of feathers on our body and wind in our wings, and finally know what it is to leave abundance and safety and daylight and yield to a compelling instinct, age-old, seeming at the time quite devoid of reason and object.

1 - Beebe., William. 1921. Migration of Birds . Quote from “Edge of the Jungle” and listed in AZQuotes - . Accessed Mon., March 4, 2024.

back to top

Kids Korner

by Cheryl Chapman

back to top

Click here to see Turtles in PEC Word Search Answers in PDF

by John F. Foster


back to top


County did you know … Oak Riddles Answers

by John F. Foster

1) My leaf is highly indented. My lobes have pointed tips. I live in forest groves or along edges. Who am I? Red Oak

2) My leaf is shiny on top and heavily indented. My veins have hairy corners. I live mainly on savannas. Who am I? Black Oak

3) My leaf has large rounded lobes. My leaf is same colour all over. I live in forest groves or on savannas. Who am I? White Oak

4) My leaf resembles American Chestnut. My leaf edges have rounded teeth. I live mostly in dry areas. Who am I? Chinquapin Oak

5) My leaf is green on top and whitish below. My leaf edges have blunt teeth. I live mostly on flood plains. Who am I? Swamp White Oak

6) My leaf has deep indentations. My leaf is sharply lobed. I live in groves on savannas or along edges. Who am I? Pin Oak


(Appeared in The South Shoreliner – Vol.5 No.1 – February, 2024)

back to top



Photo Gallery Continued

Eastern Kingbird (Photo: Daniel LaFrance)

back to top