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Newletter 22

Memories of a Wonderful Friend
by Margaret Carney

Thickson's Woods and Edge Pegg entered my life at the same time, with quite an impact. I was just becoming a birder, thrilled with each new species that came my way. Thickson's Woods was filled with birds, and Edge not only loved birds, he knew lots about them. It was common ground for a lifelong friendship.

Dennis and I often met Edge in the woods on a May morning, peering up into the white pines at warblers and vireos, tanagers and orioles, while Betty was off chasing birds with her camera. It was Edge who found the rare Black-throated Gray Warbler one June morning, a vagrant from Arizona, positively ID'd the following day by a small circle of awed, excited birders.

I have vivid memories of Edge throughout the struggle to save Thickson's Woods in the eighties. Of him and Dennis putting in the cedar rail fence at the entrance to the woods, to block off the open gash left by skidders dragging 30-foot lengths of logs from 200-year-old white pines felled in that travesty. The two men, one tall, one short, took turns wrestling with the posthole digger Edge used for years on his farm.

I recall Edge and I hanging felt banners covered with Betty's beautiful "bird pins" across our chests, peddling them at one of the giant yard sales that left Margaret Bain's lawn trampled, butnetted  $2000 toward paying off the mortgage. 

I remember Dennis and I settling Edge in the middle of our canoe and paddling him, like a pharaoh on the Nile, up Corbett Creek Marsh to show him a great horned owl and a swampsparrow. Edge was doing a "May-rathon," and had so many dollars pledged for each species, because he had so many friends, that we raised lots more money—and had more fun—hauling Edge around to see various birds than just trying to spot them ourselves. 

This autumn, in his 92nd year, Edge Pegg passed away, mourned by all those friends of his, and remembered with tears, laughter and a million stories. The more than $3,000 donated by friends and family to Thickson's Woods in his memory is a poignant part of his legacy.

Nature is a great recycler. This October one of the tallest, oldest pines in the woods, one of the few “saved” during the September '83 logging debacle, was snapped in half during Hurricane Isabel. I happened to be standing at the window, watching pine branches waving in the wind, when a fierce gust grabbed the tree, broke off the top half  and threw it to the ground with a crash. It was the tree where Edge found the Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Next spring the Thickson's Woods Land Trust will place a bench in Edge Pegg's  memory in an appropriate spot in the meadow—along the "Edge," overlooking the creek valley below.  Someplace sheltered where he’d like to sit, watching yellow warblers and white-throats flit by in the nannyberries and dogwoods. We'll put up a plaque so generations of birders to come will remember his name.

But to me his true memorial will be deep in the woods, with no plaque and no fanfare—the tall, stark stub of a giant pine that fell when he did.


Reflections on Edge Pegg's 85th Birthday
by Margaret Carney


Those eyes have looked out
and seen beauty.
Scanned pastures for sunlight
caught in buttercups,
in blue-eyed grass
found bits of sky.

Those eyes have looked into
spring trees
and probed uncurling leaves
for warblers,
have blinked in wonder at
the blue-green glint of a tiger beetle
on a dusty path.

Those eyes have searched
shadowy woods
where green creeks splash
and waterthrush wade...

Small things, lovely things.
They've peered along a cedar fence
and seen the honeyed grain of the rails,
the strength and skill of the builder's hand.
They've gazed into countless strangers' hearts
and found friendship.

Those eyes welcome beauty.
Since they opened
one May morning long ago
they have lit up
at the freshness of the world
and reflected it.

They gleam with an inner light.
No matter how worn by pain and time,
still they shine.


Stories from the Front Lines

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man who works at a zoo must have a special understandingof the space and living conditions each animal needs to survive. Staff at the Metro Toronto Zoo have long been supportive of efforts to preserve wildlife habitat at the Thickson's Woods Nature Reserve, twice waiving their fee for bringing a bald eagle and peregrine falcon, star attractions at the fall festival in the meadow.

This year Metro Toronto zookeepers  held a bacon-on-a-bun breakfast and raised $200 for the meadow, a sum matched by the American Zookeepers Association. Thank you, Charles Guthrie, Eric Cole and all other generous zoo-ologists!

To our delight, three more May-rathoners we didn't know about sent in donations from their many sponsors. Joanna Holt and Alex Hill togetherraised $236, Joachim Floegel $300. Congratulations and hooray!  Asking friends and co-workers to pledge a certain amount for every species of bird you see on a certain day, or throughout the month of May, provides a lot of big-hearted people with a very practical way to protect nature. And it sure helps to pay off the meadow!

Joan Trott had her own great idea—cashing in her air miles to help with the cause. She figured out which binoculars from the rewards catalogue would be most popular with birders, sent for them and donated them to the silent auction at the fall festival. 

How do you raise half a million dollars to protect a little piece of precious wildlife habitat? With human energy and ingenuity! Is there something fun you could do toraise money for a great cause? Set up a hot chocolate stand on a busy street corner or along the Waterfront Trail? Auction off some latent talent or skill? How about raffling off to your bridge club or bowling league a big pot of homemade soup, cabbage rolls or lasagne, from your grandma's favourite recipe?


Prize Winners Have a Glorious Flight
by Sandy & Serge Sousa

A window of sunshine was forecast in a dreary week, so on September 12 we set off. Our pilot, Gerry Bellingham, had donated a return flight to Pelee Island as a raffle prize at a Thickson’s Woods fund-raiser, a trip financed by Lofthouse Brass. We were the lucky winners!! With our competent pilot at the helm and Serge as an "apprentice" beside him, we took off in the 5-seater Piper Navajo from Enterprise Air in Oshawa.

Routed north of Toronto, we found ourselves testing our acuity, looking for landmarks to identify the towns below. The low altitude offered a fascinating bird's-eye view.

After about two and a half hours we reached Point Pelee, impressed by the needle sharpness of the point as seen from the air. Pelee Island soon came into view and our perfect landing enhanced what was to become a wonderful day.

We were met by a local taxi company with a van we had rented for the day, a vintage vehicle that reliably took us the few miles to see the island=s attractions and wildlife. After a patio lunch, we headed off around the island. We hiked several trails, including ones at the Stone Road Alvar, and Canada's most southern locale, Fish Point. Some plant species on the island, including the prickly pear cactus, are unique in Canada. Our one regret was we didn’t know that James Kamstra was on the island the same day, conducting tours. Had we joined him, we would have seen much more flora and fauna than our untrained eyes noticed.
                       
The legendary masses of monarchs eluded us; a north wind had helped them, and lots of migrating birds, on their way earlier in the week. However, there were still several other butterflies and birds to enjoy.

After stocking up at the local winery, we began our  return flight. A fuel stop in Chatham ensured that we would make it back. Luckily for us, air traffic control routed our small plane along the Toronto shoreline, where we had a wonderful view of the city skyline at dusk, including an open Skydome.

As we landed once again in Oshawa, we had nothing but praise for our pilot and the wonderful day we had spent at Pelee Island. We will definitely go again, but driving many miles overland from our home in Prince Edward County will never compare with our birdlike migration this September.


My Excellent Monarch Butterfly Adventure
by Don Davis

Once upon a time, one fine September day (Sept. 26-02), Earl Dillan and his brother-in-law, Lyle Swain, were driving in their 1997 Chevy truck near their hometown of Reedsville, Ohio (in the extreme southeast part of Ohio near the border with West Virginia). While Lyle drove along at 50 mph, a monarch butterfly struck the truck's antenna and the force of the wind held it there.

Earl spotted a "white dot" on the butterfly's wing and asked Lyle to pull over. Earl collected the butterfly and later mailed the tag to the address printed on it: University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045.

It was later discovered that this particular tagged monarch—#BGR 303—had been released during the Thickson's Woods Festival in Whitby, Ontario on September 21-02 by Monarch Watch tagger Don Davis. The total distance traveled by this butterfly was 359 miles, or about 72 miles per day.
 
Editor’s Note: After Don tagged monarchs at the 2002 Thickson’s Woods Nature Festival, he handed each one to a child eagerly awaiting a chance to release it to continue its long trek to Mexico. Perhaps you were the one who held monarch #BRG 303 on your finger and wished it a safe journey. But, more likely, “your” butterfly survived all the migration dangers and arrived safely in the cool evergreen forests of the Mexican mountains. No doubt its descendants returned to sip nectar from the goldenrods in “The Meadow” in 2003.

Monarch banding was a highlight of our 2002 festival.  Unfortunately, Don was unable to join us this year due to other commitments. We hope he’s able to come back next year on Saturday, September 18, to continue helping unravel the mysteries of monarch migration


Thank you, one and all!

A Dance in the Meadow raises $1,955

The winning ticket for Cathy Schuler's beautiful "Dance in the Meadow" quilt was drawn at the fall festival.  We want to thank everyone who peddled or bought raffle tickets. Three cheers for Judy Bryson of Oshawa, who spent countless hours organizing and running the raffle. Also to Aileen Howes, Fred Sewell and Ray Bryson. Kudos to the enthusiastic Oshawa Garden Club, the group that bought the most tickets.
 
Special thanks to some stellar individuals:

 
Esther & Bob Allin, Gordon Bellerby, Suzanne Bittermann, Cathy, Katie, Lucas & Warren Brailsford, Paul & Evelyn Bridges, Gilbert & Heather Brown, Holly Bruce, Judy & Ray Bryson, June & Gerry Ernest, Karin Fawthrop, Anne Fox, Derek & Lois Gillette, John Haas, Barb, Douglas & Julia Haynes, Carol Horner, Heather Jessop, James Kamstra, Doug & Barb Lockrey, Mary Lund, Don Moore, Ken & Lois Oliver, Dianne Pazaratz, Betty Pegg, Diane Peter, Pat Preyde, Debbie Reynolds, Edna & Ken Ridge, Alfie Salomon, Jean & Less Sayer, Susan Smyth, Richard Woolger, Alan Woods.
 
For their unique contributions we'd like to thank:

Jack Alvo, Robin Anderson and Judy Bryson, for naming Thickson's Woods as their charity of choice in the Baillie Birdathon, netting $425.84 for the cause and lots more for natural historyresearch with Bird Studies Canada.
Pilot Gerry Bellingham, for donating two unforgettable flights as door prizes at fund-raising events.
Bob Hambly, who paid for the printing of our last newsletter.
Barb Haynes, for selling TWLT sweatshirts and T-shirts out of her "store"—her bedroom closet.
Mary Lund, for writing lots of thank-you letters to donors.  (She's the one with the legible handwriting!)

 
At the fall festival:

Ed Poropat, who came all the way from Haliburton County to share his love of butterflies and insects at the fall festival.
Norbert Woerns, who came from Richmand Hill to share his love and knowledge of geology and rocks.
Matt Holder, who braved biting ants to hold kids and adults spellbound with bugs and other critters wriggling around in the pond.
Karen Barry and Warren Toaze, for their dazzling magic shows.
Gerry Ernest, for sharing his photographic expertise.
Barb Glass, for running the bucket raffle; June Ernest and Shirley Pautler for managing the bake sale.
Elizabeth Kellogg and Roger Frost, for banding birds.
The great cooks and crew from Lofthouse Brass:  George  Matthews, Jackie Gilkes, Phill and Sue Holder, Kelly and Phill Reyanga.



Corporations and groups helping out:

Birders Journal
1350 CKDO
Home Depot
Lofthouse Brass
Marigold Ford Lincoln Motors
McDonalds
Wm Medland and Sons
Metro Toronto Zoo
Mitchell Brothers Lumber
Swarovski Optik
White Rose

 
At the Great Art Auction:

For donating their unique talents and skills to making the art auction such an enjoyable event we want to thank Bruce Kellett, auctioneer, and Ron Tozer, master of ceremonies. Also Margaret-Elizabeth Shell, Nancy Nicholas, Dianne Pazaratz and Linda Kelly
Artists who donated their works include:  Marc Barrie, Robert Bateman, Dave Beadle, Diana Bellerby, Alissa Beaudet, Warren Brailsford, Jane Brooke, Peter Burke, Don Cavin, Dianne Gazarek, Gail George, Christiane Girard, Martyn Gower, Paul Harpley, Shirley Heard, Beth Hoselton, Deanna Jones, Brian Joyce, Elizabeth Knuckle, Chantal Lemay, Don Mahar, Mike McEvoy, Mary Ellen McQuay, David Mills, Chris Montgomery, Don Pegg,  Pat Robinson, and Gwen Sheppard.

Others who donated art were: Antony’s Gallery, Margaret Bain, Margaret Carney, Edwin Goodman, Hugh Peacock, Birders JournalSusan Morgan, Brenda O’Connor, Craig Onafrychuck, Brian Steele, Ivor Simmons, and Rosemary Speirs.
 
Businesses that helped out:

Andrews Shoes, Whitby
Antony's Gallery, Whitby
Brooklin's Village Florist, Brooklin
Gallery Brougham, Brougham
Inverlynn Art Inc., Whitby
John Weiss Hair Design, Oshawa
Lord Russborough's Annex, Port Hope
P'lovers, Port Perry
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa
Imagine That, Whitby
Strewn Wineries, Niagara on the Lake
 
So many individuals helped with various efforts during the year that we're bound to forget someone. If we missed your name, please phone up and complain! We'll apologize profusely, then promptly put you to work on our next event. 


Nature Notes
by Dennis Barry

Early fall at Thickson’s brought huge flocks of Double-crested Cormorants to the bay tofeed. Sometimes there were several thousand, always accompanied by wheeling Ring-billed and Herring Gulls hoping to steal a morsel. The first heavy frost of the fall came in early November. Goldeneyes, Buffleheads and Mergansers filled the bay, forced down from frozen lakes up north. Ever opportunistic, the gulls turned their attention to this new crew of fishermen.

The strong northerly winds on November 13 saw the first large concentration of Greater Scaup sheltering near shore below the bluff. A careful search in good light would, no doubt, have revealed the presence of a few Redheads on the edge of the flock.

In early fall the hedge by our house was filled with Dark-eyed Juncos and Chickadees gleaning seeds from White Spruce cones. Now, each dawn, flocks of finches can be heard passing westward along the shore. Goldfinches predominated through October, but November brought Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls in increasing numbers.

Last summer a forty-foot Chokecherry blew over near our bird feeder. Under the brushy top three handsome Fox Sparrows are throwing up leaves as they search for seedsalong with Whitethroats and Song Sparrows. As darkness falls two Great Horned Owls call back and forth in anticipation of a new nesting season just weeks away.


Wishing You Warm and Happy Holidays

For a host of happy reasons, this last quarterly payment on the meadow debt was one of the heftiest to date—$40,000! After the interest was paid, $36,400 went straight to reducing the principle owing. Isn't that fantastic?

The November 2nd banking transaction took us past another watershed—the $300,000 mark. We're down to a $271,000 mortgage, plus interest, with three more years to come up with the cash.

Needless to say, we want to thank everyone who attended the fall Birds, Butterflies and Beavers Festival or the Great Nature Art Auction, two fund-raisers that helped make this quarter so exceptional. And to thank the many volunteers who ensured that both events were lucrative and fun. 

Key in every quarterly payment are caring donors, people who passionately want to preserve space on the planet for birds and other wildlife. Approximately 95% of money raised for the meadow so far has been from folks who write out a cheque for whatever amount they can afford and send it in. Because of Canada's privacy laws, we can’t print your name without your consent. So if you're one of them, thank you!


Donors can be winners!

Send in a donation by December 31, in response to this newsletter, and you could win a Marc Barrie limited edition print!  The well-known wildlife painter donated two dramatic pieces to the art auction, of a cardinal and a pack of wolves. Then Karin Barrie, Marc's mom and curator of Gallery Brougham, impulsively offered three of Marc's "Classic Miniaturesl" as prizes to encourage end-of-year donations toward paying off the meadow.
 
Three lucky donors will chose a picture from 68 prints on display at the gallery or on line at www.marcbarrie.com. The pictures are framed, signed and numbered, and Karin will have them shipped if you live too far away to visit in person.

Get your name in the hat for a chance to win! Send in your tax-receiptable donation today!


Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, alwaysineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now.

Goethe


In Memoriam

Recent donations have been made in memory of many special people:
 
Jessie Baxter
Mary Calvert
Gillian Margaret Clarke
Mary Graham
Graydon T. Horton
Virginia Kelley
Harvey MacPherson
Edge Pegg
Bruce Lush
Ida Starr
Til Stephens

 
We join their families and friends in mourning their passing, and acknowledge their unique contribution to the rich web of life on planet earth. On our website we recognize all past donations made in memory of friends and loved ones.


Though it seems like a tiny, out of the way corner of the planet, Thickson’s Woods is linked to people around the globe. Gillian Margaret Clark worked for the Christian Children’s Fund in Baghdad, Iraq, and on the 19th of August, 2003, she was killed in a bomb blast there. Jim Griffith of Toronto sent in a donation in her memory, forging a poignant connection.



Gifts That Will Last Forever

Many metres of the meadow have been saved in the name of: Doris Courtney; DarleneDalke; Ros Goss; Lorraine Johnson.

Thank you to everyone who gave a friend or loved one a share in this living legacy—a gift that will last forever!


Help Wanted!

Do you have a bit of time on your hands? We're looking for more stampers and stuffers of newsletters.

Plus we need help with publicity for upcoming events. Anyone with media experience or connections out there..?


Bifocals Found

While birding in the woods earlier this fall, Jacqueline Brookes found an expensive pair of small bifocal eyeglasses. If you lost them, or know who might have, call (905) 725-2116.


Sweatshirts and T-shirts
Make Great Gifts!

Attractive, durable, high quality cotton/polyester blend

Sweatshirts S-M-L-XL-XLL, khaki or denim blue $30

Kids and youth T-shirts S-M-L; orange or royal blue $15
 
Please add $7.50 shipping for each itemTo order, write, phone, or
e-mail:

Thickson’s Woods Land Trust
Box 541, Whitby ON L1N 5V3;

(905) 725-2116;

nature@thicksonswoods.com


Calling all cooks!

Tables laden with goodies at save-the-meadow bake sales prove that a lot of fine bakers are dedicated to the cause. Would you send in a favourite recipe or two for goodies you’ve contributed? We’ll publish a cook book to sell as a fund-raiser—a brainstorm of TWLT vice president Susan Morgan, a very fine cook herself. Susan regularly donates feasts for four at our silent auctions.

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