March, 2023

Milkweed Survey for Monarch Butterflies

Date:            Sunday July 31st
Time:            1:00 to 4:00 (approx.)
Meeting Place:    1827 Amirault St. in Dieppe (Rhéal Vienneau’s place)

Want to learn more about the Monarch butterfly, which was added just last week to the endangered species list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature?  Are you interesting in doing your little part to help out this beautiful insect? Nature Moncton is offering you a great opportunity to do just that this coming Sunday. In the context of the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz fostered in the province by Nature NB, we will first take part in a quick information session on the Monarch with local butterfly expert Rhéal Vienneau and then go on an outing to survey a couple of known local Milkweed patches (the Monarch host plants) for eggs and caterpillars.

Rhéal has a great love of butterflies in general and has in particular observed, studied and even bred and released Monarchs (and other butterflies) for many years, so he will be a great guide for us on this mission to help out the Monarchs. So why not come and join us this Sunday July 31st at 1:00 in Rhéal’s yard situated at 1827 Amirault St in Dieppe? After talking to us a bit about the Monarch and the importance of the egg and caterpillar monitoring blitz, Rhéal will then show us with live specimens how to recognize the eggs and caterpillars of the Monarch. From there we will follow him to a couple of known local milkweed “hot spots” which we will explore to look for the presence of Monarch eggs and caterpillars. Bring water and bring a snack if you think you will need it. The territory covered should be open and level, making for easy walking. See you there!

Date:     Saturday October 8th  (Rain date:  Sunday Oct. 9th)
Time:    9:30 AM
Meeting Place:  The Elgin Country Kitchen and General Store (from there, we will go together to the entrance of the trail)

Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail

Last spring, we enjoyed an outing on this trail, but it’s worth a visit in every season.
October will bring highlights not seen in May, especially an abundance of wild mushrooms
and the beauty of the fall colours.  This will be a full day outing, so bring a lunch.  As some of you may remember, the trail winds through a superb example of a mature Acadian forest characterized by a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees growing in a relatively humid environment. This creates fertile soil and good habitat for all kinds of living things that will be waiting for us there, and much to investigate for mushroom lovers.
The Mapleton Acadian Forest Nature Preserve was established in 2016 to conserve in perpetuity this otherwise endangered habitat in the province. The preserve is the result of a partnership between The Elgin Eco Association and the Nature Trust of New Brunswick. It covers 160 acres and boasts an excellent 3 km nature trail with several interpretive panels which will help us understand the natural beauties and also historic aspects of the preserve, like an old manganese processing plant from the 1930’s, a sugar camp, and some remnants of old-time forestry. On the nature side there will be much to see like huge mature trees of several species, in particular a stand of towering hemlocks several centuries old.

How to get there and difficulty level:

The entrance to the Mapleton Acadian Forest Trail is located 4.4 km down the NB-895 after turning off the NB-905 just before Elgin.  We will meet first at the Elgin Country and Kitchen General Store in Elgin which is located at # 4 River Rd.  Take exit 233 from the Trans Canada highway onto NB-905 and follow it down until it changes to River Rd.  From the store, we will all go together to the trail entrance, so no one gets lost.  

Be aware that the trail has some difficult sections.  There are some hills to be climbed on uneven ground, so please be sure you are in good physical shape.  Appropriate footwear and clothing are advised.  

Nature Moncton Field Trip - Northumberland Coast Outing: Port Elgin to Cape Jourimain

Date:   Saturday, November 19th
Time:   8:15 AM (or 9:00 AM) to late afternoon (or as long as folks want to stay)
Meeting Place:  a) Behind Burger King at Champlain Mall (8:15 AM)
            b) Shell gas station, Port Elgin (9:00 AM)
Guides:  Roger Leblanc and Louise Nichols

When you think of great birding, what comes to mind first is the migration periods of May and September. But although those are times when birds are moving in big numbers with such breathtaking phenomena as the return of warblers in spring and the passage of shorebirds in fall, did you know that statistically the best month for mega-rarities is actually November? But at any time, location, location, location is the magic word. And one of the best places to go looking around here in November is the most south-easterly part of the province along the Northumberland coast from Port Elgin to Cape Jourimain National Wildlife area. And so that is where Nature Moncton is proposing a full day outing.

What to expect and where:

At this time of year, variety will be lower than it would be in spring, but lots of species are on winter territory or still on the move, in particular water-loving birds like ducks and gulls that can be in huge numbers at specific spots. For that reason, our first stop will be the Port Elgin water treatment lagoon where high numbers of sea ducks and Bonaparte’s Gulls could be present with whatever else might have followed them there. From there we will follow the coast, stopping at many well-known spots (and some maybe not so well known) on the shore but also inland. There we will look again for water birds but also upland species. We will continue our adventure with a stop at Cape Tormentine where the village and the infrastructure of the closed down ferry terminal as well as the still active wharf have proven time and again to be attractive at that time of year to many interesting species. We will then finish our day with a stop at the Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Area where the many ponds and trails on the peninsula have also been magnets in the past for some very good birds in late fall. So all in all, we should be in for a good number of species and who knows what “rare one” might be present at some of those spots that have proven over the years to be very productive in November.

Where to meet and when:

Those in the Moncton area who wish to carpool to Port Elgin can meet Roger Leblanc at 8:15 AM behind the Burger King in the Champlain Mall parking lot.  Others can meet Louise Nichols at 9:00 AM in the parking lot of the Shell gas station on Hwy 16 at the Port Elgin roundabout.

Bring a lunch.  All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

November, 2022

Winter Bird Life around Northumberland Strait Wharfs
Date: Saturday, January  28th (rain date: January 29th)

Time: 8:30 AM to late afternoon (or as long as folks want to go)

Meeting Place: Behind Burger King at Champlain Mall (8:15 AM)

Driving time to Cap Lumière: About 50 minutes
Guide: Roger Leblanc

In most people’s minds winter, birds and wharfs would not necessarily go together.  But in a seasoned New Brunswick birder’s way of thinking these 3 words totally link together to bring up visions of great observations.  And this winter, greater ice-free conditions on the Northumberland Strait make wharfs, which are logically placed on points jutting out into the water, great look-out spots for sea birds.  Also, sometimes when conditions are right, they can become places where sea birds (and others) might just take cover and be much closer for an observer to watch or take photos.  So always on the look for interesting and timely bird outings for members, Nature Moncton is proposing a tour of the wharfs on Saturday January 28th.  Under the expert lead of Roger Leblanc (who some have called a regular wharf-birding rat) we will explore several wharfs on the Northumberland Strait coast from Cap Lumière to Pointe-du-Chêne.  On this approximately 60 km stretch of coast there are 10 wharfs, demonstrating the importance of the fishing industry in the region.  Of these we will try to visit 5 or 6, depending on what we find and how long we want to go.  At this time of year, sea ducks should be a given, but many other species of sea and land birds are often attracted by the special features of wharfs and their environment.  So pick up your equipment, dress warmly, bring a lunch and lots of enthusiasm and come join us for a fun day of bird watching photography and nature camaraderie on a wharf-hopping adventure along the coast of the Northumberland Strait.

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

July, 2022

JANUARY 17, 2023 AT 7:00 PM

Once again, we are asking our members to take the stage and share their most important outdoor experiences.  Have you had an interesting encounter with nature in the past year?  Have you taken some good photos of birds, insects, animals or anything else in the various habitats of New Brunswick? The January Nature Moncton meeting belongs to members like you who would like to share their photos and stories in short 15-minute presentations.  

If you have something you’d like to share, contact Fred Richards at, so he can put you on the schedule.

Let’s start 2023 off the right way – by sharing with one another our positive experiences of the natural world around us!

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

January, 2023

Shorebird ID “uncomplicated”
Date:            Saturday Sept. 10th
Time:             2:00 pm
Meeting Place:    One Fish Bistro (5670, Rte 15 in Shemogue)

It’s interesting to note that of the 38 species of shorebirds ever recorded in the province you could (with a bit of luck … well maybe more than a bit) see all but 5 any given year at many spots where water meets land in the province. But that said there are some very special places where your chances are not only better of seeing large numbers but also diversity of species. For numbers, the Johnson’s Mills to Dorchester Cape site is well known and certainly offers a very special spectacle to take in. But IDing an individual bird in a group of several thousand is far from easy and diversity is not actually at its highest at that location.  If you want diversity, there are better spots and one of the best in recent years has been the Petit-Cap Dune, and more precisely, the lagoon it protects. At low tide the exposed flats create an “all you can eat” banquet for shorebirds as well as other sea birds.

Nature Moncton is offering a guided outing to Petit-Cap with our own shorebird expert Roger Leblanc.  For shorebird viewing, tides are of the essence, so the following date and time frame is very important. The date will be September 10th and the meeting for the outing will be at 2 pm in the parking lot of One Fish Bistro at 5676 Route 15 in Shemogue.  This is just at the corner of Route 950 which we will drive down, and in less than 5 minutes we will arrive at the Petit-Cap Dune. The walk on the beach is an easy hike on to the point where you can access the mud flats behind the dune. Birds can be expected on the beach but should also mostly be feeding on the mud flats that will be exposed by low tide at that time. Once there, you might want to walk in a bit of water to get closer to the show so bring appropriate footwear, or just be ready to go shoeless. Roger will help us find and ID the shorebirds (as well as the many other feathered friends hanging around). He will also share with us his knowledge of the great migration phenomenon that will hopefully be unfolding right before our eyes.

Hope to see you there!
All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

February 21st, 2023 at 7:00 PM

Mapleton Park Rotary Lodge  (speaker will be on screen via Zoom)

“Birder Brain: An overview of the Birder Brain project exploring birding and mental/physical health, with an emphasis on mindful birding.”

Presenter: Kelly-Sue O’Connor


Originally from Riverview, NB, Kelly-Sue has been a birder for 16 years now. She has been very involved in citizen science during that time starting with several Christmas Bird Counts a year, volunteering for nature organizations, fundraising and sitting on boards like the Toronto Ornithological Club, Friends of Sam Smith Park, and Bird Friendly Cities, and leading bird walks for Ontario Field Ornithologists.

Kelly-Sue found birding as a way to practice self-care, grounding, meditation and mindfulness. Diagnosed with C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Syndrome), ADHD (attention deficit disorder), and other health issues experienced by many, she was inspired to share her love of birding and its healing benefits with others. This presentation will include an overview of the project, a short documentary (one of the Birder Brain episodes), some of Kelly-Sue’s favourite mindful birding experiences and tips on how to use birding to improve your own mental and physical health.

You can learn more about birder brain on the website:  The social media links are available there. Kelly-Sue looks forward to sharing her personal experiences and the story of other birders with Nature Moncton members.

This presentation will be given via Zoom, but there will be a meeting as usual at the Rotary Pavilion.

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.


December, 2022

Date:  Saturday February 11th, 2023 (rain date: Sunday February 12th)
Meeting Place:  The Moncton Coliseum parking lot
Time:  8:30 AM

 Sometimes the most exciting winter birds can be found taking advantage of good feeder yards.  Birds such as Northern Cardinals, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches frequent the feeders of a lucky few, not to mention the occasional visit from a hungry hawk.
This year, we are eager to announce that Nature Moncton’s bird feeder tour will take place for the first time since before the pandemic on Saturday February 11th.  Participants are asked to meet at 8:30 AM at the northeast corner of the coliseum parking lot to arrange car-pooling if desired.  The first stop will be the Renton’s in Stilesville (1460 Gorge Rd) to see the many birds in their well-stocked feeder yard while socializing over a delicious pancake, maple syrup and bean breakfast.  Participants are asked to contribute some goodies.  Cooked sausages are one suggestion.   After leaving the Renton’s, the group will travel to various feeder yards in both Riverview and Moncton to finally end up at Nelson Poirier’s (at 85 Mount Royal Blvd) later in the afternoon for further socializing and a lasagna treat.  
Come and enjoy a day with fellow birding enthusiasts along with the excitement of seeing what turns up at the visited feeders. 

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

September, 2022

February, 2023

October, 2022

Tuesday OCTOBER 18th, 2022 at 7:00 PM
Mapleton Lodge
Building a Pollinator Garden
Presenter: Neil Vinson

We are fortunate to have Neil Vinson present us with the information to develop a pollinator garden at our homes.  Nature needs all the help we can give to support this basic need in the ecosystem of our yards and beyond.
Originally from Halifax, NS, Neil Vinson has been living in Moncton since graduating from the Maritime College of Forest Technology in 2014. Shortly after graduation, Neil started working in resource conservation at Fundy National Park, where he is now into his ninth year. Neil’s love of plants and birds started in school but flourished during his time spent at Fundy. In his day-to-day work, Neil conducts forest bird monitoring, battles with invasive plants, and measures forest growth in permanent sample plots.
Neil has been involved with Fundy’s 400m2 native plant pollinator garden since its inception in 2019 – adding new species, knocking back overly-aggressive ones, weeding, and performing general maintenance. Through this work Neil has developed a passion for gardening with native plants and spreading the word on the importance of reintroducing our native species back into our urban landscapes.

Tuesday December 13, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Rotary Pavilion at Mapleton Park (in-person presentation)
“Birding Adventures with Jaden Barney”

It’s always a pleasure to hear from young people who have developed a passion for birding.  Jaden Barney, a high school student from Sackville, NB, is one such birding enthusiast who was drawn into the world of birds at a young age.  This past summer, Jaden was chosen as one of only 6 students from across Canada to take part in the youth training program at Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario where he learned much about bird research including migration monitoring and bird banding.  Jaden will tell us about this experience and share his overall love of birds and birding as well as some of his bird photography.

A great subject and presenter to lead us into the Christmas holidays!  Take advantage of joining us and Jaden in person for our pre-Christmas meeting.

Nature Moncton November meeting
Tuesday, November 15, 2022, at 7:00 PM
Subject: Getting to Know Common Lichens
Speaker: Kendra Driscoll - New Brunswick Museum
Moncton Rotary Lodge

Lichens are a fascinating community in Mother Nature’s world and they are with us to enjoy all year long.
Kendra Driscoll, Curatorial and Research Technician for Botany and Mycology at the New Brunswick Museum, is a specialist in lichens and has helped us appreciate the lichen photos submitted to Nature News with her always nice-to-know commentary.
Kendra will tailor her presentation to amateur lichen appreciation by introducing 10 of the most commonly encountered species with some identification features of each to help us enjoy our outdoor experiences all the more by being able to call several by name.
Expect Kendra’s contagious enthusiasm to get us all looking a bit more closely at something that cooperatively will stay still to be checked out and does not have to be stalked to look at!

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.

Nature Moncton March Meeting
March 21, 2023, at 7:00 PM
Mapleton Rotary Lodge
Presenter: Kelsey Wilson, Executive Director, PWA
“Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance update”

The Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance has a wide variety of current and past projects. Generally, these fit into 4 general categories: scientific monitoring, habitat improvement, environmental assessment, and education & outreach. Together, these themes provide a rounded approach to restoring and protecting the ecological services of the water systems that flow into Shepody Bay through science-based research, action, and public outreach.

This year the Petitcodiac Watershed Alliance is celebrating 25 years of incorporation, and 26 since its inception. To celebrate, the PWA is ramping up in some key areas to increase its impact and improve environmental monitoring, health, and education in our watershed. The organization has launched new branding, communications strategies, and a new website that better highlights their work and includes interactive features to learn more about the PWA’s work, the watershed, and some key aspects of environmental management in the region. The PWA has also moved to a new location that increases its capacity and the types of activities it can pursue, while also taking on some new projects to revitalize its work and increase impact. At the same time, the organization continues to pursue its long-standing projects in green infrastructure, water quality monitoring and restoring fish passage for species such as the endangered iBoF Salmon. PWA Executive Director Kelsey Wilson will share updates on these projects -- comprising some results from their 2022 field season -- and give us a glimpse of what is coming to launch the organization into its next 25 years, including ways to get involved in hands-on projects that improve the health of our local waterways.

All are welcome, Nature Moncton member or not.