Seasons on the Moraine

South Pond Farms

Seasons On The Moraine

Whoops! Something isn't right.

Sorry, but the page you were trying to view does not exist.

Seasons on the Moraine Summer Event Series

Exploring nature as the seasons unfold on the Oak ridges Moraine. Walk our neighbouring Ballyduff Trails with expert naturalists. Re-discover the natural world and enjoy a great meal at the farm. Seasons on the Moraine are not-for-profit events. They are held in collaboration with our neighbours on lands protected by the Kawartha Land Trust. They are led by local experts drawn largely from the Kawartha and the Peterborough Field Naturalists.

Join the Amphibian Chorus as thousands of vociferous frogs and trilling toads fill the evening air with their love calls.  Pond and wetlands come alive as these marvellous creatures, having spent the winter under a blanket of snow on the forest floor, break their silence and herald the warmth of spring.  Owls, too, will have their nocturnal voice – or voices – as they hoot, hiss and cackle in the woodlands.  In the field or on the trail, if we are watchful and fortunate, we may even witness male woodcocks sky dancing in courtship flight.

Night Sounds opens with a brief introduction before we venture in the twilight down to the pond and into the cedar forests and wetlands along the Ballyduff Trail.  We will return to South Pond for a fireside supper prepared in the stone oven.

Your Guide:  Candice Talbot is an enthusiastic member of the Kawartha Naturalist with a keen interest in birds and  nocturnal insects, namely moths! Candice is also a volunteer participant in the Bird Studies Canada owl survey.  She has also served as Fleming College technician teaching plant identification to fish and wildlife students. Currently, Candice is studying in the Biology Program at Trent University.


6:30 pm – Welcome & Orientation

6:45 pm – Guided walk – pond, cedar forest and wetlands.

8:30 pm – Food & Fire at the Stone Oven

Essential: Warm, weather-proof clothing and footwear – boots recommended.

Highly recommended: Flashlight or head lamp.

In the month of May the birds of spring have arrived – many of them migrating from Central and South America.  Some visit only briefly on their northward journey.  Others remain for the summer – finding their mates, building their nests and raising their young in our fields and forests.  Unlike most of us they seem to enjoy singing just as morning is breaking.  Concert time comes early – and they don’t even mind singin’ in the rain (especially if it’s light and warm). Hike quietly down to the homestead, out on to the prairie and into the nearby woodlands and wetlands.  Wait and watch and listen as the avian  world opens up to you.  Refreshed by sight and sound complete your morning with a hearty breakfast at South Pond Farms.

Your Guides: Eric Davis is a retired chemistry teacher and is currently a director for the Kawartha Field Naturalists as well as the club’s representative to Ontario Nature.   He started birding in the Kawarthas as a child and his passion has continued to grow.  He leads outings for the Kawartha Field Naturalists locally and has taken groups to Costa Rica.  His emphasis on birding is not so much with making lists, rather it is watching the birds live their daily lives, how they communicate and interact.

Tracey Anderson-Simpson is a former student of Eric’s graduating from high school in 1996.  In past several years Tracey has realized a growing passion for the world of nature with a particular interest in birding.  A fellow member of the Kawartha Field Naturalists Tracey has developed great skill in sighting and identifying birds – complementing Eric’s broad expertise.

Note: This particular South Pond event begins from 851 Ballyduff Rd. – the home of Ralph McKim and Jean Garsonnin – and ends at South Pond Farms for brunch.  Participants may return to their cars by trail or be transported back by road (5 minutes).


7:45 am –  Welcome, Orientation & Coffee –  851 Ballyduff Rd. (park by the wood pile)

8:00 am – Slow guided trail walk – homestead, prairie, woodland and wetland

11:00 am – Brunch at South Pond Farms – and wrap-up discussion

Essential: Weather-proof clothing and footwear.

Highly recommended: Binoculars and camera – and trail snacks.

Follow the woodland and wetland trails through Ballyduff’s “back 40” and discover the delicate ephemeral flowers that take their short place in the sun before the forest canopy closes over them – Trout lily, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Spring Beauty, Trillium and more..  Find the wild leeks, fiddleheads and note the variety of ferns, sedges and grasses that softly carpet the forest floor.  Watch and listen for the migrating songbirds claiming their space and seeking their “other”.    Learn how the geological features of the moraine support a variety of ecological communities. Cross back across the field to South Pond Farms for a hearty lunch and a chance to enquire further into the mysteries of nature’s renewal on the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Your Guide:  Mike McMurtry  – an ecologist, formerly with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, he has participated in inventories of plants and animals in many areas of Ontario and worked with conservation partners to identify and map natural heritage systems. Mike is a member of the Peterborough Field Naturalists and a volunteer with the Kawartha Land Trust.

He will interpret the plants and animals along the walking trails, especially the show of spring wildflowers, and encourage participants in making their own observations


9:15 am – Welcome & Orientation  –  South Pond Barn

9:30 am – Interpretive trail walk through woodland, wetlands and prairie

12:30 pm – Lunch at the Stone Oven & Wrap-up

Essential: Weather-proof clothing and footwear.

Optional: Binoculars, camera, repellant.

Dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies are “on the wing” in the month of June.  Identifying and photographing these beautiful creatures is a wonderful way to spend an early summer afternoon.  Over 170 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been recorded in Ontario and almost 80 species of butterflies have been identified in the Kawarthas.  How many of these are to be found in the fields and fen along Ballyduff Trails?  Begin to build your list.  It could be an obsession as you spot them on the roadsides and in your own backyard throughout the summer months.  Not to be overlooked, of course, will be the wonderful woodland and meadow blossoms on which these local delights like to alight.

Your Guide:  Colin Jones – is a lifelong naturalist and is the Provincial Arthropod Zoologist at the Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in Peterborough where he deals primarily with rare species. Like many naturalists, Colin first developed a keen interest in birds and birding but this interest gradually grew into other areas. He is coordinator of the Ontario Odonata Atlas, co-coordinator of the Ontario Butterfly Atlas and is the co-author of two field guides “A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin Provincial Park and Surrounding Area”, now in its 2nd edition and the “Royal Ontario Museum Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario.”


12 noon – Welcome & Orientation at lunch – South Pond Barn

1:00 pm – Aquatic insects around the Pond

1:30 pm – Trail walk – dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies

4:00 pm – Cool refreshments and wrap-up

Essential: Weather-proof clothing and footwear.

Optional: Binoculars, insect net and camera.

Copies of Colin’s two field guides will be available for purchase.

The wealth of the moraine is – water. Many of the streams and rivers flowing into the Kawarthas have their source here –  in the quietness and the dappled light of moraine woods and wetlands. Surprisingly, the aquatic habitats and fish communities found here are quite different from those found not too far downstream in the Kawartha Lakes. Explore these rich retreats and discover the fascinating almost hidden life they host.  Observe the habitat of Brook Trout, Caddisflies and Mayflies . Learn about their life cycles and the complexity of the coldwater stream environment that hosts them. Gain fresh appreciation of the beauty and the benefits of the headwaters – and of the “lively beginnings” they constantly provide.

Your Guide:  Brian Round began fishing in Sudbury before he was out of diapers, catching Pike and “Pickerel” (Walleye) in the surrounding lakes.  When he was 9 years old the family moved to Nova Scotia where Aunt June taught him to catch Speckled Trout (Brook Trout) in small, cold, fast water streams.  Brian was hooked and the fascination never faded. Having worked as a Fishery Technician, Provincial Park Warden, and federal Fishery Officer, Brian now teaches in the Fish and Wildlife Technician/Technologist program at the Frost Campus of Fleming College in Lindsay.


9:30 am – Welcome & Orientation at South Pond Barn

9:50 am – Explore pond and cool clear headwaters

12:30 pm – Farmhouse Lunch

Essential: Hiking boots or well fitted rubber boots – sturdy for uneven terrain, water resistant for shallow water crossing or muddy areas.

Seasons on the Moraine

The charm and richness of the moraine is in the compact variation of its landscape and the amazing diversity of its plants and wildlife.  A morning’s walk will take you from a high point overview, down through a tall grass and wildflower prairie, along a shaded woodland trail and into a quiet cedar forest with headwater streams.  In mid-summer native grasses are in full growth and interspersed with wild bergamot, butterfly milkweed and grey headed coneflowers. A profusion of ferns and sedges adorn fields, and forests.  Wetlands deliver a full spectrum of colour as a variety of shrubs and herbaceous plants are now in bloom.   Our walk concludes at South Pond Farms where, with a view of open fields, we will enjoy lunch together.

Your Guide:  Bill Crins is an ecologist recently retired from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.  Among other achievements Bill developed the principles and guidelines for ecological restoration in protected areas.  Having completed degrees at the Universities of Guelph and Toronto Bill undertook post-doctoral studies in B.C and N.Y.  focusing on sedges, grasses and tar weeds. Early in his career Bill worked in Algonquin Park as a naturalist and life science inventory biologist.  He is currently teaching in a UofT graduate program and volunteering with the Rotary Club and Kawartha Land Trust.

Note: This particular South Pond event begins from 851 Ballyduff Rd. – the home of Ralph McKim and Jean Garsonnin – and ends at South Pond Farms for lunch.  Participants may return to their cars by trail or be transported back by road (5 minutes).


9:30 am – Welcome & Orientation at 851 Ballyduff Rd.  – park by the wood pile.

9:45 am – Interpretive walk along trails

12:30 pm – Farmhouse lunch at South Pond Farms

Essential: Weatherproof clothing and footwear

Optional: Binoculars and camera

From the crown of a towering pine to a patch of tightly packed maple seedlings, trees are the most visible part of the natural landscape on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Enjoy the quintessential summer ‘walk in the woods’ but turn your attention to the natural and human stories contained in these forest giants. On this walk, we’ll move through different forest types that show how the forest is constantly changing and responding to the environment. We’ll learn about the habits of each tree species, whether it’s oak, pine, or birch and how each plays a part in the centuries’ long drama of forest dynamics. But it’s not just the ecosystem that changes with the trees, learn to see how our human past, present and future is written on Ontario’s forest.

Your Guide:  Thom Unrau – is the Stewardship Coordinator with the Kawartha Land Trust. Thom studied at Concordia University and Fleming College.  He has worked with the Nature Conservancy of Canada and as a stay-at-home dad.  Thom is most curious about the human side of natural history and remembers vividly the day he first ‘opened his eyes’ to nature. He loves giving others the chance to see the wonder that’s all around them in the natural world and strives to protect this threatened world through conservation. His elder daughter, Cedar, may be able to tell you that he loves trees.


9:30 am – Welcome & Orientation  –  South Pond Barn

10:00 am – Interpretive trail walk through the woodlands

1:00 pm – Farmhouse Lunch at the South Pond

Essential: Weather-proof clothing and footwear

Optional: Binoculars and camera

September is to fall what May is to spring.  Flowers are abundant and once again the birds are on the wing.  It is a month of golden yellows and plush purples as goldenrods and asters take over the fields and meadows.  Bronze seeds ripen on the tawny tall grasses in a prairie edged by scarlet sumac. Fall foliage in the forest is peaking. The Red Oaks of the moraine are shedding their acorns to the delight of the squirrels and conifers are releasing their winged seeds to be carried on the wind.  Warblers, vireos, thrushes, grosbeaks and many other migratory birds are gathering in preparation for the journey to their winter grounds.   At the same time, with warmth and light, the algae, liverworts, mosses and lichens continue to grow and reproduce.

Oh, September.  How do I love thee?  Count the ways – as nature prepares for winter.

Your Guide: John Vandenberg is a fortuitous import from the Netherlands.  He grew up on a farm in the Carolingian zone of Ontario exploring the forests where tulip trees and wild garlic grew and his interest in botany developed.  A retired secondary teacher John has become a prolific botanical artist preparing illustrations for the upcoming publication on the Flora of the City of the Kawartha Lakes. John has long been an active member of the Kawartha Field Naturalists.

Note: This particular South Pond event begins from 851 Ballyduff Rd. – the home of Ralph McKim and Jean Garsonnin – and ends at South Pond Farms for lunch.  Participants may return to their cars by trail or be transported back by road (5 minutes).


9:00 am – Welcome & Orientation  –  851 Ballyduff Rd. (Jean & Ralph’s)

9:20 am – Trail Walk – homestead and prairie woodlands and wetlands, pond

12:30 pm – Farmhouse Lunch at South Pond Farms.

Book your spot for one of our Seasons on the Moraine events here

Book Here