Seen in the Garden 2023

May 29, 2023

Rose-breasted grosbeak photographed by Mark Williams
Rose-breasted grosbeak by Mark Williams
Wild Columbine photographed by Mark Williams
Wild Columbine by Mark Williams
Turkey vulture photographed by Mark Williams
Turkey vulture by Mark Williams
Tree Swallow photographed by Mark Williams
Tree swallow by Mark Williams
Green weevil photographed by Ken Kerr
Green weevil by Ken Kerr
Spotted sandpiper photographed by Melanie Howarth
Spotted sandpiper by Melanie Howarth
Crab spider eating a bee by Ken Kerr
Crab spider eating a bee by Ken Kerr
Boxelder bug on dogwood by Ken Kerr
Boxelder bug on dogwood by Ken Kerr

May 12, 2023

Baby Rabbit by Ken Kerr
Bee Killer Fly by Ken Kerr
Chipmunk eating a snail by Ken Kerr
Five Spotted Lady Beetle by Mark Williams
Tree Swallow (Canal Park) – Ken Kerr

What a Spring!

What a spring! One day it is too hot, the next day snow and freezing temperatures, then rain, rain, rain. It has made it hard to do gardening. Nonetheless we are pressing ahead.

Our gardener for the season is Kathy Michaluk, who is often joined by volunteer Rose Anne Prevec. When shrubs and plants arrive more people will be assisting. Monica Brecht and her sister, Mike and Ryan will all be lending a hand.

The beavers have caused considerable damage to the shrubs along banks and the pathway to Canal Park. We shall doing some replacement planting with fast growing willows.

If you hurry to the Garden you will see the beautiful Captain Cootes Red apple trees in full bloom. There are quite a few Painted Lady butterflies on our pearly everlasting, also the occasional Red Admiral finding just the right stinging nettle. We are off to an early start.

We hope to keep “Seen in the Garden” up-to-date, and there will be a our usual series of Saturday talks – so far the line-up looks great.


Captain Cootes Red apple tree by Rose Anne Prevec
Captain Cootes Red apple tree blossoms by Rose Anne Prevec

Winter 2022-23 Photo Contest Winners

Winter has turned into Spring which means the results of the Winter Photo Contest are here! The contest is sponsored by the Hamilton Conservation Authority and the Urquhart Butterfly Garden.

Congratulations to the winners and a warm ‘Thank You’ to all of the photographers who took part.

Finally, a big thank you to the judges who made the difficult decisions.



Honorary Mention – Michelle Sharp, Dundas

Honorary Mention – Ken Kerr, Dundas

Honorary Mention – Marsha Wright, Waterdown.

Honorary Mention – Rob Huiskamp, Dundas.

3nd Place – Jamie Habkirk, Dundas.

2nd Place – Marsha Wright, Waterdown.

1st Place – Mark Williams, Hamilton.


Honorary Mention – Canada Geese. Mary Dimitriw, Dundas.

Honorary Mention – North American Beaver. Melanie Howarth, Guelph.

Honorary Mention – Hooded Merganser. Geoff Olaveson, Millgrove.

Honorary Mention – Eastern Grey Squirrel. Marsha Wright, Waterdown.

3rd Place – Herring Gull & Mute Swan. Ken Kerr, Dundas.

2nd Place – Wilson’s Snipe. Geoff Olaveson, Millgrove.

1st Place – Canada Geese. Ken Kerr, Dundas.


Thur., December 1st, 2022 to Tues., February 28, 2023.

It is already December which means once again the Urquhart Butterfly Garden, in partnership with the Hamilton Conservation Authority, is holding a Winter Photo Contest. Please see the poster below for submission guidelines.

You may take your photographs in Canal Park (including from the observation platform) as well as in the Urquhart Butterfly Garden.

There are only two categories:
Birds and Other Wildlife – identification required  
Natural Winter Scenes – includes plants, landscape shots and etc.

Wildlife is easier to see in the winter.  There are dozens of little Hooded Mergansers in the canal right now and a lot of other bird life.  The beavers have been busy, and you will see one if you are observant in the early evening.

Please remember that when you submit your pictures in February, you must include your name, address, and phone number.

Best of luck to all!


A link to the entry form may be found HERE:

ALL submissions are due by 11:59 PM Tues., February 28, 2023. Late submission will not be considered.

All photos entered (up to 3 per category) may be entered using a single form. Repeat submissions will not be considered. Any questions please contact:


There are many excellent digital resources for help with plant and wildlife identification. Fortunately, most are free of charge.

Winter Plant identification is difficult, at times impossible, and is therefore optional for the winter contest. We have included a plant ID link for any interested in broadening their natural history knowledge.   

Correct identification of birds and all other wildlife is required and can be accomplished with the resources provided. Incomplete or incorrect identifications are factored into the judging process.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to for ID hints if you are truly stumped.

Hamilton Naturalists’ Club Birding Checklist:
Download a free checklist to the birds of the Hamilton Study Area (HSA), a circle with a 40 km radius centered on Dundurn Castle.

The All About Birds website, Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
Read species accounts and compare similar species. Also Links to the Merlin Bird ID App.

The Merlin Bird ID App:
Upload photos for AI assisted identification. A caution: While Merlin is often correct, it is in development and may result in errors. It will typically point you in the right direction but treat it as a starting point.

The Sibley eGuide to Birds App, Version 2:
Comes at a cost of $19.99 but also serves as a traditional field guide. Hard Copy of the Sibley Guide also available.

Bug Guide:
Upload photos for ID help or browse entries


iNaturalist Canada (plants, birds, insects, mammals):
An excellent resource for ID help and storing observations. Works better with a (free) registered account but can be used without.

UBG Summer 2022 Photo Contest Winners!

Where did the summer go?  It is hard to believe that fall is fast approaching and with it the results of the Photo Contest.

Congratulations to the winners, and Honorary Mentions, in the 2022 Urquhart Butterfly Garden Photo Contest!  You will receive your diplomas in the mail.

It is always exciting to see the Garden through the eyes of photographers, and there were some unexpected photos this year. Thank you to all the entrants, it was really a treat looking at your photos – whether you won or not.  If you did not win, the winter photo contest is coming up!

Joanna, Nancy, Anne, Ryan, & Matt.

Youth – Winner: Luisa Bonachela, Age 13, Oakville. Wild Chicory.

Adult – Honorary Mention: Ada Smith, Ancaster. Highbush Cranberry (Viburnum).

Adult – 2nd Place: Fernanda Bonachela, Oakville. Himalayan Cranesbill.

Adult – 1st Place: Mary Dimitriw, Dundas. Japanese Anemone.

Youth – Winner: Luisa Bonachela, Age 13, Oakville. Sweat Bee.

Adult – Honorary Mention: Michelle Sharpe. Moulting Katydid.

Adult – 2nd Place: Mark Williams, Hamilton. Brown Horned Treehopper.

Adult – 1st Place: Fernanda Bonachela, Oakville. Margined Calligrapher.

Youth – Winner: Gill Doncaster, Age 10, Dundas. Peck’s Skipper.

Adult – Honorary Mention: Jim Auty, Hamilton. Great spangled fritillary.

Adult – 2nd Place: Marsha Wright, Waterdown. Black Swallowtails.

Adult – 1st Place: Doug Lay, Toronto. Hummingbird Clearwing.

Youth – Winner: Luisa Bonachela, Age 13, Oakville. Dekay’s Brownsnake

Adult – Honorary Mention: Michelle Sharp, Dundas. Gray Treefrog.

Adult – Honorary Mention: Nancy Lazare-Gellert, Dundas. Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Adult – 2nd Place: Geoff Dunn, Ancaster. Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Adult – 1st Place: Mark Williams, Hamilton. American Goldfinch.