Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Birding

Open House MVFN Birding Observation Tower, Almonte Lagoon, Sept 6, 2017

The following account of the open house day was written by Michel Gauthier

Nine nature enthusiasts showed up at the Almonte Lagoon observation tower on Wednesday to participate in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Birding Open House. They came from Almonte, Ottawa, and Perth. Club members Ken Allison and Michel Gauthier were on hand to help them identify the different species.

Although the event started at three o’clock sharp, someone forgot to tell the birds: the picking was proverbially slim. Our birders, always the optimists, remained glued to their scope and binoculars. Other than for the ever-present Canada geese and mallards, the great majority of expected bird species for this time of the year refused to make an appearance. The birders persisted, as you can see in the following picture of (from left to right) Frank Campbell, Ronald Vandebeek, and Sheryl-Elaine Grazeau.

Persistent birders (L-R) Frank Campbell, Ronald Vandebeek, and Sheryl-Elaine Grazeau. photo Michel Gauthier

Persistent birders (L-R):  Frank Campbell, Ronald Vandebeek, and Sheryl-Elaine Grazeau. photo Michel Gauthier

At approximately four o’clock, other birds began to fly in. So many, in fact, that by the end of the event at 5 o’clock, our participants had identified 30 species, among them the blue-winged teals in the photo below. Persistence paid off and turned a so-so birding day into a successful one.

Blue-winged Teal. photo Michel Gauthier

Blue-winged Teal. photo Michel Gauthier

Following is a list of the birds identified:

Species Count
Canada Goose 64
Wood Duck 9
Blue-winged Teal 25
Mallard 5
Green-winged Teal 6
Hooded Merganser 5
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 2
Bald Eagle 2
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ring-billed Gull 40
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 3
Common Raven 2
Barn Swallow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Gray Catbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Song Sparrow 3
Baltimore Oriole 1
Red-winged Blackbird 11
American Goldfinch 4

 

Invitation to the next open house:

The Mississippi Field Naturalists invite you to the next Birding Open House at the Lagoon, which will take place on Sept 13, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. To get there from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Conc.  8 across the road from, and just past, the cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

 

Woodland birds,especially flycatchers, provide much entertainment at MVFN birding open house

NOTE: The following report was written by Ken Allison

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held the second of four planned birding open houses at the Almonte Lagoon. Ken Allison and Michel Gauthier were the expert birders on hand to answer questions and show visitors the birds that were present. Thirty-one species of birds were identified during the event. This was the same number of species as last week, although only 21 species were seen at both open house events.

On August 30, the number of water birds was rather low. There is no shorebird habitat at the lagoons and all the ducks are still local breeders. There was actually a single shorebird this week, a Lesser Yellowlegs, although it provided only very distant views.

The woodland birds provided much of the entertainment this week, especially flycatchers. There were several Eastern Wood-Pewees that were very cooperative over most of the 2 hours we were there as they fed continuously. See the accompanying photo taken by Michel Gauthier. For a few minutes, we could directly compare a Wood-Pewee with a (probable) Least Flycatcher. Fall Empidonax flycatchers are very difficult as they do not usually vocalize to provide the most important identification field mark! Based on appearance and habitat, we felt that this was a Least Flycatcher. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was also seen briefly several times over the afternoon. There were many Cedar Waxwings fly-catching over the water, accompanied by small numbers of Barn and Tree Swallows. Five bright yellow Bobolinks are still roosting in the cattails beside the lagoon, down from the 20 we had last week, so they will probably soon be gone. They skulk much of the time, so listen for the metallic calls.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists invite you to walk in and view the multitude of birds between 3 and 5 PM on Sept 6, and Sept 13 for the remaining two open houses.  A field naturalist with a spotting scope will be at the tower to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to study the different species. Visitors to the tower who own binoculars are encouraged to bring them.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville. About 2 km out of Almonte, turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Concession 8 across the road from the cemetery and is marked by a small yellow sign. Full details at this link.

Here is a list of the bird species that were seen on August 30:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Mallard
American Black Duck
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellowlegs
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Song Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

Eastern Wood Pewee at Almonte Lagoons Trail. photo Michel Gauthier

Eastern Wood Pewee at Almonte Lagoons Trail. photo Michel Gauthier

 

Almonte Lagoons: Birds seen during August 23rd Open House

THANK YOU TO MICHEL GAUTHIER FOR SENDING IN THIS REPORT OF THE BIRDS SEEN

Feature photo of Gallinule by Michel Gauthier

On Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held a birding open house at the Almonte Lagoon Observation Tower. This was the first of four similar open houses to be held on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Biologist Ken Alison was the expert birder on hand to answer questions. Thirty-one species of birds were identified during the event.

MVFN maintains an observation tower overlooking the Almonte Lagoons, and a trail into the tower and invites you to walk in and view the multitude of birds between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on three additional dates: Aug 30, Sept 6, and Sept 13. A field naturalist with a spotting scope will be at the tower to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to learn the identity of the different species. Visitors to the tower are encouraged to bring binoculars.

 Full details and directions here.

 In order to pique your interest, here is a list of the bird species that were seen on August 23rd:

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Mallard

Blue-winged Teal

Hooded Merganser

Pied-billed Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Turkey Vulture

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Common Gallinule

Rock Pigeon

Mourning Dove

Chimney Swift

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Belted Kingfisher

Eastern Phoebe

Warbling Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo

Blue Jay

American Crow

Tree Swallow

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Cedar Waxwing

Common Yellowthroat

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Song Sparrow

Bobolink

Red-winged Blackbird

Common Grackle

American Goldfinch

Open Houses Almonte Lagoons Birding Observation Tower

Each summer/autumn, tens of thousands of shorebirds migrate through our area from their breeding grounds in the high Arctic.  Hundreds stop off to rest and feed at the Almonte Lagoons (behind the waste water treatment plant on Wolf Grove Road near Almonte).

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) maintain an observation tower, the Al Potvin Observation Tower, overlooking the lagoon, and a trail into the tower. For fifteen years, birders from all over the Province and beyond have made this prime shorebird location an important viewing spots. The 200 m trail in to the tower also may feature many fall warbler, sparrow and other species.

On four consecutive Wednesdays in August and September, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists invite you to walk in and view the multitude of shore birds between 3 and 5 PM. An expert birder with a spotting scope will be at the tower to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds present.

On August 23 between 3 and 5 pm the first birding open house at the Almonte Lagoons Al Potvin Observation Tower will take place. Visitors to the tower are encouraged to bring binoculars (and a spotting scope if you have one). Birder Ken Allison will be present with a spotting scope.

Open houses, all between 3 and 5 pm will also take place on August 30, September 6, September 13.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Conc.  8 across the road from, and just past, the cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

At the lagoons a platform provides views across the berm, and a place to set up a tripod or spotting scope. Photo Pauline Donaldson

At the lagoons a platform provides views across the berm, and a place to set up a tripod or spotting scope. Photo Pauline Donaldson

On Ramsay Concession 8, across the road from and just past Auld Kirk cemetery, a yellow sign marks the entrance to a short, easy nature trail out to the lagoons and the Potvin Observation Tower. Photos by Pauline Donaldson

On Ramsay Concession 8, across the road from and just past Auld Kirk cemetery, a yellow sign marks the entrance to a short, easy nature trail out to the lagoons and the Potvin Observation Tower. Photos by Pauline Donaldson

2017 Loon Lake Survey of Mississippi Lake

Observers are required for the 2017 Mississippi Lakes Loon Survey.  This year MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, will again conduct a Bird Studies Canada Canadian Lakes Loon Survey” for Mississippi Lake.

As a volunteer observer, you would be part of a team surveying an assigned region of the lake three times during the summer, once in each of the months of June, July and August. This is a good opportunity to get involved as a volunteer in some interesting and worthwhile citizen science on a local project.

A motor boat and driver will be made available for each team. Each team will coordinate, with the boat driver, the preferred day, time, and location for launch.You will need binoculars and sun screen.

Surveys are done during the last week of each month and take about two hours to complete. A motor boat and driver are provided for each team.

ORIENTATION SESSION FOR VOLUNTEERS:  the orientation session for survey volunteers will take place Thursday, June 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Mill of Kintail Gatehouse.

If you can help, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or

For results of last year’s Loon Survey of Mississippi Lake click here.

Howard loons

photo Howard Robinson

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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