Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

The ice is breaking up in Presqu’ile Bay, and the migrating waterfowl are arriving! Please join us this coming Saturday at Presqu’ile Provincial Park to experience the thrilling sight of thousands of waterfowl which stop on their migration north and west to their summer breeding grounds. Swans, geese and ducks rest and eat in Presqu’ile Bay and around the 1840 Lighthouse on the point. There are also many species of land birds in the Park. Our expedition coincides with the 43rd Annual Presqu’ile Waterfowl Weekend, put on by the Park staff and Friends of Presqu’ile Provincial Park volunteers.

DATE: Saturday, March 16, or in case of adverse weather, Sunday, March 17.

CAR POOLING:
Civitan Hall Parking Lot, 7:15 a.m.
Union Hall (Wolf Grove & Tatlock Road), 7:30 a.m.
Glen Tay Public School (just past Perth just north of Hwy #7), 8:00 a.m.
3-hour total travel time each way (with one pit stop)
Arrive back home ~ 6:00 p.m.

There is a $11.20 per vehicle park entrance fee ($9.00 Senior rate). Provincial Park passes are honoured.

BRING: Lunch, hot beverage, binoculars, and spotting scope if you have one. Have extra warm clothes ready for cool, windy weather.

The “Friends” volunteers have an outside BBQ lunch, hot drinks and snacks available for purchase outside the Nature Centre, which has indoor, warm washrooms and a Gift Shop.

YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT. To register, or to get more information, contact Cliff Bennett at , or 798-6295.

Please phone Cliff before 7:00 a.m. if you’re not sure if the trip is postponed til Sunday because of the weather.

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MVFN Nature Notebook Recent Sightings

These photographs of birds during January 2019 in Sheridan Rapids, Ontario are by Lise Balthazar, sent in on January 29, 2019 to MVFN Nature Notebook. Entitled by Lise: “The Colours of Winter.”

 

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MVFN Trip to Point Pelee National Park, May 13-16, 2019

Point Pelee National Park has long been recognized as a world-class birding site with more than 390 species recorded within the park’s birding area. Bird migration is the reason Point Pelee became a national park in 1918 and has since garnered international recognition as an “Important Bird Area” and a UNESCO designated “Wetland of International Significance.” While significant breeding birds call the park home, Point Pelee’s greatest importance is to migratory species moving through the area during the spring and fall.

Point Pelee is part of a peninsula, located at the crossroads of two major migration routes, extending into the western basin of Lake Erie. It is one of the first points of land spring migrating birds reach in the pre-dawn hours of their night-time crossing of Lake Erie. For example, forty-two of the fifty-five regularly occurring warbler species in North America have been recorded at Point Pelee.

 

 

As the best time to see the greatest diversity of songbirds is the first three weeks of May, during Point Pelee’s “Festival of Birds”, MVFN has a trip planned during this time.

DETAILS

We will depart Monday, May 13, and return on Thursday, May 16.  We will stay three nights at the Best Western Plus Leamington Hotel.  The hotel is five minutes from Point Pelee National Park, which means early morning birders can go to the Park, and later birders can be bused there later in the morning.

Costs:  $800 per person DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

$1,150 per person SINGLE OCCUPANCY

This includes:  a beautiful room (two queen beds), cost of bus travel, bus driver’s accommodation and tip, park fees, 2 guided walks, 2 continental breakfasts and 1 dinner.

Each person is responsible for other meals and refreshments.

Pre-registration: The bus holds 26 passengers, so to ensure a place on this fun and exciting trip, please let Linda McComick know your interest as soon as you can: by email to

Whether you are a beginner birder or an expert, this trip to the “Festival of Birds” is a great way to familiarize yourself with Point Pelee National Park, meet others who share your interests, and, of course, see first-hand the cascade of colour gracing our beautiful blooming forests each spring.

 

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Thursday December 27, 2018

NOTE:  In addition to the December 27th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, several other counts are taking place in the local community. The 16th Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count takes place Sunday, December 30 and is centered on Watson’s Corners, with the circle taking in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a kilometer of Balderson and east to include Middleville. Count organizer is Marilyn Barnett:    or 613-259-2269. Follow this link to the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club for further details of the Pakenham-Arnprior Christmas Bird Count which will take place December 26th.

Birders and nature enthusiasts in Carleton Place and surrounding areas can join citizen scientists throughout the Americas and participate in the Audubon Society’s longest-running wintertime tradition, the 119th Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place CBC will be held this year on Thursday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) and coordinated in Canada by Bird Studies Canada.  The count area is a 24 km circle centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place, and includes Almonte, Appleton and Ashton.  Details for Christmas Bird Counts can be found on the Audubon website.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2018 and January 5, 2019. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation. Bird Studies Canada and its partner at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations. Last year, during the 2017 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count, 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 5700 birds and 42 different species.

The CBC tradition began over a century ago when 27 conservationists in 25 localities, led by scientist and writer Frank Chapman, changed the course of ornithological history.

On Christmas Day in 1900, the small group posed an alternative to the ‘side hunt,’ a Christmas day activity in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds and small mammals. Instead, Chapman proposed that they identify, count, and record all the birds they saw, founding what is now considered to be the world’s most significant citizen-based conservation effort.

The first Audubon bird count in Carleton Place took place in 1944!

Join a team or count at your feeder

Volunteers are essential to the success of the CBC. You don’t need to be an expert but it helps to be familiar with local bird species.  In any case, participants in the field counts will be placed in a team led by an experienced birder and everyone is welcome. You will need a pair of binoculars.  As well residents with bird feeders within a count area can also help by listing all birds at your feeder or in your yard on the count day.

For more information or to register for the Carleton Place CBC on December 27th, please contact Iain Wilkes at 613-250-0722 or   If you are interested in helping out by counting birds at your feeder/yard, please register with Georgina Doe at 613- 257-2103.  At the end of the Carleton Place count day, field participants return to the Carleton Place Library, 101 Beckwith St., for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All,

Iain Wilkes

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2018 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

On December 27th, 38 hearty field and 20 feeder observers participated in the 68th Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count.  It was a cold day with sun in the morning and cloud in the afternoon.

 

 

This years count is very close to our 10 year average with over 5400 individuals and 45 species.  Despite this we had a number of records set and/or tied for:

Mallards at 68

Wild Turkeys at 498 – keep setting a new record every year

Coopers Hawk 3 – tying the old record.  One lived in my backyard on count day enjoying the Starlings for snacks

Snowy Owls 3 – tied the old record, all close to Hwy 7

Barred Owls 3 – a new record

Pileated Woodpecker 18 – a new record

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1 – tied the old record

White-breasted Nuthatch 176 – a new record

Complete list at http://mvfn.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Carleton-Place-CBC-Count-Day-totals-2018.pdf

We also had a hand full of Rough-Legged and Red-tailed Hawks, as well as 1 Kestral.  After several years of Juncos being at record levels their numbers collapsed.  Handfuls of Pine and Evening Grosbeaks as well as Redpolls and Siskins were seen.  Waxwings were back in abundance after few to none for several years, with 630 Bohemians and 188 Cedars seen.  As always the Bohemians maintained their coolness by wearing berets, smoking Gaulois and discussing Proust.

 

At the end of the day the count in was conducted at the CP Library with refreshments and snacks provided by the MVFN social committee.

Happy Year’s End to all and best wishes for 2019.

Cheers,

Iain Wilkes

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