Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN Fall Birding Open Houses Almonte Lagoons

4 Wednesdays: September 4, 11, 18 and 25, 2019

Each summer/autumn, tens of thousands of shorebirds & waterfowl migrate through our area from their breeding grounds in the Arctic.  Hundreds stop off to rest and feed at the Almonte Lagoons.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) maintain the Potvin Observation Tower and the Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter, overlooking the lagoon, with trails for access. For many years, birders from all over Ontario have made this prime shorebird location an important viewing spot. The looped trail to the tower and shelter may also feature many fall warbler, sparrows, grassland birds and other species.

On four consecutive Wednesdays in September, MVFN invites you to walk in between 3 and 5 PM and view the multitude of waterfowl and other birds from the observation tower and the new MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter, opened in 2018.  Expert birders with spotting scopes will be in attendance to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to learn the identity of the different species present.

These MVFN birding open houses will take place on September 4, September 11, September 18, and September 25, 2019.

Visitors to the tower and shelter are encouraged to bring binoculars (and a spotting scope if you have one). Birders Michel Gauthier and/or Ken Allison will be present with a spotting scope, along with other birders to assist.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north (right) onto Ramsay Concession 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, and just past, the Auld Kirk cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

Note that the trail, tower and shelter are always open to the public. Please respect the “rules of etiquette” posted at the trail entrance.

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Birds report, MVFN Canonto Lake Paddle

NOTE: Watch the website and MVFN’s Facebook page for details of our next MVFN paddle, July 28, 2019.

Submitted by Howard Robinson, MVFN Birding Committee

On June 23, 2019 we canoed/kayaked Canonto Lake and birded by sight and sound from the water on a Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ outing, led by Cliff Bennett. There were 8 vessels, and 12 people in the party, but not all our time was spent birding.

Below is a list of bird species, and respective counts, that were seen or heard. The list has been submitted to eBird and shared with our MVFN birding account as an historical record.

 

Canonto Lake Paddle, June 23, 2019 photo H. Robinson

A faulty/deadly loon platform, Canonto Lake, observed on June 23 paddle. photo H. Robinson

eBird Checklist – 23 Jun 2019 – Canonto Lake, – 23 Species

8 Wood Duck

6 Mallard (4 of the 6 mallards were ducklings)

2 Sandhill Crane  (seen flying over the lake)

3 Ring-billed Gull

4 Common Loon

7 Great Blue Heron

4 Turkey Vulture

2 Belted Kingfisher

1 Northern Flicker

4 Red-eyed Vireo

3 Tree Swallow

3 Barn Swallow

2 Black-capped Chickadee

2 White-breasted Nuthatch

2 Hermit Thrush

3 American Robin

2 Chipping Sparrow

6 Song Sparrow

40 Red-winged Blackbird

6 Common Grackle

4 Ovenbird

1 Yellow Warbler

2 Scarlet Tanager

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Bonus Early Morning Bird Walk Wednesday May 1

With the late spring this year, MVFN is very pleased to invite you to join Ken Allison at his and Ruth’s beautiful country property at 561 Wolf Grove Road from 6:00 – 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1 to see more newly arriving birds, as well as other fauna and flora.

With Ken’s enthusiastic expertise in many different aspects of nature to help us, we will see some emerging flora, such as hepaticas, which are already in bloom, and hopefully, some spring beauties and Dutchman’s breeches, as well as getting to know the many species of trees on their property.

We hope to see and/or hear a Hermit Thrush, Barred Owl, Red-shouldered Hawk, Wood Duck, Hooded Merganser, Swamp Sparrow, Pileated Woodpecker, both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers drumming. With luck, the Yellow-rumped Warbler will have arrived back!

To get to Ken & Ruth’s place, travel west on Wolf Grove Road, past Concession #8 and the Auld Kirk Cemetery (on your right). The laneway is the second on the left at the top of the hill, #561.

For further information, please contact Ken at: or 613-256-4283

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Early Morning Birding 2019

For all MVFN members and friends.  If the early bird gets the worm, then the early birder gets the birds!  From 6-8 AM on four Wednesdays in April and,  NEW for this year,  the first Wednesday in May.

Please Dress warmly. Bring binoculars and camera.

You do not need to register for these walks. Just show up!

Robin, Almonte, ON

DETAILS for 2019:

Wednesday, April 3:  Al Potvin’s Trail, Almonte

Meet at Al Potvin’s trailhead for 6 AM. Al’s trail starts at 38 Carss St. Almonte, near the river.

Leader is Michel Gauthier; email:

Wednesday, April 10: Taylor Lake

Meet at the “trailhead” for 6 AM.  Corner of Lanark Concession 12 and Wolf Grove Road.

Leader: Michel Gauthier;  email: 

Wednesday, April 17:  Clayton Lake

Meet at the start of the laneway of 2645 Tatlock Rd, just before the village of Clayton, for 6 AM.

Leaders: Howard & Mary Robinson; 613-256-0817 or  email:

Wednesday, April 24:  Mississippi Riverwalk Trail, Carleton Place

Meet at the Carleton Place arena, 6 AM.  Parking lot near the trail at 75 Neelin Street, Carleton Place.

Leaders: Howard & Mary Robinson; 613-256-0817 or  email:

Wednesday, May 1st:  Wolf Grove

Meet at the laneway of 561 Wolf Grove Road, just West of the Old Kirk cemetery and Ramsay Conc 8, for 6 AM.

Leader: Ken Allison; 613-256-4283 or email:

For more information, please contact the leaders for the date shown.

 

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Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count: the more the merrier, counting birds!

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.

Cardinal. photo Susan Wilkes

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!

Great Horned Owl. photo Howard Robinson

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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