Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Birding Open Houses at Almonte Lagoons Observation Tower

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

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) have built and maintained an 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 location, for shorebirds and other species, one of their important viewing spots. The 200 m trail in to the tower also holds many fall warbler and sparrow species.

On four consecutive Wednesdays, September 7, 14, 21, and 28, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s Birding Committee invites you to walk in between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M and view the multitude of shore birds .

On each of these occasions, you will be greeted at the trail start by an MVFN member, who will point out directions to the tower. An expert birder with a spotting scope will be on the tower and will give all who attend an opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds and tell a bit about them. Birding experts will include Mike Jaques, Sept. 7; Ken Allison, Sept. 14 and 21; and Ray Holland, Sept. 28.

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

For further information contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or

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As an osprey family watched from its nesting site, eleven vessels (7 canoes and 4 kayaks) set forth from the River Park launch site in the historical village of Lanark on Sunday, August 7, 2016.  Led by Howard and Mary Robinson, the group first paddled down-river then turned at the dam in the village to travel up-river towards Kerr Lake, catching a welcome cooling breeze.  With the Clyde River at an all-time low, many docks and boats were high and dry, however, the painted turtles enjoyed the sun on rocks now emerged above the water.  Herons, waterfowl, and other birds were plentiful and in Kerr Lake we were thrilled to see or hear two black terns.  The full list of bird species follows.  After our picnic lunch on shore we continued up the Clyde River, but the low water prevented us from travelling beyond the Clydesville bridge to the rapids, as we had done on previous outings.  So with the wind on our backs, we returned to the launch site, then on to Lanark Landing – a welcome spot to enjoy refreshments after a hot, but enjoyable, time on the water.

~ Mary Robinson~

Birds seen or heard during the outing:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Cedar Waxwing
  3. Osprey
  4. Common Grackle
  5. Rock Pigeon
  6. Red-eyed Vireo
  7. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  8. Red-winged Blackbird
  9. American Goldfinch
  10. American Crow
  11. Blue Jay
  12. Eastern Kingbird
  13. Great Crested Flycatcher
  14. Turkey Vulture
  15. Belted Kingfisher
  16. Great Blue Heron
  17. Song Sparrow
  18. Green Heron
  19. Killdeer
  20. Wood Duck
  21. Ring-billed Gull
  22. Black Tern
  23. Mallard
  24. Common Loon
  25. Black-capped Chickadee
  26. Barn Swallow
  27. Ring-necked Duck
  28. American Robin
  29. American Black Duck
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Looking for Warblers + Plus

On May 25, 2016 a group of ten MVFN members, including organizer and leader Jim Atack took a birding road trip to the Westport area. There the group visited several locations to hike and listen for and look for birds, warblers, plus others!

A total of 71 bird species were seen. The trip was a great success; below you will find a link to a wonderful account of the day written by trip organizer Jim Atack. Many highlights of the day are recorded in excellent photos by Howard Robinson and some of these are included below.

Read the full report by Jim Atack: Looking for Warblers + Plus

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Birds on MVFN Point Pelee Trip 2016

A group of MVFN members enjoyed an inspiring trip to Point Pelee,  May 9-12, 2016! During the trip they witnessed the beauty of spring and a rich abundance of bird life. There were many wonderful photographs by Howard Robinson, Peter Blancher, Wendy Moenig, Pam Hickman, Peter Anderson and others, recording the group of birders as well as the bird life seen. A few of these photographs are included below.

Below the photos is a complete list of  bird species seen or heard each day by the MVFN group during the 4-day outing. The birds encountered are listed approximately in the order each species was first seen or heard. The list was compiled by Mary Robinson with review also by Cliff Bennett and Peter Blancher. Link to pdf  list:  PDF BIRD LIST POINT PELEE  2016


Leamington Hotel – May 9, 2016

1. Red-winged Blackbird

2. American Robin

3. Barn Swallow

4. Common Grackle

5. Mourning Dove

6. Song Sparrow

7. Baltimore Oriole

8. Northern Cardinal

9. Forster’s Tern

10. Mallard

11. Double-crested Cormorant

12. Tree Swallow

13. Canada Goose

14. Great Blue Heron

15. Killdeer

16. Herring Gull

17. Ring-billed Gull

18. European Starling

19. American Redstart

20. House Sparrow

21. Northern Flicker

22. Northern Rough-winged Swallow

23. Downy Woodpecker

24. Purple Martin

25. American Woodcock

Point Pelee Park – May 10, 2016

26. Wood Duck

27. Common Yellowthroat

28. Warbling Vireo

29. Rusty Blackbird

30. Virginia Rail

31. Marsh Wren

32. American Coot

33. Black Tern

34. Bonaparte’s Gull

35. Swamp Sparrow

36. Brown-headed Cowbird

37. Field Sparrow

38. White-crowned Sparrow

39. Yellow Warbler

40. Chipping Sparrow

41. Yellow-rumped Warbler

42. Red-bellied Woodpecker

43. House Wren

44. Orchard Oriole

45. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

46. Blue Jay

47. Turkey Vulture

48. American Goldfinch

49. Bay-breasted Warbler

50. Rose-breasted Grosbeak

51. Blue-headed Vireo

52. Savannah Sparrow

53. Red-breasted Merganser

54. Cliff Swallow

55. Common Tern

56. Black-bellied Plover

57. Common Loon

58. Bank Swallow

59. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

60. Great Crested Flycatcher

61. Great Black-backed Gull

62. Chestnut-sided Warbler

63. Pine Warbler

64. Nashville Warbler

65. Eastern Screech Owl

66. Cedar Waxwing

67. Black-and-white Warbler

68. White-throated Sparrow

69. Cooper’s Hawk

70. Gray Catbird

71. Northern Waterthrush

72. Great Horned Owl

73. Black-throated Blue Warbler

74. Veery

75. Wood Thrush

Hillman Marsh (including en route)

76. Wild Turkey

77. Eastern Phoebe

78. Rock Pigeon

79. Eastern Kingbird

80. American Crow

81. Mute Swan

82. Gadwall

83. Willet

84. Northern Shoveler

85. Dunlin

86. Caspian Tern

87. Redhead

88. Green-winged Teal

89. Ruddy Turnstone

90. Great Egret

91. Greater Yellowlegs

92. Bufflehead

93. Ruddy Duck

94. Semipalmated Plover

95. Semipalmated Sandpiper

96. Least Sandpiper

97. Palm Warbler

98. Lesser Scaup

99. Horned Grebe

100. Black-throated Green Warbler

Point Pelee – May 11, 2016

101. Hooded Warbler

102. Winter Wren

103. Lincoln’s Sparrow

104. Ring-necked Duck

105. Least Flycatcher

106. Red-throated Loon

107. Swainson’s Thrush

108. Cerulean Warbler

109. Magnolia Warbler

110. Blackburnian Warbler

111. Eastern Towhee

112. Scarlet Tanager

113. Northern Parula

114. White-winged Scoter

115. Brown Thrasher

116. Yellow-throated Vireo

117. Hermit Thrush

118. Orange-crowned Warbler

119. Blackpoll Warbler

120. Indigo Bunting

121. Cape May Warbler

122. Eastern Wood-Pewee

123. Ruby-throated Hummingbird

124. Blue-winged Warbler

125. Golden-winged Warbler

126. Mourning Warbler

127. Ovenbird

128. Connecticut Warbler

129. Kirtland’s Warbler

130. Fish Crow

131. Red-eyed Vireo

132. Belted Kingfisher

133. Spotted Sandpiper

134. Common Merganser

135. Red-headed Woodpecker

DeLaurier Homestead- May 11, 2016

136. Peregrine Falcon

137. Black-capped Chickadee

138. Bald Eagle

139. Eastern Bluebird

140. Gray-cheeked Thrush

141. House Finch

Leamington Hotel and Rondeau Park – May 12, 2016

142. Osprey

143. Chimney Swift

144. Horned Lark

145. White-breasted Nuthatch

146. Pine Siskin

147. Pileated Woodpecker

148. Canada Warbler


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Looking for Warblers + Plus

Join us for an all-day Birding outing around the Westport area looking for Warblers and some others not often seen here.

Wednesday, May 25th

Schedule: 7:45 – 8:00 a.m.: Meet for parking and carpooling at Jim Atack’s home at 407 Shipman Drive in Almonte

Schedule for the day (times approximate)

9:20 am: Arrive at Wolfe Lake (looking for Rough-winged Swallows)

9:40 am: Arrive at start of Canoe Lake Road. In Fermoy (see details below)

10:15 am: Stop at Hahn Farm (Looking for Waterthrushes and Cerulean Warblers)

11:30 am: Stop at Desert Lake Cemetery (looking for Pine Warblers)

12:30 pm: Stop at the Cove Restaurant in Westport for Lunch

1:45 pm: On to Porter Road (see details below)

5:00 pm: Arrive back in Almonte

Registration: You must pre-register for this outing. Please register by noon on May 23rd so that reservations for lunch can be made. The trip is limited to 4 cars. To register, please phone Jim Atack at 613-461-0299 or email him at

Bring: binoculars, insect repellant, water, and snacks. There may or may not be stops where spotting scopes would be useful.


– quoted from page 256, A Nature Guide to Ontario:

Try this Birding route on an early morning in May or June. Eastern Bluebird, Red-shouldered Hawk, Cerulean Warbler, Indigo Bunting, and Louisiana waterthrushes are all possible sightings. At the northern tip of Canoe Lake, listen for the ascending notes of the Prairie Warbler (and also the melodies of the Black-throated Green and Black-throated Blue Warblers). Pine Warblers can usually be found at the Desert Lake Cemetery.

PORTER ROAD: This road goes through a large area of wetlands. Among many other birds, I have seen Bitterns, Wood Ducks, Teal and Yellow-bellied Flycatchers when birding in May along this route.

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