Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Birds on MVFN Point Pelee trip 2016

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

Looking for the heard Virginia Rail. photo Howard Robinson

Looking for the heard Virginia Rail. photo Howard Robinson

Caspian Terns, Ring billedGulls, Dunlin. photo Howard Robinson

Caspian Terns, Ring-billed Gulls, Dunlin. photo Howard Robinson

Boardwalk at deLaurier homestead. photo by Howard Robinson

Boardwalk at DeLaurier homestead. photo by Howard Robinson

Barn Swallows. photo Howard Robinson

Barn Swallows. photo Howard Robinson

Baltimore Oriole. Photo Howard Robinson

Baltimore Oriole. Photo Howard Robinson

Well out from Pelee. photo Howard Robinson

Well out from Pelee. photo Howard Robinson

Dunlin at Hillman Marsh. photo Howard Robinson

Dunlin at Hillman Marsh. photo Howard Robinson

Ruddy Ducks photo Peter Blancher

Ruddy Ducks photo Peter Blancher

Red-breasted Mergansers, Lake Erie photo Peter Blancher

Red-breasted Mergansers, Lake Erie photo Peter Blancher

Mute Swan, Hillman Marsh photo Peter Blancher

Mute Swan, Hillman Marsh photo Peter Blancher

photo Wendy Moenig

photo Wendy Moenig

photo Wendy Moenig

photo Wendy Moenig

Red-headed Woodpecker, Cactus Field, photo Peter Anderson

Red-headed Woodpecker, Cactus Field, photo Peter Anderson

Great Horned Owl, chicks, Woodland Trail, photo Peter Anderson

Great Horned Owl, chicks, Woodland Trail, photo Peter Anderson

Palm Warbler, photo Pam Hickman

Palm Warbler, photo Pam Hickman

Blackburnian Warbler, photo Pam Hickman

Blackburnian Warbler, photo Pam Hickman

Breakfast group. photo Wendy Moenig

Breakfast group. photo Wendy Moenig


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


Continue reading...

Looking for Warblers + Plus

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.

Continue reading...

2016 Waterfowl Migration Presqu’ile

The 2016 Waterfowl Migration at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

During the spring migration, tens of thousands of swans, geese and ducks stop in the sheltered areas of Presqu’ile Provincial Park to rest and feed before moving on to nesting grounds further north and west.  Eight MVFN birders set out early on Saturday morning, March 19, 2016 to Presqu’ile Provincial Park to experience the annual waterfowl migration.  Our leader, Cliff Bennett, set a goal of 45 species, but some of us looked rather dubiously around Lanark County with its patchy snow and frozen lakes thinking that this time he really has set the bar too high.

When we arrived in Presqui’ile Park, however, we found it bright and sunny with the ice all but melted and the snow gone.   While this made for a warmer day down on Lake Ontario than on previous MVFN trips, the birding for waterfowl was more challenging as they were far out in the bay areas.  The spotting scopes were very useful for good sightings.

The Park was busier this year than on previous trips too, since it was the 40th Anniversary of Presqu’ile’s Waterfowl Weekend.  This event is hosted by the Park’s staff and the Friends of Presqu’ile Provincial Park volunteers who had set up feeders for the land birds and spotting scopes at prominent viewing stations.  They kindly provided information on what birds could be seen for novice birders and the children.

One memorable favourite was to see the Long-tailed Ducks.  This particular duck usually bypasses the Ottawa region as it migrates to Northern Canada and the Arctic.  Another exceptional sighting was thousands of ducks (mainly redheads) taking to the skies as we watched in awe. Closer to the shores were many Mute Swans gracefully swimming and preening themselves for a photo.  On the island from Owen Point we were delighted to see a Snowy Owl and a Great Black-backed Gull among the many hundreds of other birds.

IMG_5807 Mary and Anita inside a blind

Mary Robinson and Anita Payne in a bird blind. Photo by Howard Robinson.

At the end of the day, our group tally for the number of species seen in the Park and en route included 46 species.  So we even managed to surpass Cliff’s goal, thanks to the sharp eyes of the expert birders in our group.  The list of species seen on the day follows.  Afterwards, Pete Blancher reported that only one bird was flagged by eBird as seasonally rare – and that was the Double-crested Cormorant which was apparently about a week early for the area.

L-R: David Hinks, Mary and Howard Robinson, Cliff Bennett, Brenda Boyd, Anita Payne, Linda McCormick and Peter Blancher. Photo Howard Robinson

L-R: David Hinks, Mary and Howard Robinson, Cliff Bennett, Brenda Boyd, Anita Payne, Linda McCormick and Peter Blancher

Species Seen En Route and at Presqu’ile Provincial Park

  1. American Crow
  2. European Starling
  3. Canada Goose
  4. American Robin
  5. Red-winged Blackbird
  6. Rock Pigeon
  7. American Tree Sparrow
  8. Blue Jay
  9. Northern Cardinal
  10. Wild Turkey
  11. Ring-billed Gull
  12. Red-Tailed Hawk
  13. Bald Eagle
  14. Common Goldeneye
  15. Mallard
  16. Common Raven
  17. Mourning Dove
  18. Common Grackle
  19. Turkey Vulture
  20. Black-capped Chickadee
  21. American Wigeon
  22. Redhead
  23. Bufflehead
  24. Ring-necked Duck
  25. Mute Swan
  26. Downy Woodpecker
  27. Pied-billed Grebe
  28. Common Merganser
  29. Long-tailed Duck
  30. Herring Gull
  31. Song Sparrow
  32. White-breasted Nuthatch
  33. House Sparrow
  34. House Finch
  35. American Goldfinch
  36. Canvasback
  37. Greater Scaup
  38. Brown Creeper
  39. Hairy Woodpecker
  40. Snowy Owl
  41. Greater Black-backed Gull
  42. American Black Duck
  43. Double-crested Cormorant
  44. Cooper’s Hawk
  45. Sharp-shinned Hawk
  46. American Kestrel

– submitted by Howard and Mary Robinson


Continue reading...

Four birding open houses at Almonte Lagoons start Wednesday September 16

Reminder of birding open houses at Almonte Lagoons

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

MVFN’s Birding Committee invites you to attend one of four birding open houses at the Almonte lagoons observation tower. MVFN built and continue to maintain an observation tower which overlooks the lagoons, as well as a short trail into the tower off Ramsay Concession 8. For fifteen years now, birders from all over the Province and beyond have made this location, a prime viewing spot for shorebirds and other species. While walking the short 200 m trail into the tower one can also see many fall warbler and sparrow species.

Photo 1 Almonte lagoons open house 2015 (1280x1023)Juvenile spotted sandpiper, one of the many shorebird migrants which may be seen at the Almonte lagoons at this time of the year. Photo by Howard Robinson

The open houses will take place from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on 4 consecutive Wednesdays: September 16, September 23, September 30, and October 7, 2015. Walk in and view a multitude of shore birds in migration. 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 spotting scope will be on site at the tower to give all who attend an opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds and a bit about them. Birding experts will include Ray Holland (Sept 16), Ken Allison (September 23 and Oct 7) and Mike Jaques (Sept 30).

Directions to the tower:From Almonte, take County Rd 16 (Wolf Grove Road) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn right (north) onto Ramsay Concession 8 at the Auld Kirk Church and Cemetery. Trail entrance is on Ramsay Concession 8, across the road from Auld Kirk Cemetery.

For further information please call or email Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or


Continue reading...