Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

A report of the Apr 25, 2018 Early Morning Birding walk, by Tim Pullen 

It was a lowering grey sky that covered us as we gathered at the Carleton Place Arena for our final Early Morning Bird Walk of the season. Thirteen hardy souls gathered together with happy smiles and pleasant chatter as we shook ourselves out into a parade to walk along the Mississippi Riverwalk Trail.

The slow drizzle didn’t dampen our spirits, but it also did not help extend our list of birds. This was really the first April shower day of the year, and the late spring has meant many of our expected birds were missing.

The group was lucky to see one of the earliest female red-winged blackbirds amongst the many busy and noisy males who were starting to stake out territories for the coming season.

We also saw several yellow-rumped warblers flitting through the very tops of the trees over the boardwalk, giving us all a chance to practice our ‘warbler neck’ exercises in preparation for the coming invasion. The bird of the morning was a rusty blackbird. He still had some rusty edges to his feathers, but quickly moved across the swamp and into the trees at the edge of the river. He was a first for this location, but hopefully not the last.

The regular denizens of the forest and open fields were present, robins, nuthatches, chickadees, as well as a few remaining water birds. A pair of swallows, one tree and one barn, gave us a beautiful example of the difference between these two, with the long swallowtail of the barn swallow clearly marking the difference.

 

The drizzle never really stopped, but we did manage to record 26 different species, and when you look at the list you will see the mix of birds that make this such a good location for birding, with the different habitats all nicely joined by a good trail. It was a wet walk but enjoyed by all.

 

Following is a list of birds recorded during our outing:

 

Canada Goose  2

Mallard  3

Bufflehead  10

Common Goldeneye  10

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  4

Mourning Dove  6

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  4

Downy Woodpecker  1

Hairy Woodpecker  1

Northern Flicker  2

Blue Jay  5

American Crow  4

Tree Swallow  1

Barn Swallow  1

Black-capped Chickadee  8

White-breasted Nuthatch  3

American Robin  12

European Starling  19

Yellow-rumped Warbler  5

Dark-eyed Junco  2

Song Sparrow  17

Northern Cardinal  9

Red-winged Blackbird  28

Rusty Blackbird  1

Common Grackle  17

American Goldfinch  8

Thank you to all who participated in our Early Morning Birding in 2018! Records of birds observed during these and other MVFN outings are submitted to e-bird by the MVFN Birding Committee.

NOTE: To search for other birding outing reports, use the “search by category” or “search by month” tool on the HOME page. 

 

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Report of the Apr 18, 2018 Early Morning Bird Walk, by Michel Gauthier 

In spite of the cold temperature and the threatening clouds, ten of us met at the corner of Wolf Grove Road and Lanark Concession 12C, eager to see as many birds as we could. After a few grumbles about the never-ending winter, we proceeded slowly down the lane, listening intently for bird songs and eyeing every tree and every shrub.


Slowly, ever so slowly, we began to record a few species, but the birds made themselves scarce. An hour later, we reached Taylor Lake, hoping to add many species of waterfowl to our dismal list. A thick blanket of ice over the lake smothered our hopes.

In the middle of the lake, a lone coyote was sniffing the ice, seemingly searching for a morsel of food. Eventually, it lifted its head, nothing in its mouth. It looked around for a few seconds, and then trudged away, looking dejected. For some reason, we understood his disappointment.

 

We turned our back to the lake and headed up the lane, still looking for birds. Near the end, the tally stood at a paltry eighteen, a sharp decline over last year’s twenty-nine.

Just before we reached the cars, the clouds shifted, and a patch of blue sky appeared above the road. Our spirits lifted. There is always next week!

Following is the list of birds recorded during the outing:

Canada Goose   2
Ruffed Grouse 1
Wild Turkey 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Northern Flicker 1
Blue Jay 6
American Crow  6
Common Raven  2
Black-capped Chickadee  9
Red-breasted Nuthatch  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  3
American Robin  3
Dark-eyed Junco  2
Song Sparrow  4
Northern Cardinal  1
Red-winged Blackbird  8
Common Grackle  8
American Goldfinch  2

We hope you will join us on our last Early Morning Bird Walk of the year, on Wednesday April 25, 2018. For details check this link:  2018 Early Morning Birding

Link to birds seen on the same walk last year!

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Report of the Apr 11, 2018 Early Morning Bird Walk,  by Howard Robinson 

Nineteen MVFN members showed up at 6 AM for the Apr 11th Early Morning Bird Walk at the Robinson’s property near Clayton, Mississippi Mills, Ontario.  The temperature was -5 degrees C and did not get above freezing for the duration of the walk. The weather was more like Winter than Spring

For a brief period, the group identified birds by ear. As light levels increased, the team was able to use eyes and binoculars.

Most of Clayton Lake was iced over and we had a safe walk down the lake to check for waterfowl nearer Clayton.

After more than two hours of birding and an interlude for refreshments, the numbers were tallied.  Only eighteen species of birds had been spotted or heard by the group. This was a lot lower than the 36 species counted last year during the same week. The colder weather is having its effect.

The Group List with the number of each species is as follows:

13 Canada Goose

2 Wood Duck

9 Mallard

4 Common Goldeneye

6 Wild Turkey

1 Downy Woodpecker

2 Hairy Woodpecker

1 Northern Flicker

2 Pileated Woodpecker

6 Blue Jay

9 American Crow

9 Black-capped Chickadee

2 Red-breasted Nuthatch

1 White-breasted Nuthatch

15 American Robin

8 Dark-eyed Junco

8 Song Sparrows

7 Common Grackle

 

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For all MVFN members and friends.  If the early bird gets the worm, then the early birder gets the birds!  From 6 AM to 8 AM on four Wednesdays in April.  Dress warmly. Bring binoculars and camera.

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

The details:

Wednesday, April 4:  Al Potvin’s Trail in Almonte

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

Leader is Cliff Bennett

Wednesday, April 11:  Clayton Lake

Meet at 6 AM at the start of the laneway at 2645 Tatlock Rd. (just before the village of Clayton).  Leaders will be Mary and Howard Robinson

Wednesday, April 18:

Meet at the trailhead corner of Lanark Concession 12 and Wolf Grove Road. Leader: Michel Gauthier

Wednesday, April 25:  Mississippi Riverwalk Trail, Carleton Place

Meet at the Carleton Place Arena, 75 Neelin St., CP at 6 AM.

Leader: Tim Pullen

Information: Cliff Bennett at  or 613-798-6295

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Note: follow this link for our next MVFN nature outing: Warblers and Spring Wildflowers on May 13

Eleven MVFN birders participated in the final Early Morning Bird Walk on April 26, 2017.  Morning dawned slightly grey and drizzly, which was just fine for seeing and hearing birds along the Mississippi Riverwalk Trail in Carleton Place.

We walked approximately 1.5 km out and the same distance back, being careful not to double count species or numbers while returning.  The most prevalent birds (over 20 sightings each) were the Red-winged Blackbirds and Canada Geese.  Harbingers of spring were the Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the Yellow-rumped Warbler along with glorious showings of spring flowers such as the Scilla flowers and Bloodroots.

All in all, it was a very fine conclusion for our April bird walks.  Below , in alphabetical order,  is the list of species seen or heard by the group.

1. American Crow
2. American Goldfinch
3. American Robin
4. Black-capped Chickadee
5. Blue Jay
6. Bufflehead
7. Canada Goose
8. Common Goldeneye
9. Common Grackle
10. Common Merganser
11. Common Raven
12. Dark-eyed Junco
13. Downy Woodpecker
14. Eastern Phoebe
15. European Starling
16. Hairy Woodpecker
17. Mallard
18. Mourning Dove
19. Northern Cardinal
20. Northern Flicker
21. Red-winged Blackbird
22. Ring-billed Gull
23. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
24. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
25. Song Sparrow
26. Turkey Vulture
27. White-breasted Nuthatch
28. White-throated Sparrow
29. Wood Duck
30. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
31. Yellow-rumped Warbler

– report by Mary Robinson

 

 

 

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