Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 (originally scheduled for Feb 21; postponed due to icy paths)

Our winter walk will be a slow-paced ramble, led by Ken Allison, through the typical forested Canadian Shield habitat of the Wolf Grove area near Almonte.

Ken is past president of both MVFN and the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club. A graduate of University of Guelph with a B. Sc. in Wildlife Biology, Ken been interested in the natural world since as far back as he can remember. He is interested in almost everything, so as he likes to say, he is a lousy specialist. He has been a serious birder for over 50 years. In 2012, Ken and his wife built their dream home in the woods on the granite rock of Lanark County where they share their property with the local fauna and flora.

Description of the walk: The walk will be a slow-paced ramble through typical forested Canadian Shield habitat. There are forests, beaver ponds and bird feeders, so there is usually a good mix of birds. The focus will be on birds, but we will stop and enjoy any natural history object we come across. Children who can walk a couple of kilometres are welcome to participate. When we’re all cold enough, we can go back to the house for a hot drink. Feel free to bring a bag lunch if you’d like to eat while you warm up and watch the bird feeders.

Time: 9:00 AM to 12 noon

Location and directions: The walk will be at the Allison property at 561 Wolf Grove Road, about 2 km southwest of Almonte. This is on the south side of Wolf Grove Road, about a km beyond the intersection with Concession 8 (i.e. at Auld Kirk).

Difficulty: This outing should be quite easy for anyone without mobility issues. There are some hills, and in February the trails will be well-trodden snow.

Cost: no cost

Parking: There is parking near the house and a good spot to turn around.

Bring: Warm clothing (in layers), good snow boots, binoculars if you have them and a bag lunch if you choose.

Pre-Registration: This outing will be limited to 12 people. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, or for more information, please contact Gretta Bradley at .  Gretta will email registrants in the case of inclement weather.

 

 

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Wednesday October 25, 2017

250 Almonte St., Almonte, Ontario

The display specimens at Canada’s first municipal geoheritage park, in Almonte, Ontario, collectively illustrate many of the features that allow geologists to unravel Earth’s remarkable geological history.  “Reading the rocks” with Neil Carleton, on our visit to Almonte’s Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, will take us on a journey far back in time to colliding continents, towering mountains, tropical ocean depths, and a landscape locked in ice.

Reading the rocks

Neil, a geologist, naturalist and well-known retired educator, is one of the founding members of MVFN.

Take home a sample of genuine Canadian Shield schist.  If your camera phone has an app for scanning QR codes, be sure to bring it along.

Time: 10 AM to noon

Location and directions: the entrance to Metcalfe Geoheritage Park, at 250 Almonte Street, is at the bottom of “Bay Hill” below the lower falls in Almonte. From Hwy 29: turn left onto Almonte St. at the lights (if approaching from Pakenham) or right (if approaching from Carleton Place direction) and proceed down the hill (the geoheritage park is on the left on the river side); if coming from downtown Almonte via Mill Street, turn left from Mill Street onto Almonte Street and follow along a short distance downhill to the Almonte Geoheritage Park on the right.

Difficulty: Easy, even ground, cement walkway; less than 0.5 km of walking; bench available on site and picnic tables nearby, but there will be significant standing; wheel chair accessible.

Cost: no cost

Parking: there is free parking on-site and across the road.

Facilities: there is a washroom on-site at the opposite end of the park closer to the hydro station and another reached via a short walk downtown to the Heritage Mall. There are also picnic tables.

Bring: protection from the sun and inclement weather, drinking water, and a camera.

Pre-Registration: pre-registration is required. To pre-register, or for more information, please contact Gretta Bradley at

 

 

Almonte's Metcalfe Geoheritage Park photo P. Donaldson (1280x591)

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MMLT

Festival of the Wild Child

High Lonesome Nature Reserve

July 29th and 30th

Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 29 & 30, the “Wild Child” festival is offered by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) to give children and their families an opportunity to use all their senses to explore and experience nature.

MMLT is seeking volunteers passionate about nature to interact with the visitors at one of the “stations”: exploring life in the pond, finding and identifying rocks and fossils, wandering through the enchanting Stone Wall Arboretum, investigating the secrets of the soil under your feet, creating at the creativity station, or learning bush craft.  The volunteers need not be experts, only eager to help the lead of the station open windows into the many wonders of Nature, with interesting relevant information and tidbits provided as background for each station.

The Soundscaping station provides a special opportunity for anyone interested in the technology for audio interpretation of the natural world.  In addition to assisting and explaining the technology, Chad Clifford would train volunteers to operate the soundscaping equipment.

There are 4 volunteer time slots for each station:

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Saturday, July 29

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Saturday, July 29

10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Sunday, July 30

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Sunday, July 30

If you wish to sign up for both time periods one day, please bring a lunch. We are seeking more than one volunteer at each site to support the lead.

To volunteer, please contact Mary Vandenhoff at or 1-613-278-2939. For further details, or to discuss station activities, the contact information for the lead person at each station is provided below.

Activity Stations at the MMLT “Festival of the Wild Child” July 29th and 30th

Welcome Centre:  Registration, explanation of festival program (morning time slot for this station starts at 9:30 AM)  ()

Beaver Pond, adjacent meadow:  Creativity Station, activities such as leaf and bark rubbings, etc.  Help Jacquie Christiani () with these or suggest other fun nature activities for little hands.

Tranquility Pond:  pond life; learn about beaver (they have just moved in to this pond).  Help Chris Baburek () catch and examine frogs, salamanders, leeches; some info on pond life and on the beaver (look at stumps where trees were recently chewed down by beavers).  At least two volunteers needed for each time slot.

Rockery at Spooky Marsh:  Assist Moses Goldenberg () and Deb Shea, looking for and identifying rocks; explanation of geology of area (granite/marble).  Scope for also discussing trees.

Stone Wall Arboretum:  Assist Anne Cameron ( ) with the identification of trees & shrubs; interesting tidbits about each.  Some explanation of the stone wall and why the settlers made it.

Joel’s Pond:  Soundscaping and tree identification; opportunity to be trained to work with soundscaping expert Chad Clifford ( )

Read about the event and directions to High Lonesome in the Pakenham Hills on the MMLT website at https://mmlt.ca/event/festival-of-the-wild-child-june-29-30/

 

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On this morning visit to the Blakeney Rapids,  we will look for the endangered Rapids Clubtail dragonfly which has an isolated population on this stretch of the Mississippi River. We will also be looking at other dragonflies and damselflies. We also hope to spend some time looking at butterflies to help people prepare for the Manion Corners Butterfly Count coming up on July 8.

Meet at the parking area for the Blakeney Rapids Park, just west of the Blakeney Road bridge over the Mississippi River, on Saturday, June 17 th at 9:30 am. We’ll probably finish up around noon.

This is an area with good trails but it is rocky and some of the trails are a bit rough for someone with mobility restrictions. We’ll be walking less than 2 km.

For further information contact Ken Allison 613-256-4283

Pre-registration: Please pre-register for this event by contacting Ken Allison at  or call 256-4283

Bring: Water, insect repellent, sun protection, hat, binoculars, camera, and field guides. There is long grass here. Protect yourself from ticks. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirts and tuck your pants into your socks.

Directions: From Almonte travel north west along Martin Street North (Milano’s Pizza is on the corner, runs past the high school) for about 5.5 km.  Turn left at the stop sign and follow Blakeney Road and follow through the village until you cross the bridge over the Mississippi River. Immediately after the bridge turn right into the parking lot.

Facilities: Parking is free and there are no admission costs or donation boxes. There is a picnic table at the site, but no washrooms, stores, or restaurants. Valuables should be locked out of sight in your car or carried with you.

 

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May 13, 2017

Ken Allison

Five brave souls met at 7 AM at the Allison property on Wolf Grove Road.  There had been some rain during the night, but when we headed out the clouds were broken by small patches of blue sky. By about 9:30 it had started to rain so we went inside to warm up with a cup of tea while watching birds at the feeders.

There had been some bird migration overnight, but the number of spring migrants was still not up to normal levels. Most of the warblers were either very high up or singing in hemlock trees which made getting good views challenging. Seven species or warblers were eventually recorded, although we had good views of only Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green and Orange-crowned. The last species was probably the highlight of the trip, although we did have great looks at Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over carrying its breakfast in its talons and Spotted Sandpiper, Red-eyed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler and Northern Oriole were new for the year at our location. In the past 5 years, 102 species have been recorded at the Allison property and we found almost half of those during our walk this morning.

Early spring wildflowers were at their peak, but many were not fully open due to the damp weather.  We did see many white and red trilliums, spring beauties and trout lilies and were able to compare Dutchman’s-breeches and Squirrel Corn with adjacent clumps.

Photos and a complete bird list for the outing are included below.

Canada Goose
Mallard
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Spotted Sandpiper
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Ovenbird
Black-and-White Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch

 

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