Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

What can you do to help turtles?

Drive Carefully, it is Turtle Time in Lanark County

Be a good citizen scientist. Report your sightings to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas.

The Midland Painted Turtle was recently listed as an at risk species STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN. According to Ontario Nature: “Reptiles, including painted turtles, account for a large portion of the animals killed on Ontario’s roadways each year. Nesting females are particularly vulnerable to road mortality because they lay their eggs in the soft roadside shoulders. Add to that the historical loss of more than 70 percent of southern Ontario’s wetlands and it is not hard to see why the midland painted turtle is now at risk.”

Of the 8 species of turtle native to Ontario, only 6 species are found in our area of Eastern Ontario, and of these, all are now listed by COSEWIC as at risk species, as are all of Ontario’s turtle species.

Recommended on-line resource for more details and photos for these species: Species Guide – Toronto Zoo

1. Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina): STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Snapping Turtle

2. Eastern Musk Turtle aka Stinkpot turtle (Sternotherus odorata): STATUS:  SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Eastern Musk or Stinkpot Turtle

3. Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica): STATUS:  SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Northern Map Turtle

4. Midland Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) Turtle STATUS: SPECIAL CONCERN Click here for more information about the Midland Painted turtle 

5. Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) : STATUS: THREATENED Click here for more information about the Blanding’s Turtle

6. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) : STATUS: ENDANGERED Click here for more information about the Spotted Turtle

 

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Here’s a chance to get involved in citizen science while out on the water!

MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, will once again conduct this year’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey on Mississippi Lake, for Bird Studies Canada.

The task involves pairs of volunteers making one, two or three visits by boat to a section of Mississippi Lake, searching for loons and recording the findings.

The three visits are during the last week of June, July and August. You can volunteer for one, two or all three of the monthly visits. Each visit lasts up to two hours. Maps and forms will be provided.

A motor boat and driver will be made available for each team. Each team will coordinate, with the boat driver, the preferred day, time, and location of the launch.

You will need binoculars and sunscreen.

Orientation session: To prepare for the survey work, an orientation meeting will be held at the Mill of Kintail Gatehouse on Wednesday, May 16 at 1:30 PM. Please register with Cliff Bennett at or 613-798-6295 by May 15.

For further information please contact Cliff.

NOTE: to read about the results of the 2016 Mississippi Lake Loon Survey click this link

NOTE: link here to 2017 Loon Lake Survey results

 

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Conducted by Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists members and Mississippi Lakes Association boat drivers.

Loon Count Numbers    2007   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2016    2017

Max number of adults       24       35      35       39        40         43       35        37

Max number mated prs.    10      12      11        12        13         12       17       18

Max.Number young           8        7        5          8           8          12       17        9

Actual chick survival                                                                               7         6

Summary Report

An orientation meeting was held at the MVCA Gatehouse in May, with 19 persons present.

Four teams of two, plus boat drivers, conducted surveys on four different sections of the lake, three times during the summer; end of June, end of July and end of August.

All sections of the lake recorded an average number of adults over the summer, but the maximum number of chicks counted was much lower than last year (17-9).

There were no chicks found in the Lower Lake.

Nine chicks in all were found in June; nine in July but only six were found surviving by the end of August (same as last year).

MVFN would like to do the count again next year.

Survey report submitted to Bird Studies Canada

Report submitted by Cliff Bennett    Compiler

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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 Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). The Carleton Place CBC will be held this year on Wednesday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN; one of three sponsored by MVFN, including the Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count and the Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count) 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.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2017 and January 5, 2018. “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 2016 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 6000 birds and 39 different species.

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.

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 Board Room on the first floor of the Carleton Place Arena at 75 Neelin St. in Carleton Place (corner of Neelin St. and Begley St.),  for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All!

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Enhance your enjoyment of winter and the Christmas season by participating in one, or two, or even three local Christmas Bird Counts which are part of the 2017 Audubon and Bird Studies Canada annual count. The data collected is vital for bird conservation research.

Saturday, December 16: Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count (includes Perth and Smiths Falls) 

Wednesday, December 27: Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (includes Almonte)

Saturday, December 30: Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

There are two ways you can participate as a “citizen scientist” and count birds within one of three count circles:

  • sign up to be part of a team to go out on a field count in one part of the count circle for the day

OR

  • register as a “feeder counter” and contribute to the feeder/yard count data– from the comfort of your own home!

The field teams and others get together after the day is finished, for the “count-in” to have their results tabulated and to socialize with each other.

You don’t need to be a birding expert – you will be matched up with knowledgeable birders if requested.  DO bring your own binoculars!

Contact information for the count coordinators for all three local counts sponsored by MVFN are as follows. Contact the count coordinators to sign up to participate, or for more information. You can read further details for each of the counts in the press releases posted here on the website.

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Register for a 2017 Christmas Bird Count

 

Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count (includes Perth and Smiths Falls), Saturday, December 16

To volunteer for a team or to monitor your own feeders for the Rideau Ferry Count, contact Count Coordinator Rosemary Anderson:  or 613-700-9233.

A “count-in” potluck will take place in Perth.

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count (includes Almonte), Wednesday, December 27

To volunteer for a CP count team, contact Count Coordinator Iain Wilkes:  or 613-250-0722.

To volunteer to monitor your own feeders/yard as part of the CP count, contact Georgina Doe:  613-257-2103.

The “count-in” will be held in the board room at the Carleton Place Arena.

Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count, Saturday, December 30

To volunteer for a team on the Lanark Highlands Count, contact Count Coordinator Marilyn Barnett: or 613-259-2269.

To volunteer to monitor your own feeders/yard as part of the Lanark Highlands Count, contact Marj Montgomery:  or 613-259-3078.

A “count-in” will take place at the Lanark Civitan Hall.

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