Monitoring our Environment
Manion Corners Butterfly Count
NOTE: This is an Ottawa Field Naturalists Club event, but MVFN members are invited to register and help out! This is an especially “Kid-Friendly” Event!
Date: Saturday July 8th 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date Sunday 9 July)
Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall
Meet: in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).
Please call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of in a 24 km diameter circle. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. No experience is necessary – we will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.
Pot-luck and Count-in: We plan to meet at 6:00 p.m. after the count for a compilation and potluck dinner at the Allisons’ home at 561 Wolf Grove Road, about 2.6 km west of Almonte. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can’t, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave. OFNC has generously offered to pay the count fees for participants to support publication of the data.
The butterfly count is an annual OFNC event. Working in groups or alone, participants patrol the same location – a 24-km diameter circle centred on Manion Corners. Data are submitted to the North American Butterfly Association.
Mississippi Lake Paddle and Invasive Plants Survey
Paddle the creeks and bays of Mississippi Lake while participating in a citizen science project. Working in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) and the Mississippi Lakes Association (MLA), we will take part in another Invasive Aquatic Plants Survey of Mississippi Lake.
Our aim is to canoe all seven creeks which flow into the lake, collect samples of five possible aquatic invasive species present and report back at the MVCA headquarters.
Date: Saturday, July 8 (rain date July 9)
Time: 8:30 AM – approx. 2:30 PM
Meet at: Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority headquarters, 10970 Highway 7, Carleton Place, for donuts and coffee, orientation session and reporting kits. Crews will be assigned to a specific creek area.
Bring: You will need the usual required canoe equipment, lunch, a pen or pencil, sunscreen etc
Pre-registration and alternate date: Please pre-register for this event with Cliff Bennett: 613-256 5013 or If you have a canoe and need a partner, or if you would like to partner with someone who has a canoe, call Cliff. In case of foul weather, the alternative date will be Sunday, July 9. For more information, please contact Cliff.
- 8:30 AM meet at MVCA for coffee and donuts (MLA has budget for this)
- Presentation on Invasive Species by MVCA specialists, information about how to fill out forms, etc.
- Handing out of kits, directions to paddling access points, etc.
- Leave between 9:15 and 9:30 AM
- Return to MVCA around 1:15- 1:30, have a late lunch (bring your own)
- Staff will sort through the results and do a quick summary presentation on results.
- End around 2:30 PM
- A comprehensive report will be written up and sent to all participants, and a copy will be published in Mississippi Belle Online
2017 Loon Lake Survey of Mississippi Lake
Observers are required for the 2017 Mississippi Lakes Loon Survey. This year MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, will again conduct a Bird Studies Canada “Canadian Lakes Loon Survey” for Mississippi Lake.
As a volunteer observer, you would be part of a team surveying an assigned region of the lake three times during the summer, once in each of the months of June, July and August. This is a good opportunity to get involved as a volunteer in some interesting and worthwhile citizen science on a local project.
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 for launch.You will need binoculars and sun screen.
Surveys are done during the last week of each month and take about two hours to complete. A motor boat and driver are provided for each team.
ORIENTATION SESSION FOR VOLUNTEERS: the orientation session for survey volunteers will take place Thursday, June 15, at 2:00 p.m. at the Mill of Kintail Gatehouse.
If you can help, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or
For results of last year’s Loon Survey of Mississippi Lake click here.
New Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App
There is an urgent need for volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones.
“The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The over-arching goal is to increase the collective knowledge base of reptiles and amphibians. Equally important, however, is the engagement of non-scientists of all ages and abilities, in all parts of the province, in nature study and conservation.
Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.”
It is very helpful to report sightings:
We need volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones. Just in time for spring, we’re proud to announce the launch of our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App!
The new App!
There are several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario with colour photos, descriptions and calls that can be used to help you identify your sightings. If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features! This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program. All illustrations provided are courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
MVFN Nature Notebook Recent Sighting and report:
My name is Lise Balthazar and I live in Lanark Highlands with my husband, Nat Capitanio. Every year, we have a large flock of Snow Buntings on our property; we feed them white millet. I had been in contact with the Snow Bunting Network, asking if they could send a bird bander to our property. Finally, on the week-end of February 11th, 2017, we had a veteran bird bander from the Waterloo area, Rick Ludkin and his wife, come to our property, along with a young apprentice from Montreal, Catherine Lavallée-Chouinard. We set up the traps, which are basically large cages on the ground with food in it; the birds make their way in to feed but can’t find their way out. As soon as several birds are trapped, time is of the essence. The birds are put into bags and brought to the banding station…which was our kitchen!!
Very quickly and expertly, Rick and Catherine pulled the birds out of the bags, measured them, determined the sex and age, checked the muscle mass and the fat and the weight. After all that, Rick would hand me each bird so that I could release it back into the wild. It was an exhilarating and emotional experience I will never forget.
We caught and banded a total of 89 Snow Buntings. We collected very important data which is sent to Canadian Wildlife Services. Snow Buntings are declining in numbers and the Snow Bunting Network is studying these beautiful little birds and their movements. They usually arrive in our area in December and leave at the beginning of March to go back to Groenland and Baffin Island to nest.
Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids