Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Recent Sightings

Golden Eagle seen December 6, 2010, Stump Lake

 At approx. 2:30 pm an immature Golden Eagle was sighted on the ice at Stump Lake, Lanark County. It appeared to be feeding on something, didn`t have the camera!

Randy Shirley

NOTE:  below you will find a recent sighting sent in by MVFN member Neil Carleton. Please send in your sightings and we will post them under Nature Notebook- Recent Sightings.

Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly spotted March 2nd in Almonte

 

This image is from Government of Canada, Canadian Biodiversity Facility Website

Spring seems to have arrived early this year. My wife, Lucy, a kindergarten teacher at Naismith Memorial Public School, in Almonte, was surprised to see a Compton Tortoiseshell butterfly flying around her car in the school parking lot on Tuesday afternoon, March 2nd. It was a bright sunny day and the temperature was up above freezing.

Tortiseshells, as well as Morning Cloak butterflies, overwinter as adults in protected places and will take flight on sunny, warmer days in early spring.

The earliest Lucy and I have ever seen a Tortoiseshell was on April 6, 2008, on the Brule Lake Road, north of the village of Plevna. We were surprised to see 9 of them that day soaking up the sun on the sand covered road. They flew up as we approached, so we stopped and pulled over for a closer look. Moving slowly, we were able to get quite close to observe them.

The Tortoiseshell Lucy saw last Tuesday flew right around her car, across the school parking lot, then disappeared over the big snow banks.

-Neil

sent by Neil Carleton, P.O. Box 1644, Almonte, Ontario, K0A 1A0

Friday a.m. at home
July 4, 2008

On Tuesday afternoon, July 1st, I saw my first Monarch butterfly of the year here at home in Almonte. While I was working outside in the late afternoon, it floated past my field of view and landed close by on a lower branch of one of our front yard maple trees. While I marvelled at the wonder of its migration, the Monarch sat in the sunshine for quite a while before lifting off and disappearing around the corner of the house.

Neil Carleton

Rare bird alert!

Black Headed GrossBeak (photographed by Andrew Keaveney of Toronto)Nov. 28/03 A first winter male BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK has been seen coming to a feeder in the Pakenham area for approximately one week — a first for Eastern Ontario! It was seen November 28, at around 3:30 pm. This bird is coming to a feeder at the property of Bob and Iris Jurmain and it is requested that anyone interested in seeing this bird please call ahead to arrange a visit. The phone number is 613-256-0160.

Updates from Bob and Iris Jurmain

Dec. 11/03 Our friend has not arrived at the feeder for 2 full days. Prior to that he often came when Evening Grosbeaks were at the feeder so perhaps he is hanging out with his new friends. The modifications to the feeder were quite successful. The heating pad between the boards and the SM made for a warm base and the heat lamp heated up the felt covered perch and seeds. The last time we saw him he was actually standing with both feet even though it was quite cold outside. The weather is supposed to turn cold again soon (what else is new?) and perhaps he will return. Until then, I am not encouraging anyone to visit our house. I’ll report as soon as he returns, if he does. The consensus among birders is that he is staying here for the winter but perhaps he is continuing on his mistaken direction.

Dec. 6/03 We’ve received about 70 birders so far, most from southern Ontario. I’m continually canvasing for ideas as to what we can do to help him survive and many good suggestions have been made. We have a heat lamp on the seeds, SM insulation under the feeder and tomorrow I will put felt on the perch and a heating pad between the SM and the boards. The main concern at this time is his feet which Mike Runtz told me was not adapted to this kind of cold. He is continually standing on one or another of his feet while feeding. While perched we can see he crouches down and covers his feet with feathers so it may not be a problem when he is away from the feeder.

We also discovered an Indian Meal Worm (moth) in our sunflower seeds after being warned to freeze our seeds before bringing them inside. This is a very invasive critter that we didn’t know about before. We are experiencing a steep learning curve with all these visitor-experts.

We had a little excitement today with a visiting Sharp-shinned Hawk (juvenile). With the extra feeding and goodies, we have had a slight increase of bird activity and hence someone else looking for a meal of another sort. I didn’t think bringing my .22 rifle out would go over too well with 10 birders watching and photographing but that’s what I felt like doing. Our grosbeak did not come to the feeder until later than usual and did not stay as long each time. Perhaps the hawk had been around all day and he was being a little cautious. The extra seeds are also been enjoyed by at least one deer at night. So far, everyone has seen the bird save one who came on the one day he didn’t show up.

About the Black-Headed Grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a resident of the American southwest and is a summer breeder in the lower interior and coastline of British Columbia. A bit larger than our summer rose-breasted grosbeak, the male’s head, back, neck and wings are black and the breast and around the neck is cinnamon brown. It has two white wing bars. The adult female looks like our female rose-breasted except the breast is buffy brown.The bird at the Jurmain’s feeder is a juvenile male, like the female but with a more cinnamon brown breast with fine streaking towards the belly. A key indicator is the beak, which is dark on the upper mandible and light on the lower.

The Jurmain bird is a record for this part of the continent.

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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