Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Black Caterpillar seen in December

MVFN Naturenotebook sighting: On December 10, 2015, Lise Balthazar of Lanark Highlands (Sheridan Rapids) wrote: “I spotted a large black caterpillar yesterday and took a picture.”

Ken Allison: It looks like a species of tiger moth caterpillar, a large group which includes the common Woolly Bear caterpillar.
Black caterpillar
photo by Lise Balthazar
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Recent Sighting for our Nature Notebook

On November 20, 2015,  from Lanark Highlands, Old Perth Rd between Tatlock and Ramsay Concession 3A:

“. . . a Red-winged blackbird in our yard by the feeders. It landed near
the feeder occupied by the resident blue jays, and then moved off into the
woods. Gone before the camera warmed up.”



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Very bright meteor seen

On Sunday, November 1 just as it was getting dark, I saw a very bright meteor that split into two pieces before breaking up after a couple of seconds.

I found a website to report it and saw that a number of people in the northeastern USA probably saw the same thing. The Taurid meteor shower has larger meteors but fewer of them than other meteor showers. They occur between Oct 20 and the end of Nov, with two peaks on November 5 and 12. Larger meteors are called fireballs.

Anita Payne

Note: seen near Black Lake area,  Lanark County


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Recent Sighting of Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins. October 29, 2015, Clayton Lake. “ Pine Siskins (5) feeding on the ground behind our house”. Seen by  Howard Robinson. Report sent in by Cliff Bennett.

To send in your recent sightings go to MVFN Nature Notebook.


It was good to study this bird again and check its differences between the female house finch. The pine siskin, a small and very streaked finch a little bigger than a chickadee, breeds all across Canada, in the boreal forest. Its nest, a cup made of grasses and twigs, is made anywhere from one to seven ft. above the ground and sometimes on the ground beside a small rock. The adults show yellow between their feathers. Single brooded, they raise 4-5 young ones each year. In winter, they come south and spread erratically all over the continent. An active species around your feeders, some years there are many counted on the Christmas Bird Counts and other times, there are none. Watch for them with the goldfinches and redpolls. The female house finch, also streaked but with now yellow, is an inch larger and is found mainly in built-up areas.

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