Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MVFN Nature Notebook

Bluebirds are back, several local reports from early April are recorded here


On April 2, 2017 Eastern Bluebirds were seen by Howard and Mary Robinson:  “our Eastern Bluebirds are back on this bright Spring day.  Hope everyone has their MVFN bluebird boxes installed and/or cleaned out from last year.  We also saw and heard our first Eastern Pheobe of the season today.”

One pair of Eastern Bluebirds were checking out an MVFN nesting box.

Below are some of the fantastic photos sent in by Howard and also some from Lise Balthazar and Nat Capitanio in Sheridan Rapids.



Sheridan Rapids

Lise Balthazar reported on April 14th that “a pair of Eastern Bluebirds has been flying around our nesting boxes all week.” Lise sent in some photos taken by her husband Nat Capitanio.


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MVFN Nature Notebook: Trumpeter Swans, Otters, Clayton Lake

Recent Sighting received March 31st, 2017 from Howard and Mary Robinson:

“We had more bird species around Clayton again on Thursday March 30th. There was a pair of Trumpeter Swans and several pairs of geese near the dam in Clayton. A pair of Otters fishing and eating on the ice with the birds being entertained. There is not much open water on the lake so this wildlife is visible near the dam.

A Red Shouldered hawk returned to the area and we saw our first Turkey Vulture of season in our the area flying at our property.”

The Robinson’s have sent in some very stunning photos! Thank you.

IMG_3604A Otter and Canada Geese - Clayton Village


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MVFN Nature Notebook Sighting

Sighting received March 20, 2017

Bohemian Waxwings

On the evening of March 19th Lise Balthazar reports:  “. . .  during our walk on Iron Mine Road, we spotted a group of about 20 Bohemian Waxings having a feast in a fruit tree. My husband Nat Capitanio was able to get several good pictures.”

BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS MARCH 19 2017 (1280x719)BOHEMIAN WAXWING MARCH 19 2017 (2) (1280x719)BOHEMIAN WAXWING MARCH 19 2017 (5) (719x1280)BOHEMIAN WAXWING MARCH 19 2017 (10) (719x1280)BOHEMIAN WAXWING MARCH 19 2017 (1280x719)

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MVFN Nature Notebook Recent Sighting and report: 

“We also had a very exciting experience last week-end. A bird bander came to our property to band the Snow Buntings. I had been in contact with the Snow Bunting Network for several years, pleading for them to send a bird bander to my place! There are several banding stations in Quebec, along the St Lawrence, and also around the Great Lakes, but nothing in between. My location is perfect, right in the middle!
Finally, Rick Ludkin, a veteran bird bander, came with his wife and a young apprentice and we caught and banded 89 Snow Buntings! It was an experience I will never forget. As an avid birder, I always wanted to observe a bird banding session, but never in my wildest dreams did I think it would happen right in my kitchen!!” 
Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids
Banding of the Lanark Snow Buntings:

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

The team at work in the kitchen.

Snow bunting banding release 2



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 MVFN Nature Notebook: Juvenile Bald Eagle

Recent sighting received February 17, 2017:

Lise Balthazar, Sheridan Rapids:

We’ve been seeing a Juvenile Bald Eagle flying around in the area lately, and this morning I spotted him, perched in a tree. I managed to take a few pictures before he flew away.”

Thank you Lise for these excellent photos of the bird!



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