Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

by Iain Wilkes

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 Tuesday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) 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. Details for Christmas Bird Counts can be found on the Audubon website.

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2016 and January 5, 2017. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.”  Bird Studies Canada and our partners at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.  Last year, during the 2015 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 6700 birds and 46 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  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    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 Community Room upstairs at Mitchell’s Independent in Carleton Place on McNeely Avenue for the count-in as well as refreshments.

Best of the Season to All!

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GODDARD, Peter Gilling

“Pete”

Left us suddenly and too early with dignity and love, while walking the autumn trails of Shaw Woods with the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and his brother, Allan.

Third son of his late parents Elizabeth Anne Goddard (Macdonald) and Raymond Gilling Goddard of Smiths Falls. Survived by brothers John (Debbie), Allan, David (Nancy), sister Jennifer (Grant), Barbara (and husband) Kathy, nephews Graeme (Emily), Geoffrey, nieces Naomi (Andrew), Keenan Anne (Adam), friend Caroline and especially the twinkles in his eyes, Zoey Elizabeth and Winston Gilling.

Pete served with dedication the Boy Scouts of Canada for over 40 years in various capacities of teaching, instruction, leading and managing. He instructed and lead outdoor activities at the Bill Mason Center and recently retired from active outdoor field management and instructing with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. He was an active and caring member of the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa.

Dear Peter, so fondly missed by his loving family and so many friends and especially by brother Allan, room-mate, friend, brother.

In memory of Pete, please plant a tree, save one, contribute to his beliefs. He cared so much about the world in which we live.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 26 at 4:30 PM in First Unitarian Congregation, 30 Cleary Ave., Ottawa. Dress casual.

Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care of the C. R. GAMBLE FUNERAL HOME & CHAPEL 127 Church Street, Almonte, Ontario. (613)256-3313

Condolences & Tributes: www.crgamble.com

goddard-peter-in-canoe-2-420x420

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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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updated Jan 4, 2016

The theme for this season of MVFN nature talks/presentations is Naturally Special Places. We have a wonderful group of guest speakers for these presentations. All presentations take place at 7:30 pm at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte:

NOTE: featured image of gray tree frog on cardinal flower is by our March speaker, Grant Dobson, President of Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre, one of our featured Naturally Special Places.

September 17

Sparrows, Warblers and Hawks, OH MY! Taking a Peep at the Wild Bird Centre, Patty McLaughlin, Wild Bird Care Centre

October 15

What’s Happening Down in the Pasture?  Pesticides and Pollinators, Dr. James Coupland, FarmForest Research

November 19

On Guard for Nature: Ontario Nature’s Fight to Uphold the Endangered Species Act,  Dr. Anne Bell, Ontario Nature

January 21,  2016

Exploring the Soundscapes of Naturally Special Places, Chad Clifford, Wilderness Rhythms

February 18

Purdon: Uniquely Natural, Shannon Gutoskie, Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority

March  17

Shaw Woods: A Diverse Ecological Gem, Grant Dobson, President, Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre

April 21

Wild Life Journals, Members Night 

Grant Dobson (1280x899)

photo by Grant Dobson, Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre

 

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Discovery of orchid species in Burnt Lands Provincial Park

Ontario Parks: “Burnt Lands Provincial Park contains an extensive alvar ecosystem supporting a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are provincially or regionally rare. Surrounding and interspersed among the open habitats are areas of cedar, white spruce, balsam fir and poplar forest which support a distinct array of plants in the undergrowth.”

Alvar

The Great Plains Ladies’-tresses, Spiranthes magnicamporum Sheviak, is an orchid that occurs in the North American Great Plains from extreme southeastern Manitoba to central Texas.  In 2011, it was found 150 km farther east, in the Carden Alvar in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

On 18 September 2013, this species was discovered in the Burnt Lands Provincial Park near Ottawa, Ontario. The publicly owned lands within this area, which straddles the boundary between Lanark County and the City of Ottawa, comprise the Burnt Lands Provincial Park (Nature Reserve).

The findings were described in a 2013 publication in The Candian Field-Naturalist 127(4):348-351 written by Joyce M. Reddoch, Paul M. Catling, and Allan H. Reddoch.

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