Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

The following account of the open house day was written by Michel Gauthier

Nine nature enthusiasts showed up at the Almonte Lagoon observation tower on Wednesday to participate in the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Birding Open House. They came from Almonte, Ottawa, and Perth. Club members Ken Allison and Michel Gauthier were on hand to help them identify the different species.

Although the event started at three o’clock sharp, someone forgot to tell the birds: the picking was proverbially slim. Our birders, always the optimists, remained glued to their scope and binoculars. Other than for the ever-present Canada geese and mallards, the great majority of expected bird species for this time of the year refused to make an appearance. The birders persisted, as you can see in the following picture of (from left to right) Frank Campbell, Ronald Vandebeek, and Sheryl-Elaine Grazeau.

At approximately four o’clock, other birds began to fly in. So many, in fact, that by the end of the event at 5 o’clock, our participants had identified 30 species, among them the blue-winged teals in the photo below. Persistence paid off and turned a so-so birding day into a successful one.

Following is a list of the birds identified:

Species Count
Canada Goose 64
Wood Duck 9
Blue-winged Teal 25
Mallard 5
Green-winged Teal 6
Hooded Merganser 5
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Great Blue Heron 1
Turkey Vulture 2
Bald Eagle 2
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Solitary Sandpiper 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 1
Ring-billed Gull 40
Mourning Dove 1
Chimney Swift 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Red-eyed Vireo 1
Blue Jay 8
American Crow 3
Common Raven 2
Barn Swallow 4
Black-capped Chickadee 2
Gray Catbird 1
Cedar Waxwing 20
Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
Song Sparrow 3
Baltimore Oriole 1
Red-winged Blackbird 11
American Goldfinch 4

 

Invitation to the next open house:

The Mississippi Field Naturalists invite you to the next Birding Open House at the Lagoon, which will take place on Sept 13, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. To get there from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Conc.  8 across the road from, and just past, the cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

 

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NOTE: The following report was written by Ken Allison

On Wednesday, August 30, 2017, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) held the second of four planned birding open houses at the Almonte Lagoon. Ken Allison and Michel Gauthier were the expert birders on hand to answer questions and show visitors the birds that were present. Thirty-one species of birds were identified during the event. This was the same number of species as last week, although only 21 species were seen at both open house events.

On August 30, the number of water birds was rather low. There is no shorebird habitat at the lagoons and all the ducks are still local breeders. There was actually a single shorebird this week, a Lesser Yellowlegs, although it provided only very distant views.

The woodland birds provided much of the entertainment this week, especially flycatchers. There were several Eastern Wood-Pewees that were very cooperative over most of the 2 hours we were there as they fed continuously. See the accompanying photo taken by Michel Gauthier. For a few minutes, we could directly compare a Wood-Pewee with a (probable) Least Flycatcher. Fall Empidonax flycatchers are very difficult as they do not usually vocalize to provide the most important identification field mark! Based on appearance and habitat, we felt that this was a Least Flycatcher. A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher was also seen briefly several times over the afternoon. There were many Cedar Waxwings fly-catching over the water, accompanied by small numbers of Barn and Tree Swallows. Five bright yellow Bobolinks are still roosting in the cattails beside the lagoon, down from the 20 we had last week, so they will probably soon be gone. They skulk much of the time, so listen for the metallic calls.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists invite you to walk in and view the multitude of birds between 3 and 5 PM on Sept 6, and Sept 13 for the remaining two open houses.  A field naturalist with a spotting scope will be at the tower to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to study the different species. Visitors to the tower who own binoculars are encouraged to bring them.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville. About 2 km out of Almonte, turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Concession 8 across the road from the cemetery and is marked by a small yellow sign. Full details at this link.

Here is a list of the bird species that were seen on August 30:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Mallard
American Black Duck
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Lesser Yellowlegs
Rock Pigeon
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Song Sparrow
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
American Goldfinch

 

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Each summer/autumn, tens of thousands of shorebirds migrate through our area from their breeding grounds in the high Arctic.  Hundreds stop off to rest and feed at the Almonte Lagoons (behind the waste water treatment plant on Wolf Grove Road near Almonte).

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) maintain an observation tower, the Al Potvin Observation Tower, overlooking the lagoon, and a trail into the tower. For fifteen years, birders from all over the Province and beyond have made this prime shorebird location an important viewing spots. The 200 m trail in to the tower also may feature many fall warbler, sparrow and other species.

On four consecutive Wednesdays in August and September, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists invite you to walk in and view the multitude of shore birds between 3 and 5 PM. An expert birder with a spotting scope will be at the tower to talk about the birds and to provide the opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds present.

On August 23 between 3 and 5 pm the first birding open house at the Almonte Lagoons Al Potvin Observation Tower will take place. Visitors to the tower are encouraged to bring binoculars (and a spotting scope if you have one). Birder Ken Allison will be present with a spotting scope.

Open houses, all between 3 and 5 pm will also take place on August 30, September 6, September 13.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Conc. 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trailhead. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Conc.  8 across the road from, and just past, the cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

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Birding Open Houses at Almonte Lagoons Observation Tower

Each autumn, tens of thousands of shorebirds migrate through our area from their nesting grounds in the high Arctic. Hundreds stop off to feed and refuel at the Almonte Lagoons behind the waste water treatment plant on Wolf Grove Road near Almonte.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) have built and maintained an observation tower overlooking the lagoon, and a trail into the tower. For fifteen years, birders from all over the Province and beyond have made this prime location, for shorebirds and other species, one of their important viewing spots. The 200 m trail in to the tower also holds many fall warbler and sparrow species.

On four consecutive Wednesdays, September 7, 14, 21, and 28, the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist’s Birding Committee invites you to walk in between 3 P.M. and 5 P.M and view the multitude of shore birds .

On each of these occasions, you will be greeted at the trail start by an MVFN member, who will point out directions to the tower. An expert birder with a spotting scope will be on the tower and will give all who attend an opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds and tell a bit about them. Birding experts will include Mike Jaques, Sept. 7; Ken Allison, Sept. 14 and 21; and Ray Holland, Sept. 28.

Directions to the trail and tower: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Concession 8 at the Auld Kirk church and cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m to the trail head. The trail entrance is on Ramsay Concession  8, across the road from, and just past, the cemetery. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.

For further information contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or

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Reminder of birding open houses at Almonte Lagoons

Every autumn, tens of thousands of shorebirds migrate through our area from nesting grounds in the high Arctic. Hundreds stop off to feed and ‘refuel’ at the Almonte Lagoons area behind the water treatment plant on Wolf Grove Road.

MVFN’s Birding Committee invites you to attend one of four birding open houses at the Almonte lagoons observation tower. MVFN built and continue to maintain an observation tower which overlooks the lagoons, as well as a short trail into the tower off Ramsay Concession 8. For fifteen years now, birders from all over the Province and beyond have made this location, a prime viewing spot for shorebirds and other species. While walking the short 200 m trail into the tower one can also see many fall warbler and sparrow species.

Photo 1 Almonte lagoons open house 2015 (1280x1023)Juvenile spotted sandpiper, one of the many shorebird migrants which may be seen at the Almonte lagoons at this time of the year. Photo by Howard Robinson

The open houses will take place from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on 4 consecutive Wednesdays: September 16, September 23, September 30, and October 7, 2015. Walk in and view a multitude of shore birds in migration. On each of these occasions, you will be greeted at the trail start by an MVFN member, who will point out directions to the tower.An expert birder with spotting scope will be on site at the tower to give all who attend an opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds and a bit about them. Birding experts will include Ray Holland (Sept 16), Ken Allison (September 23 and Oct 7) and Mike Jaques (Sept 30).

Directions to the tower:From Almonte, take County Rd 16 (Wolf Grove Road) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn right (north) onto Ramsay Concession 8 at the Auld Kirk Church and Cemetery. Trail entrance is on Ramsay Concession 8, across the road from Auld Kirk Cemetery.

For further information please call or email Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or

 

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