Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Help look for loons in the 2018 Mississippi Lake Loon Survey

Here’s a chance to get involved in citizen science while out on the water!

MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, will once again conduct this year’s Canadian Lakes Loon Survey on Mississippi Lake, for Bird Studies Canada.

The task involves pairs of volunteers making one, two or three visits by boat to a section of Mississippi Lake, searching for loons and recording the findings.

The three visits are during the last week of June, July and August. You can volunteer for one, two or all three of the monthly visits. Each visit lasts up to two hours. Maps and forms will be provided.

A motor boat and driver will be made available for each team. Each team will coordinate, with the boat driver, the preferred day, time, and location of the launch.

You will need binoculars and sunscreen.

Orientation session: To prepare for the survey work, an orientation meeting will be held at the Mill of Kintail Gatehouse on Wednesday, May 16 at 1:30 PM. Please register with Cliff Bennett at or 613-798-6295 by May 15.

For further information please contact Cliff.

NOTE: to read about the results of the 2016 Mississippi Lake Loon Survey click this link

NOTE: link here to 2017 Loon Lake Survey results

Loons return to Mississippi River, 2018. photo Nat Capitanio

Mated pair and chick. photo P. Donaldson


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Looking for Migrating Warblers ++

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Join MVFN for an all-day birding trip in the Westport area, looking for warblers and some other birds not often seen locally.


7:45 – 8:00 AM:  meet for parking and carpooling at Jim Atack’s, 407 Shipman Drive, Almonte

Morning birding: Stops at Wolfe Lake and along Canoe Lake Road, on the way to the Hahn Farm.  At the Hahn Farm we will walk in (1.6 km) to the cottage on a private lake.  We will eat our lunch there.

Afternoon: We will go to the other side of Westport to the Porter Road, which goes along a large area of wetlands.  On the way in there is a farm that has had a pair of Blue-gray gnatcatchers residing in an old barn for many years.  No pesticides have been used on the farm for over 50 years.

5:00 PM: arrive back in Almonte

Pre-registration: You must pre-register.  The trip is limited to four cars, so please register early with Jim Atack at:  or 613-461-0299.  If in doubt about the weather on Sunday, call Jim by 7:15 AM to confirm.

Bring: Binoculars, insect repellent, sunscreen, water, lunch and snacks.  There may or may not be stops where spotting scopes would be useful.

Golden-winged Warbler, photo Howard Robinson


Looking forward to seeing you on the trip!

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Presqu’ile Day Birding Trip

To all MVFN members and friends: Here’s an exciting birding event for you! 

Visit Presqu’ile Provincial Park for the Annual Waterfowl Migration

Experience thousands of waterfowl plus many land birds which gather in Presqu’ile Bay, and off the lighthouse point around the Park, getting ready to move inland and up North to breed.

Date:  Sunday, March 18, 2018

Time/Car-pooling: Almonte and area, meet at Union Hall for departure by 7:30 AM. Perth area meet at Glen Tay Public School for departure by 8:00 AM. We should be back home by about 6 PM

Bring: Lunch, hot beverage, gloves, binoculars, bird books and spotting scope, if you have one. Have extra warm clothes for cool, windy weather.

Cost:  There is a $10.00/vehicle park entrance fee.  Park passes will be honoured for entry.

Registration: You must pre-register for this event.  To register for this outing, or to get further information, please contact Cliff Bennett at   or 613-798-6295

In case of severe weather, the trip will be cancelled. If in doubt, please call Cliff before 7 AM to confirm.

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Warblers and Wildflowers in Wolf Grove

May 13, 2017

Ken Allison

Five brave souls met at 7 AM at the Allison property on Wolf Grove Road.  There had been some rain during the night, but when we headed out the clouds were broken by small patches of blue sky. By about 9:30 it had started to rain so we went inside to warm up with a cup of tea while watching birds at the feeders.

There had been some bird migration overnight, but the number of spring migrants was still not up to normal levels. Most of the warblers were either very high up or singing in hemlock trees which made getting good views challenging. Seven species or warblers were eventually recorded, although we had good views of only Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green and Orange-crowned. The last species was probably the highlight of the trip, although we did have great looks at Baltimore Orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over carrying its breakfast in its talons and Spotted Sandpiper, Red-eyed Vireo, Orange-crowned Warbler and Northern Oriole were new for the year at our location. In the past 5 years, 102 species have been recorded at the Allison property and we found almost half of those during our walk this morning.

Early spring wildflowers were at their peak, but many were not fully open due to the damp weather.  We did see many white and red trilliums, spring beauties and trout lilies and were able to compare Dutchman’s-breeches and Squirrel Corn with adjacent clumps.

Photos and a complete bird list for the outing are included below.

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Spotted Sandpiper
Mourning Dove
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
Least Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Winter Wren
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Black-and-White Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Purple Finch
American Goldfinch

Red Trillium photo Ken Allison

Red Trillium   photo Ken Allison

Warblers and wildflowers watchers on Wolf Grove

Warblers and wildflowers watchers on Wolf Grove. photo Blanche Gauthier

Northern White Violet. photo Ken Allison

Northern White Violet    photo Ken Allison

Goose on Wolf Grove pond. photo Michel Gauthier

Geese on Wolf Grove pond     photo Michel Gauthier


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2017 Birding Trip to Presqu’ile Provincial Park

by Mary Robinson

Even though the forecast was bleak and calling for weather “good for ducks”, nine avid MVFN birders set out early Saturday morning, March 25, 2017 to Presqu’ile Provincial Park for the annual Waterfowl Weekend.  Fortunately, the late forecast changed, and except for a brief drizzle the weather cooperated wonderfully.

Migrating ducks and geese need time to rest and feed in the sheltered areas of the Park before they move on to more northern and western nesting grounds, while Mute Swans tend to breed in the Presqu’ile area.  Since most of the ice is now gone from Lake Ontario, the birds were sometimes far from shore and the four spotting scopes on the trip were very much in use.  Howard Robinson, our group leader, ensured that we had sufficient time in each of the nine favourite viewing stations, including time for a lunch break at the Lighthouse on Presqu’ile Point.

photo Howard Robinson

Returning from Owen Point. photo Howard Robinson

There are ducks out there! photo Howard Robinson

There are ducks out there! photo Howard Robinson

Approximately 1,300 Redheads were the most prevalent duck of the day, with about 260 Ring-necked Ducks and 200 Greater Scaup being the next most common duck sightings.  Aptly-named Gull Island, off Owen Point, was home to approximately 400 Ring-billed Gulls and 150 Herring Gulls.   A Downy Woodpecker, frozen in place for well over a minute on the side of a bird-feeder was an unusual sight for most of us, but it is known behaviour for this species when there is a predator about.  Excellent views of a mature Bald Eagle hunting low over the water at the Calf Pasture impressed us all.  Sure signs of spring were the song of a Song Sparrow, and the sighting of a Turkey Vulture soaring low over the town of Brighton.  Other highlights included Green-winged Teals, Long-tailed Ducks, one Great Black-backed Gull, and a raft of mixed ducks “escorting” a single Mute Swan, although in total we saw 32 Mute Swans.

Spot the difference. photo Howard Robinson

Spot the difference. photo Howard Robinson

Escort of a Mute Swan. Photo Howard Robinson

Escort of a Mute Swan. Photo Howard Robinson

Redheads with Lesser Scaup. Photo Howard Robinson

Redheads with Lesser Scaup. Photo Howard Robinson

At the end of the day, the total number of species seen collectively by the group was forty-seven, as listed below.  Some of us spotted birds on the car trip to and from Presqu’ile, but only those species exceptional to the Park are noted separately.  All in all, it was an excellent outing and well worth the trip, especially if one wants to hone  identification skills and knowledge of waterfowl.  Special thanks to Peter Blancher and Michel Gauthier for their expertise and advice with the species list.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park/nearby viewing stations

1    American Black Duck
2    American Crow
3    American Robin
4    American Wigeon
5    Bald Eagle
6    Black-capped Chickadee
7    Blue Jay
8    Bufflehead
9    Canada Goose
10  Canvasback
11  Common Goldeneye
12  Common Grackle
13  Common Merganser
14  Downy Woodpecker
15  Great Black-backed Gull
16  Great Blue Heron
17  Greater Scaup
18  Green-winged Teal
19  Hairy Woodpecker
20  Herring Gull
21  Hooded Merganser
22  House Sparrow
23  Lesser Scaup
24  Long-tailed duck
25  Mallard
26  Mourning Dove
27  Mute Swan
28  Northern Cardinal
29  Red-breasted Merganser
30  Red-breasted Nuthatch
31  Redhead
32  Red-winged Blackbird
33  Ring-billed Gull
34  Ring-necked Duck
35  Song Sparrow
36  White-breasted Nuthatch
37  White-winged Scoter
38  Wood Duck

En-route (to and from Brighton, ON)

39  American Kestrel

40  American Goldfinch

41  Common Raven

42  European Starling

43  Red-tailed Hawk

44  Rock pigeon

45  Rough-legged Hawk

46  Turkey Vulture

47  Wild Turkey

A managed wetland bird shelter. photo Howard Robinson

A managed wetland bird shelter. photo Howard Robinson

Inside the shelter at Brighton. photo Howard Robinson

Inside the shelter at Brighton. photo Howard Robinson




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