Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Early Morning Birding, April 26, 2017

Note: follow this link for our next MVFN nature outing: Warblers and Spring Wildflowers on May 13

Eleven MVFN birders participated in the final Early Morning Bird Walk on April 26, 2017.  Morning dawned slightly grey and drizzly, which was just fine for seeing and hearing birds along the Mississippi Riverwalk Trail in Carleton Place.

We walked approximately 1.5 km out and the same distance back, being careful not to double count species or numbers while returning.  The most prevalent birds (over 20 sightings each) were the Red-winged Blackbirds and Canada Geese.  Harbingers of spring were the Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and the Yellow-rumped Warbler along with glorious showings of spring flowers such as the Scilla flowers and Bloodroots.

All in all, it was a very fine conclusion for our April bird walks.  Below , in alphabetical order,  is the list of species seen or heard by the group.

1. American Crow
2. American Goldfinch
3. American Robin
4. Black-capped Chickadee
5. Blue Jay
6. Bufflehead
7. Canada Goose
8. Common Goldeneye
9. Common Grackle
10. Common Merganser
11. Common Raven
12. Dark-eyed Junco
13. Downy Woodpecker
14. Eastern Phoebe
15. European Starling
16. Hairy Woodpecker
17. Mallard
18. Mourning Dove
19. Northern Cardinal
20. Northern Flicker
21. Red-winged Blackbird
22. Ring-billed Gull
23. Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)
24. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
25. Song Sparrow
26. Turkey Vulture
27. White-breasted Nuthatch
28. White-throated Sparrow
29. Wood Duck
30. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
31. Yellow-rumped Warbler

– report by Mary Robinson

Canada Goose "log driver". photo Howard Robinson

Canada Goose “log driver”. photo Howard Robinson

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) photo Michel Gauthier

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) photo Michel Gauthier


Looking for a Ruby-crowned kinglet. photo Howard Robinson

Looking for a Ruby-crowned kinglet. photo Howard Robinson

Scilla in bloom. photo Howard Robinson

Scilla in bloom. photo Howard Robinson



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Early Morning Birding, April 19th

Note: the next Early Morning Birding Walk will take place on Wednesday, April 26th. See details.

Eleven birders gathered at dawn on Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at the corner of Wolf Grove Road and the 12th Lanark Concession. Their quest was to identify as many species of birds as they could in two hours.

They walked slowly along the gravel road, all the way to Taylor Lake and back, covering a distance of 3.3 kilometres.  When all was said and done, they added up the numbers:  29 species.

A good time was had by all.

An ID list and picture of some of the members follows:

Early Morning MVFN Birding Walk, April 19, 2017

Early Morning MVFN Birding Walk, April 19, 2017


1 Canada Goose
2 Mallard
3 Ruffed Grouse
4 Wild Turkey
5 Common Loon
6 Great Blue Heron
7 Mourning Dove
8 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
9 Hairy Woodpecker
10 Northern Flicker
11 Pileated Woodpecker
12 Eastern Phoebe
13 Blue Jay
14 American Crow
15 Common Raven
16 Black-capped Chickadee
17 White-breasted Nuthatch
18 Winter Wren
19 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
20 American Robin
21 Brown Thrasher
22 Dark-eyed Junco
23 White-throated Sparrow
24 Song Sparrow
25 Swamp Sparrow
26 Northern Cardinal
27 Red-winged Blackbird
28 Eastern Meadowlark
29 Common Grackle


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Early Morning Birding, Apr 12, 2017: Birds Seen or Heard

NOTE: The next “Early Morning Birding” walk will take place on Wednesday April 19th. See details

Fifteen MVFN members showed up for the Apr 12th Early Morning Walk at the Robinson’s property near Clayton, Mississippi Mills, Ontario.

For a brief period, the group detected and identified birds by ear. As light levels increased, the team was able to use eyes and binoculars. For a short period, there was a lull in bird sounds which possibly had been caused by a raptor in the vicinity. We heard an indistinguishable hawk-like call some 15 minutes later.

It is always good to see the new arrival of bird species at this time of year. A highlight was the flyover with a tremolo call and the landing of a pair of Common Loons to an area where the ice had receded in Clayton Lake.  In addition to the birds, some of the group noticed an otter on the receding ice of the lake, and a Red Fox in another location stealthily walking on the ice in search of breakfast. Numerous waterfowl were swimming and feeding in the water areas while most of the Lake is still ice-bound.

After more than two hours of birding and an interlude for refreshments, Mary Robinson and co-leader Howard Robinson, tallied up the numbers:  Thirty-six species of birds had been spotted or heard by the group (see list below photos).

The Bluebird couple. photo Howard Robinson

The bluebird “couple” (photographed April 2, 2017 by Howard Robinson)


Red Fox, Clayton Lake. photo Howard Robinson

Red Fox, Clayton Lake. photo Howard Robinson

The Alphabetical Group List:

 1. American Crow
 2. American Goldfinch
 3. American Robin
 4. American Woodcock
 5. Black-capped Chickadee
 6. Blue Jay
 7. Bufflehead
 8. Canada Goose
 9. Common Goldeneye
10. Common Grackle
11. Common Loon
12. Common Merganser
13. Common Raven
14. Dark-eyed Junco
15. Downy Woodpecker
16. Eastern Bluebird17. Eastern Kingbird
18. Eastern Phoebe
19. Fox Sparrow
20. Golden-crowned Kinglet
21. Great Blue Heron
22. Hairy Woodpecker
23. Hooded Merganser
24. Mallard
25. Mourning Dove
26. Northern Cardinal
27. Northern Flicker
28. Pileated Woodpecker
29. Red-winged Blackbird
30. Ring-billed Gull
31. Ring-necked Duck
32. Ruffed Grouse
33. Song Sparrow
34. White-breasted Nuthatch
35. Wood Duck
36. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


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Early Morning Birding, April 5, 2017

Nine MVFN members showed up for the Apr 5 Early Morning Walk at Al Potvin’s property.

For the first half hour, the absence of daylight forced the group to detect and identify birds by ear. Eventually, with the increase in light level, the team became able to use eyes and binoculars.

After two hours of birding, Mary Robinson, the trusted recorder, and Michel Gauthier, the leader, tallied up the numbers:  twenty-five species of birds had been counted.

1            Canada Goose

2            Mallard

3            Common Merganser

4            Wild Turkey

5            Great Blue Heron

6            Turkey Vulture

7            Bald Eagle

8            Red-tailed Hawk

9            Ring-billed Gull

10          Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)

11           Mourning Dove

12          Northern Flicker

13          Blue Jay

14          American Crow

15          Common Raven

16          Black-capped Chickadee

17          White-breasted Nuthatch

18         Eastern Bluebird

19          American Robin

20         European Starling

21         Dark-eyed Junco

22         Song Sparrow

23         Northern Cardinal

24         Red-winged Blackbird

25         Common Grackle

NOTE: The next “Early Morning Birding” walk will take place on Wednesday April 12th. See details


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Early Morning Birding 2017

For all MVFN members and friends.  If the early bird gets the worm, then the early birder gets the birds!  From 6-8 am on four Wednesdays in April.  Dress warmly. Bring binoculars and camera. You do not need to register for these walks. Just show up!

The details:

Wednesday, April  5 :  Al Potvin’s Trail in Almonte

Meet at Al Potvin’s trailhead for 6 a.m. Al’s trail starts at 38 Carss St. near the river.

Leader is Michel Gauthier; email: 

Wednesday, April  12 :  Clayton Lake

Meet at the start of the laneway of the Robinson’s home at 2645 Tatlock Rd. (just before the village of Clayton), 6 a.m.

Leaders: Howard & Mary Robinson  613-256-0817 ; email: 

Wednesday, April  19 : Taylor Lake

Meet at the trailhead for 6  a.m.  Corner of Lanark Concession 12 and Wolf Grove Road.

Leader Michel Gauthier; email: 

Wednesday, April 26 :  Mississippi Riverwalk Trail, Carleton Place

Meet at the Carleton Place arena, 75 Neelin St., CP at 6 a.m.

Leader Tim Pullen   613-203-5295

For more information, please contact the leaders for the date shown.

Robin, Almonte 2016. P. Donaldson

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