Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Paddling around history and nature on Taylor and Clayton Lakes

A report of the paddling trip Saturday June 23rd on Taylor and Clayton Lakes, by Howard and Mary Robinson

After seeing the real-life mural of the Floating Bridge at the Union Hall, our Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) group with 4 canoes and a kayak proceeded to the placement of the original bridge at the end of Concession 12 in Lanark Highlands near the boat launch.  We paddled the floating bridge location to see the sunken remnants of its structural members and parts of the corduroy cross logs.

The day was perfect for paddling with little wind as we proceeded to paddle the South side of Taylor Lake and return while observing various bird species in the area.

We then proceeded along the river to Clayton lake and paddled around some of the islands to our lunch destination off Bowlands Island.  With the wind rising and only a hint of a rain shower, we paddled along the Indian River toward the village of Clayton and back to the Robinson’s dock where we disembarked. After social refreshments vehicles were shuttled back from the Taylor Lake boat launch to load the vessels.  Various species (24) of birds were seen including Bald eagles (3), Osprey (2 + their peeping nesting chicks), a Great Blue Heron, and a Green Heron.

Thanks to all who came out for the paddle, your interactions, teamwork and interesting conversations.

~Howard and Mary Robinson

For details of our next summer paddle, July 15, 2018 and other summer paddles this season, please visit and watch for new posts and calendar dates!

Taylor Lake Paddlers. photo H. Robinson


Common Loons – River between Taylor and Clayton Lakes. photo H. Robinson

Osprey Nest – Taylor Lake. photo H. Robinson


Lunch Stop. photo H. Robinson

Bald Eagle – feathers ruffled in the wind. photo H. Robinson

Mature Bald Eagle – Clayton Lake. photo H. Robinson

Canoes Resting at Lunch. photo H. Robinson


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Taylor and Clayton Lakes Paddle

Saturday, June 23, 2018 

Come and explore nature from the water’s edge as we paddle the shores of Taylor and Clayton Lakes.  We will start at Taylor Lake looking for remnants of the historic floating bridge that once crossed the lake, then continue into Clayton Lake, all the while looking for various woodland, lake and marshland birds.  Lunch will likely be at the Robinson’s dock on Clayton Lake, if weather cooperates.  This outing is a combination of journeys #14 and #16 in the MVFN map/guide “Lanark County Canoe & Kayak Journeys“.

Car Pooling Arrangements:  Meet at Union Hall on Wolf Grove Road for departure by 8:30 AM.  The boat launch for Taylor Lake is at the north end of Concession Road 12.

Bring: Picnic lunch, water, binoculars, insect repellent, sunscreen, and swimming attire if you wish. You must also be equipped with mandatory life jackets and safety kit with bailer, whistle, flashlight and floating line.

Pre-registration: You must pre-register for this event. Your MVFN registration should be up to date. To register please email Howard & Mary Robinson @  advising whether you will be canoeing or kayaking and leaving a return phone number.  If you have a canoe and need a partner, or don’t have a canoe and would like to partner, please contact Howard or Mary at 613-256-0817 or

In case of severe weather, this event will be cancelled.  If in doubt, call Howard or Mary no later than 8:00 AM on Saturday, June 23 at 613-256-0817

Six of seven vessels in the group, 2017 paddle. photo Howard Robinson

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MVFN Spring Paddle on Long Lake

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Explore nature from the water’s edge on our spring paddle. We will paddle Long Lake, in Tay Valley Township, near Murphys Point Provincial Park. This is journey #24 in MVFN’s Lanark County Canoe & Kayak Journeys Map/Guide.

Car Pooling: East Lanark, meet at Union Hall on Wolf Grove Road at 8:30 AM. West Lanark, meet south of Perth at the junction of County Roads 1 and 21 (road to Murphys Point Provincial Park) at 9:15 AM.

photo B. Boyd

Bring: lunch, water, insect repellent, binoculars, etc. Also required is all mandatory safety equipment including proper flotation gear, bailing bucket, heaving line, etc.

NOTE: Life jackets are COMPULSORY!

Pre-registration: You must register beforehand for this event. Your MVFN membership must be up-to-date. For registration and information, please contact Stan Holloway at or 613-797-5695. If you need a paddling partner, contact Stan.

In case of foul weather, this event will be cancelled. If in doubt about weather conditions, on the morning of the event, please call Stan before 8:00 AM to confirm.

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MVFN Fall Colours Paddle on White Lake

For our annual fall colours paddle we will travel route #7 as described in our MVFN Lanark County Canoe & Kayak Journeys guide/map:

“West end White Lake is like northern lakes with rocky shores, beautiful island scenes, wetland coves and bays. Makes for interesting and peaceful meander along shores and around islands. Watch for unusual creek opening on north shore leading to falling brook. Interesting rock formations and wild flowers. Scan the skies for the bald eagle which nests in the region.”

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trip Leader:  Cliff Bennett

Car Pooling: East Lanark meet at Union Hall for departure at 8:30 a.m.; West Lanark, meet at Hopetown, 9:15 a.m., OR, meet at the boat launch site at 9:30 a.m.

Bring: lunch, insect repellent, binoculars, camera, sun screen and water. You must also be equipped with proper flotation gear, bailing bucket, whistle, heaving line, etc.

Pre-registration: You must pre-register for this event. MVFN membership must be up-to-date. If you do not have your own canoe, we may be able to pair you up with a paddle partner. You may bring a friend or two, subject to approval of trip leader.

For pre-registration and further information, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-798-6295 or

NOTE: In case of adverse weather this event will be cancelled. If unsure on the morning of the paddle, please call Cliff before 8:00 a.m.

Fall paddle. photo Brenda Boyd

Fall paddle. photo Brenda Boyd


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Sunny day perfect for MVFN field naturalists on Mississippi River

NOTE: The following report and photos re. the August 26th MVFN day-trip paddle were sent in by Howard and Mary Robinson. View this post on our MVFN Facebook page and if you were on the trip, add, in the comments,  any other nature observations you want to share.

Seven vessels (4 canoes and 3 kayaks) set out from the boat launch near the bridge at Country Road 15, paddling upstream on the Mississippi River towards Playfairville.  The river was full and high; the day bright, sunny and not too hot. It was a perfect day for MVFN field naturalists to be out observing nature and the changing landscape from the water’s edge.  We stopped for lunch in a soft maple woodland, then returned to our starting point enjoying an easier paddle travelling downstream with the current.

Below are the bird species seen or heard by some of the participants on the outing. Great Blue Herons were most plentiful and numerous Belted Kingfishers were rattling around on our journey.

Belted Kingfisher

Great Blue Heron

White-breasted Nuthatch

American Crow

Blue Jay

Black-capped Chickadee

Black Tern

Canada Goose

Eastern Wood-Pewee

Red-eyed Vireo

Eastern Phoebe

Common Loon

Bald Eagle

Turkey Vulture

Mourning Dove

Double-crested Cormorant

American Goldfinch

Ring-billed Gull

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Green Heron


Pileated Woodpecker

~  Mary Robinson

Six of seven vessels in the group. photo Howard Robinson

Six of seven vessels in the group. photo Howard Robinson

Great Blue Heron perches: August 26th on the banks of Mississippi River. photo Howard Robinson

Great Blue Heron perches: August 26th on the banks of Mississippi River. photo Howard Robinson

Beautiful day for paddling and exploring nature at the water's edge. Photo Howard Robinson

Beautiful day for paddling and exploring nature at the water’s edge. Photo Howard Robinson

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