Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Wanted Alive, or Not! for Loitering and Jay Walking

 

 

David Seburn’s zoom presentation on freshwater turtles inspired many of us to keep an eye out for turtles crossing the road and give them a hand if it is safe to do so.

MVFN would also like to help his Eastern Ontario Turtle Project. The intrusion of COVID-19 means that a whole field season may be lost. We have therefore started another Lanark County wildlife project on iNaturalist called “Lanark County Turtle Watch”.

We are looking for photos of turtles. Turtles crossing the road, turtles nesting or turtles sunning themselves on a log or a rock. And, sadly we would also ask you to include photographs of turtles that did not make it across the road. All photos provide helpful information.

While you are out and about please watch for turtles and keep your phone or camera handy. By photographing turtles and uploading the images to the project “Lanark County Turtle Watch”, you provide important data on the location and population of turtles.

To participate:
1. Open an account on iNaturalist. Open
2. Join the MVFN Lanark County Turtle Watch project. Join
3. Start posting turtle observations in Lanark County. iNaturalist will guide you through entering the requisite data including location, type of roadway observation and nesting activity.
You can find a guide to using the MVFN Turtle Watch interface here: Guide
If you need help, use the following email

Please call the Ontario Turtle Centre at 705-741-5000 immediately if you come across an injured turtle.

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Local wild rice beds? Citizen scientists help requested

Plenty Canada, a non-profit Indigenous-based charity in Lanark County are starting a World Wildlife Federation funded field project to study wild rice in the surrounding area. The organizers have heard there could be beds of wild rice in Clayton Lake and contacted MVFN asking for local information on these, or possible locations.

Spring paddle, Clayton Lake, 2015. photo Howard Robinson

If you are aware of any wild rice beds in any Lanark County lakes please get in touch with Shannon Farmer directly at or (705)740-5874.

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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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Results Mississippi Lake Loon Survey 2017

Conducted by Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists members and Mississippi Lakes Association boat drivers.

Loon Count Numbers    2007   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   2016    2017

Max number of adults       24       35      35       39        40         43       35        37

Max number mated prs.    10      12      11        12        13         12       17       18

Max.Number young           8        7        5          8           8          12       17        9

Actual chick survival                                                                               7         6

Summary Report

An orientation meeting was held at the MVCA Gatehouse in May, with 19 persons present.

Four teams of two, plus boat drivers, conducted surveys on four different sections of the lake, three times during the summer; end of June, end of July and end of August.

All sections of the lake recorded an average number of adults over the summer, but the maximum number of chicks counted was much lower than last year (17-9).

There were no chicks found in the Lower Lake.

Nine chicks in all were found in June; nine in July but only six were found surviving by the end of August (same as last year).

MVFN would like to do the count again next year.

Survey report submitted to Bird Studies Canada

Report submitted by Cliff Bennett    Compiler

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2017 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count

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 Wednesday, December 27th and it is sponsored by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN; one of three sponsored by MVFN, including the Rideau Ferry Christmas Bird Count and the Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count) 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.

Downy woodpecker. photo Susan Wilkes

Thousands of individuals participate in counts throughout the Americas and beyond between December 14, 2017 and January 5, 2018. “Each CBC volunteer observer is an important contributor, helping to shape the overall direction of bird conservation.  Bird Studies Canada and its partner at the National Audubon Society in the United States rely on data from the CBC database to monitor bird populations.  Last year, during the 2016 Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count over 60 volunteers spent the day observing birds resulting in the recording of over 6000 birds and 39 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 also 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 613-250-0722 or .  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 Board Room on the first floor of the Carleton Place Arena at 75 Neelin St. in Carleton Place (corner of Neelin St. and Begley St.),  for the count-in as well as refreshments and snacks.

Best of the Season to All!

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