Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

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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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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Manion Corners Butterfly Count

NOTE: This is an Ottawa Field Naturalists Club event, but MVFN members are invited to register and help out! This is an especially “Kid-Friendly” Event!

Date: Saturday July 8th 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date Sunday 9 July)

Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall

Meet:  in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).

Please call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of in a 24 km diameter circle. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. No experience is necessary – we will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy.  It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.

Pot-luck and Count-in: We plan to meet at 6:00 p.m. after the count for a compilation and potluck dinner at the Allisons’ home at 561 Wolf Grove Road, about 2.6 km west of Almonte. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can’t, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave. OFNC has generously offered to pay the count fees for participants to support publication of the data.

The butterfly count is an annual OFNC event. Working in groups or alone, participants patrol the same location – a 24-km diameter circle centred on Manion Corners.  Data are submitted to the North American Butterfly Association.

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Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas has a new App

New Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App

There is an urgent need for volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones.

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“The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas is a citizen-science project that tracks distributions and spatial trends of reptiles and amphibians across the province over time. The over-arching goal is to increase the collective knowledge base of reptiles and amphibians. Equally important, however, is the engagement of non-scientists of all ages and abilities, in all parts of the province, in nature study and conservation.

Reptiles and amphibians are experiencing global declines of 20 and 40 percent respectively. In Ontario, 75 percent of reptiles and 35 percent of amphibians are listed as nationally and provincially at-risk.”

It is very helpful to report sightings:

We need volunteer citizen scientists of all levels to submit sightings of all reptile and amphibian species, not just the rare ones. Just in time for spring, we’re proud to announce the launch of our updated Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas App!

The new App!

There are several new features, including a field guide for the 48 species of reptiles and amphibians found in Ontario with colour photos, descriptions and calls that can be used to help you identify your sightings. If you have the previous version of the app, make sure to download the updated version to access all the new features! This project is supported by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program. All illustrations provided are courtesy of the Toronto Zoo. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

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Canadian Loon Lakes Survey volunteers required

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MVFN Members:

Here is a good opportunity to get involved in some interesting and worthwhile citizen science this summer on a local project. MVFN, in conjunction with the Mississippi Lakes Association, has volunteered to conduct this year’s Bird Studies Canada Canadian Lakes Loon Survey” for Mississippi Lake.

The task involves pairs of volunteers making one, two or three visits to areas of Mississippi Lake, searching for loons and recording the findings. The visit times will be the last week in June, July and August. You can volunteer to do one, two or all three visits. Visits last up to two hrs. 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 for launch.You will need binoculars and sun screen.

Please register with Rick Erskine at  or telephone 613-257-1397 and he will match you with a boat driver and lake location. For further instructions, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or   after June 15.

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