Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Nature Sightings on August 19th

Join Ken Allison Thursday July 19th at 7:00 p.m. As this is the last of our extended summer sightings sharing opportunities, you are all encouraged to post some of your favourite natural history photos from the whole summer.

Add your observations to our iNaturalist account or email to  before the meeting. Include the date, location and a picture of your sighting in the email if available.

Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86188926784?pwd=eElTdk9WcDhpWGhFZXcxMUpZTG8ydz09

Meeting ID:  861 8892 6784
Passcode: 687675
Time: 7:00 p.m.

See you on Thursday the 19th of August.

We encourage everyone to sign-up to iNaturalist. iNaturalist helps with identification and provides information on the species you find.

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Break Out Yur Macro Lens – Nature Sightings on July 15th will Focus on Plants and Fungi

Join Ken this Thursday July 15th at 7:00 p.m to share your recent nature sightings.

This month the focus is on plants and fungi which have sprung into view with the recent rain. So dig through your files or get out for a walk to see what you can discover.

Photograph fungi from all angles (showing underneath the cap, the stem etc.) and of one of the specimen cut in half from top to bottom through the stem will help with identification. Plants need one photo of the entire plant, then close-ups of leaves, stems, flowers and fruit if possible.

Add your observations to our iNaturalist account or email to  before the meeting. Include the date, location and a picture of your sighting in the email if available.

Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81375359360?pwd=dGhRR2hEdk14czIwWDdLQ2Y2U0NwUT09

Meeting ID:  813 7535 9360
Passcode: 268047
Time: 7:00 p.m.

See you on Thursday the 15th of July.

We encourage everyone to sign-up to iNaturalist. iNaturalist helps with identification and provides information on the species you find.

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Mark your Calendars – Nature Sightings – Third Thursday in the Summer Months

 

 

Starting Thursday June 17th at 7:00 p.m. Ken Allison will host a zoom meeting similar to our sharing session before MVFN’s monthly meetings.

You  can join your fellow MVFN members and their guests for a show and tell of your recent nature sightings. We have covered birds pretty well recently so Ken suggests looking for arthropods: insects, spiders, etc. Butterflies and dragonflies are especially numerous right now. Se the MVFN website for suggestions on how to photograph insects.

Add your observations to our iNaturalist account or email to  before the meeting. Include the date, location and a picture of your sighting in the email if available.

Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88546145360?pwd=bVVKTXVWaE1mMHJiNm1RWUM4Mi9RZz09

Meeting ID: 885 4614 5360
Passcode: 388117
Time: 7:00 p.m.

See you the third Thursday in June, July and August..

We encourage everyone to sign-up to iNaturalist. iNaturalist helps with identification and provides information on the species you find.

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Cuckoos and Caterpillars

Many of you have probably noticed that we are experiencing a serious outbreak of Gypsy Moth caterpillars this summer. While seeing the leaves being stripped off many species of trees is disconcerting, there are some compensations.

Black-billed and Yellow-billed Cuckoos specialize in eating fuzzy caterpillars and they will move around to regions where their favorite food is plentiful. So, when we have high populations of either species of tent caterpillar or Gypsy Moth caterpillars these two nomadic species often appear in higher than usual numbers. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, in particular, may be difficult to find in “non-caterpillar” years.

This year, I have seen many Black-billed Cuckoos, often flying across the road when driving. I’ve heard both species at our place but a Yellow-billed seems to have settled on territory on our property. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to be making a noticeable dent in the caterpillar population yet.

Black-billed usually calls in series of 2-4 notes: cu-cu…cu-cu-cu… for example. Yellow-billed often produce a long series of single cowp notes. They also give a rattling series of accelerating cuck notes, trailing off into several loud cowp or cahowp notes. Be aware that Black-billed can also produce series of cuck notes that can fool you into thinking you have a Yellow-billed, so it’s always good to get a look at the bird, too. I have found both to be quite responsive to low whistled imitations of the Black-billed Cuckoo’s calls. I’ve had them come in very close to check out the “competition”. Recorded calls should work too but should not be used frequently during the breeding season.

So, when you’re cursing the caterpillars remember to listen for the cuckoos and try to catch a glimpse of these reclusive and skulking birds.

 

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Northern Hawk Owl

Northern Hawk Owls are a boreal species which behaves like a hawk but looks like an owl.  The black outline around the face combined with the long tail and barring on the front distinguish this medium size owl.   The Owl in the picture appeared in mid December near Hwy 7 at the east end of Lanark County but unfortunately it was killed in a few days by a car.   Sometimes in winter this species moves south.  There has been a number of sightings across southern Ontario this year so far.  As Owls are a considered a “sensitive” species it is best not to disturb them.

Picture by Michel Gauthier

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