Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Sheila Edwards, MVFN member
Keen Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist paddlers enjoy canoe trip to Poonamalie
Sheila Edwards is one of a group of keen paddlers and a regular on Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist outings. She describes a leisurely paddle by a group who gathered to catch a glimpse of nature not easily seen by land.
Father’s Day proved to be a great day for the 2006 Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists Official Spring Canoe Trip which was from Smiths Falls to Poonamalie. Originally scheduled for June 11, the trip was delayed a week due to cold, damp weather, thus landing on June 18, a beautiful day to be out on the water. The five kayaks and three canoes were paddled by nature enthusiasts equipped with hats, sunscreen and keen eyes. Even before launching we spotted cedar waxwings perched above Upper Reach Park in Smiths Falls, and the familiar pair of ospreys were in residence atop their nesting platform.
The water between Smiths Falls Lock 31 and the Poonamalie Lock is filled with many species of flora and fauna. Once away from the buoys, there is shallow water brimming with aquatic plants. Northern Blue Flag and Yellow Iris were spotted along the edges of the vegetation islands of cattails and other plants. Our favourite amongst the aquatic animals seen were the lethargic bullfrogs seen soaking up the sun’s rays – no concerns of melanoma with their skin type. They didn’t even move when we accidentally came within centimeters.
Just out from Smiths Falls, we watched a group of Black Terns dancing along the water’s surface as they snacked on insects. The ever-present red-winged blackbirds entertained us with their amazing ability to perch on reeds. An American Bittern showed its talent for camouflage when it flew off from an island of vegetation we had just paddled past. Among the numerous other species found was a bird, which upon closer inspection by one of our best birders, turned out to be a piece of wood! This occurs frequently with birders of all levels.
One of our more independent paddlers wandered into a marshy area searching for aquatic birds, only to get turned around and end up eating lunch alone back at Smiths Falls. The main group lunched and lounged at the beautiful Poonamalie Lock area before beginning a leisurely trip back.
A description of the route traveled on the spring canoe trip, as well as other recommended canoe journeys can be found on the website of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists at www.mvfn.ca. The club holds several canoe trips throughout the year. For information about future canoe trips, check the website or call Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013.