Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

MMLT Dinner Silent Auction Speaker Bruce Di Labio

MMLT will hold its Annual Dinner and Silent Auction on Friday, November 13th at the Almonte Civitan Club.  This year’s speaker is Bruce Di Labio who will speak on the topic of Changes to Bird Life in Eastern Ontario Over 50 Years.  His talk will cover status changes in various species from the Turkey Vulture to the Northern Cardinal, the declines in other species such as the Loggerhead Shrike and the Red-headed Woodpecker to new species found over the past 5 years.

 Bruce is a native of Ottawa and his passion for birds and birding began at the age of 8, when he hand-tamed a Black-capped Chickadee at his family cottage at Constance Bay, Ontario. From these simple beginnings emerged both a life-long passion and career in the field of birding. He is a weekly columnist on birding in the Ottawa Citizen and teaches birding courses.

In addition, Bruce has authored numerous articles over the years for Nature Canada, Ontario Birds, Birding, and Ontario Birding News.  Bruce was a member of the championship Kowa Birding Team that successfully won three World Series of Birding titles in New Jersey and one championship title in the Texas Birding Classic.

The evening will also feature a Silent Auction which will offer a wide range of useful and interesting items, with an emphasis on services, ranging from a weekend stay at a cabin in the woods to guided walks in beautiful nature settings.  It’s an opportunity to support the Land Trust and reap some great benefits at the same time, all while enjoying the pleasant company of like-minded friends.

The Almonte Civitan Club is located at 500 Almonte St. (Wolf Grove Rd).  Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. to allow time to look over the auction items and mix and mingle with friends.  Dinner will be served at 7:00.  Dress is casual.

Tickets are $40, cheque or cash only, available at the following locations: Hello Yellow in Almonte, The Granary in Carleton Place, Village Treats in Lanark, Shadowfax in Perth, Pakenham General Store, Arnprior Book Shop.

For your convenience, you may also e-mail or call Mary Vandenhoff at 613-278-2939 to reserve tickets for pick-up at the door.  Also call Mary if you have any dietary restrictions.

Deadline for ticket purchase is November 6, 2015 or when tickets are sold out.

Susan Sentesy

Program Manager
Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust


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Famous Birder Hoots on Owls to MVFN

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Feb. 22, 2002

Famous Birder Hoots on Owls to MVFN

OwlFamous Canadian and International birder Bruce Di Labio brought owls into the lives of over one hundred Mississippi Valley Field Naturalist members, friends and general public who attended the MVFN monthly meeting at the Almonte United Church, Thursday, Feb. 21. Bruce lives in Carp.

Di Labio’s presentation with slides took the audience through habitat descriptions, preferred locations for specific owl species and then the owls themselves, their description and nuances. Using tape recordings and verbal sounds, Bruce introduced each species’ various calls, from the wee sawhet to the large great horned owl. He pointed out the various seasonal times one is most likely to hear these raucous rodent retrievers.

Introduced by MVFN host Joel Byrne, Mr. Di Labio immediately showed that owling is not as easy as it seems. Being largely nocturnal, he noted owls have an uncanny habit of blending into any habitat during the day sleep period, making sighting very difficult and calling for much patience. In several slides used, finding the owl was a real challenge for the viewers even though it was right in front of them.

Looking first around trees for signs of “whitewash” and then for regurgitated owl pellets is the best indicator of an owl’s roosting tree. Bruce extolled the advantages of visiting Amhurst Island west of Kingston to get one of the best views of owls in Eastern Ontario. After numerous questions from the audience members, Di Labio was thanked by the host and presented with a basket of local maple syrup products.

A special presentation was made during the evening to the two main winners of last summer’s MVFN Annual Field Sketch Contest. MVFN Chair of Publications, Publicity and Public Relations Eileen Hennemann presented a nature book and a gift certificate to Mary Beth Lalonde, daughter of Margaret and James Lalonde, for her sketches of a wren family habitat and a common loon and, to Sonja Koster, daughter of Ken and Michaela Koster, for her display of a dragonfly and a painted turtle.

The summer field sketch contest requires children to take their sketch pads into the field, forest and stream to illustrate natural observations. The contest is open to all children in various age categories and is best shared with parents or adult friends.

Ms. Hennemann also announced during the evening, the launching of MVFN’s own Web site. On the site, one can find all news and information about MVFN plus a message board for posting nature news, observations and enquiry’s. The site can be gained by calling up

The next MVFN evening programme will be held on Thursday, March 21, at the Almonte United Church. The keynote speaker will be MVFN member and famous broadcaster Ed Lawrence. His topic will be on planting your garden with birds in mind. For more information, contact MVFN Programme Chair Sarah Coulber

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