Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2005

Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count 2005

Carleton Place Count: click for detailed statistics  – species seen and their numbers by sector within the count circle.

The 62nd annual Carleton Place Christmas Bird Count took place on Tuesday December 27th 2005. The count area is a circle of 15 miles diameter centered on the bridge over the Mississippi River in Carleton Place and included Almonte, most of Ramsay and Beckwith, some of Drummond and an adjacent part of the City of Ottawa . In the morning the sky was clear with a temperature of -8°C and in the afternoon it was -3°C and cloudy. There was lots of snow on the ground but mild weather beforehand resulted in many streams and the Mississippi River being more open than usual. 39 field observers and 31 feeder operators took part.

The number of species seen was 47, which is above average. The number of birds counted was 7473, which is also above average. The all-time highs are 50 species and 8855 birds. No new species for the count were tallied, but the first American Black Duck since 1995 was found on the Mississippi near the Highway 7 bridge, the second-only Golden Eagle was seen near Ashton, and the second-only Carolina Wren was seen at a feeder in Carleton Place, the first since 1975.

There were also record highs counts of the following species:

Common Goldeneye 64 (previous high 43 in 1991)

Wild Turkey 169 (previous high 72 in 2004)

Barred Owl 2 (tied previous highs)

Black-capped Chickadee 1320 (previous high 1230 in 1994).

The count was organized by Cliff Bennett. At the end of the day the field observers gathered at the 7 West Cafe to see the field results displayed. Georgina Doe organized the feeder counts and Mike Jaques compiled the final results. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists sponsored the count.Team leaders in the field were Iain Wilkes, Mike Jaques of Carleton Place, Tine Kuiper, Lynda Bennett, of Ramsay; Brenda Carter, Merrickville, Al Potvin, Allan Goddard, Pip Winters, Almonte, Don Brown, Kanata, Arnie Simpson, Beckwith.

A list of all species seen and their numbers follows:

Canada Goose 14

American Black Duck 1

Mallard 5

Common Goldeneye 64

Common Merganser 5

Bald Eagle 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Northern Goshawk 1

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Rough-legged Hawk 2

Golden Eagle 1

Ruffed Grouse 3

Wild Turkey 169

Rock Pigeon 891

Mourning Dove 233

Barred Owl 2

Downy Woodpecker 77

Hairy Woodpecker 81

Pileated Woodpecker 4

Northern Shrike 6

Blue Jay 447

American Crow 390

Common Raven 11

Horned Lark 7

Black-capped Chickadee 1320

Red-breasted Nuthatch 12

White-breasted Nuthatch 116

Brown Creeper 3

Carolina Wren 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 6

European Starling 541

Bohemian Waxwing 850

Cedar Waxwing 55

Eastern Towhee 1

American Tree Sparrow 119

Song Sparrow 1

White-throated Sparrow 2

Dark-eyed Junco 80

Snow Bunting 1123

Northern Cardinal 48

Red-winged Blackbird 2

Pine Grosbeak 27

Purple Finch 3

House Finch 3

Common Redpoll 276

Pine Siskin 39

American Goldfinch 295

Evening Grosbeak 97

House Sparrow 91

Also seen in the count week, but not on the day, were Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel and Merlin.

Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count

The following is from Cliff Bennett, compiler of the Lanark Highlands CBC, which is centred on the village of Watson’s Corners, NW of Lanark Village in Lanark County:

The 3rd Annual Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count took place on Friday, Dec. 30. The weather was mild, with partly sunny skies and little or no winds. However, the back country roads were very icy and getting out to walk was downright treacherous. The count yielded a lower tally than last year, probably much to do with the icy walking conditions.

Twenty-five counters took to the field and recorded 36 different species , one more than last year’s record. However, the total number of individual birds was over 400 fewer than last year. The real success story though, was the count from eleven different feeder observers spread around the circles.
They listed 719 birds, up about 350 from last year’s count.

Three new species for the count were recorded; a goshawk, two Canada geese and a red-breasted merganser. One species conspicuous by its absence was the great gray owl and significantly lower scores than last year were listed for ruffed grouse, hairy woodpecker, blue jays, crows, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, Bohemian waxwings and pine grosbeaks.

New records were set for wild turkeys (100), rock pigeons, red-breasted nuthatches, juncoes, pine siskins, American goldfinch and house sparrows.

Pakenham-Arnprior Counts: click for detailed statistics

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Hiking Trails – Purdon Bog New Trail

Purdon Bog New Trail 

Purdon Bog, in Dalhousie Ward in Lanark Highlands, is famous during three or four weeks in June/July for its great display of showy ladies slippers (orchids). The boardwalk trail (there are two interconnected loops) is wheelchair accessible and gives one a close-up of not only the pink orchids but yellow lady slipper , pitcher plant and many other woodland flora.

However, the conservation area, under the control of Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, sports not only a lookout over the small beaver-build lake but a new trail, over a km. long. Built last year, with still some construction underway, this trail is a perfect birdwatching exercise for it meanders through several different types of habitat. Observation platforms are in the process of being put together and one, overlooking the lake at the west end, will sport a picnic table.

The new trail begins immediately at the foot of the long sets of stairs coming down from the observation platform and the top parking lot. You can also reach the start of the new trail from the lower parking lot by entering along the boardwalk up to the stairs. The trail, shaped like a giant letter “P” ends back at the start.

To find Purdon Bog, travel north on highway 511 from Perth, through the village of Lanark and north to County Road 8 going west through Watson’s Corners. From highway 417, take the Almonte exit, travel through Almonte and west on County Road 16 to Hopetown. Turn south towards Perth to County Road 8 turning west through Watson’s Corners. From 511, the area is well marked.

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Hiking Trails – Baird Trail

Baird Trail

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The Baird trial in Lanark Highlands is .8 km in a circular route, and is one of the most beautiful trails around. Various points are marked with ecological values and one can find the most humungous individual maple and beech trees in the area. Old rail fences indicate farming practices of long ago and the forty year old red pine plantations under a Lanark County Forest Agreement provide a quiet sanctuary from the outside world. A  sedge wetland in the middle of the property is halved by a fine boardwalk, affording a good view of typical wetland attributes.

To find this trail, travel west on Wolf Grove Road (County Road16) from Almonte to Middleville and then south on County Road 8. There is no obvious sign at the moment marking the park and trail but the property number is 1024. You can also reach the same place by travelling north on highway 511 from Lanark Village to County Road 8, turn east (right) and find 1024.

Drive into the parking area and next to it you will find a picnic area and clean washrooms. The information board in front of the parking lot tells the history of the property and points to the start of the trail. Right after the boardwalk, the trail is not too well marked. Look for a small orange arrow marker and a pile of cut stove wood.  Enjoy!

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Field Naturalists Form New Bird Count Area in Lanark Highlands

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Cliff Bennett
Friday, Nov.28, 2003

Field Naturalists Form New Bird Count Area in Lanark Highlands

Cardinal (Photo Credit:  Sandra Bauer)Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) have been around in the Western Hemisphere since the year 1900. Three count circles (71/2 mile radius) have been operating for decades in Lanark County and area including Carleton Place, Rideau Ferry and Pakenham.

A new count circle, designed to fill a large gap in Lanark County, is being established by the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) in the Lanark Highlands area, centred on Watson’s Corners. This circle will take in Brightside to the north, most of Dalhousie Lake to the west, south to within a km. of Balderson and east to include Middleville. Activities in this new circle will be on a trial run basis for this year, with the first formal count being conducted in 2004.

A count is conducted by interested birders forming into teams and combing the roads, trails and woodlots during the count day to record every bird seen or heard. The results compiled for Canada are sent to Bird Studies Canada. CBCs take place all over North and Central America, the Caribbean and Hawaii. This annual event produces a definitive census of our bird population and is used for many research and conservation programmes designed to encourage the continuing health of our avian friends.

The date for the new Lanark Highlands Christmas Bird Count will be Tuesday, Dec. 30. All persons interested in the health of our local bird population, are invited to join in on the count. Teams will be formed, each team with a more knowledgeable birder. They will be assigned a count area and will spend the daylight hours counting every bird they see or hear. At the end of the day, all will gather at the Nature Lovers Book Store in Lanark Village, to record their findings and enjoy hot refreshments.

Residents in the count circle who have active bird feeders can also take part in the final tally. To register for the feeder counts, contact the feeder coordinator Marj. Gilmour, 259-3078 before the tally date. Then, on Dec. 30, feeder watchers will count every bird coming in to their feeders or appearing in their yard and phone in their resulting tally to Marj. These numbers will be totalled and added to the main count from the field observations.

Count coordinator for this first count is MVFN Director Cliff Bennett, . To register for the field count, contact Cliff at 256-5013 or by e-mail

For further information, call Cliff.

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