Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

September Birding Open Houses at the new MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter

September 5, 12, 19 and 26

NOTE: Link to current E-bird checklist for this location is at

Each autumn, tens of thousands of shore and water birds migrate through our area from their nesting grounds in the Arctic. Hundreds stop off to feed and refuel at the Almonte Lagoons behind the wastewater treatment plant, just west of Almonte.

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) have just completed construction of a beautiful new bird viewing shelter overlooking the westernmost decommissioned lagoon. For fifteen years, birders from all over the province and beyond have made this prime location for observing shorebirds and other species one of their important viewing spots. The trail in to the existing Al Potvin Observation Tower now leads on to the new MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter close to the lagoon. Many fall warbler and sparrow species may also be seen during the short walk in to the new shelter.

On four consecutive Wednesdays, September 5, 12, 19, and 26, MVFN’s Birding Committee invites you to walk in between 3 and 5 PM to view the multitude of shore and water birds from the shelter.  On each of these occasions, you will be greeted at the trailhead by an MVFN member, who will point out directions to the tower and the new shelter. An expert birder with a spotting scope will be at the shelter and will be ready to offer an opportunity to learn the identity of the different birds and tell a bit about them.

Directions: from Almonte, take Wolf Grove Road (County Rd. 16) towards Middleville, 2 km. Turn north onto Ramsay Concession 8 at the Auld Kirk Church and Cemetery, and travel approximately 100 m.  The trail entrance is on the right, across the road from the far end of the cemetery, just beyond the gate. A small yellow sign marks the entrance.  Parking is permitted on both shoulders of the road.

You may visit at any other time on your own.

For further information on other MVFN activities, please visit our website:

The Official Grand Opening and dedication of the MVFN Mike McPhail Bird Viewing Shelter will take place Wednesday, September 5 at 2:30 PM at the shelter. All are welcome to attend the ceremony.


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In Memoriam Mike McPhail 1954 – 2012

Mike McPhail

Michael ‘Mike’ Robert McPhail, well-known former President of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists passed away peacefully at his home on the morning of January 11, 2012 after a courageous battle with cancer. One year after his passing he is still missed by all of us who worked with him, travelled with him and enjoyed his enthusiasm for nature. Mike was an ardent supporter of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and a deeply committed lover of the natural world. At the time of his passing Mike was a member of MVFN’s Board of Directors and had previously served as MVFN’s President. Mike was a true champion for nature. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family, wife Peggy,  daughters Amber and Christine, sister Susan, and all his family and friends.

In September 2012 the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists were pleased to dedicate a memorial bench installed at the Mill of Kintail Conservation area in Mike’s memory. The bench, which bears a plaque was placed near the play structure and education building. A ceremony with members of Mike’s family, took place to dedicate the bench designed and built in memory of Mike McPhail.

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