Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley

Festival of the Wild Child at High Lonesome July 29, 30

July 29th and 30th. This is a Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy event to be held at High Lonesome Nature Reserve in the Pakenham Hills.

See details below and at

For two days of nature-inspired fun, families are invited to the Festival of the Wild Child at High Lonesome Nature Reserve in the Pakenham Hills on July 29th and 30th.

Open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., this festival is offered by the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust to give children and their families an opportunity to use all their senses to explore and experience nature. There will be a variety of “stations” around the 200-acre Nature Reserve that will be both interpretive and interactive to instill a sense of wonder in the natural world that surrounds us.   Exploring life in the pond, finding and identifying rocks and fossils, wandering through the enchanting Stone Wall Arboretum, investigating the secrets of the soil under your feet, using inner creativity to make eco-art or learning bush craft will make up the exciting Festival program.  Volunteers will be at each station to help open windows into the many wonders of Nature.

There will also be some special events.  The ever-popular Soundscaping station will offer participants a chance to hear nature’s sounds amplified, including the surprisingly active life in the bottom of the pond or the wind high up in the trees.  On Saturday, author and illustrator Victoria Gilpin will read from her latest book Benjamin’s Tree, the perfect story to inspire children’s imaginations in a woodland setting.  Conscious of the need for safety in nature, Rideau Search and Rescue will present “Hug a Tree” programs at the Welcome Centre to let children and their families learn what to do if they get lost.

Bring a lunch and stay for the whole day.  Admission is $10 per person or $20 per family.  Dependent children are free.

High Lonesome is located at 867 Carbine Rd. in Pakenham.  Take County Road 29 to Pakenham Village, turn on Waba Road and continue west for 2.9 km.  Turn left on Barr Side Road and travel for 1.6 km.  Take the first left at Carbine Road and drive 4 km to 867 Carbine Road.

Continue reading...

Canoe Journeys – #18 Mississippi River from Pakenham Downriver

Mississippi River from Pakenham Downriver

How to Get There: North from Almonte on County Rd. 29 to Pakenham, or from Ottawa, north on Hwy. 417 to Kinburn Side Rd. and west to Pakenham and over Five Span Stone Bridge.

The Launch Site: Park at foot of Five Span Stone Bridge. Launch at riverside.

The Paddle: Travel downriver as far as you wish, skirting shorelines for best effect.

Watch For: Explore Cody Creek on south shore. Red-headed woodpeckers nest in old trees. Many shoreline wild flowers. Otters are common. Lunch spots and tea rooms in village.

Seasonal Information: Good until freeze-up.

WARNING: Stay clear of rapids under bridge by launch site.


Continue reading...

MVFN Annual Spring Walk – Spring into Action at High Lonesome! 2013

MVFN Annual Spring Walk 

Spring into Action at High Lonesome!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Located in the Pakenham Hills, High Lonesome is a Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust Conservancy nature reserve. The trails on this 200 acre property pass by provincially significant wetlands and a diverse array of upland habitats. Over 670 species were recorded at the property during the bioblitz last summer ( including 340 plants, 150 insects and arachnids, 85 birds, 22 mammals, 12 amphibians, 6 reptiles, 62 fungi, some mosses). More recently the reserve was identified as a hot spot for the threatened flooded jellyskin lichen, a specialist of vernal pools. Perhaps MVFN can add more species to the list via our spring walk.

Join a big fan of High Lonesome, Joel Byrne—leader of MVFN’s annual spring walk, to explore this nature reserve.

Date: Saturday, May 4, 2013*

Time: 10:00 am

Location: from County Road 29 in Pakenham Village, drive west on Waba Road for 2.9 km. Turn left onto Barr Side Road, travel 1.6 km, turn left onto Carbine Road and drive 4 km to 867 Carbine Road (aka part lots 19 & 20, Concession 7, Pakenham Twp.)

Bring: lunch, binoculars, notebook, hat, camera, and dress for the weather

 *Please note: If the weather is bad, the walk will take place Sunday, May 5 (weather permitting). Please contact Cathy (613-257-3089) before 8:30 am if you wish to confirm the status of the walk.



Continue reading...

Another excellent paddle with the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists from Pakenham to Blakeney

Press Release

Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists

August 4, 2006

by Sheila Edwards

Another excellent paddle with the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists from Pakenham to Blakeney

The heat and humidity had temporarily broken July 23rd, just in time for a paddle along the Mississippi River. The three kayaks and three canoes put in behind the Community Center in Pakenham, heading upstream to the Blakeney waterfalls.

The Mississippi is particularly beautiful along this stretch; its tree-lined shores are generally 50 to 100 m apart and are edged with blooming aquatic plants. Those living along its shores are blessed with a quiet river; we encountered only one motorboat during the trip. Once we left the noisy highway behind, we felt as though we were paddling in a remote provincial park.

The range of birds seen was good for a mid-morning paddle; at least 22 different species. Of the darker varieties, we saw numerous red-winged blackbirds, grackles, European starlings, turkey vultures, ravens, crows and a cormorant. Near the Blakeney waterfalls, a red-tailed hawk soared over our heads. Someone even spotted a hummingbird, not a species generally seen while paddling.

After the first leg of our journey upriver, we lunched under an ancient willow across from the foot of the rushing Blakeney waterfalls. Zak, a canine member of our group, burnt off some energy swimming after sticks. A friend of the club had given us permission to use their dock. Thanks, it was great!

Many of us were puzzled by a tall flowering stalk with a beautiful cluster of pink blossoms that we were unable to find in the reference books we carried with us. After further investigation back on land, the plant was identified as Flowering Rush, Butomus umbellatus. Such a shame that it is an escaped exotic which is actively spreading!

The return trip downriver was fairly challenging as the wind had picked up. It was a relief to get side-tracked and explore Indian Creek, as it was sheltered and calm. During the summer the creek is fairly shallow and becomes un-navigable fairly quickly, but with the trees almost meeting overhead, and interesting shoreline, it was a nice addition to the trip. A few of us plan to explore Indian Creek more extensively in kayaks the next time out.

A detailed description of the route we traveled, “Pakenham 1”, can be found on the website of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists at here.

For those interested in participating in future paddles, the club has two more canoe trips planned for this season. On Sunday, August 13 we will be paddling the Tay River from Glen Tay to Perth. On Sunday August 27 we will be exploring Canonto Lake. If interested, and for more information contact Cliff Bennett at 613- 256-5013 or e-mail .

Continue reading...

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

Continue reading...