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PLEASE NOTE: This web page contains the most up-to-date information on events. Please check it regularly for changes or additions to events. The Club's Facebook group and Twitter account (@OttawaFieldNat) will also be used to announce last-minute changes to events.

We expect to hold several weather- and year-dependent events that are not included in Trail & Landscape and will only be announced at the last minute via our website, Facebook and Twitter. These include seasonal events such as Snowy Owl viewing, the spring Snow Goose spectacle, Eardley Eagles and Mudpuppy Night.

Please read
Guidelines for participants on field trips

Check out the web site of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists for more local events.

The OFNC's Events Committee plans an extensive program of monthly meetings, workshops, day trips, and longer excursions for the education and interest of our members.

Almost every weekend all year round, you can join a knowledgeable nature buff on an excursion to one of the many conservation areas in our region. Learn to identify some of the hundreds of birds that frequent our lakes, fields, and forests; wade through a marsh searching for amphibians; or take a leisurely stroll with fellow nature lovers.

Complete details of all the activities can be found in our quarterly newsletter Trail & Landscape, which is free to members.

All outings

Field trips to natural areas in our region and beyond take place all year round. These events are for OFNC members and prospective members. Prospective members are welcome unless the notice indicates that participation is limited, or that bus travel is involved. Guests should be aware that, in all cases, OFNC liability insurance applies to OFNC members only. Times stated for events are departure times. Please arrive earlier; leaders start promptly. If you need a ride, please contact the leader.

Please bring a lunch on full-day trips and dress according to the weather forecast and activity. Binoculars and/or spotting scopes are essential on all birding trips. Unless otherwise stated, transportation will be by car pool.

Monthly meetings

Our monthly meetings are be held on the second Tuesday of every month except July and August in the K.W. Neatby Building, Salon B, at 960 Carling Avenue. There is ample free parking in the lot on the west side of Maple Drive by Carling Ave., immediately to the east of the main entrance to the Neatby Building. Details below.

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Events oriented to all ages

Kids are welcome on all of our trips. We have highlighted particular hikes as "oriented to all ages" as these are most likely to be enjoyed by typical children. Depending on your child(ren)'s interests and stamina, please feel free to bring them along on any events. For events tailored to kids, check out the Macoun Field Club.

PLEASE NOTE: Tuesday, April 15 Hawkwatch cancelled; rescheduled for Friday, April 18

Friday, April 18, Tuesdays, April 22, 29
and Saturdays, April 19, 26, May 3
Noon to 3 p.m.

Spring hawk watch
Leader: Jon Ruddy
Meet: 11:30 a.m., Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd. and Assaly Rd. or at noon at hawk watch location (Greenland Road, northwest of Thomas Dolan Pkwy)

Come out and enjoy some bird-of-prey migration - hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures are on the visual menu! Open to all skill levels. Bring: water, snack, scope, binoculars, field guide, hat, and sunglasses (especially on sunny days).

Join the 2014 Ottawa Spring Hawkwatch Facebook group for news about hawk sightings, what to expect at the Hawkwatch site, and identification tips.

Photo (above): Juvenile light-morph Rough-legged Hawk, photographed by Jon Ruddy


April 12
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
1 Northern Goshawk
3 Osprey
2 Red-tailed Hawk
3 Northern Harrier
1 Rough-legged Hawk
2 Red-shouldered Hawk
6 Bald Eagle (4 adult, 2 immature)
13 Turkey Vulture
1 American Kestrel
April 7
26 Turkey Vultures
1 Osprey
2 Bald Eagles
1 Sharp-shinned Hawk
4 Cooper's Hawks
1 Red-shouldered Hawk
3 Red-tailed Hawks
2 Merlins
1 unknown raptor

April 5 Cancelled because of bad weather

March 31
(changed from April 1)
6 Turkey Vultures
2 Red-tailed Hawks
2 Red-shouldered Hawks
1 Rough-legged Hawk, dark morph
1 Cooper's Hawk

1 Northern Shrike (immature)
1 Great Blue Heron
1 Common Raven
March 29 0
March 25 4 Turkey Vultures
1 Bald Eagle, immaculate adult
1 Red-tailed Hawk
1 Rough-legged Hawk, light morph
1 Merlin

1 Northern Shrike
2 American Robins
1 Canada Goose

March 18 1 Rough-legged Hawk
1 unknown raptor
March 22 Cancelled because of bad weather

March 11 0 March 15 1 Red-tailed Hawk

Saturday, 26 April, 7-10 p.m.
OFNC Awards Night
*Especially kid friendly*
Location: St. Basil's Church, 940 Rex Ave, Ottawa. Enter from Maitland Avenue (east side) just north of the Queensway. BUS ACCESS: Bus #85 (along Carling Avenue), get off at Maitland Avenue and walk south on Maitland towards the Queensway for 0.5 kms (~ 7 minute walk).
Tickets $15, available at the door

Join us for some fun at our annual wine and cheese party and celebrate with the honoured winners of our annual awards. Photographers and artists may exhibit pictures for everyone to enjoy. Kids, bring your natural history displays. Back by popular demand this year is the Natural History Trivia Quiz, which will feature a display table and projected images. For information call Hume at 613-234-0122.

Announcing this year's award winners


Sunday, 27 April, 7-10 p.m.
Frogs and birds at night
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur
Meet: at Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd. and Assaly Rd.) for carpooling.

Come and hear a little night music! This trip will consist of roadside stops only, but the roads can be muddy and the temperature can drop like a stone when the sun sets. If the weather forecast appears to be really unsuitable (constant rain, winds in excess of 20 kph, or weather too cold for frogs), we will move the trip to the Friday or Saturday before on the same weekend, or to the Saturday or Sunday on following weekend. Check here for updates as the date approaches.

Sunday, 27 April, 8 a.m. to early afternoon
Early migrants at Parc national de Plaisance
Leaders: Mark Gawn and Anouk Hoedeman
Meet: Parc national de Plaisance entrance on rue Galipeau, just north of the ferry dock in Thurso, Quebec

This park holds the largest wetlands in the Ottawa area, and the trip is timed to coincide with the tail end of the spring waterfowl migration. Expect to see many ducks along with early passerine migrants. The trip will proceed rain or shine, and waterproof footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one, as some viewing will be distant. There is $6 fee to visit the park, payable on entry. The trip will end in the early afternoon, and a final stop will be a casse-croûte with some of the region's best poutine (but bring a snack to tide you over until then!).

Snapping turtle and painted turtles photographed by Gillian Mastromatteo at Mud LakeSaturday, 3 May, 11 a.m. to 3 pm
Turtle watching at Mud Lake
Leaders: Jakob Mueller (Contact jm890_7 AT hotmail DOT com)
Meet: Entrance to the filtration plant on Cassels Road and Britannia Conservation Area (Mud Lake parking area).

This guided hike will circle Mud Lake looking for spring wildlife activity, focusing on basking turtles. Spotting features and natural history will be explained for those species found - several could potentially be observed in the wetlands, without even leaving the city! Bring a snack, binoculars, and dress for the weather. Some trails may be muddy, and sunscreen is recommended. This event may be postponed or cancelled in the event of heavy rain or unseasonable cold.

Saturday, 3 May, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Brewer Park pond and meadow life - a joint event with the Macoun Field Club
Leaders: Hume Douglas, Holly Bickerton, Wayne Knee, Rob Lee and the Macoun Field Club
Meet: NW side of the pond at 9:30, but arriving later is fine. Parking is available off of Brewer Way behind the baseball diamonds. The pond is 100 m south of the parking lot on the other side of a treed embankment. Cancelled in the event of steady rain. Map link: http://g.co/maps/gzqnw

Come muck about at the edge of Brewer Pond: frogs, turtles, fish, insects, plants and birds are there to find. Rubber boots and a net and pail would be useful. Very child friendly. The pond is mostly shallow with gradual shorelines. Children should nevertheless be closely supervised, especially because of the deeper nearby Rideau River. The pond area is part of an off-leash area for dogs, but is generally less busy than the river and pathways.

Sunday, 4 May, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Spring ephemerals
Leader: Bryarly McEachern
Meet: at 9:30 near the PizzaPizza in the north east corner of the Lincoln Fields parking lot, close to the intersection of Assaly and Richmond Roads or at 10:15 at the Mill of Kintail parking lot on Ramsay Concession Road 8

Join Bryarly for a walk at Mill of Kintail to seek, admire, and learn about spring ephemerals. What are spring ephemerals? They are those lovely short-lived wildflowers that emerge in spring and disappear by early summer. Bring a wildflower guide (e.g., Newcomb's), notebook and hand lens, if you like. We will have lunch in the forest, so please pack one if you plan to stay. Dress appropriately for the weather. This jaunt will run sun or sprinkle, but will be canceled in the event of heavy rain. If you have any questions about the trip, please email bryarly@gmail.com or call 613 858-8822. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, 8 May, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Spring Wildflower Outing
Leader: Eleanor Thomson (613-269-3523)
Meet: Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd. and Assaly Rd.), or call Eleanor if you want to meet at the Bell Bushlot.

Come for a leisurely spring ramble on the Bell Bushlot near Almonte. This Nature Conservancy property is predominantly a sugar maple forest on the Canadian Shield. You may wish to bring binoculars, camera, hand lens, field guides and snack. If it rains, bring a raincoat.

Saturday, 10 May, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Turtle watching at Petrie Island
Leaders: Jakob Mueller (Contact jm890_7 AT hotmail DOT com)
Meet: West end of the Petrie Island parking lot, on the north end of Trim Road.

Couldn't make it to Mud Lake last week? Then come out and explore this location in Ottawa's east end! Follow several trails on Petrie Island, looking for spring wildlife activity, with a focus on basking turtles. Spotting features and natural history will be explained for those species found. Bring a snack, binoculars, and dress for the weather. Some trails may be muddy, and sunscreen is recommended. The parking lot is "pay and display"; the weekend rate is $2.00. This event may be postponed or cancelled in the event of heavy rain or unseasonable cold.

Thursday, 8 May to Sunday, 11 May
Point Pelee birding trip 2014
Leaders: Roy John and John Cartwright

Note: This trip is now fully booked. You may email Fenja (fbrodo@sympatico.ca) to put your name on a waiting list in case there is a cancellation.

Our Club is planning another fantastic birding trip to Point Pelee and Rondeau Provincial Parks with several birding stops in other interesting places on the way down and on the way back. Two of our very best birders, Roy and John, have once again taken on the responsibility of leading this trip. We have booked rooms at the Comfort Inn, Leamington, and we shall charter an air conditioned bus with toilet facilities to take us there and back. Cost has not been determined, but expect it to be less than $500 which includes shared accommodation for three nights and park entrance fees. A deposit of $100 will hold your place with the remainder to be paid by April 1. Contact Fenja Brodo (613 723-2054 or fbrodo@sympatico.ca) to register or to find out more. Please send cheques to OFNC, Box 35069, Westgate PO, Ottawa ON   K1Z 1A2.

See photos from the OFNC's 2007 trip to Pelee and Rondeau

Tuesday, 13 May, 7 p.m. OFNC monthly meeting
Algonquin to Adirondacks: keystone for ecological connectivity in eastern North America
Speaker: Ken Buchan
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

The Algonquin to Adirondacks (A2A) region is a key component in a network of ecological connections in eastern North America, forming the largest, most intact linkage across the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River waterway. It is vital for maintaining biodiversity in eastern North America, and will assume an increasingly critical role as climate changes. The Algonquin and Madawaska Highlands in the northwest and the Adirondack Mountains in the southeast serve as relatively undeveloped and lightly populated anchors at either end of the A2A region. The area between, however, is more fragmented by urban, agricultural and industrial development, and major transportation corridors. Ken helped develop the A2A Conservation Initiative in the 1990s and currently serves on the boards of the A2A Collaborative and the Ottawa Valley Chapter of CPAWS. He will speak about the work of these organizations to protect and restore ecological linkages through the A2A region.

OFNC monthly meetings are open to the public

Wednesday, May 28, 8 a.m. to noon
Birding in the south end
Leader: Gord Belyea
Meet: Take Albion Road south from Bank Street (approximately 6 km), turn west (to the right, opposite the Slots sign) on High Road and continue for about 1 km to the parking area (it's a dead end) near the access point to the IFR Radar dome.

The fields to the south of the airport offer one of the most diverse populations of sparrows in the area. We could expect to see Song, Savannah, Field, Chipping, Grasshopper, Vesper, Clay-colored, and possibly White-throated and Swamp Sparrows on this walk. Other possibilities include Indigo Bunting, Nashville Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow Warbler, Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, Tree Swallow, and Black-billed Cuckoo. There is also an important Eastern Bluebird trail in this area.

Please note: there are no bathroom facilities on this walk.

Sunday, 1 June, 8 a.m. to noon
Breeding birds at Reveler Recreation Area
Leaders: Mark Patry and Paul Schoening
Meet: Meet for carpooling at the Leitrim Park and Ride (Gilligan Road, South of Leitrim Road and west of Albion) at 07:15 where we will proceed to the unsigned area located at the NW corner of Reveler Road and Concession 10-11, to start the walk at 8 a.m. Limited parking.

Several sparrow species and other breeders should be singing. It is an overgrown farm/orchard with some dense forest nearby and a variety of habitats. Sparrows, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings, cuckoos, grouse, turkeys, thrushes, orioles, woodpeckers, wrens, swallows, hawks, flycatchers can all be expected. It is also within the 50-km radius around the Peace Tower that constitutes the official "Ottawa area" for birding. If time permits, we may go to the Russell Sewage Lagoons.

Dress properly for high and wet grass and rocky paths. This is not a manicured Park. The trails are wild.

Sunday, 1 June, 10 a.m. to noon
Pink lady slippers and dune tour
Leaders: Volunteers of the Pinhey Sand Dunes Restoration Project
Meet: Park at the corner of Vaan and Pineland, east of Woodroffe. Meet at the Sand Dune, which is on the south side of Pineland.

Learn all about Pink Lady Slipper orchids and about Ottawa's only remaining and intact sand dune and about the efforts to rehabilitate it and protect it.

Thursday, 5 June, 7-9 p.m.
Dog-strangling vine: threats and potential solutions
Leader: Naomi Cappuccino
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre

Naomi Cappuccino, biologist at Carleton University, will give a presentation on the ecology of pale swallow-wort, a.k.a., dog-strangling vine. Come find out what makes this plant such a menace to Ottawa area green spaces, and what's being done to combat this pest. Following the presentation, we will walk through the Fletcher Wildlife Garden for a close-up look at swallow-wort. This event will start with a presentation at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre, followed by a walk. Dress appropriately for the weather.

Sunday, 8 June, 6-11:30 a.m.
Birding by ear in Larose Forest
Leader: John Cartwright (613 789-6714)
Meet: 6:00 a.m. at the Kelsey's in the Elmvale Acres Mall at the SW corner of St Laurent and Smyth for carpooling. Those living closer to Limoges can meet us at 7 a.m. at the cemetery just south of Clarence-Cambridge Road on Grant Road.

We likely will spend about four hours in the Larose Forest, listening to and observing songbirds. Bring binoculars, a snack, a drink, and plenty of mosquito repellent. There will be a variety of biting flies in the forest at this time of year. This trip will be cancelled in the event of continuous rain.

Tuesday, 10 June, 7 p.m. OFNC monthly meeting
Don't eat me! Human uses of plant chemical defenses
Speaker: Steven Chatfield
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Plants acquire simple nutrients from their surroundings and use energy from light to produce complex sugars and carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, and essential micronutrients and vitamins. Thus, plants are concentrated packages of resources that would succumb quickly to microbial and animal feeding if it were not for their incredibly diverse array of chemical defenses. As chemical factories, plants have been utilized by humans throughout the ages and into the present day in many ways. Their chemical defenses have yielded structural materials, drugs (therapeutic, inspirational and recreational), feed-stocks for industry, insecticides, fungicides, spices, preservatives, cosmetics, dyes, and poisons. This talk surveys these defensive chemicals, their use by humans and plants, and their future potential.

OFNC monthly meetings are open to the public

Friday, 13 June, 8 p.m. to midnight
Mothing in Larose Forest
Leaders: Diane Lepage (613-987-5405) and Suzanne Deschênes
Meet: 8 p.m. at McDonald's, 1890 Chemin Innes Rd, Gloucester Parking lot. We will drive for 30-35 minutes to the forest.

Discover the amazing night life of moths which come to black lights from dusk to dawn in the Larose Forest. We will set up sheets and battery-powered lights and then wait for the fun to begin. It is the time of the year when the big Silkworms come out. Bring a flashlight, bug repellent and a camera (the latter optional). A lawn chair would be useful.

NOTE: This event is limited to 20 participants. RSVP with the leader for the event and for a ride.

This trip will depend on the weather. Should the temperature be below 16 degrees or in the event of rain, the trip will be cancelled.

Saturday, 14 June, 7 a.m. to noon
Birding in Gatineau Park's parkway sector
Leaders: Justin Peter (jbpetr@yahoo.ca or 613-858-3744) and Carlos Barbery
Meet: 6:30 a.m. near the Pizza Pizza, north east corner of the Lincoln Fields parking lot, near Richmond Road and Assaly Road or 7 a.m. at the P8 parking lot in Gatineau Park.

Gatineau Park is host to a great variety of habitats and consequently a great diversity of breeding birds. We will explore a number of areas by foot, traveling between each by vehicle as we gradually make our way up towards the Eardley Escarpment overlooking the Ottawa Valley. Along the way, we'll look and listen for birds in a variety of habitats, including beaver ponds, meadows, alder and willow thickets, and hardwood forest. We should expect a variety of warblers, vireos, sparrows, flycatchers and more. There is a possibility of observing Indigo Bunting and Scarlet Tanager, as well as both cuckoo species. And we will also look at anything else of interest! Binoculars, a drink and a mid-morning snack are recommended. There will likely be some elevation change so wear sturdy footwear. You may also need a hat and bug spray.

Saturday, 21 June, 6 a.m.
*All day*
Queen's University biology station lands
Leaders: Jakob Mueller (jm890_7 at hotmail.com or (613) 314-1495) and Rob Alvo (robalvo1 at gmail.com)
Meet: 6:00 a.m. at Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd. and Assaly Rd.)

Travel south to the Frontenac Arch and explore the biodiversity in the Lake Opinicon area. Participants will explore the property of the Queen's University Biology Station and hike on a section of the Cataraqui Trail. Birds abound, including rare Red-shouldered Hawks and Cerulean Warblers. The area is also one of Ontario's hotspots for reptile and amphibian diversity, home to many species, including Ontario's only lizard and Canada's largest snake. Many southern plant species from the deciduous forest contribute to a unique flora here, growing on the rocks of the Canadian Shield.

This will be an all-day excursion. Please prepare to carpool at the meeting point. Participants should bring weather-appropriate clothing, binoculars, sunscreen, lunch, and snacks and good hiking shoes or boots. Also, mosquitoes and poison ivy are likely to be present at times. (Remember: bug spray can be lethal to amphibians, so those interested in frogs and salamanders should use chemical-free alternatives, like long sleeves.)

Sunday, 22 June, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Butterflies of Larose Forest
Leader: Peter Hall
Meet: Elmvale Acres Shopping Centre on St. Laurent Boulevard near the PizzaPizza

Larose Forest, 40 minutes east of Ottawa, has a tremendous variety of butterflies. In recent years, several rare sedge skippers have been found, and hairstreaks and checkerspots can also be expected. Join Peter Hall, co-author of The Butterflies of Canada, for a leisurely stroll along some of the forest trails which have proven to be especially good for butterflies. Bring insect repellent, lunch, water and your favorite guide book (look out for Peter's new Royal Ontario Museum Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario, due for release in early June).

This trip will be cancelled in the event of rain.

Saturday, 5 July, 8:30 a.m. (rain date Sunday, 6 July)
*Especially kid friendly*
13th annual Ottawa area butterfly count
Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall
Meet: in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).
[Call Jeff Skevington between 6 pm and 9 pm on Friday night at 613-832-1970 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. If you need a ride from Ottawa please use the OFNC Facebook or Twitter accounts to try to find a ride share.]

The North American Butterfly Association has coordinated butterfly counts following the same format as Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) for many years. These counts are published as part of an ongoing program of NABA to census the butterflies of North America (see http://www.naba.org/counts.html for more information). Volunteer participants focus on a 24 km diameter circle and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. As with CBCs, there is a $4.00 charge to participants to support the publication of the results (not obligatory, but encouraged). This is the seventh year that OFNC will sponsor a count (and the 13th year that this count will have been conducted). The count area will be centred at Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa), a site used as a former non-OFNC count circle. It includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch. No experience is necessary! We will put teams together on site and match up people so that everyone has a chance to learn from the experts. If you have binoculars and a butterfly net, bring them along. Butterflies may be captured and brought to the count compilation alive for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy.

We plan to meet at Michael Olsen's place at 20 Kluane Ridge, Kanata (off Steeplechase) at 5:30 pm after the count for a compilation and pot luck dinner. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We will have a collection of butterflies along to help people figure out what they saw and learn a bit more about these amazing creatures. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can't make it, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave.

Sunday, July 13, 10 a.m. to noon
Ghost tiger beetle and dune tour
Leader: Volunteers of the Pinhey Sand Dunes Restoration Project
Meet: Park at the corner of Vaan and Pineland, east of Woodroffe. Meet at the Sand Dune, which is on the south side of Pineland.

Learn all about the amazing Ghost Tiger Beetle and about Ottawa's only remaining and intact sand dune and about the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate it and protect it.

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This page was revised on 16 April 2014
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