|The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club|
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.
Check out the web site of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists for more local events.
The OFNC's Lectures and Excursions 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.
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.
Beginning in February 2014, our monthly meetings will be held at the Central Experimental Farm 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.
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.
Sunday, 8 December, 1-4 p.m.
A hike through the mature woods of Hampton Park to illustrate methods of woody plant (trees, shrubs, vines) identification during the long cold season in Ottawa. The main goal will be lasting citizen education; therefore, participants will be provided with a key to identify most of the woody plants found in the Ottawa district in both summer and winter. Dress for the weather and bring your favourite snacks and refreshments. Hand lens, binoculars, field guides and notebooks could be of use, but are not required. This is a rain/snow or shine walk.
Sunday, 15 December
This is one of the area's annual bird counts. Whether you are a casual birder or an expert, all are welcome to participate. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Saturday, 18 January, 7-10 p.m.
If you take pictures on Club outings or on your own, this is your opportunity to share some natural history shots with fellow members. The mix of different topics and different voices makes for an enjoyable evening. Contributions may be up to 15 images (natural history related). We can handle conventional slides as well as most digital presentations (i.e., images on a flash-drive). We would like you to speak briefly about your images, but that is not a requirement. If you would like to show photos, please contact Hume Douglas (humedgl (at) gmail.com) so that we can organize the presentations. Otherwise, please just come and enjoy!
Photo of red squirrel at the FWG by Christine Hanrahan
Saturday, 25 January, 8:30 a.m. to noon
The use of microscopes or magnified imaging systems has been relevant since the late 1700s and still is our primary tool for examining the biological and geological worlds. How do microscopes work? What makes a good microscope of magnifying system? What are some of the limitations with using microscopes? How do we evaluate and use a microscope? This workshop will examine these questions and how to effectively access the optical quality of different microscopes. Please register with Paul (613-838-4943 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and also mention if you need a ride to the museum (or can offer one to others). The work shop is limited to 10 participants.
Photo of fly © Rick Mousseau
Saturday, 8 February, 6:30 a.m.
to 7 p.m.
This is a full-day excursion during which we will explore Amherst Island, near Kingston. This pastoral island, which has a patchwork of cultivated land and woodlots, can be a winter-time haven for owls. Depending on the conditions, we might observe various species including Northern Saw-whet Owl, Snowy Owl, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared owl and Barred Owl. We will also look for hawks, eagles, waterfowl, pheasants and anything else of interest. We will use the ferry crossing at Millhaven, which is south from exit 593 on the 401 (departures to Amherst island 30 minutes past the hour) and plan to catch the 9:30 ferry. We plan to leave Amherst Island on the 5 p.m. ferry (or 6 p.m. for those who would like to check for Short-eared Owl activity). The round-trip cost for ferry service is $9/car at last check. There will be some walking over mainly level terrain. Wear warm, layered winter clothing and winter boots suitable for walking in snow. Bring a packable lunch, snacks, and thermos(es) with hot beverages. Washroom facilities on the island are limited. This trip will not proceed in case of sustained heavy rain, freezing rain or snow storm conditions that create adverse driving conditions. If in doubt, contact Justin.
Photo, above right: Northern Saw-whet owl photographed by Gillian Mastromatteo during an OFNC trip to Amherst Island in January 2013. See blog post
Saturday, 15 February, 1-4 p.m.
Come and explore the CNC with Owen, Jeff, and Hume. With over 17 million pinned insects, our collection is one of the largest and most diverse in the world. Hundreds of scientists world-wide use the collection for their research and 32 Canadian scientists work in the collection facility. The CNC offers insights into insect taxonomy and phylogenetics and is an important source of data to understand historical changes in global insect populations. Understanding invasive and native pests as well as beneficial and benign species all revolves around this huge scientific resource. The visit will highlight our research and some of the spectacular animals in our collection.
Sunday, 16 February, 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. (in Merrickville)
This is a 4-km return hike to the Craig Road boardwalk in Limerick Forest at Merrickville. The short boardwalk overlooks the Wolford Bog, an ANSI and provincially significant wetland. The hike will be about 2 km in and 2 km back on an easy trail through woodland the entire way. Other factors to consider are temperature and snow depth. Snow conditions may change how we travel on the trail and the boardwalk. This hike will be coordinated with the Friends of Limerick Forest. Bring a lunch and a warm drink. Dress for the weather. Weather conditions that would cancel the event include snowstorm and freezing rain. If in doubt, contact Stew or co-ordinator Fenja Brodo at 613-723-2054.
Saturday, 1 March, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Get some exercise and explore nature in winter in Ottawa's Greenbelt. We will look for wildlife activity and take in winter landscapes and fresh air. Snowshoes are a convenient way to explore NCC trails in winter - bring your own, or rent from one of the many sporting goods suppliers in Ottawa. Pack a lunch, a drink, and dress in layers. (In the unlikely event that there is no snow pack, this event will be cancelled.)
Sunday, 2 March, 9 a.m. to about noon
Join Dave and Bev to find out about nature in the winter. Kids invited. Bring unsalted peanuts or sunflower seeds to pay the chickadees for using their habitat. This trip will depend on the weather, so if it looks bad it will not go. Dress warmly for the weather and bring a snack, your camera and/or binoculars. No mosquitoes, guaranteed!!!
Saturday, March 22, 7 p.m.
Glimpses of wildlife II - a collection of short videos
Jeewa has captured more wonderful images of wildlife. These include activities in the air, on land and in water, of various birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. She has a small exhibit of found wildlife treasures which will be on view before she shows her videos. Refreshments will be served.
Sunday, 13 April, 7-10 p.m.
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.
Saturday, 26 April, 7-10 p.m.
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!
Sunday, 27 April, 8 a.m. to
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!).
Saturday, 3 May, 11 a.m. to 3 pm
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.
Thursday, 8 May to Sunday, 11 May
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 email@example.com) to register or to find out more. Payment can be made online at our website www.ofnc.ca or send a cheque to OFNC, Box 35069, Westgate P.O., Ottawa ON K1Z 1A2.