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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. 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.

Trip waiver

There can be risks associated with any recreational pursuit. Before you participate in nature walks and similar outdoor activities, we will ask you to read and sign a statement in which you assume the risk of the activity and release the OFNC from liability for any loss, damage or injury, however caused and whether or not contributed to by the OFNC’s negligence. This assumption of risk and release includes any minors accompanying you.

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.

Saturday, 10 October, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm
Leader: Jakob Mueller, jm890_7 AT hotmail.com
Meet: NCC Parking Lot P8 off of the Sir George Etienne Cartier Parkway (former the Rockcliffe Parkway). (See map and click on satellite view to see parking lot)

Green's Creek is an under-appreciated feature of the city's greenbelt, with a number of interesting natural features. The creek meanders through an unusual deep clay valley. A diversity of plants are found here, including the region's only population of Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), a late-blooming shrub more common farther south. For the birders, some fall migrants can be expected. If the weather is warm, we might see a number of reptiles and amphibians.

Sunday, 11 October, 8 am to 1 pm
Leader: Richard Waters
Meet: Kelsey's restaurant parking lot, 1910 Saint Laurent Boulevard

Let's try to repeat the six-goose day we had back on 12 October 2009! Of course, we shall have a look for anything else of interest along the way. We aim to see as many geese species as possible. Dress-up and stock-up for the weather. Bring a lunch or snack, binoculars and a scope, if you have one. This is a rain or shine outing.

Sunday, October 11, 1:30-3:30 pm
*oriented to all ages*
Leader: Jenny Sheppard
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden, Resource Centre (location)

We'll start with a follow up to the spring workshop by bringing the boxes of cocoons (see photo) back to our Resource Centre where we'll clean them and store them for winter. Then, for those who missed the spring workshop, Jenny will demonstrate how to make these simple boxes from milk cartons and rolled paper tubes. We'll make a couple of boxes together during the workshop. An easy way to help the bees that pollinate our fruit trees in spring, come and learn how you can do this.

Tuesday, October 13, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting
Speaker: Rick Cavasin
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Blessed with a wide diversity of habitats, the Ottawa-Gatineau area boasts a corresponding wide diversity of butterfly species. However, when searching for some of our rarities, the where and the when can be critical. This talk will discuss butterfly hotspots in eastern Ontario and southwestern Quebec, what's special about them, their noteworthy species, and when to visit them. Rick will also cover how to use resources like the Ontario Butterfly Atlas, the butterfly observation email list, and eButterfly. He will also touch on his use of photographic equipment.

The long-awaited book, Being a Bird in North America, has been published! Its author, Rob Alvo, will be selling and signing copies at the October 13 and November 10 monthly meetings of the OFNC. Cost: $35 (tax included) for OFNC members, or $45 (tax included) for non-members. Shipping and GST are extra if you purchase from the website (www.babina.ca).

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday and Sunday, 17-18 October, 3 pm to 3 pm


Saturday, 17 October, 7-8:30 pm


Presenter: Jeewa Mendis
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre, Prince of Wales Drive (How to find the FWG)

Jeewa is a skilled field-naturalist with an amazing amount of patience and a keen eye for photographing unusual subjects. She will be showing her latest photographs and short videos taken in Sri Lanka and near Ottawa.

Saturday, 24 October, 10 am to 1 pm
Leader: Owen Clarkin
Meet: at the Petrie Island Nature Interpretive Centre (start of main trail)

Petrie Island is known for its relatively pristine nature, especially given its proximity to Ottawa. This low island in the Ottawa River contains a well-preserved natural plant community, with good examples of regionally uncommon woody plants such as Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), Black Willow (Salix nigra), and Bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia) to mention only a few. Join us for a late season hike to see it for yourself. Bring a lunch and dress for the weather. This is a rain or shine event.

Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum) battling the elements along the shoreline at Petrie Island. Photo by Owen Clarkin

Sunday, 1 November, 8 am to 12:30 pm
Leader: Mark Gawn
Meet: Andrew Hayden Park, western most parking lot. Enter the park at the corner of Carling Avenue and Holly Acres Rd., turn left and go to the furthest parking lot.

By November most of our summer birds are long gone, and winter birds are yet to arrive. It can be cold, and it can be wet, despite which it can be one of the most exciting times of the year, particularly if stormy weather has grounded migrants fleeing the high arctic. The trip will likely focus on the Ottawa River, with the exact route to depend on recent sightings and current weather conditions. It may even involve a visit to one of our more scenic garbage dumps! The trip will proceed rain or shine; please dress appropriately. Binoculars are essential and if you have a spotting scope, do not leave it behind. No meal stops are anticipated, so if you are someone who requires "second breakfast" or "elevensies," bring a snack and beverage.

Photo by Mark Gawn: "Will we be lucky enough to see a Purple Sandpiper?"

Saturday, 7 November, 10 am
Leader: Chris Rochefort (chrisroche644@gmail.com)
Meet: Macoun Marsh, southeast end of the Beechwood Cemetery (map). Enter the cemetery on St-Laurent Blvd, across from the Full Cycle store. Once in, stay on your left and turn left on a small paved road to the Macoun Marsh. I will be wearing a yellow safety vest so you can spot me easily.

I propose one last quick outing relating to geology before the snow flies. This is very much kid-friendly. We will not do this if it rains as we have to actually sit or kneel on the ground.

The Macoun Marsh, situated at the Beechwood Cemetery and owned by them, is not related to the Macoun Club even though it has been named to honour the same person. During the construction, large flat limestone boulders were brought in to line the edges of the marsh. The limestone is from the Billings Formation dating to the Ordovician period, approximately 440 million years ago.

Fossils are important in geology/sedimentology as they help provide approximate dates for some sedimentary layers.

The idea will be to actually find the fossils in the rocks. Your hand lens or a good magnifying glass is highly recommended. If you have a camera that can take close-up picture (macro), you will be able to have a small collection of fossils in pictures. This is a conservation area: no collecting.

Please let me know if you intend to come and only if you intend to come. This way, I will be able to send you an email if we need to postpone the outing.

Tuesday, 10 November, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Bruce Di Labio
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Bruce will discuss the changes in the status of birds of the Ottawa-Gatineau district over the past 50 years, including recent new species, range extensions, species that are now extirpated, and species to look out for over the next decade.

Saturday, 21 November, 9:30 am
Leader: Chris Rochefort (chrisroche644@gmail.com)
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Resource Centre (How to find the FWG)

This will be a shorter version of the presentation from the beginning of the year, concentrating on what you need to know to identify minerals. Extra details can be given later or you can read them in mineral identification guides. We will start with a PowerPoint presentation and then we will practice identification with the minerals that you will bring.

Here's what you should bring (everything will become clear at the workshop):

  • Your hand lens (10x magnification)
  • A pocket knife or masonry nail for hardness test (or the biggest sewing needle you can find)
  • A piece of broken glass for hardness test (optional)
  • A copper penny or any small piece of copper for lower hardness test (your fingernails work well too)
  • A piece of unglazed porcelain (the back of old tiles or a mug with an unglazed ring at the bottom)
  • White vinegar (5%) or pickling vinegar (7%) to test for carbonates
  • Small magnet (or a big one, what ever you have)
  • Pen and paper

A mineral identification guide will be useful, either the Audubon Society guide or the one by Joel Grice (see photos).

Last but not least, bring your minerals and rocks so you can practice.

Tuesday, 8 December, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Howard Simkover
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Every couple of years, somewhere on the Earth, the shadow of the moon touches down and sweeps at supersonic speed across oceans and continents. For a brief few minutes, people in the path of this celestial shadow experience perhaps the most spectacular event in nature - a total eclipse of the sun. Howard Simkover will talk is about solar eclipses - what they are, when they happen, why they are perceived to be so rare, and why many thousands of people travel to experience them. Howard Simkover, a lifelong enthusiast of astronomy, was a Producer-Lecturer with the Montreal Planetarium, and also spoke on astronomy at the National Museum of Science & Technology. Howard has travelled the world to see many solar eclipses, and he will share his experiences with words and images.

Sunday, 20 December

This is one of the area's annual bird counts. To participate, please contact birdcounts@ofnc.ca. Details re: the post-count compilation and dinner will be provided to participants by the sector leaders, closer to the date of the event.

PLEASE NOTE: birdcounts@ofnc.ca was created as a general contact email address for organized bird counts in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Details re: contact persons and sector will be shared as soon possible.

Saturday, 2 January

35th Dunrobin-Breckenridge Christmas Bird Count. Another traditional local CBC, featuring more rural habitats than the Ottawa-Gatineau count, and not that far out of town. Please contact count coordinator-compiler Bruce Di Labio for details at bruce.dilabio@sympatico.ca. If you live on the Quebec side, contact Mo Laidlaw at 819-682-5371 or molaidlaw@videotron.ca

Tuesday, 12 January, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm formal program
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre (How to find the FWG)

The Council for 2016 will be elected at this meeting. There will be a brief review of the activities in 2015 and a statement of the Club's finances will be given. This is an opportunity to meet most of the Club's executives and the chairs of the various committees and to find out what makes your Club tick.

Saturday, 16 January, 7-10 pm
*oriented to all ages*
Leaders: Barry Cottam and Hume Douglas
Location: K.W. Neatby Building, 960 Carling Ave.

If you take natural history photos, this is your opportunity to share some of your images with fellow members. The mix of different topics and voices makes for an enjoyable evening. Contributions may be 7-10 minutes long. We can handle most digital presentations (images on a flash-drive), and even conventional slides (with some warning please). We encourage presenters to speak about their images. Please contact Hume Douglas (humedgl (at) gmail.com) or Barry Cottam (b.cottam (at) rogers.com) so that we can organize the presentations.

Thursday, 12 May to Sunday, 15 May
Leaders: Roy John, John Cartwright and Jon Ruddy

Our club is planning another fantastic birding trip to Point Pelee and Rondeau Provincial Parks with several stops in interesting birding places along the route down and back. We have booked rooms in the newly renovated Leamington Comfort Inn with buffet breakfast service. We shall charter an air conditioned bus with toilet facilities. We expect the cost to be about $500/person. Expect more details in the next issue of Trail and Landscape and on the OFNC site. In the meantime, to secure your place on this trip, call Martha Farkas at 613 729-4619.

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This page was revised on 5 October 2015
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