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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.

Wednesday, 18 February, 7 p.m.
Speaker: Eva Katic, National Capital Commission (NCC)
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, off Prince of Wales Drive

Ottawa is blessed with an extensive and biodiverse Greenbelt, with which many members are familiar. Eva Katic (Manager of Natural Resources and Land Management in the NCC Greenbelt) will give an overview of habitat restoration and management currently underway within the Greenbelt. She will update us on the direction of the recently revised Greenbelt Master Plan, and discuss some of NCC's projects to control invasive species, restore bird habitat, and minimize the effects of roads on vertebrate fauna. The NCC is also interested in building a network of volunteers who would be willing to undertake bird monitoring in key areas of the Greenbelt. There will be time for discussion, so come with ideas and questions!

Friday, 20 February, 7-10 p.m.
Leader: Fred Schueler
Meet: 7 p.m. at the northeast corner of Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot, off Richmond Road at Assaly Road to carpool, or, at the parking lot beside the dam in the village of Oxford Mills, 44.96481N 75.67827W, at 8 p.m.

Come out to count, catch live, touch, examine, and learn all about Canada’s largest salamander, which is often mistaken by ice-fishers as a missing link in evolution. The Oxford Mills dam seems to be the best place in this species’ global range for observing it during its period of winter activity. Bring your brightest handheld light or headlamp, and your tallest rubber boots to wade in the stream, or your warmest winter boots to keep warm next to the stream. Dress very warmly, as you will spend 1.5 hours outdoors. If the weather creates dangerous driving conditions, this outing will be postponed. If in doubt, please call Fred at 613-258-3107 or e-mail him at bckcdb @istar.ca. More information

Photo of mudpuppy taken in January 2007 by Bev Wigney. For a description of her experience, see "Another mudpuppy night at Oxford Mills"

Saturday, 28 February, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Leader: Jakob Mueller (Contact jm890_7 AT hotmail DOT com or 613-314-1495)
Meet: NCC parking lot P6 off Richmond Rd., south of Bells Corners

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.

Photo of porcupine at Stony Swamp by Janelle King

Sunday, 1 March, 9 a.m. to noon
*Oriented to all ages*
Leaders: Dave Moore and Bev McBride
Meet: Jack Pine Trail, P9 parking lot. This event is limited to 15 participants. Please register with Dave (email: redstart at vif.com) or leave a message with your name and number at 613-729-9330. Please include a phone number in your email in case we have to cancel.

Join Dave and Bev to find out about nature in the winter. Kids are 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!

Wednesday, 4 March, 8 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Rick Collins and Heather Pickard
Meet: 8 a.m. at the Jack Pine Trail parking lot 9 off Moodie Drive

This event is a guided bird walk for those new to birding. Ottawa's Greenbelt trails are alive with birds in winter, especially where feeders supply a reliable source of bird food. At Jack Pine Trail we can expect to find good numbers of many species on which to practice basic ID skills. Your leaders will discuss how to apply the FOUR KEYS to BIRD IDENTIFICATION to the birds we find: 1- size and shape, 2- colour pattern, 3- habitat and 4- behaviour. After exploring the forest trails we will drive to the nearby landfill or fields to seek winter gulls etc., and perhaps even a few raptors. Bring your binoculars, a snack, warm drink, and dress for the weather. This event will be cancelled in event of hazardous driving conditions or extreme weather.

Sunday, 8 March, 8 a.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) to noon
Leader: John Cartwright (613-789-6714)
Meet: Elmvale Acres Shopping Mall (St. Laurent Blvd. at Smyth Rd.), near Kelsey's Restaurant.

We will be looking for winter visitors and/or early migrants; depending on reports, we will focus either on the Mer Bleue Bog area or the roads toward Navan and beyond. Dress according to weather conditions. Bring hot drinks, snacks, binoculars and a scope if you have one.

Tuesday, 10 March, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting
Speaker: David Seburn
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

The Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas, a project of Ontario Nature, is working to document the current distribution of amphibians and reptiles across the province using a network of volunteers, similar to the Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas. Why an atlas for amphibians and reptiles? One reason is that these species are in trouble: three-quarters of Ontario's reptiles are listed as species at risk. David is an atlas coordinator for the Ottawa area. He will introduce the project, share recent results, and provide information on how to contribute your observations.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Tuesday, 17 March, 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: Chris Rochefort and Lenika Vanvelthuizen
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, off Prince of Wales Drive

The March meeting will be about field equipment for safety and for extract minerals. We will also have a discussion on where we will be going on future excursions. Lenika, our Field Trip Coordinator, will be heading this part of the meeting.

Saturday, 28 March, 7:30-11 a.m.
Leader: Joshua McCullough
Meet: At the Jack Pine Trail, parking lot off of Moodie Drive. Please plan to arrive ten minutes before departure time. We start the walk at 7:30 a.m. sharp. This trip requires registration and will be limited to 10 participants. Contact Joshua by e-mail: jr_mccullough@hotmail.com

A photo tour of the Jack Pine Trail. It's possible to get great bird, deer and scenic landscape photos along the trail. Josh will give tips and ideas, although individual coaching is not possible here. Dress in layers for for 3.5 hours outdoors, with frequent breaks to make beautiful photographs. Bring some bird seed, and a drink and snack. Binoculars and tripods are recommended. Bring a camera and any lenses you would like to practice with. Joshua will answer questions and help you get setup and shooting! Washrooms are at the parking lot. Leave no valuables in your car.

Date: to be determined, probably early April (check here closer to the date) 8 p.m. to midnight(ish)
Leader: Eleanor Thomson 613-269-3523
Meet: Thomson cabin (20 minutes beyond Calabogie and 90 minutes from Ottawa). This will involve late-night driving on two-lane forest highways.

Experience the beauty and delights of springtime wilderness at night. A quiet visit to several salamander and frog breeding ponds as we wend our way through the woods, listening to nighttime sounds in the darkness. Extra-warm clothes and waterproof boots are essential. As this outing will be timed to coincide with the brief and unpredictable salamander mating season, please register with Eleanor well before the end of March (and mention if there are nights you are unavailable). We will send directions and details once a date is set, probably about a week in advance. Please note that this is a cell phone-free sanctuary. Cell phones are prohibited.

Tuesday, 14 April, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting
Speaker: Jennifer Kingsley
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join Ottawa author and naturalist Jennifer Kingsley, author of Paddlenorth - Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild, for a trip across the Arctic by canoe. Jennifer will show pictures, tell stories, and read from her new book. She'll talk about wildlife, whitewater, and life on a 54-day expedition (see www.jenniferkingsley.ca/paddlenorth). Jennifer also works as a naturalist aboard the National Geographic Explorer. She'll show some National Geographic photos from her 2014 trip to Ellesmere Island. "A perilous journey through an unforgiving landscape. A wild adventure that sweeps you up in its wake. Jennifer Kingsley is a wicked paddler and a beautiful writer." -Andrew Westoll

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Photo: The Back River rapids by Jennifer Kingsley

Saturday, 18 April, 7-10 p.m.
*Especially Kid friendly*
Location: St. Basil's Church basement. 940 Rex Avenue. 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 toward the Queensway for 0.5 km (~ 7 minute walk).

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 will exhibit new works for everyone to enjoy. Kids, bring your natural history displays. The Despotic Natural History Trivia Quiz will also be back. For information call Hume at 613-234-0122.

Sunday, 26 April, 8 a.m. to early afternoon
Leaders: Mark Gawn and Rachelle Lapensee
Meet: Parc national de Plaisance, entrance on rue Galipeau, just north of the ferry dock in Thurso, Quebec

The 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, waterproof footwear are recommended. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one as some birds will be distant. There is $6 gate fee to visit the park. The trip will end in the early afternoon, 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!)

Wednesday, 27 May, 8 a.m. to noon
Leader: Gord Belyea
Meet: Take Albion Road south from Bank Street (approximately 6 km), turn west (to the right, opposite the OLG Slots sign) on High Road and continue for about 1 kilometer 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 can 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.

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© Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club
This page was revised on 18 February 2015
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