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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. OFNC events are for members only. Prospective members interested in attending should contact the trip leader in advance. For some events, participation is limited and members will be given priority. Times given for events are departure times. Please arrive earlier, as 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.

Tuesday, 13 December, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Roy John
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join Roy and Stephanie on a trip along Mexico's Baja coast into the Sea of Cortez looking for whales and other marine animals. While the land is arid and life is sparse, the sea is rich in plankton and attracts birds, fish, turtles, pinnipeds - and whales. Some species use the warm coastal waters to give birth. Now we have stopped slaughtering for profit, these giant animals have become friendly, allowing for close, personal encounters.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Tuesday, 10 January, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre

The Council for 2017 will be elected at this meeting. There will be a brief review of the activities in 2016 and a statement of the Club's finances will be given. This is an opportunity to meet most of the Club's executive and the chairs of the various committees and to find out what makes your Club tick.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 14 January, 7-10 p.m.
*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.

Sunday, 22 January, 10 a.m. to noon
Leader: Owen Clarkin (owen.j.clarkin AT gmail.com)
Location: 208 Forced Road, Russell, Ontario

Celebrate the depths of winter with an energetic and botany-themed hike in the old forest of J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area, adjacent to the town of Russell. You'll stay warm due to constant motion and discussion, even without a January Thaw. This ~16-acre forest contains a remnant climax community at its core with many impressive/old tree specimens (e.g. Basswood, Hemlock, Beech, Red Maple), and high plant biodiversity. If the weather is particularly good, we may continue a bit past noon if there is interest. Website

Sunday, 5 February, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Leader: Jakob Mueller (Contact: jm890_7 (at) hotmail.com or 613-314-1495)
Meet: 9:30 a.m beside the Pizza Pizza in the northeast corner of the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot (Richmond Road at Assaly Road) OR 10 a.m. at NCC parking lot P8 off Moodie Drive.

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.

Tuesday, 14 February, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. presentation
Speaker: Henri Goulet
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Henri will discuss what might be behind the demise of insectivorous birds in the Ottawa and Montreal areas, and insects as they are relevant to birds as food. Before the 1970s, insectivorous birds were abundant in these regions. By the end of the 1970s, insectivorous birds' abundance started to decline. Because of his field experience in the early 1960s, Henri was able to replicate the diversity of ground beetles found by earlier collectors and scientists in the first half of the 20th Century. Notes about species and habitat where these beetle were captured were recorded. Almost every species was identified on the spot. Upon his return to eastern Canada in the late 1970s, Henri noticed a drop in ground beetle diversity. This drop became a lot more evident during the 1980s and 1990s. This drop was also noticed in the very diverse sawfly genus Tenthredo and a large group of ground scelionid wasps. The main factor was the establishment of the commercial corn crops (in time, also soybean crops). These crops per se are not a problem, but the herbicide protocol presented a very special problem affecting many groups of insects (most not studied by entomologists) and not least insectivorous birds. Henri will discuss the implications of herbicides on these crops before and after 1975, in relation to these insect groups and the impact on insectivorous birds in our area.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 18 February, 7-10 p.m.
*Kid friendly*
Leaders: Fred Schueler and Aleta Karstad
Meet: 7 p.m. at Maplewood Hall, 100 Maplewood Avenue, Oxford Mills, Ontario

Come out for an indoor presentation on the Mudpuppy, Canada's largest salamander. Then head outside to count, catch live, touch, and examine wild Mudpuppies - amphibians in the middle of winter! 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 time 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

Wednesday, 2 March, 8 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Rick Collins and Heather Pickard
Meet: 8 a.m. at the Jack Pine Trail at Stony Swamp, parking lot 9 on Moodie Drive

This event is a guided bird walk for beginners to birding. Ottawa's Greenbelt trails are alive with birds in winter, especially where bird feeders supply a reliable source of bird food. At Jack Pine Trail we can expect to find many species of birds 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: size & shape, colour pattern, habitat and behaviour. After exploring the forest trails we will drive to the nearby landfill or fields to seek winter gulls, and perhaps a few raptors. Bring your binoculars, a snack, warm drink, and dress for the weather. Note that trip leaders may not be able to attend in the event of hazardous driving conditions or extreme weather and the event will not take place.

Tuesday, 14 March, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. presentation
Speaker: Howard Simkover
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

For hundreds of thousands of years, humans have gazed up into the night sky at shooting stars. These sudden flashes of light - called meteors - are caused by tiny particles from space plunging into the Earth's atmosphere at very high speeds, and burning up. Several times per year, such as during the Perseids in mid-August, we experience a meteor shower. Perhaps we've all had the experience of "wishing on a falling star".

On occasion, a much larger "rock from space" - a meteorite - enters the atmosphere and can even impact the surface of our planet, causing a crater. As far as we know, only one person has ever been struck by a falling meteorite.

In February 2013, a huge object from space exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, leading to thousands of injuries from flying glass. It appears that 65.5 million years ago, something much worse happened to the dinosaurs, who experienced a very bad day when an asteroid the size of Ottawa came calling.

Howard Simkover, who has produced shows for Montreal's Dow Planetarium, will share his experiences and knowledge of meteors and meteorites.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Friday, April 28, 8-11 a.m.
Location: Mud Lake - Cassels Street in Britannia
Leader: Tamara Bloom (tamaradebra AT gmail.com)
Meet: 7:45 a.m. at Lincoln Fields parking lot (near Pizza Pizza on the Richmond Rd side of Lincoln Fields) or 8 a.m. at Mud Lake

This will be an introductory guided walk for beginners to birding. Building on the four keys to bird identification (size and shape, colour pattern, habitat and behaviour) you will also be encouraged to tune in to the sounds of the natural world around us. Come out and learn about bird song as well as tricksters like red squirrels, cicadas and tree frogs. We will tour the area around Mud Lake focusing on land birds, both year-round residents and early migrants. Bring a snack, beverage, notebook and binoculars if possible. Open your eyes and ears to a whole new world but beware - you may get bitten by the birding bug! Outing will be postponed in the event of rain. Rain date is Friday, May 12.

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This page was revised on 7 December 2016
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