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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.


View Larger Map

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.

OFNC HAWKWATCH

UPDATE: Jon will be at the site (approx. address: 2895 Greenland Road) on the following days this week:

  • Wednesday March 25: 1130 onwards
  • Thursday March 26: 0900 onwards
  • Sunday March 29: 0900 onwards

There will be no set Hawkwatch schedule from mid-March until the third week of April (April 19). However, I will be able to visit the site (approx. address: 2895 Greenland Road) from time to time and will always provide a heads up on the OFNC website and the Ottawa-Gatineau Hawkwatchers site on Facebook when I will be visiting. From Monday, April 20 on, I expect to be visiting the Hawkwatch site daily.

For more information and a review of last year's hawkwatch, please visit my blog

2015 tally

March 20: 2 Golden Eagles (adults), 6 Bald Eagles (2 adults, 4 immatures), 4 Red-tailed Hawks (adults), 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Merlin (local bird?), 1 Peregrine Falcon (adult), 1 Rough-legged Hawk (light morph), 3 Turkey Vultures

March 16: 3 Northern Goshawks (pair of adult local birds and possible migrant juvenile), 3 Rough-legs, 2 Bald Eagles, 2 Red-tails, 1 Merlin, 1 Cooper's, and a Golden Eagle!!!

March 11; No hawks sighted.

March 10, 1105-1645: 3 Bald Eagles, 1 Red-tailed, 1 Cooper's. Other sightings of note: 1 adult Northern Shrike, 1 Killdeer(!), and 1 Ring-billed Gull.


Saturday, 28 March, 7:30-11 a.m.
NATURE AND WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY AT JACK PINE TRAIL
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: 8 p.m. to midnight(ish). Please register with Eleanor (613-269-3523) 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.
SPRINGTIME, STARLIGHT AND SALAMANDERS
Leader: Eleanor Thomson
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 note that this is a cell phone-free sanctuary. Cell phones are prohibited.


Saturday, 11 April, 8-11 a.m.
LAID BACK BIRDING
Leader: Bev McBride
Meet: Entrance to Britannia Filtration Plant on Cassels Street at 8 a.m.

Join Bev McBride to check out what birds are back or moving through as spring migration proceeds. We will spend a few hours leisurely exploring the Mud Lake area, taking our time to listen and look. Bring binoculars and your favourite bird field guide if you have one. Suitable for all levels, beginners most welcome. Trails are easy but people with mobility concerns may find some paths unsuitable or inaccessible. Rain or shine. Waterproof footwear advised.



Tuesday, 14 April, 7 p.m. social, 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting
ACROSS THE ARCTIC BY CANOE
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.
OFNC AWARDS NIGHT
*Especially Kid friendly*
FREE ADMISSION
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.

2015 award winners


Tuesday, 21 April, 7:30 p.m.
Mineral Interest Group: TUCSON GEM AND MINERAL SHOW
Speaker: Michel Picard
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre, off Prince of Wales Drive

Michel Picard, who is responsible for the mineral collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature and member of our group, will show photos he took at the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show, held this February. You will be amazed at some of the minerals and some of the prices!

After this, we will have a slide presentation on basic rock identification to prepare us for the field trips.


Sunday, 26 April, 8 a.m. to early afternoon
MIGRANTS AT PARC NATIONAL DE PLAISANCE
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 $8.50 gate fee to visit the park (please bring exact amount). 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!)


Sunday, May 3, 10 a.m. to early afternoon
FLORA AND FAUNA OF SHEILA MCKEE PARK
Leader: Jakob Mueller (jm890_7@hotmail.com or 613-314-1495)
Meet: Parking lot for Sheila McKee Park, 1730 Sixth Line Road

Come and explore Sheila McKee Park, a little-known jewel of west Ottawa. The park has diverse wildlife, including abundant salamanders, snakes, and birds. Some unusual plant life is also present, and an interesting escarpment can be seen along the Ottawa River's shore. Directions: Take the 417 to the March Road exit in Kanata. Take March Road north all the way through Kanata North. When the road curves to the left, turn right onto Dunrobin Road. Turn right again almost immediately onto Riddell Drive. Follow Riddell Drive east; when it curves sharply to the left, it becomes Sixth Line Road. There is a park entrance near this curve, but continue past it. A short distance later, turn right into the park driveway - a sign will be there with the park name and address (1730 Sixth Line Road).


Thursday, 7 May, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
EPHEMERAL WALK - TRILLIUM WOODS AND MONK EXPERIMENTAL TRAIL
Leader: Connie Clark
Meet: Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road at Assaly Road)

After months of snowy white landscape, our colour-starved spirits are treated to the Spring ephemeral flowers in the woods. For them, the race is on to soak up as much sunlight as possible before the tree canopy throws the forest floor into shade. Now we can hope to see Dutchman's Britches, Squirrel Corn, Wild Bleeding Heart, Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Hepaticas, Adder's Tongue, Foam Flower, Bellwort, Wild Ginger, White Trilliums and Red Trilliums. The trails are flat. Sometimes the paths have mud holes that need to be circumvented. The mosquitoes haven't hatched yet, so we can hope for a calm, leisurely stroll. This trip will be cancelled if it is raining in the morning.


Saturday, 9 May, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES OF MORRIS ISLAND
Leaders: David and Carolyn Seburn (davidseburn at sympatico.ca)
Meet: 10 a.m. at the northeast corner of the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot, near the Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road at Assaly Road) to carpool, or at 10:50 at the parking lot for the Morris Island Conservation Area.

Join David and Carolyn to learn more about our native amphibians and reptiles. We will search for frogs, salamanders, snakes, and turtles around wetlands and in the woods as well as looking for other wildlife. Kids are definitely welcome. Bring binoculars if you have them and pack a lunch. There are washrooms near the parking area of the conservation area. The trip will be cancelled if it is a rainy day. If you are uncertain if the trip will go ahead, call David and Carolyn at 820-9125 between 9 and 9:30 a.m. on the day of the trip.


Tuesday, 12 May, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting

TURTLES, FISH, CARIBOU, WHALES AND MORE: THE CANADIAN WILDLIFE FEDERATION TODAY
Speaker: David Browne
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

For over 50 years, the Canadian Wildlife Federation has been working to protect wildlife and educate youth about conservation. Today, CWF is supported by over 280,000 Canadians, conducts science and policy work on conservation issues, and has an expanding education and youth program focused on instilling a conservation ethic in future generations. David, a freshwater ecologist by training, will outline the approach CWF takes to conservation. He will give an overview of some of CWF's core projects, such as responding to changes to the Fisheries Act, freshwater turtle conservation projects, American eel research in the Ottawa River, western boreal forest conservation and the plight of boreal caribou, and responding to threats to large marine animals in Canadian waters. He will also outline how CWF is working with the Children and Nature Network and other partners to educate future generations.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.


Sunday, May 17, 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SPRING EPHEMERALS OF GATINEAU PARK
Leaders: Bryarly McEachern and Amber Westfall
Meet: Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd and Assaly Rd.) for carpooling and directions
or
10 a.m. at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, 33 Scott Rd., Chelsea, QC. From there we will relocate to the trail-head, to be determined closer to the date.

Join Bryarly and Amber for a walk in Gatineau Park 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 plan to have lunch in the forest, so feel free to bring your lunch along. 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 at gmail.com or call 613-858-8822. Hope to see you there!

MAY 23 AND 24 WEEKEND EVENTS - UPPER OTTAWA VALLEY

The following four events have been planned for this weekend. For accommodations on Saturday night, members must make their own arrangements. For travel information, the leader of the Shaw Woods hike recommends Ottawa Valley and suggests that The Sands at Golden Lake might be particularly appealing. Suggestions from people living in the area include Sands on Golden Lake (rooms and cottages) and Spotswoods Landing (cottages and camping).


Saturday, 23 May, 10 a.m. to noon (on site)
OTTAWA RIVER (GERVAIS) CAVES PROPERTY NEAR WESTMEATH
Leader: Ali Giroux, Conservation Biologist, Nature Conservancy of Canada (contact: Lynn Ovenden, bigskies at xplornet.ca)
Members only event: The Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club has made a significant contribution to the acquisition of the Gervais property. This event is open to members only.
Attendees for this event must register in advance by contacting Jakob Mueller at jm890_7 at hotmail.com or 613-314-1495. Deadline is May 20.
Meet: 7:30 a.m. at Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd & Assaly Rd) to arrange carpools for those attending the Saturday events
or
10 a.m. at entrance to the property. (To prevent excessive disturbance to this sensitive site, directions will be available to registrants only.)

This newly-acquired, 80-acre shoreline property contains many of the entrances to the underwater caves that run below the Ottawa river linking Ontario and Quebec. Above ground, the property features over 135 native vascular plant species and a number of at-risk plant species, including the endangered butternut tree, the provincially-rare Hooker's orchid, regionally-rare moonseed and Hitchcock's sedge. We might add some spring ephemerals to the species list of the property. We'll look for salamanders, amphibians and reptiles as well. Please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a lunch and water, rain gear if necessary, and bug spray if desired.


Saturday, 23 May, 1-4 p.m. (on site)
BIRDING AT WESTMEATH PROVINCIAL PARK
Meet: 935 Westmeath Rd. Coordinates: 45.771134, -76.910610. There is no parking lot, so park on the roadside, near the entrance.
Leader: Christian Renault of Pembroke Area Field Naturalists (contact: Lynn Ovenden bigskies@xplornet.ca)

We will walk in a field and along a path (2.2 km) with an additional 1 km to see Bellows Bay on the Ottawa River. There is one steep hill (15% on 60 m). If you bring a tripod and scope, it might be a 5 km (return) walk. Mosquitoes and black flies may be active. Sometimes the Ottawa River drowns the bottom portion of the walk, and we have to stop after 1.5 km and return to the cars. In that case, we can drive a few km further to Sand Point Rd to scan the Ottawa River. What we may see there: Broad-winged Hawk, Bald Eagle along the Ottawa River, a Northern Goshawk (seen a few times the last 2 years); Veery and Hermit Thrush; several warblers including Mourning, Northern Waterthrush, Black and White; Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks, Rusty Blackbirds (occasionally); Sandhill Cranes; Common Tern, Black Terns sometimes breed in Bellows Bay; several species of ducks, mergansers, Common Moorhen, Pied-Billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron; several sparrows. We might have a surprise appearance, since migration won't be quite finished.

Bring good walking shoes, maybe light boots for mud or wet; scope for nearby fields with Sandhill Cranes. Check the OFNC website closer to the date in case we need to modify this plan due to flooding.


Saturday, May 23, 8:30 p.m. to midnight
MOTHING AT NIGHT IN THE OLD FOREST AT SHAW WOODS OUTDOOR EDUCATION CENTRE
Leader: Diane Lepage
Meet: The parking lot at the Pine Pavillion, 2065 Bulger Road

Come to the Shaw Woods forest to discover the night life of moths. Black lights will be set-up, and then we will wait as the various moths come to the white sheet set up to attract them. We should see Silkworm moths. Bring a flashlight, bug repellent, good footwear and a camera (the latter optional).

This trip depends on the weather. Should the temperature drop below 16°C or in the event of rain, the outing will be cancelled.


Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m. (on site) to 3:30 p.m.
EXPERIENCE SHAW WOODS
Leader: Grant Dobson (contact: Lynn Ovenden, bigskies@xplornet.ca)
Meet: 8:45 a.m. north east corner of the Lincoln Fields parking lot, near the Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road and Assaly Rd.) to arrange carpooling for the day. or 11 a.m. at the Pine Pavillion in Shaw Woods. The drive from Ottawa to Shaw Woods takes about 1.5 hours, via Hwy 17 & Hwy 60 to Kellys Corner, then north on Bulger Road (County Rd 9) to Shaw Woods, 2065 Bulger Road.

Morning hike on the Old Growth Trail (1.6 km) followed by lunch stop at the Pine Pavilion. Bring your own picnic. Afternoon hike on the East Side trails (5 km) with lots of variety, including a good representation of spring flowers and, of course, the bald eagles' nest. Back to trailhead and departure at 3:30 p.m. Shaw Woods is one of eastern Canada's premier examples of an old growth maple/beech/hemlock forest, carefully protected for generations. The afternoon hike will cover some moderately rugged ground; with numerous observation stops, it should not be overly strenuous for most active people. People may also do just part of the east side trail or choose a shorter trail, or just sit at the lookout and watch the eagles attending to their nest. There is a lot to see. Our leader will be Grant Dobson, avid trail builder, naturalist, local history buff, chair of Shaw Wood's board of directors and photographer (see Shaw Woods on Facebook; "liking" the page gives you updates on what is in bloom). Admission and parking on site are free. Visitor guides that describe various trails can be purchased on site for $2 each or printed for free from www.shawwoods.ca or from Shaw Woods Facebook. It is a volunteer run, not-for-profit, charitable organization. Visitors are invited to make a small donation toward Shaw Woods Outdoor Education Centre for guided educational outings. Sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots recommended.

Saturday, May 23, 8 a.m. to noon
*oriented to all ages*
DUCKS AND GULLS ALONG THE RIVER
Leader: Roy John
Meet: Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza

We will likely check Mud Lake, Shirley's Bay and the wetlands behind Nortel (depending the latest bird reports). At this date there should be several species of warbler, flycatchers, ducks, and gulls. If we are very lucky Arctic Tern, Marsh and Sedge Wren are possible. Snakes and turtles (three species) are usually visible. This is a rain or shine walk, so dress for the weather. Bring binoculars, a scope if you have one, a drink and a snack.


Sunday, May 24, 8 a.m. sharp
SPARROW FIELDS GRAND SLAM
Leader: Richard Waters
Meet: Tim Hortons, 372 Hunt Club Road, Ottawa

We will go to the area immediately south of the Ottawa Interational Airport for a 3-km walk around the Leitrim and Bowesville Road area, also known as "the sparrow fields." Aiming for 30+ species - seven species of sparrows, including Grasshopper, Clay-coloured, Field, Savannah, Vesper, Song, and White-throated, plus Bobolink, Eastern Bluebirds, and an outside chance of Indigo Buntings.

This is an all-weather outing - rain or shine. There is little shade, the path is uneven and slightly undulating, without any steep hill-climbing. Please bring a sun hat, sun block, insect repellent, long pants, strong walking/hiking boots, rain gear, drinking water, sharp eyes and ears.


Wednesday, 27 May, 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 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.


Sunday, May 31, 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 7:00 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 critters in the forest at this time of year. This trip will be cancelled in the event of continuous rain.


Saturday, June 6, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
FLETCHER WILDLIFE GARDEN ANNUAL NATIVE PLANT SALE
Meet: At our Interpretive Centre - see map for location

Go native to support pollinators and other wildlife! Hundreds of beautiful, local wildflowers grow in the Ottawa area. These native plants attract and support local wildlife, including pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. Loss of natural spaces has resulted in the decline of many species. We encourage you to grow native plants so that pollinators and other wildlife can find shelter and food. We can advise you about which plants suit your garden. A wide variety of native plants creates a garden that flowers throughout the summer and whose ecological balance makes herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers unnecessary. Come and visit our demonstration backyard garden, pick up free plant lists and "how-to" info on gardening, and talk to our experts.


Tuesday, June 9, 7 p.m. social; 7:30 p.m. presentation
OFNC monthly meeting
FIVE MOONS IN AFRICA
Speaker: Carolyn Callaghan
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join Carolyn Callaghan and her family for a tour through five countries and fourteen protected areas in Southern Africa. The talk will chronicle a family adventure as well as discuss current wildlife conservation challenges and models for overcoming these challenges.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.


Thursday, June 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
THE BEST AND THE WORST OF THE FLETCHER WILDLIFE GARDEN
Leader: Sandra Garland
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre - park at the ball diamond and walk east to the Interpretation Centre (How to find the FWG)

Summer wildflowers are bright and new and the air is filled with birdsong. At the same time, invasive species are fighting for dominance. In the woods, removal of diseased ash trees last year changed the landscape dramatically; how will the native-invasive conflict play out there? In the meadow, will the hundreds of wildflowers continue to attract butterflies and birds, or will dog-strangling vine win out? Come and explore the battleground, and let's see how wildlife fares in the city.


Saturday, June 13, 7 a.m. to noon
BIRDING IN GATINEAU PARK'S PARKWAY SECTOR
Leader: Justin Peter (jbpetr@yahoo.ca or 613-858-3744) and Carlos Barbery (TBC)
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.


Sunday, June 14, 9:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
WILLOW WORKSHOP
Leader: George Argus
Meet: Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza at 9:15, or at the Argus home at 310 Haskins Rd., Merrickville at 10:00 am.

Willows (Salix spp.) can be a confusing group to sort out, unless George Argus is your guide. This trip will involve driving to a variety of sites in the morning, to learn the characters of several local species of willow. We will begin in the Merrickville area and will work our way back to Ottawa, carpooling to the extent possible. This trip will be cancelled if it's raining heavily. If in doubt, call Holly Bickerton at 613-730-7725.


Tuesday, June 25, 7-8:30 p.m.
TOUR OF FLETCHER WILDLIFE GARDEN AND BUTTERFLY MEADOW
Leader: Isabelle Nicol
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre - park at the ball diamond and walk east to the Interpretation Centre. (How to find the FWG)

The Backyard Garden and Butterfly Meadow are truly beautiful areas in late June. Known for many native wildflowers, some of the late spring flowers should still be in bloom, and summer ones blooming, or coming into bloom. Our beautiful Prickly Pear Cactus should be sporting some of its golden blooms - a photographer's delight. Last year we were enthralled with close to twenty blooms adding a delightful display to the Rockery. There should be many birds around, as well as squirrels, chipmunks, frogs and insects. We will learn about many of the interactions between insects and flowers and among the other denizens that prowl the Backyard Garden and Butterfly Meadow. You will get to visit our new Fern Garden and pass by our greater pond as we leave the Interpretation Centre to walk towards the Butterfly Meadow. One of our more interesting nesting birds is the Green Heron. We may be fortunate to see one or two at the pond. We will also learn about some of the invasive species that are taking over this lovely area and what we are trying to do to eliminate the spread of some of these plants. We look forward to your joining us for a pleasant evening stroll at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden that is well-known for its delightful paths and scenery.


Saturday, July 4, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (rain date Sunday 5 July)
*Especially kid friendly*
14TH 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 Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Use OFNC Facebook or Twitter to arrange carpooling.

Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of a 24-km diameter circle. There is a $4 charge to participants to support the publication of the results. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. 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, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.

We plan to meet at 6 p.m. after the count for a compilation and pot luck dinner (location to be announced). Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can't, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave.

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This page was revised on 25 March 2015
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