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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.

Sunday, 7 February, 9 am to noon
Leaders: Dave Moore and Bev McBride
Meet: Jack Pine Trail, P9 parking lot. This event is limited to 15 participants. Please register with Dave at redstart@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 be cancelled. Dress warmly for the weather as there is time spent standing still. Bring a snack, your camera and/or binoculars. No mosquitoes, guaranteed!

Tuesday, 9 February, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Anouk Hoedeman, Safe Wings Ottawa
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Building collisions are a leading human cause of avian mortality, killing as many as a billion birds per year in North America, including perhaps one million in Ottawa. Anouk, founder of Safe Wings Ottawa (formerly FLAP - Ottawa Wing), will explain why birds collide with buildings, and share strategies to prevent collisions at home and at your workplace. She will also talk about how she and other volunteers are researching and raising awareness of the problem, and discuss what we can do as a city to create a safer human-built environment for birds.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 13 February, 10 am to 2 pm
Leader: Carolyn Callaghan (819) 455-1087
Meet: 9 am near the Pizza Pizza in the northeast corner of the Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre parking lot, near Richmond Road at Assaly Road, OR 10 am at 611 chemin Cregheur, Luskville QC

Join Carolyn on an outing as we look for tracks of some of the following species: weasel, deer, wolf, mice, pine marten, porcupine, squirrel, moose and otter. She will give an introductory talk and will provide reference materials prior to the walk. Bring a lunch and a hot drink. Dress for the weather. Snowshoes are recommended, warm boots are acceptable if the snow is not too deep. Bring your animal track guide books to enrich your knowledge.

If there is a storm or significant snowfall on Saturday, i.e. more than a centimetre, ending within 8 hours before the start time, the event will be moved to Sunday, 14 February. If in doubt, call Carolyn.

Saturday, 20 February, 9:30 am to 2:00 pm
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 am at NCC parking lot P20 off Anderson Road.

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.

Wednesday, 2 March, 8 am to noon
Leaders: Rick Collins and Heather Pickard
Meet: 8 am at the Jack Pine Trail at Stoney 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: 1- size & 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, and perhaps 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, 6 March, 9:45 am to 3 pm
Leader: Stew Hamill (613 269-3415)
Meet: 9:45 a.m. at Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road and Assaly Rd) for carpooling and directions
11 am at the Limerick Forest Interpretive Centre, 1175 Limerick Road, North Grenville ON

This is a 7-km flatland cross-country ski loop starting at the Limerick Forest Interpretive Centre. The route passes through both natural and plantation forests, crosses a provincially significant wetland, and goes by a Ducks Unlimited Pond, an active beaver lodge, and areas where tree plantations have recently been thinned. This outing will be coordinated with the Friends of Limerick Forest. Bring a lunch. Dress for the weather. The event may be cancelled if there is a snowstorm and freezing rain. (www.limerickforest.ca).

Tuesday, 8 March, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speakers: Alexander, Angela and Jeff Skevington
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

We recently spent five months in Australia. It was a research trip to study insects, but we managed to include all aspects of natural history. This talk will introduce you to a slightly different way to see Australia. We purchased a truck, camped the entire time and tended to go to places not on the regular tour route. We will certainly highlight the birds and mammals but will also show you some of the amazing insects that we found there. We will also try to give different perspectives on the trip. All of us had different highlights and expectations. Alexander (age 11) will present a 10-15 minute talk that will focus on a young naturalist's first experience with the dry continent. Jeff will then give a general overview from his point of view. Undoubtedly, Angela will interject when Jeff's interpretations stray from reality.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 19 March, 7-8:30 pm
Presenter: Jeewa Mendis
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Resource Centre (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 around Ottawa.

Sunday, 20 March, 1-3 p.m.
Presenter: Victor Rakmil
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Resource Centre (How to find the FWG)

Victor Rakmil has been an amateur photographer for many years. He writes a daily blog on photography (rakmilphotography.wordpress.com), and has a dedicated website (rakmilphotography.com). Victor will give an overview of what he thinks makes for great nature photography, provide some tips for photographing nature, and discuss digital photography aimed at most cameras. The presentation will cover birds, animals, insects, filling the frame, getting good backgrounds, and telling a story with photographs. There will also be a brief discussion on good practice and the ethics of nature photography that will include finding animals and how to minimize your impact on them. The objective is to discuss technique, not gear. It's an opportunity to talk about what works for you and ask questions about nature photography.

Monday, 21 March, 7-8 pm
Location: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre (How to find the FWG)

The Board 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.

This meeting is open to the general public.

Saturday, 2 April, 7-10 pm
*especially kid friendly*
Location: St. Basil's Parish Church, 940 Rex Ave, Ottawa. Enter from Maitland Avenue (east side) just north of the Queensway

Join us for some fun at our annual wine and cheese party and celebrate with the honoured winners of our Annual Awards. Club-member photographers, painters, and other artists are invited to exhibit their works for attendees to judge.

Photo contest submissions: New this year: please submit digital images only. Please send up to three images (1 MB maximum) to humedgl (at) gmail.com by 20 March, 2016. Photos should be nature themed and be taken by you in Ontario or Quebec. Other art may be brought to the event as physical objects. There will be small prizes.

Kids, bring your natural history displays.

The Natural History Trivia Quiz will be back in digital new format. For information call Hume at 613-234-0122.

Photos from last year's awards night | This year's winners

Sunday, 10 April, 1-4 pm
Leader: Owen Clarkin
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre (How to find the FWG)

What's that tree or shrub? This event will focus on introducing you to what's perhaps the most definitive dimension of woody plant identification: the winter twig. This will be a combined indoor-outdoor event. We will begin with an hour-long introduction (lecture + hands-on twig samples) inside the Fletcher Wildlife Garden's Interpretive Centre. We will then explore the grounds of FWG and the Arboretum, focusing on how we can inspect the twigs of trees and shrubs we encounter to reveal their identities. Standard tools such as a camera, measuring tape, loupe, and field guides could be useful but are not required. This is a rain or shine event.

Tuesday, 12 April, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Professor Stewart Peck
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Join one of the world's leading cave biology experts on an exploration of underground life.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Thursday, 14 April, 7:30 p.m.
Leader: James Pagé, Canadian Wildlife Federation
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre (How to find the FWG)

iNaturalist.ca is a newly launched platform (website and app) in Canada, developed through a partnership between the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the Royal Ontario Museum. iNaturalist.ca is a Canadian version of the US-based iNaturalist.org, and allows users to contribute observations (including photos) of any taxon to a growing web database on Canada’s wild species. Users can build their own species lists, and data are shared with NatureServe Canada’s database. To date, 37,000 observations have been made in Canada and there are 120,000 users in North America.

Come and learn about how to contribute observations to iNaturalist this season, and benefit from its features.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, check the iNaturalist web site in advance and download the app (links can be found at the bottom of the iNaturalist home page). The app works offline, so you will be able to follow along during the presentation, although you will not be able to use some features, such as species look-up.

Please note: It is not necessary to have a mobile device to use iNaturalist.

Sunday, 17 April, 8 am to noon
Leader: Jon Ruddy
Meet: At 7:45 at Lincoln Field's parking lot (near Pizza Pizza)

We will be birding Britannia Conservation Area and Mud Lake as well as making some stops along the Ottawa River at Ottawa Beach and Andrew Haydon east. Expect a nice mix of waterfowl and land birds. The first warblers may have arrived (Pine, Yellow-rumped and possibly Palm) and winter finch variety should still be present. Wear sturdy footwear, pack rain gear, bring a snack and some water and let's get out and enjoy some springtime birding in the Nation's Capital.

Please note: this trip is now fully booked. You may still put your name on a waiting list by contacting Martha.

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. Look for more details on the OFNC site. Meantime, to secure your place on this trip, call Martha Farkas at 613 729-4619 or send an e-mail to martha_farkas[at]rogers.com

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This page was revised on 1 February 2016
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