|The Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, 27 August, 8:30 p.m.
If you are interested in trying to see Southern Flying Squirrels, Jeff will be leading this impromptu OFNC event at his house in Constance Bay. These squirrels are nocturnal and are coming to a feeder in the yard. If they don't show up, we can walk around the neighbourhood and try to find others. We will start at 8:30 pm but if anyone is interested in coming earlier we will be happy to host visitors from 7:30 pm onward. There have been Common Nighthawks migrating through most evenings and Red Bats and Hoary Bats are also on the move and appearing near dusk some evenings. We will also try to see our local Barred Owls after watching for the squirrels. Photographers are welcome but we will (hopefully) watch the squirrels for a while before taking any photos.
Saturday, 29 August, 1-4 p.m.
Come learn about what most users of Stony Swamp don't see with the Macoun Field Club. The children and youth of the Macoun Club have been conducting in-depth studies in Stony Swamp for decades (see www.magma.ca/~rel/mfc/msa.html). Possible areas of focus are mound-building subterranean ants opening their nests to release queens and drones, the dramatic effects of invasive earthworms on the forest floor, and geological features (sedimentary and glacial) on several acres of bare sandstone. Bring water, a snack, a hat, long pants, closed shoes, binoculars, sun and bug repellent.
Sunday, 30, September 14 and 28, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Take a leisurely guided walk through the garden with some of our volunteers. We'll follow the Bill Holland Trail around the Amphibian Pond, through the Butterfly Meadow, past the Old Field, through the Old Woodlot after a stop at the insect hotel, and end in the Backyard Garden behind our resource centre. Come and see what's blooming, who's visiting the garden, and who is making a home there. Pick up a brochure on how to attract birds and butteflies to your yard.
For a preview of what you might see, have a look at what was happening last year at this time - FWG 2014 photo blog
Tuesday, September 1, 7 p.m.
Help FLAP Canada - Ottawa Wing rescue birds and document fatalities by becoming a volunteer. The orientation session will cover all you need to know to get started.
After attending an orientation session we will encourage volunteers interested in patrolling to join a guided patrol where you will follow a seasoned patroller and put your theoretical knowledge into practice (see below).
Wednesday, September 2, 6:30 a.m.
Follow an experienced FLAP patroller to put the theoretical knowledge you learned at the orientation session into practice.
Can't make this date? No problem, we will be holding multiple guided patrols with more dates coming soon. Still having trouble fitting in one of these sessions? Email us at Ottawa@flap.org and we can arrange another date.
Thursday, 10 September, 8 a.m. to noon
Photo (right): Magnolia Warbler by Heather Pickard.
This event is a guided birding hike for those new to birding who want to learn bird identification skills. Your leaders will discuss the four keys to bird identification used by Cornell:
We will practice applying this ID system to the birds we find. We will begin at the boat launch shoreline with a search of the Ottawa River for waterfowl, raptors, waders and gulls. Following this we will hike the nearby trails in search of the birds that inhabit the various local habitats. At this time of year we expect to encounter a wide variety of species and many opportunities to work at improving our ID skills.
Bring binoculars, dress in layers, wear sturdy footwear and long pants. You might want a snack and water. There is an outhouse at the boat launch area. Depending on the weather you might need rain gear, sun screen or bug repellant. This event will run rain or shine, but may be cut short if the weather conditions are extreme.
Sunday, 20 September,
9 a.m. to noon (or later if turtles are present)
Snapping turtles hatch out during September and perhaps into October. Last year, mid-September was the peak time for hatchlings. Come and watch them on their exciting trek to the water. Rescue those that fall on to the road or are born on the wrong side of the curb - a death trap for hatchling turtles.
This will be different from most field trips in that there will be little walking. Participants may arrive at any time between 9 and noon, or any other time for that matter. The area of hatchling activity is around the parking lots and central garden. While at Mud Lake, participants are free to engage in other viewing opportunities.
Saturday, 26 September,
The Ottawa area has over 50 native tree species, each of which has adaptations that allow it to exploit certain conditions successfully. We will walk the Sugarbush Trail, identifying various trees along the way while looking at how their presence as species and their individual forms can inform us about local environmental conditions, both present and historic.Besides the abundant Sugar Maple and other common species, we expect to see some locally sporadic to uncommon trees, including Butternut, Rock Elm, Slippery Elm and Bitternut Hickory. We will draw heavily on tree lore and on our own field observations. This excursion should appeal to those who are interested in how various trees fit into our local forested environments as well as those who would like a better grasp of tree identification. If time, energy and interest allows, we may "branch out" and explore surrounding areas.
A drink and a snack for the return to the car are recommended. Sturdy footwear for walking is recommended as well. Binoculars may be helpful. This excursion will be cancelled in the event of stormy weather or heavy, sustained winds/rain.
Difficulty: the Sugarbush Trail is universally accessible and is rated as easy by the NCC. We may also use a short side trail that is considered moderate in difficulty.
Saturday, 3 October, 9:30 am to 3 pm
MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre, on the way to Montreal via Hwy. 17 in Cumberland, is having its annual "Open Trails" open house event. It is the only day when the site is open for the public to explore these Ottawa-Carleton District School Board lands. OFNC members and the public are invited. We will begin with a 30-min presentation on mushrooms, split into groups to collect samples in the field, then regroup to identify them. If you have them, useful items to bring include: mushroom field guide, hand lens, field knife, small basket (like fruit basket), pencil and paper, brown paper sandwich bags. Bring a lunch, your curiosity and dress appropriately for the weather. This activity will occur rain or shine.
The Centre is a diverse site, including a marsh by the Ottawa River, agricultural fields in series of successional stages, red maple swamps and mature mixed-forest. You are also welcome to explore the Centre. For more information, visit the MacSkimming website.