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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.

Tuesday, May 19, 7:30 p.m.
Leaders: Quintin and Willow Wight
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden, resource centre

We have two guest speakers for our May meeting: Quintin and Willow Wight. Both are specialists in micro-minerals and micro-mounting and will give a 45-minute presentation on this subject followed by Q&A and a show of micro-minerals.

Colonel (Ret.) Quintin Wight, CD, MA
His 37-year career in the RCAF/CF took Quintin, a graduate of Queen's, Carleton, and Concordia universities, to many localities in which he could find mineral specimens to add to a growing collection. He began writing about minerals in 1966, and has since published a book and over 165 articles and reviews on mineral-related subjects. He began to specialize in mineral photomicrography in 1973, and has given more than 150 presentations to groups across North America, and in England, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Tanzania, and New Zealand. Inducted to the Micromounters’ Hall of Fame in 1990, he now coordinates that organization in Baltimore, Maryland, and heads an annual gathering of specialists in microscopic minerals in Rochester, New York. The mineral quintinite was named in his honour in 1992.

Willow Wight, BA, FGA, FCGmA
Willow Wight is perhaps best known internationally as editor of The Canadian Gemmologist, the official quarterly journal of the Canadian Gemmological Association. After 25 years as editor, she has now assumed the position of editor emeritus.

Willow graduated from the University of Toronto as an organic chemist, and then took up the study of gemstones in 1967. Her first practical work in gemstones was in association with Paul Desautels, then curator of minerals at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. At the Smithsonian, she examined, verified, and catalogued the gemstones in the US National Collection, gaining a wealth of experience. On her return to Canada in 1975, she was sought out by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (now the Canadian Museum of Nature) in Ottawa, and has remained there ever since. She is now a research associate in gemmology at the museum. Willow’s research has led to many articles, with particular emphasis on new Canadian gemstones, e.g. ammolite from Alberta, hornblende from Baffin Island, and scallop pearls from Nova Scotia. The series "Rare Gemstones Check-list" in The Canadian Gemmologist has earned her international praise. Her latest work is in the history of gemmological exploration in Canada.

Willow is the Canadian delegate and a member of the executive of the International Gemmological Conference, an organization created by the late Dr. Edouard Gübelin and others in 1952 to promote advanced research in gemmology.


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)
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
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)
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
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 will happen regardless of temperature, although moth numbers will be lower if it's cold. If it's raining steadily, the outing will be cancelled.

Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m. (on site) to 3:30 p.m.
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*
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.

Hooded Mergansers
Hooded Mergansers photographed by Roy Johns.

Sunday, May 24, 8 a.m. sharp
Leader: Richard Waters

This outing is canceled because there is no access to the area near the sparrow fields – East side of Bowesville Road, South of Leitrim Road and the North end of High Road. It would be prudent to notify all birders in the area, especially Ontbirders, Ebirders, OFO and OFNC members who plot/report this location - evidence of trespassing would not be good for the rest of us in the area!

Clay-coloured Sparrow Grasshopper Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow Vesper Sparrow White-throated Sparrow

Wednesday, 27 May, 8 a.m. to noon
Leader: Gord Belyea

Transport Canada has closed access to the fields south of the airport.


Sunday, May 31, 6-11:30 a.m.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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*
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 20 May 2015
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