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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.


Saturday, 26 July, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
DRAGONFLIES OF THE MILL OF KINTAIL CONSERVATION AREA
Leader: Jim Ronson, 613-264-1937, Perth
Meet: At 9 a.m. at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza
OR
At 10 a.m. at The Gatehouse Conference Centre of the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area. Follow 417, then west on 49 to Almonte. Drive through Almonte then over 29 then right onto Ramsay, Concession 8. Drive 7 km. (See signs).

We will net, photograph and identify species of dragonflies and damselflies. No experience or equipment is needed although you could make use of close-focussing binoculars, a camera with a micro lens, or a large net. A couple of extra nets will be available. As with birds, there are many species that are easy to identify while some are difficult. We will look for field marks on the easier ones. A Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority trail follows the wide but shallow Indian River. The trail then loops across woodland and meadows back to the river. After the hike, you may wish to tour the museum or shop.


Sunday July 27, 2014, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Yellow Warbler photographed by Stewart Curry at Mud LakeGETTING TO KNOW YOUR DSLR PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
Leader: Stewart Curry
Meet: Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretive Centre (see location map)

Ever wonder what all those buttons and options are on your DSLR? Today's DSLRs are full of features that allow you to capture world class images. In this workshop we will help you get your camera off of Auto mode and teach you how to take control of your camera and produce better photographs. We will start in the classroom and then step out to the garden and try some of the new techniques. An image review will follow if time allows.

*This workshop is designed for owners of DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras with adjustable shutter speed and/or aperture. Please bring your camera and whatever lenses you have available, pack a snack or light lunch as well.*

For additional info please contact the workshop leader, Stewart Curry, at sjcottawa@gmail.com.

Photo: Yellow Warbler photographed by Stewart Curry at Mud Lake


Saturday, 16 August, 8 a.m. to noon
THE EDGE OF THE SHIELD - EXPLORING WEST OF ALMONTE
Leader: Ken Allison, (613) 256-4283
Meet: 8 a.m. at home of Ken and Ruth Allison, just west of Almonte on Wolf Grove Rd. Off-street parking at the Allison property is somewhat limited, so car pooling is encouraged.

Step outside of your usual patch and explore the edge of the Canadian Shield in Lanark County. This will be a general interest walk, including botany and birds, but also anything else that we come across. This will be a half-day outing, with a fair bit of walking on good trails with some hills. We will see beaver ponds and typical Lanark County forests at various successional stages. If water levels are suitable we will probably finish up at the Almonte lagoons to check for shorebirds and waterfowl. Children who can walk a few kilometers are encouraged to come.

Wear good walking footwear, bring water, a snack, binoculars and spotting scope.


Saturday, 23 August, 8 a.m to noon (rain date Saturday, September 6, same time)
TREE WALK IN GATINEAU PARK
Leader: Justin Peter
Meet: 8 a.m. at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot near Pizza Pizza
OR
8:30 a.m. at the P7 Parking Lot in Kingsmere, Gatineau Park (see map; P7 is just to the left of the marker at the centre of this map, along Kingsmere Road)
Difficulty: moderate; some uphill walking is required

Today we'll explore the woodlands along Skyline Trail, which contain an eclectic assortment of trees. As we move along, we'll become attuned to the distribution patterns of the various trees we identify and we'll work to interpret the conditions leading to these patterns. We'll also discuss the relationships that various species have with one another and with wildlife. Bring your questions! This walk will cover a distance of approximately 6 kilometres. A drink and a snack are recommended. Sturdy, trail-appropriate footwear is required. Binoculars are recommended to facilitate tree observation.

This excursion will be cancelled in the event of stormy weather or heavy, sustained winds/rain.


Saturday and Sunday, 23-24 August
CONSTANCE BAY BIOBLITZ
Co-ordinator: Owen Clarkin
Meet: Please follow web site for details

The OFNC Conservation Committee is pleased to announce a major new initiative: the first annual bioinventory of a significant natural site in Eastern Ontario/Western Quebec.

The idea is to take the premise of increasingly popular 24-hour bioblitzes, and extend the data collection over an entire year at a single public site. This will allow naturalists to visit and record observations at their convenience, and also will allow changes throughout the entire year to be documented. The data acquired will provide a detailed picture of the biota present at the site and serve as a baseline dataset from which sound decisions for ecological conservation can be based.

We have chosen the natural area surrounding the community of Constance Bay (45.485 N, 76.075 W) as our study location for the year stretching from this summer until next summer. Naturalists will be encouraged to visit and record observations in their area(s) of expertise. Data, which will be openly available, will be collected and archived by the OFNC Conservation Committee. Once the year-long inventory is complete, a new site will be chosen for the study year 2015-2016, and so on.

The OFNC Events Committee will organize a series of events at Constance Bay throughout the study year. An official bioinventory launch will be held on the weekend of August 23-24 2014, beginning on Saturday morning. Watch the OFNC website for meeting times and additional details.

We hope for the participation of enthusiastic naturalists with a wide spectrum of natural history talents. Enquiries can be sent to the OFNC Conservation Chair, Owen Clarkin (owen.j.clarkin@gmail.com).


Tuesday, 26 August, 9:30 a.m. to about noon
MER BLEUE PLANTS IN LATE SUMMER
Leader: Lynn Ovenden
Meet: Mer Bleue parking lot, P22

Mer Bleue is a lovely place in the late summer. We will examine several bog specialists, and investigate other wetland plants near the boardwalk. Bring along a plant field guide and a snack if you wish. This trip will go rain or shine.


Saturday, 6 September, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
BUG DAY!
Leader: Sophie Cardinal
Meet: Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (across from Fletcher Wildlife Garden)

Back by popular demand. This event is coordinated by the Entomological Society of Ontario and sponsored by OFNC and Canada Agriculture and Food Museum. Activities will include: a live insect zoo, guided insect nature walks, seminars on insects, cockroach races, kid's insect crafts, ask a bug expert, building insect collections, cooking with insects and more. This event will happen rain or shine.


Tuesday, 9 September, 7 p.m. OFNC monthly meeting
NEW BOOK ON BEAVERS
Speaker: Michael Runtz
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Michael will present his new book on beavers of the world entitled, Dam Builders: The Natural History of Beavers and their Ponds. This will be followed by signing of copies.

OFNC monthly meetings are open to the public


Wednesday, 10 September, 8-11 a.m.
BEGINNER BIRDING AT BRITANNIA CONSERVATION AREA (MUD LAKE)
Leader: Heather Picard
Meet: Britannia Conservation Area on Cassels Road at the entrance to the trail that heads into Britannia Woods

This event is a guided bird walk for those new to birding. Finding birds is just the beginning. Next step... What is it? We will explore the Conservation Area at a leisurely pace and practice applying the Four Keys to Bird Identification to the birds we find. The Four Keys are: Size & Shape, Color Pattern, Habitat, and Behavior. The leader will touch on the basics of birding ethics, etiquette, bird taxonomy and our local birding hot spots. Britannia Conservation Area is known for excellent numbers and variety of birds. We can expect waterfowl, waders and many songbirds. Some trails are narrow and Poison Ivy is present so wear sturdy closed in shoes, long pants and bring binoculars.

This event will not run in rainy weather.


Saturday, 13 September, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
SUMMERSTOWN FOREST HIKE
Leader: Owen Clarkin

This hike will showcase the diverse woodland and wetland complex of Summerstown Forest near Cornwall. Woody plants will be emphasized, but this site will interest naturalists of all kinds. Extensive stands of Black Maple (Acer nigrum) are among the botanical highlights, along with significant associated mesic forest, clay lowland, and wetland plant communities.

Bring a lunch and drinking water, and dress for the weather as this is a rain or shine event.

Directions: from 401 - parking lot is at 45.102153,-74.60593, about 3 km north of Hwy 401 along County Road 27. Map location: http://goo.gl/maps/K3LWc

Directions from Ottawa - Take Hwy 417 East from Ottawa. Past Casselman, exit south at exit 58 and take Hwy 138 South. Hwy 138 will end at Cornwall Centre Road; take a right (West) on it and then after about 1 km take a left (South) onto Brookdale Ave, which immediately leads to Hwy 401. Take Hwy 401 East to county Road 27 (Summerstown Road) @ exit 804 of the 401. Turn left (north) onto county road 27, (NOT right, or South, toward the town of Summerstown) and proceed North for roughly 3km, until you see a sign on the left for Summerstown Forest, turn left at this sign to find the parking lot for Summerstown Forest.


Sunday, 14 September, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
TRANSITIONS FROM SUMMER TO FALL - PLANTS AND ANIMALS OF CONSTANCE BAY
Leader: Arthur Goldsmith
Meet: 9:15 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza
OR
10 a.m. at the Constance Bay Community Centre (262 Len Purcell Drive)

This hike is a collaborative outing open to both Macnamara Field-Naturalists' Club and OFNC members. Emphasis is on the plants and animals one is likely to find in this period, and what they are up to as the Equinox approaches. We will hike through some sandy areas looking for the fabulous native flora and insects of Constance Bay and also spend some time along the river birding. Bring a lunch and drinking water, & dress for the weather as this is a rain or shine event.


Saturday, 20 September, 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.
GEOLOGY FOR THE VERY BEGINNER
Leader: Geof Burbidge
Meet: 9:15 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza
OR
10 a.m. at the NCC Visitors' Centre parking lot, 33 Scott Road, corner of Old Chelsea Road and Scott Road, in Old Chelsea, QC

This is a trip for those who would like to try their hand at identifying some of the common minerals in the rocks in the Ottawa region, and perhaps work out some ideas about how they came to be there and why they look like they do.

Pack a lunch and two or three (no more) of your own mystery rocks or minerals and the group and leader will attempt, during lunch time, to help with identification. Hand lens, field guides, pocket knife, and notebooks could be of use, but are not required. Sturdy footwear is required. This is a rain or shine walk, so dress appropriately.


Sunday, 21 September, 8 a.m. to noon
*oriented to all ages*
DUCKS AND GULLS ALONG THE OTTAWA RIVER
Leader: Roy John
Meet: Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza

One or more stops along the Ottawa River, depending on what has been sighted and where, to look for Fall migrants. This is a rain or shine walk, so dress for the weather. Bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, a drink and a snack.


Saturday, 27 September, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
GRASSHOPPERS OF CONSTANCE BAY
Leaders: Paul Catling and Brenda Kostiuk
Meet: 9:15 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of parking lot, Richmond Road at Assaly Road, near Pizza Pizza
OR
10 a.m. at the Constance Bay Community Centre (262 Len Purcell Drive)

Constance Bay once supported a vibrant pine-oak savanna ecosystem. Tree plantations introduced in the mid-1900's have largely replaced the native flora and fauna with a monoculture of pines. Despite this, small patches of native vegetation remain and within these, a remarkable insect fauna persists, including several rare and disjunct grasshopper species. Grasshoppers are one of the best indicators of ecosystem health and we will look at both the local plants and grasshoppers during this outing.


Saturday October 4, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
MUSHROOMS OF MACSKIMMING
Leader: Dr. Myron Smith
Meet: Pioneer Village (Trails End) Field Centre's Inn (3685 Wilhaven Drive, Ottawa) Prepare for 3 minute walk to the Village.

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 site is diverse, including a marsh by the Ottawa River, agricultural fields in series of successional stages, red maple swamps and mature mixed-forest. For more information, visit the MacSkimming website: www.ocdsboutdooreducationcentres.ca.


Tuesday, 14 October, 7 p.m. OFNC monthly meeting
AUSTRALIA: BIRDING THE LAND DOWN UNDER
Speaker: Mark Gawn
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

With a plethora of endemic bird families, superb scenery, and (let's be honest) great wine, Australia is a premier birding destination. Mark Gawn recently sampled its avian riches, finding more than 400 species in a month long birding quest ranging from the snow bound forests of Tasmania to the baking heat of the Top End. Join Mark as he meets an Albatross whisperer, slogs through ankle deep ice cold water is search of the enigmatic Ground Parrot, and marvels at the the diversity of Honeyeaters.

OFNC monthly meetings are open to the public


Saturday, 18 October, 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon

GENERAL INTEREST WALK - LIMERICK FOREST
Leader: Stew Hamill
Meet: 09 at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, northeast corner of the parking lot near Pizza Pizza, Richmond Road at Assaly
OR
at the Limerick Interpretive Centre (1175 Limerick Road) at 10. Contact Stew at 613-269-3415 or shamill@ripnet.com for more information.

Limerick Forest is a 5782-hectare community forest in eastern Ontario, owned and managed by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville. Conifer plantations account for approximately one third of the total area of Limerick Forest. This is a result of the reforestation of abandoned farmland by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) via the Agreement Forest Program started in the early 1940's. The remainder of Limerick is comprised of wetlands and second growth mixed forest, in roughly equal proportions of one-third each.

The Friends of Limerick invite you to walk trails through plantation and swamp to two boardwalks overlooking marshes, looking for late summer wildflowers plus waterfowl and other birds. This 3.5-km hike will be followed by lunch and a visit to the Interpretive Centre. After lunch we can view the historic bird egg collection, containing 743 sets of eggs, some still in their original nests. Wear hiking gear, and bring lunch, water, field guides, and binoculars.

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This page was revised on 24 July 2014
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