|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. Guests should be aware that, in all cases, OFNC liability insurance applies to OFNC members only. 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.
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 April, 7-10 p.m.
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 may exhibit pictures for everyone to enjoy. Kids, bring your natural history displays. Back by popular demand this year is the Natural History Trivia Quiz, which will feature a display table and projected images. For information call Hume at 613-234-0122.
NOTE CHANGE OF DATESunday, 27 April, 7-10 p.m.
Frogs and birds at night
Leader: Bernie Ladouceur
Meet: at Lincoln Fields parking lot, northeast corner near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Rd. and Assaly Rd.) for carpooling.
Come and hear a little night music! This trip will consist of roadside stops only, but the roads can be muddy and the temperature can drop like a stone when the sun sets. If the weather forecast appears to be really unsuitable (constant rain, winds in excess of 20 kph, or weather too cold for frogs), we will move the trip to the Friday or Saturday before on the same weekend, or to the Saturday or Sunday on following weekend. Check here for updates as the date approaches.
Sunday, 27 April, 8 a.m. to
This 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, and waterproof footwear is recommended. Bring binoculars and a spotting scope if you have one, as some viewing will be distant. There is $6 fee to visit the park, payable on entry. The trip will end in the early afternoon, and a 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!).
Saturday, 3 May, 11 a.m. to 3 pm
This guided hike will circle Mud Lake looking for spring wildlife activity, focusing on basking turtles. Spotting features and natural history will be explained for those species found - several could potentially be observed in the wetlands, without even leaving the city! Bring a snack, binoculars, and dress for the weather. Some trails may be muddy, and sunscreen is recommended. This event may be postponed or cancelled in the event of heavy rain or unseasonable cold.
Saturday, 3 May, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Come muck about at the edge of Brewer Pond: frogs, turtles, fish, insects, plants and birds are there to find. Rubber boots and a net and pail would be useful. Very child friendly. The pond is mostly shallow with gradual shorelines. Children should nevertheless be closely supervised, especially because of the deeper nearby Rideau River. The pond area is part of an off-leash area for dogs, but is generally less busy than the river and pathways.
Sunday, 4 May, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Join Bryarly for a walk at Mill of Kintail 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 have lunch in the forest, so please pack one if you plan to stay. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613 858-8822. Hope to see you there!
Thursday, 8 May, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Come for a leisurely spring ramble on the Bell Bushlot near Almonte. This Nature Conservancy property is predominantly a sugar maple forest on the Canadian Shield. You may wish to bring binoculars, camera, hand lens, field guides and snack. If it rains, bring a raincoat.
Saturday, 10 May, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Couldn't make it to Mud Lake last week? Then come out and explore this location in Ottawa's east end! Follow several trails on Petrie Island, looking for spring wildlife activity, with a focus on basking turtles. Spotting features and natural history will be explained for those species found. Bring a snack, binoculars, and dress for the weather. Some trails may be muddy, and sunscreen is recommended. The parking lot is "pay and display"; the weekend rate is $2.00. This event may be postponed or cancelled in the event of heavy rain or unseasonable cold.
Thursday, 8 May to Sunday, 11 May
Note: This trip is now fully booked. You may email Fenja (email@example.com) to put your name on a waiting list in case there is a cancellation.
Our Club is planning another fantastic birding trip to Point Pelee and Rondeau Provincial Parks with several birding stops in other interesting places on the way down and on the way back. Two of our very best birders, Roy and John, have once again taken on the responsibility of leading this trip. We have booked rooms at the Comfort Inn, Leamington, and we shall charter an air conditioned bus with toilet facilities to take us there and back. Cost has not been determined, but expect it to be less than $500 which includes shared accommodation for three nights and park entrance fees. A deposit of $100 will hold your place with the remainder to be paid by April 1. Contact Fenja Brodo (613 723-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to register or to find out more. Please send cheques to OFNC, Box 35069, Westgate PO, Ottawa ON K1Z 1A2.
Wednesday, May 28, 8 a.m. to noon
The fields to the south of the airport offer one of the most diverse populations of sparrows in the area. We could 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, 1 June, 8 a.m. to noon
Several sparrow species and other breeders should be singing. It is an overgrown farm/orchard with some dense forest nearby and a variety of habitats. Sparrows, tanagers, grosbeaks, buntings, cuckoos, grouse, turkeys, thrushes, orioles, woodpeckers, wrens, swallows, hawks, flycatchers can all be expected. It is also within the 50-km radius around the Peace Tower that constitutes the official "Ottawa area" for birding. If time permits, we may go to the Russell Sewage Lagoons.
Dress properly for high and wet grass and rocky paths. This is not a manicured Park. The trails are wild.
Sunday, 1 June, 10 a.m. to noon
Learn all about Pink Lady Slipper orchids and about Ottawa's only remaining and intact sand dune and about the efforts to rehabilitate it and protect it.
Thursday, 5 June, 7-9 p.m.
Naomi Cappuccino, biologist at Carleton University, will give a presentation on the ecology of pale swallow-wort, a.k.a., dog-strangling vine. Come find out what makes this plant such a menace to Ottawa area green spaces, and what's being done to combat this pest. Following the presentation, we will walk through the Fletcher Wildlife Garden for a close-up look at swallow-wort. This event will start with a presentation at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden Interpretation Centre, followed by a walk. Dress appropriately for the weather.
Sunday, 8 June, 6-11:30 a.m.
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 flies in the forest at this time of year. This trip will be cancelled in the event of continuous rain.
Friday, 13 June, 8 p.m. to midnight
Discover the amazing night life of moths which come to black lights from dusk to dawn in the Larose Forest. We will set up sheets and battery-powered lights and then wait for the fun to begin. It is the time of the year when the big Silkworms come out. Bring a flashlight, bug repellent and a camera (the latter optional). A lawn chair would be useful.
NOTE: This event is limited to 20 participants. RSVP with the leader for the event and for a ride.
This trip will depend on the weather. Should the temperature be below 16 degrees or in the event of rain, the trip will be cancelled.
Saturday, 14 June, 7 a.m. to noon
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.
Saturday, 21 June, 6 a.m.
Travel south to the Frontenac Arch and explore the biodiversity in the Lake Opinicon area. Participants will explore the property of the Queen's University Biology Station and hike on a section of the Cataraqui Trail. Birds abound, including rare Red-shouldered Hawks and Cerulean Warblers. The area is also one of Ontario's hotspots for reptile and amphibian diversity, home to many species, including Ontario's only lizard and Canada's largest snake. Many southern plant species from the deciduous forest contribute to a unique flora here, growing on the rocks of the Canadian Shield.
This will be an all-day excursion. Please prepare to carpool at the meeting point. Participants should bring weather-appropriate clothing, binoculars, sunscreen, lunch, and snacks and good hiking shoes or boots. Also, mosquitoes and poison ivy are likely to be present at times. (Remember: bug spray can be lethal to amphibians, so those interested in frogs and salamanders should use chemical-free alternatives, like long sleeves.)
Sunday, 22 June, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Larose Forest, 40 minutes east of Ottawa, has a tremendous variety of butterflies. In recent years, several rare sedge skippers have been found, and hairstreaks and checkerspots can also be expected. Join Peter Hall, co-author of The Butterflies of Canada, for a leisurely stroll along some of the forest trails which have proven to be especially good for butterflies. Bring insect repellent, lunch, water and your favorite guide book (look out for Peter's new Royal Ontario Museum Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario, due for release in early June).
This trip will be cancelled in the event of rain.
Saturday, 5 July, 8:30 a.m. (rain date Sunday, 6 July)
The North American Butterfly Association has coordinated butterfly counts following the same format as Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs) for many years. These counts are published as part of an ongoing program of NABA to census the butterflies of North America (see http://www.naba.org/counts.html for more information). Volunteer participants focus on a 24 km diameter circle and conduct a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. As with CBCs, there is a $4.00 charge to participants to support the publication of the results (not obligatory, but encouraged). This is the seventh year that OFNC will sponsor a count (and the 13th year that this count will have been conducted). The count area will be centred at Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa), a site used as a former non-OFNC count circle. It includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch. 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, bring them along. Butterflies may be captured and brought to the count compilation alive for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy.
We plan to meet at Michael Olsen's place at 20 Kluane Ridge, Kanata (off Steeplechase) at 5:30 pm after the count for a compilation and pot luck dinner. Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We will have a collection of butterflies along to help people figure out what they saw and learn a bit more about these amazing creatures. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can't make it, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave.
Sunday, July 13, 10 a.m. to noon
Learn all about the amazing Ghost Tiger Beetle and about Ottawa's only remaining and intact sand dune and about the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate it and protect it.