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05.08.2015 admin
NOTE: From the man who brought you Lanark County’s Big Year of Birding, this is the first in a new series featuring Iain Wilkes as he takes his birding skills to Costa Rica!
The plan is to break the trip up into several posts each focused on a particular region, its birds, food and people.  I hope you enjoy the collection of observations, anecdotes, and pictures.
Cost:  Approximately $70 per person to cover group campsite registration, parking, firewood and other program costs. If you have a canoe and need a partner, or don’t have a canoe and would like to partner, please call Howard or Mary and they will try to match you up.
MVFN NATURE NOTEBOOK NOTE: At first we thought it might be a rather unusual sighting of a species not likely to occur here.
Paddle the creeks and bays of Mississippi Lake and take part in a “first of this kind for this area” citizen-science project. Our goal is to canoe all seven creeks which flow into the lake, collect samples of five known aquatic invasive species and report back to the MVCA offices by 12:30 pm. Meeting place: We will meet at the MVCA offices building on Highway 7, Carleton Place, for donuts and coffee, orientation and reporting kits. Bring: You will need the usual required canoe safety equipment, water, lunch, a pen or pencil, sunscreen etc. If you have a canoe and need a partner or, if you would like to partner with someone who has a canoe, please contact Cliff. If you have a canoe and need a partner, or don’t have a canoe and would like to partner, please call Cliff and he will try to match you up. On May 28th a group of MVFN members took part in a morning visit to Shaw Woods, hiking around some of the trails and having lunch there. NOTE: Shaw Woods is off Hwy 9 near Eganville and Golden Lake, about an hour or so drive from the Almonte area. On May 25, 2016 a group of ten MVFN members, including organizer and leader Jim Atack took a birding road trip to the Westport area. The task involves pairs of volunteers making one, two or three visits to areas of Mississippi Lake, searching for loons and recording the findings. The visit times will be the last week in June, July and August. Please register with Rick Erskine at *protected email* or telephone 613-257-1397 and he will match you with a boat driver and lake location. For further instructions, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256-5013 or *protected email*  after June 15. Alison Bentley sent in a report June 3, 2016 of a  male Cerulean Warbler singing consistently in Maberly, ON.  First noted May 29th and every day since. At the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) 2016 Spring Gathering held on May 19th, Jennifer Kingsley’s “Meet the North” presentation and the generosity of communities near and far shone brightly.
MVFN’s 2016 Spring Gathering event was enjoyed by a sell-out crowd at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall, decorated for the evening with a Northern Lights theme thanks to the creative mind and energy of Lucy Carleton and her team.
The generosity of our local community also shone very brightly on this Spring Gathering evening. MVFN as a charitable organization and member group of Ontario Nature has a mission to advance nature education and conservation, and presents several awards to recognize and support excellence. In addition to the student award, two MVFN Champion for Nature awards were presented, to recognize individuals or groups for outstanding achievements in wildlife conservation, and whose actions have raised awareness and contributed to the protection of our local natural heritage.
The 2016 MVFN Champion for Nature Awards were presented by MVFN President Brenda Boyd (right in both photos), one to Tineke Kuiper and the other to Ray Holland. We plan to leave for the return trip home from Purdon upper parking lot area at approximately 1:30 pm. I checked one of my Bluebird nesting boxes and found several babies, featherless and eyes closed. The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists club is a participant in the Great Canadian Birdathon which is organized by Bird Studies Canada (BSC) to support bird conservation projects and also local nature and conservation clubs. Last year, we raised over $1000 for Bird Studies Canada, of which MVFN received back over $300, which was applied to the Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Fund. To participate as a sponsor, you could sponsor the birders for so much a species or for a flat amount. Most of the time turtles are rather secretive – hibernating nearly half the year on the bottom of lakes and pond. So, for about 50 weeks out of each year, turtles are rather quiet, inoffensive neighbours, who pretty much keep to themselves.  In this way, they might set a good example for human neighbors, like the ones with the loud stereos and motorbikes … but I digress, I was asked to write about turtles.  My point is that, finally, after 50 weeks of peace, all hell breaks loose in mid June!
This means that without fail, near the middle of each June, we are treated to a parade of female turtles, wandering around our roads and properties, trying to nest.  They have been doing this for about 200 million years, more or less.  Turtles existed before the dinosaurs, and they even survived whatever it was – an asteroid collision? Biologists have calculated how important certain types of individuals are to their species survival, i.e.
Not everyone can personally save a blue whale, or a black rhinoceros, but everyone can drive responsibly, and, like a good boy scout, help the occasional turtle across the road.
Below the photos is a complete list of  bird species seen or heard each day by the MVFN group during the 4-day outing.
A hike in Shaw Woods is planned for Saturday, May 28th. Allan Goddard will be our guide hiking the trails for about an hour before we break for a bagged lunch.

Event is Thursday, May 19 at the Almonte Civitan Community Hall, but tickets must be reserved or purchased on or before Friday May 13. To pre-order and pay at the door, contact Brenda Boyd at *protected email* or 613-256-2706 on or before May 13.
Join us for an all-day Birding outing around the Westport area looking for Warblers and some others not often seen here. Note:  If there is extra money from registration fees, it will go to the MVFN Program Committee.
It may or may not be the same species as the next two photos, which are both of a different individual.
Working in conjunction with the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA), we will take part in an Invasive Aquatic Species Survey. We will deliver the samples and information we have gathered, have lunch and hear an analysis of our work. For information and to register, please contact Cliff Bennett at 613-256 5013 or *protected email*. On Sunday May 29th MVFN held their annual Spring Paddle, which took place this year on Crotch Lake. Below is an account of the day by trip leader Allan Goddard, and following the account, some of the excellent  photos, taken during the visit by Howard Robinson. There the group visited several locations to hike and listen for and look for birds, warblers, plus others!
The trip was a great success; below you will find a link to a wonderful account of the day written by trip organizer Jim Atack. Each team will coordinate, with the boat driver, the preferred day, time, and location for launch.You will need binoculars and sun screen. It seemed as if the Arctic circle curved south for this one night as we learned quite unexpected things about Northern life from the sparkling personality of Kingsley.
Thanks to the support of bidders and individuals and business who contributed to a silent auction, over $3000 was raised for MVFN’s Environmental Education program. Lee & Sons, Maple Leaf Auctions, Howard Clifford, Acanthus Florals, Almonte Fitness Club,  The Mill Street Crepe Company, Textile Traditions, Almonte Bike Shop, Barley Mow Pub, Mississippi Animal Hospital, Mississippi Golf Club, Nancy Young, General Fine Craft, Gilligallou, Healthy Food Technologies Inc.
At the Spring Gathering, the 2016 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary Award for post-secondary education was presented to St. John Catholic High School in Perth, was awarded the 2016 Cliff Bennett Nature Bursary for post-secondary studies presented by Cliff Bennett (left) and Nature Bursary Committee Chair Mike Macpherson.
We remind members of the upcoming summer paddling program and invite the public to join the club for the summer program of canoeing, nature field trips and citizen science work; our natural history lecture series will resume in September after a summer break.
Our Lilac bushes are attracting many butterflies, including Swallowtails and even a Monarch!
Ted Mosquin will be our guide on this early summer visit and walk at Purdon Conservation Area. If you choose this method of pledging, BSC will automatically let us know and we will add you to our list of sponsors having already pledged. If you are pledging by species, I will contact you after the event is over to collect your pledge money. YOU MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH ALL REQUIRED SAFETY EQUIPMENT including proper flotation gear, bailing bucket, heaving line etc.
March is for maple syrup, in April it’s goodbye to the melting ice, in May the leaves come out, and in June it’s turtle time!
If you were lost, and someone gave you a list of local turtles, you could pin down almost exactly where you were. All the females of reproductive age climb out of the water and begin the laborious task of hiking around to find a nesting site.  It is probably terrifying for them to leave the familiar water and venture onto land, but the nesting urge is too strong to resist. The first is to accept and even appreciate this annual event.  Just as the maple syrup flows in March, so do turtles flow across our roads in June. Drive carefully.  Turtles are slow-movers, so it really does take a complete idiot to hit one with a car. Stop, and carry the turtle the rest of the way across the road – in the direction she was headed, of course.  Yes, some will not appreciate your help, and might try to scratch or bite, so keep a pair of gardening gloves handy and perhaps a shovel to help lift. Not a good idea at 100 kilometers per hour, perhaps, but certainly feasible on many side roads.
We might start with courtesy to turtles, and then extend it to frogs, birds, butterflies, bears and all the other animals that lived here long before our ancestors decided to settle in North America.
Paul Keddy on behalf of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists and is reposted here in May 2016. During the trip they witnessed the beauty of spring and a rich abundance of bird life. There were many wonderful photographs by Howard Robinson, Peter Blancher, Wendy Moenig, Pam Hickman, Peter Anderson and others, recording the group of birders as well as the bird life seen.
The birds encountered are listed approximately in the order each species was first seen or heard.

The hike will continue after lunch for an additional hour before we leave to return to the Mississippi Mills area.
To register, please email Gretta Bradley at *protected email*  This event will go ahead rain or shine. On this paddle the group also enjoyed an island lunch and a swim! Below is a brief report of the day by Mary Robinson and a list of birds seen or heard during the paddle, compiled by Mary. The Trout Hotel at Ompah proved to be a good spot for a drink and a chat to end a very enjoyable outing! Also included is a list, provided by Mary Robinson, of all the birds seen or heard during the visit. Huge towering trees, sugar maples, eastern hemlock, American beech, created a cathedral -like canopy over our heads, and under – canopy trees and shrubs such as striped maple, Canada yew, and various species of dogwood, and of course the many ferns and mosses at eye level as we meandered along the trail. Grant also stayed with us and answered queries about this and that, and then very much needed to get to his greenhouse to water crops in need!
This trail was very different in vegetation with a mixed, open forest canopy typical of granite uplands, with plenty of ironwood, chokecherry, shrub juniper, and numerous lower shrub species. Many highlights of the day are recorded in excellent photos by Howard Robinson and some of these are included below. On her journey, Kingsley explained, she has had to “let expectations go” and the result she said is summed up with the word “unexpected.” Enjoying tea in Pond Inlet made with fresh water collected from a nearby iceberg! This program is currently supporting Monarch butterfly conservation education at seventeen local and nearby primary schools.
John Catholic High School (Perth) student Erin Symon who will begin a 4-year Bachelor of Arts degree program in Environmental and Resource Studies in September. Tineke Kuiper, a resident of Wolf Grove and former MVFN Board member and Program Chair, was nominated for her tireless research work making presentations and providing support and advice regarding development of Natural Heritage System policies for Mississippi Mills and for heading up MVFN’s recent efforts to prevent development within Burnt Lands Alvar.
We plan to walk to the lookout and walk along the boardwalk to view the spectacular Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids.
For your sponsorship, you will receive a receipt for income tax purposes from Bird Studies Canada (amounts over $10).
However, if you wish to contact me to make a personal pledge, I would be pleased to hear from you. Biologists have spent many years studying turtle diets –by counting the items in their stomachs – and have this well-documented.  Even large snapping turtles, which get blamed for eating ducks or game fish, rarely have any of these items in their stomachs. A big snapping turtle is heavy, so I would recommend extreme care – probably best to simply act like a shepherd. The list was compiled by Mary Robinson with review also by Cliff Bennett and Peter Blancher.
Using provided plants, soil, and milkweed seeds butterfly gardens are being, or have already been, developed and are being nurtured. We will learn from Ted, who has worked and studied extensively on conservation of the orchids at Purdon, the history of Purdon and what is required to maintain the orchids. Some places, like the west coast, are impoverished, having just one species.  Other places, like Louisiana, are blessed with turtles – more than 30 species.
And so, increasingly, we are losing our turtles as the reproductive females (and often the eggs they contain) are killed on highways. When a female is killed – it means the loss of hundreds of offspring she might have produced over future summers.  These loses cannot be replaced. Our March speaker, Grant Dobson suggests this should be an excellent introduction to the area. The silence being beautifully interrupted by the musical voices of the wood thrush, veerie, hermit thrush, ovenbird, red eyed vireo, various warblers, and even the robin.
It was much more of an up-and-down trail and when we arrived back to the lake on the loop, we could see the eagles again, and briefly watched them for a bit. The stories were all brought to life in the images of photographer Eric Guth, carried south and shared by Kingsley. In September, with “live monarch release kits” students will observe the life cycle of the butterfly and regenerate the “super-generation” of this imperiled species.
We will take the Highland Trail by the Marsh Boardwalk, reaching the picnic area by noon for lunch. As a result, turtles that were present in my childhood, like musk turtles and Blanding’s turtles, are now uncommon. Also saw the fringed polygala, a beautiful and small pink spring flower typical of this forest, which very much had a boreal character at times.

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  1. Ayshe writes:
    Gardening is included on this special will start.
  2. ARMAGEDDON writes:
    Peppers to ripen so that for the project with distinctive flora, fauna and cultural landscape.
  3. 202 writes:
    Now, so i don't expect much of the the higher part of the.