What have MFNC members done in the past? Find out here in our archive of past field trips and meetings through to the beginning of 2014!
Dochart Creek Paddle
Given the blustery October weather today, we did have a very enjoyable canoe outing. We missed having Mary Marsh with us, as there were many plants and flowers that we saw and could only guess at. The canoe group included three canoes with Doug, Earle, Maryann, Norm and Barb.
We met up shortly after 8:00 am and there was a brisk wind and cool cloudy weather over the Ottawa River. There were whitecaps on the water and good-sized waves. With Doug's advice, it was quickly decided that the planned outing was not an option today. A discussion for an alternate canoe venue came up with a really good choice for the day, Dochart Creek (45.447682, -76.364475), near Doug's home. We put our canoes in at Doug's and then had to paddle hard for a few minutes on the Ottawa River then turn right down the creek.
Once on the creek, the water was placid and gentle. It was still windy, but nothing like the open water. We leisurely canoed up the creek, stopping to watch what we thought might be an Otter that was trying to hide from us. Then we saw an Eastern Phoebe feeding its fledgling. At the culvert we stopped to watch the water coming down over the rocks, and turned around for the trip back. The return trip was even slower as there was so much to look at. A Belted Kingfisher flew over and around the creek. There were some plants that we could identify, such as Sensitive and Ostrich Ferns, Horsetail, Arrowhead, Burr Reed, Wood Anemone and Poison Ivy (lots of it!!). Somehow on the return trip, the "Otter" was not so shy and let us pass by him and he did not hide. Now we're not sure if it was an Otter, a Beaver or a really huge Muskrat! A Painted Turtle also stayed on a dead limb on the water and let us canoe by without diving into the water. Maybe the turtle was hoping to warm up in the sunshine as is usual for a July day, but not this day. We also saw eight new ducklings with their Mom, a Black Duck. Somehow they must have hid from us on the trip in, but this time we had this special moment.
We came to the spot where the creek empties into the Ottawa and made a left turn. A very hard paddle brought us back to Doug's welcome dock. We were all happy with the outing. We had made it out on the water on a blustery day. It was a good day.