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Past Field Trips & Meetings

What have MFNC members done in past years? Find out here in our archive of past field trips and meetings for the years 2011-2015!


Past Meetings (2015)

We meet on the first Tuesday of every month except July and August at 7:30 p.m. at the Arnprior Curling Club, 15 Galvin St., Arnprior (by the Fairgrounds). Guests welcome: $5 per meeting – Students welcome to attend for Free!


Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Note: This is our Annual General Meeting.  Club business precedes our regular agenda of sightings and our presentation.

Our Presenter: Dr. Stacey Robinson is a Research Scientist at Environment Canada’s National Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa.

Neonicotinoids and Their Effects on Amphibians

The Presentation:

Neonicotinoids are a new class of insecticide used in agriculture and can contaminate surface waters via run-off from fields. In recent years, the use of neonicotinoids has been speculatively linked to the collapses of honey bee colonies. Given that neonicotinoids are now the most widely-used insecticides worldwide, with substantial use in Canada, and persist in the environment, there is potential for widespread contamination of agriculture-associated aquatic ecosystems. My project examined the health impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on aquatic ecosystems by studying the sub-lethal effects on amphibians, specifically wood frogs and northern leopard frogs.

Biography:

Stacey is a Research Scientist at Environment Canada’s National Wildlife Research Centre in Ottawa. Her research program focusses on studying the effects of pesticides and other contaminants on non-target wildlife. Stacey completed her PhD in 2011 at Carleton University where she studied the relationships between contaminants and parasites in double-crested cormorants. Stacey grew up on a hobby farm near Russell, Ontario and her childhood consisted of raising farm animals and camping with her family. She has always been fascinated and appreciative of the natural environment. Her first experiences of field research involved following white-throated sparrows through the forests of Prince George, British Columbia. She was studying the birds’ parasite infections for her undergraduate thesis at Wilfrid Laurier University. Stacey was always encouraged by her parents to follow her passions and she now has her dream job at Environment Canada.

staceywoodfrog
One of Stacey’s Wood Frogs, spending its first day as an adult.

 Saturday November 14, 2015

Our Banquet Speaker:

Dr. Jeff Bowman of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre, 100 Clifford Campbell Dr. Details will follow. Reserve the date now. This will be a very special presentation.

A Murder of Weasels

The Presentation:

Ontario has a variety of interesting species from the weasel family, and Jeff will discuss natural history and recent research findings about many of these. The cast of characters will include fisher, marten,  wolverine, mink, river otter, striped skunk, and badger. The faint of heart should stay home.

 Biography:

Jeff is a Research Scientist with the Wildlife Research and Monitoring Section of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and an Adjunct Professor in the Environmental and Life sciences Graduate Program at Trent University. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of New Brunswick on small mammals, and has a longstanding interest in the Mustelidae.  Jeff has been with MNRF since 2001 and has been involved in research projects on many species, including recent work on fishers, martens, lynx, wolverines, mink, wild turkeys, and flying squirrels.


 

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Our Presenter: Dr. Jeff Skevington is a research scientist at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) and an Adjunct Professor at Carleton and Guelph Universities.

Lord of the Flies

The Presentation:

Including over ten percent of all described animal life on the planet it behooves us as naturalists to know a bit about flies. With 160,000 described species and over 10 times that number undescribed, flies occupy every imaginable ecological niche. The ‘bad’ flies are actually very small in number but have shaped human history and development across the planet. Malaria transmitted by flies has kept parts of Africa, the Orient and South America wild and continues to kill enormous numbers of us annually. In Canada, some areas are off limits for ranching as the stock would be killed by biting flies. But even more than the negatives, flies provide enormous economic advantages for us. Pollinator flies are second only to bees in their role in agriculture and some foods like chocolate are entirely reliant on pollinator flies. Decomposition and sewage treatment are dominated by Diptera (the scientific name for flies). I will take you on a walk through this jungle of diversity and along the way will throw out as many fascinating nature nuggets as possible about this amazing group of animals. What is that swelling on your favourite chipmunk’s groin? Why does Hollywood love flies? How many fruit flies can one female and her progeny produce in a year? What fly species provides one of the biggest tourist attractions in New Zealand? How many mosquito species are there in Canada? How long does it take for flies turn a dump truck full of oranges into compost? How about an animal carcass? What flies provide nuptial gifts to their partners (tips you won’t find on Ashley Maddison!)? How can you identify and learn more about species of animals that form such a staggering diversity? Bring any flies or photos of flies you have been curious to learn about and we will try to figure out what they are. I will even bring some pinned fly specimens from the Canadian National Collection for show and tell before and after the presentation.

Biography:

Jeff has been a research scientist at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) since 2003. He is also an adjunct professor at Carleton University and University of Guelph where he has been involved with training and mentoring over 50 of the next generation of biologists and in particular insect systematists. His research specializes on the taxonomy and phylogenetics of flies, in particular flower/hover flies (Syrphidae), big-headed flies (Pipunculidae) and thick-headed flies (Conopidae). Jeff did his training at the University of Guelph with Steve Marshall (MSc) and the University of Queensland with David Yeates (PhD). He has maintained an Australian slant to his research since his time living there. Australia is the true frontier for insect taxonomists as most of the fauna remains to be discovered and described. Jeff has published over 100 research articles, book chapters and books. Many can be downloaded from his website (www.canacoll.org/Diptera/Staff/Skevington/Skevington.htm). Jeff ‘s trajectory as a naturalist started with insects at a very early age, diversified into birds at age 8, and expanded to include all things natural during his undergraduate days as a park naturalist first at Algonquin and then at Pinery. Mentors in the Woodstock and St. Thomas Field-Naturalists’ Clubs had a lot to do with shaping his interests and directions but as with many naturalists, it was his experience in Algonquin that solidified his goals and his work with Steve Marshall that really turned him on to insects.


 

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Our Presenter: Dr. Myron L Smith is the Chair of the Biology Department at Carleton University.

Mysterious World of the Fungi

The Presentation:

The Fungi comprise an enigmatic group of organisms that is most closely related to the animal kingdom. Fungi are familiar to most of us as moulds and mushrooms, but we tend to overlook their profound impacts on human affairs as plant and animal pathogens and symbionts, in industrial fermentation processes, as decomposers and as research subjects. In this talk, I will provide a brief overview of the functional and structural diversity of fungi, and highlight some surprising aspects of their biology, genetics and behaviour.

Biography:

Dr. Smith served as the Director of the Institute of Biochemistry from 2002-2007 and is a member of the Institute of Environmental Science. Dr. Smith teaches courses in general and molecular genetics, biotechnology, mycology and molecular ecology. His research encompasses genetics, molecular biology, microbiology and general biology and focuses on four main themes: i) deciphering the biochemical and genetic bases of non self recognition-associated cell death, ii) identification and characterization of new antibiotics from ethnobotanical leads and from agroforestry and bioprocessing ‘waste’ for use in health, food and industrial applications, iii) development of methods to identify and enumerate microbial strains for environmental monitoring, and iv) application of genetic markers to life history studies. This research spans questions of basic biological interest and has biotechnology applications in diverse areas that include health, agrifood industry, environmental contaminants, and biofuel developments.

Dr. Smith obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Botany at the University of Alberta and his PhD at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, specializing in genetics within the Biotechnology Program. Following his Ph.D., Dr. Smith received NSERC and Killam Post-Doctoral Fellowships to carry out genetics research in the Biotechnology Laboratories at the University of British Columbia.


 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Our Presenter: Éric Hébert-Daly, National Executive Director, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Quantum Conservation

The Presentation: 

Public conservation in Canada takes a long time from start to finish. And while the processes move along slowly, development and encroachment happen quickly and often outpace our ability to plan. Southern Canada, in particular in our own region, has significant additional pressures, but they all have one thing in common: poor or non-existent planning. Where are the connections between protected areas for wildlife? Where are the buffer zones needed to ensure healthy ecosystems? We are no where near our international commitments to conservation – both in quality and in quantity. How do we get there from here?

Biography:

Éric has been CPAWS’ National Executive Director since April 2009. He was previously Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer for one of Canada’s major political parties. Éric is fluently bilingual, a graduate of Concordia University’s School of Community and Public Affairs, and a Certified Lay Worship Leader for the United Church. He has worked with municipal, regional and national groups across Canada and has focussed his attention on social justice, ecological and human rights issues throughout his career. Éric is an avid cyclist and hiker and has travelled extensively throughout Canada, with a particular interest in remote and northern regions from Labrador to Inuvik. He enjoys canoeing, cross-country skiing and camping, as well as his home life shared with his partner on the north edge of Gatineau Park near Ottawa.


June 2, 2015: Gary Bell, Conservation Biologist – Eastern Ontario,  Nature Conservancy of Canada will update us and present to us about Gillies Grove and the Gervais property, near Westmeath, Ontario, which has been purchased with a generous donations from the Ottawa Field Naturalist Club supplemented by a donation by our Club. Join us to better understand the importance of these NCC properties supported by our Club.

Did you know the Ottawa River Valley is home to the longest underwater cave system in Canada? Beneath the surface lies a subterranean wonderland seldom seen by the human eye – the Ottawa River Caves. The labyrinth measures over 10 kilometres in length under several islands throughout the Ottawa River, and includes a four kilometre section on the Ontario side of the river known as the Gervais Caves.  The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) purchased the 82-acre Gervais Caves property in January 2015 protecting most of the entrances to the caves on the Ontario side.  The property also protects important karst landforms, sinkholes and a diversity of species, including rare and at risk species.

Come and hear the latest on the Gillies Grove Nature Reserve, including current stewardship actions, initiatives and partnerships and our recent, record-breaking discovery.

May 5, 2015: Dr. Valerie Behan-Pelletier, an Honorary Research Associate (an Emeritus position) with the Research Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, will present: Have you eaten any soil lately? Soil – Where oribatid mites live and where our food begins

We live on the rooftops of a hidden world. In one handful of rich organic soil lives a greater diversity than in a coral reef – soil is the “poor man’s tropical rainforest”. It is the luxuriant tapestry that ensures life on earth; it is where most of our food begins. Yet, soils are possibly the least understood of the planet’s ecosystems, and the most fragile, and are increasingly among the most degraded ecosystems in many parts of the world.

Dr. Behan-Pelletier will use oribatid mites, one of the most diverse groups of mites in soil, to show the interactions of animals in this ecosystem. 2015 is the International Year of Soil; she will illustrate how soil is the critical transition between the Earth’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and how a biodiverse soil provides the essential ecosystem services, including carbon and nutrient cycling, decomposition of dead organic matter; biocontrol and development of soil structure to ensure plant growth. Oribatid mites are a key component of this soil biodiversity, and among the most beautiful.

This talk will illustrate the latest knowledge on the biological complexity of oribatid mites. It will focus on their ecology, their defense mechanisms, and their diversity in the dynamic interplay that is the soil ecosystem. It will show how they and other charismatic microfauna are contributing to our quality of life.

April 7, 2015: Tony Beck,  freelance naturalist and photographer based in Ottawa, where he operates his company, “Always An Adventure”, with his talented wife, Nina Stavlund, will tell us about: Spring Bird Migration in Eastern Ontario – How local bird populations change between Winter and Summer

March 3, 2015: Dr. Brent Patterson,  a research scientist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and an adjunct professor at Trent University will provide a presentation on: Wolves and Coyotes in Ontario. Brent  joined the MNRF as a research scientist in 2001 and has been an adjunct professor at Trent University since that time as well.  His research involves studying wolves, coyotes, deer and moose in both temperate and boreal regions.  Prior to joining the MNR Brent worked for 3 years as a biologist for the Government of Nunavut in the central Canadian Arctic where he worked with caribou, muskox and wolverine.  Brent has a M.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from Acadia University, and a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Saskatchewan.

February 3, 2015: Great Naturalists’ Quiz by Michael Runtz
This is an interesting and entertaining way to learn about local natural history. Michael’s contagious enthusiasm, his keen insight into the intricacies of nature, and the countless anecdotes of his experiences as a naturalist always make for a very entertaining evening. Participants will be divided into teams that will compete to answer riddles and identify specimens.

January 6, 2015 – Members’ Night: We are looking forward to learning all about your prized nature or natural history possessions or experiences! Please sign in at the door with the item or topic you wish to showcase. If you are showing photos, there should not be more than five and they should be on a USB key. You may also bring prints to put on a table.

Past Meetings (2014)

September 2, 2014: Ed Lawrence, Gardening with Native Plants to Attract Wildlife. Recently retired after 30 years of outstanding achievement in the field of Canadian horticulture, Ed Lawrence’s tenure as Chief Horticultural Specialist to six consecutive Governors General spanned a period of vice-regal history dating from Jules Leger in the 1970s to Adrienne Clarkson in 2005. Ed’s talk will focus on his re-landscaping of the Governor General’s residence gardens using native plants to attract wildlife.

October 7, 2014: What are wetland indicators? What are the classifications of wetlands? What plants and animals make a wetland their home? Answers to all of these questions and more in Fergus Nicoll’s talk What is a wetland?

November 4, 2014: Nick Cairns, Snakes on a Plain and Back Again: A Tale of Herpetofauna”

December 2, 2014: AGM and presentation by Michael Runtz entitled A Year in the Life of a Naturalist

Past Meetings (2013)

December 3 (meeting) – Michael Runtz: Nature – the Living Gallery, and Annual General Meeting

As naturalists, we are privileged to have so many remarkable habitats to explore and wild things to marvel at.  Join Michael Runtz for a visual extravaganza of what nature offers us wherever and whenever we immerse ourselves in her.

November 5 (meeting) – Ash Borers, with Bruce Gill

A killer jewel beetle in our midst: the emerald ash borer and the fate of our ash trees.

This talk will introduce the jewel beetle family Buprestidae, looking briefly at the diversity of some of our beautiful native species, before focussing on Agrilus planipennis, the emerald ash borer (EAB).  EAB is an invasive species from eastern Asia that has spread rapidly since it was first detected in Detroit and Windsor in the summer of 2002.  It feeds on all species of ash in the genus Fraxinus, and kills trees within a few years of attack.  With the adults being strong fliers and the larvae easily moved in firewood, containment of this pest has proved nearly impossible.  The long-term survival of our ash trees lies in finding appropriate biological control agents in Asia to bring North American populations of EAB under control.

Dr. Gill is a research scientist with the Ottawa Plant Laboratory, of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.  Prior to switching into research full time in 2010, he spent 20 years as a quarantine entomologist with the CFIA, identifying exotic pests and working on a number of invasive species such as Asian gypsy moth, Asian long-horned beetle, and the emerald ash borer.  Bruce is the recent Past President of the Entomological Society of Ontario and has been collecting and studying insects since he was 7.

As well, Kevin Hannah from the Canadian Wildlife Service will talk about his winter finch project. If you have an active winter feeder, you may be able to participate in his research.

October 1 (meeting) – Young Macnamara Night: Matt Ellerbeck will be talking about Salamanders. In order to accommodate Young Macs, Matt’s talk will start at 7:30 p.m., followed by a game for kids and a surprise snack. If you know any children who are not members of the Club but who would like to attend, please feel free to invite them to participate in this special evening at NO CHARGE. After the break, we will do Sightings. This will allow Young Macs to leave after the first part of the meeting and get to bed at a reasonable hour! Although this is an evening geared towards our Young Macs, everyone is welcome to attend!

September 3 (meeting) – Aliens Invading Ontario!!!! Nasty plants that don’t belong here…: Jeff Muzzi and Lacey Rose from the County of Renfrew talked about the identification of wild parsnip and giant hogweed, the risks they pose and how to control them. Their well-illustrated talk ran for about 40 minutes which left lots of time for questions. Some handouts were available.

IMG 1017

 

June 4: Dr. David P. Phillipp,  The Impact of Angling for Nesting Bass

 

Dr. David Philipp is the Principal Scientist at the Illinois Natural History Survey, a research department within the Institute of Natural Resources Sustainability at the University of Illinois. His research interests focus on three major areas: conservation genetics, reproductive ecology, and the effects of fishing on natural populations. His findings have helped to document the negative impacts of outbreeding depression that can result from hatchery stocking programs, as well as to illustrate the evolutionary effects that fishing can have on natural populations. Much of his research has targeted centrarchid species, particularly focusing on the factors that impact their parental care activities, reproductive success, and annual recruitment. Much of that research has been conducted at the Queens University Biological Station.  In recent years, Dr. Philipp has broadened his interest in these research topics to include the marine flats ecosystem, studying bonefish reproductive behaviors and the effects of recreational angling on post-release behavior and survival of flats fishes. Dave was one of the original group of founders that spearheaded the formation of the Fisheries Conservation Foundation, an organization dedicated to getting science in the hands of decision-makers, and he currently serves as the Chair of its Board of Directors.

May 7th: Dr. Jude Girard, Songs from the fields – Can farmland in eastern Ontario support songbird populations?

Numbers of birds using farmland have declined around the world, partly due to aspects of modern farm management including increasing field size and increasing use of pesticides and fertilizers. One of the most important links between bird declines and farm management is reductions in availability of insect food that birds living in farmland need for successful nesting. Dr. Girard investigated how Song Sparrows use farmland in eastern Ontario for feeding and breeding and she discussed how availability of food for foraging birds differs between organic and conventional farms as well as where Song Sparrows forage in farmland and what they choose to eat. She also discussed how food availability affects nest success of Song Sparrows and showed that farmland in eastern Ontario can provide good breeding habitat for Song Sparrows and can contribute to conservation of Song Sparrows and other song birds.

April 2: Dr. Jeff Bowman, Flying Squirrels in Ontario.  Ontario has two flying squirrel species: the northern and southern flying squirrel. This presentation described the natural history of both species in the province, and provided the latest findings from recent research efforts to evaluate the effects of climate change on flying squirrel ecology. Notably, the two flying squirrel species have been observed to hybridise following recent range expansions of the southern flying squirrel.

Past Field Trips (2013)

November 9 – 12:00 – 2:00 pm  – Geotour of the Macnamara Trail, “What Came First?”

Leader: David Forsyth
Meet at the trailhead for an afternoon walk and a glimpse beneath the leaves to see the complex marble-silicate structure under the Macnamara Trail. This trip will explain why the trail looks like it does and will touch on some of Arnprior’s early history.  See “Geology Field Guides” under “Macnamara Trail” on the Club’s website at www.mfnc.ca for a preview of the geology of this area. 

 

 

Saturday, August 17 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — Walk the Macnamara Trail with Michael Runtz and Visit Charles Macnamara’s Cabin:  This event will be hosted by Alison and David Stein. We will meet at 10 a.m. at the trailhead. After walking the Macnamara Trail with Michael Runtz on the historic Nopiming Crown Game Preserve, we will visit Charles Macnamara’s century-old log cabin. Charles’ great-niece, Alison Stein, will talk to us about his life and his passion for nature while we enjoy this beautiful setting. If you prefer to visit the cabin only, please meet the group at the trailhead at 11:30 a.m. We will be carpooling to the cabin from the trailhead at 11:30.

Sat. August 10 – Dragonflies at Morris Island Conservation Area 

Leader:  Harry Adams

Meet at 10 a.m. in the parking lot of the Conservation Area on Morris Island Drive. This area should provide excellent opportunities to find many different species of dragonflies at this time of year.  Sturdy footwear is recommended for these trails. Bring a lunch and insect repellent.

Saturday, July 27, Morris Island Bioblitz

What’s a Bioblitz?  A Bioblitz is when you go to a natural area and take an inventory of all the natural items there.  This includes insects, mammals, fish, birds, plants, reptiles, and anything else you can think of!  We will focus on species, and maybe learn a little about animal classification along the way.  Bring a lunch to eat on the picnic tables after our walk and maybe a pencil to record your findings.  Appropriate footwear and clothing required.  Identification guides may be helpful, but select the ones you’re really interested in; we’re going to see LOTS!

Saturday, July 6, Orchid Trip to the Stewartville Fen, 9 am – 2 pm

Leader:  Michael Runtz

Club members met at 9 am sharp at the Canadian Tire store in Arnprior to carpool to the fen.  Those coming from the White Lake area  met the group at the four corners in White Lake at 9:20 am. We expected to see more than half a dozen species of orchids plus other rare species, including the smallest dragonfly in North America, in this unique and fragile environment. We walked through very wet habitats so brought old runners or boots and a change of footwear (and clothing if you wish).  Also brought a lunch, plenty of water, insect repellent and sunscreen.    The group was limited to 20 due to the sensitive nature of the habitat.

Saturday, June 15, Butterfly Trip, Burnt Lands Provincial Park, 10am-2pm        

Leader:  Rick Cavasin

Meet at 10am in the parking lot at the south corner of  March Rd. and Dwyer Hill Rd.  We will car pool from there to areas nearby.  Bring a lunch, lots of water, sunscreen and insect repellent. Also useful would be binoculars and a butterfly field guide if you have them.

This site features large amounts of poison ivy.  People who are highly sensitive should take this into account before deciding to attend.

 

Saturday/Sunday, May 11/12, Presqu’ile Birding Trip

Presqu’ile Provincial Park is an excellent location to find many of the spring migrants.  Birds will be our focus but other aspects of the park’s natural history and geology may be explored as well. There are reasonably-priced accommodations nearby and camping in the park is also possible.

 

Sunday, March 24, 7p.m.:  Annual Owl Prowl Michael Runtz led us around the Arnprior area to look and listen for owls.

March 5: Laura Robson, Assistant Ecologist with Ontario Nature talked about our slithery friends, Snakes of Ontario: Eastern Hognose Snake Study Results.

Friday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m.: Mudpuppy Night at Oxford Mills with Fred Schueler   A study of the Oxford Mill mudpuppies was begun in 1998 and continues every Friday night over the winter.  We were invited to go and participate in this kid-friendly activity. This location has unusually large numbers of mudpuppies and we saw lots of them in the shallow water as they came upstream to feed.


 

Past Field Trips and Meetings (2012)

Dec. 4: Amy Cameron gave a great talk on Dec. 4.  She updated the White Nose Syndrome situation in Canada and the Northeastern States.  There is not much good news.  Based on two years’ data, affected caves may be stabilizing at about 95% mortality.  If that is the case, recovery time for Little Brown Bats may well be two centuries.  We also heard some interesting facts on Red Bats.  Maybe the most telling fact is that very little is known about Red Bats!

Nov. 6: Ground Beetles: My Favorite Group of Insects: Henri Goulet, Research Scientist at Agriculture Canada shared everything he knows about Ground Beetles.  Will they become your favorite group of insects too?

November 4, 9:30 – 12:00  Geology Field Trip: Diabase Raisins in Marble Porridge or “what was cooking beneath Arnprior about 1 billion years ago”
We joined Dave Forsyth at the Macnamara Trail to look at the metamorphic and intrusive rocks that underlie all of Arnprior as we move from Bell Park to McLean Avenue. Along the way we learned, for example, why the Madawaska River intersects the Ottawa River where it does and why the shoreline of the Ottawa River formed the way it did.  Our sturdy shoes, magnets and hand lenses came in handy.

Oct. 20: Our Annual Banquet was held at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre. This year’s featured speaker was Dr. Geoff Carpentier, world traveler and expedition guide.  He is an expert on the wildlife of the Antarctic and took us on the journey of a lifetime to two exotic destinations – South Georgia and Antarctica through pictures and words.

Oct. 2: Jacqueline Madill from the Museum of Nature told us all about Zebra Mussels and if they’ve made it to the Ottawa Valley.

Sept. 4:  Michael Runtz spoke on, “What Nature taught me this summer”.

Sunday August 19, 9:30 a.m.: Canoe trip on the Mississippi Over a dozen members met at the 5-span bridge in Pakenham, in the parking lot below the rapids on the Pakenham side,  for a leisurely 2h canoe trip along the Mississippi river toward Galetta and back.  They looked for dragonflies, turtles, aquatic plants and whatever else they could find along the way.

Sunday July 8:  The Ottawa Field Naturalists Club invited us to participate in the 12th Annual Ottawa Area Butterfly Count. Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall

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 focused on a 24 km diameter circle and conducted a one-day census of all butterflies sighted within that circle. The count area was 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 was an all-day event.  Teams were put together on site and matched up so that everyone had a chance to learn from the experts. Butterflies were captured and brought to the count compilation alive for identification and release. We met at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden at 5:30 p.m. after the count for a compilation and pot luck dinner. We had a collection of butterflies along to help people figure out what we saw and learned a bit more about these amazing creatures.

Sunday, June 24:  Annual Macnamara Orchid Trip   Michael Runtz led us on a walk through the White Lake Fen where we searched for peatland orchid species.  A visit to Stewartville Swamp to search for woodland orchid species was after lunch.

Saturday, June 23:  An evening at the Bill Mason Centre   Michael Runtz led an evening stroll through the wetlands of the Bill Mason Centre in Dunrobin.  Various species of birds were seen, including Virginia Rails, Soras, American Bitterns and Snipes.  Also seen were frogs, salamanders, dragonflies and lots of unique plants that have adapted to the wetland environment.

Saturday, June 9: We joined our hostess Liza Badham and Trip Leader Rick Cavasin at 5689 Ferry Rd., Fitzroy Harbour, on Sat. June 9, to observe butterflies in diverse habitats on Liza’s property in Fitzroy Harbour.

June 5: (Last meeting before summer hiatus!) Professor Tom Sherratt, from Carleton University, told us all about Mimicry.

Mimicry has evolved on multiple occasions in the natural world. Sometimes the mimicry is honest in that it serves to inform predators, and sometimes it is dishonest in that it dupes them.  In some mimetic species both sexes engage in mimicry, in other species its only one sex.  In some cases the mimic has evolved to be a near-perfect replica of its model, on other occasions the resemblence is crude at best.  In this presentation we considered how and why mimicry has evolved in the natural world, and attempted to make sense of the bewildering diversity of mimetic solutions.

Saturday, May 26: Renfrew County Natural History Day This event featured multiple speakers and a field trip to the Shaw Woods.

May 1:  Dr. Paul Keddy, an internationally recognized ecologist, spoke about some of the “wilder” features of our area that make it a unique and special place to live. Wild places are not only necessary for wild species, but they are an important part of human culture.  We have a deep need for wildness, even if we sometimes have difficulty explaining why. Canoe trips, wilderness hikes, hunting camps, and even summer cottages all give us some experience of wildness.  But often we take our own landscape for granted, thinking we have to travel to Costa Rica or Africa to see wildness. Yet we have Algonquin Park just to the north, and the Adirondacks just to the south; Refrew and Lanark are an important natural corridor that links them.  And did you know, that the Great Lakes used to drain down the Ottawa River valley, and that the old shoreline of an ocean, the Champlain Sea, can still be seen while you drive along our highways?  Or, that the rocky areas of Lanark County have extensive areas of forests underlain by marble, with rare ferns dependent on the calcareous soil? Or that southern turtles, include the soft-shelled turtle and the map turtle, still nest along the sandy shores of the Ottawa River? It is easy to forget that a forest or wetland or lake just over the next hill may have wild species that are rare elsewhere. The talk will focus on some of the wilder parts of Lanark and Refrew Counties, based upon Dr. Keddy’s familiar guide to the natural areas of Lanark County, Earth, Water, Fire.  Take a tour of some of these wild places, and meet a few of the special species that live there.

April 3: Mark Conboy spoke about Cerulean Warblers.

March 25: Michael Runtz led us around the Arnprior area to look and listen for owls. It was a fantastic event and wonderful that so many (46) club members and friends came out on that perfect starry night.  Mike’s  ability to motivate and involve everybody in hearing and sighting the owls was truly amazing.  Several participants said they were really moved by the experience.

March 6 (meeting): Ken Storey of Carleton University let us know the cold realities of Overwintering Insects, Frogs and Other Animals.

February 17: Thirteen Macnamarans ventured out to Oxford Mills to join Fred Schueler and Aleta Karstad for the Friday evening mudpuppy count, which occurs weekly over the winter.  Also with us was a couple who had driven all the way from NY state to participate. The night was unusually mild and calm and the mudpuppies did not disappoint us.  Fifty were counted and everyone saw many of them as they made their way upstream to feed in the shallow water.  There were a few wet feet among us as we shuffled over the rocks.  When the counting was done we had the chance to warm up and dry out at the lovely Brigadoon restaurant where we enjoyed the food and drink. There we had the opportunity to continue our discussion of mudpuppies and this special project.  For more information see pinicola.ca/mudpup1.

February 7 (meeting) – Members came out to test their wits against the riddles and poems of Mike Runtz. This was a fun event full of laughs and groans…and some learning too!

January 21 – Ski/Snowshoe Outing: David Spence led us through the extensive trails on his property, to look for signs of animal activity and to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Carp Ridge.  The trails were suitable for skiers/snowshoers of all ability levels and, since the trails are generally machine groomed, they were comfortably walked in appropriate footwear. For pics and report, check the Events Blog.

January 3 (meeting) – Members brought their samples, specimens, and stories to Members’ Night. Like last year’s event, the night was fantastic and it was amazing what our club members have gathered in knowledge and curiosities!


 

 

Past Field Trips and Meetings (2011)

Devember 26:  was our annual Christmas Bird Count organized by Club President, Mike Runtz.  For info, contact Michael directly at mruntz@start.ca .

December 6: Mike Runtz regaled us with plant reproduction stories about Sexual Stigmas and Surrogate Lovers. It was also our Annual General Meeting.

November 19 was our Annual Banquet. Guest Speaker Marty Obbard of the MNR educated us on a Black and White Affair: The State of our Bears.

November 1: Species at Risk, with Lauren Kruschenske, featuring the Eastern Cougar.

Friday, October 30: Macnamara Trail Maintenance Ten stalwart members met at the Macnamara Trail at 9:30 a.m. to help with clearing and maintaining the trail, and spreading wood chips. The weather was brilliant and a lot was achieved.

Sunday, Oct. 16, 2:00 p.m.: Nature Walk on the Macnamara Trail with Mike Runtz. Along this interpretive trail and boardwalk we saw resident and fall migrant birds along with many unusual plants in high-quality forest and wetland habitat. This trip was “kid friendly” and was a joint event with the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club.

October 4: Mudpuppies talk, with Fred Schueler. For some background on these ancient creatures (the salamanders, not Fred!) check out the events blogs on Mudpuppy Night.

Saturday, October 1: Slime Moulds, Puffballs and Cup Fungi. George White led us on a fall hike on the Spicer property to hunt out and observe these smaller fungi. Check out Suzanne Monnon’s trip report on the Events Blog.

Tuesday, September 6: The Art of Bird Banding. Lesley Howes, an accomplished biologist with the Canadian Bird Banding Office, educated us on the bird banding program and gave us tips on how to age and sex birds once they are in the hand. A collection of skins was available as a teaching tool.

Saturday, August 13: Maureen did an awesome job organizing the canoe trip to Morris Island.  We had 19 people and lots of canoes and boats.  It was a huge success.  Steve Duffield lead the water tour, Dave Forsyth did a talk about the geology of the area prior to us going out on the water so that we looked for the things that he told us about and Mary Marsh was identifying things of botany nature.  A fab day! -Suzanne Monnon

Saturday, July 9: Mike Runtz took us deep into to the White Lake fen and the Stewartville Swamp where encountered at least 12 species of orchids. We brought footwear for very wet conditions (old runners, rubber boots, and a change of socks and pants), insect repellant hat, and lunch, and there was some difficult walking in the fen, but we saw a lot of neat stuff.

Tuesday, June 7: Amy Cameron, a Planning Ecologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources told us why White Nose Syndrome in Bats is considered the worst wildlife health crisis in recent times. From Oklahoma to Ontario millions of hibernating bats have died as a result of the disease. We learned about the impacts that it will have on our local Bat populations.

If you would like to contact Amy about bats, she can be reached at 613-622-7550.

Sunday, June 5: Botany Hike to Eagle’s Nest Lis Allison guided us through botanical splendours up to a magnificent view from Calabogie. Lots of Polygalas and some Pink Lady’s-slippers, and a ton of other plants. We’ll be back.

Tuesday, May 3: Sean Landsman, a Master’s student at Carleton University gave us a glimpse into the life of one of our top local predators—the Muskellunge. Its niche as apex predator makes it extremely important for our local aquatic systems. We learned about its biology, ecology, distribution and preferred habitats. For the anglers out there we explored proper handling procedures and methods that can be used to help conserve this species.

Sunday, April 17: Rideau Canal Fish Watching The Ottawa Field Naturalists Club invited MFNC members to tag along on their fish watching trip on the Rideau Canal. The event starred Hume Douglas and Dr. Steven Cooke or others from Carleton University’s Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab. More information about Dr. Cooke’s research can be found at www.carleton.ca/fecpl/.

Five attendees from the MFNC found the weather that day to be too cold and windy for the fish to be active and visible, so we’ll have to wait until the next such event to win our fish-watchers’ badges.

Tuesday, April 5: Peter Hall, founder of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden in Ottawa, educated us on one of the jewels of the insect world – Butterflies!

Sunday, March 20:  Owl Prowl with Mike Runtz Nearly 50 people met at the Arnprior Canadian Tire parking lot at 7 p.m. in the evening to carpool to a favourable site to hear the sounds of love (Owl love, that is) echoing through the night woods. They were rewarded with calls and views of Owls close-up.

Tuesday, March 1:  Dr. Paul Smith, a researcher at Environment Canada’s National Wildlife Research Centre, discussed with us how climate related change is affecting Arctic habitats and in turn their inhabitants, particularly shorebirds…both for the positive and the negative.

Saturday, February 19: This full-day outing was to one of the most spectacular winter wonderlands in southern Ontario. The Barron Canyon is amazing to see in the summer but in the winter it is an unparalleled experience. The day was cool and windy, but about five MFNCers joined the Ottawa Field Naturalists for the trip into Algonquin. As well as the splendour of the Canyon, they saw a Gray Jay, a Pine Grosbeak, a Bald Eagle and lots of fresh mammal tracks, including Moose and Wolf.

Tuesday, February 1: An enjoyable evening of riddles and nature stumpers with the Nature Riddler himself–Mike Runtz. Check the Events Blog for pics.

Friday, January 21: After a delicious meal at the Brigadoon Restaurant, Club members moseyed over to the Kemptville Creek Dam in Oxford Mills to watch the Mudpuppies “singin’ and dancin’ and settin’ on chairs,” as herpetologist Fred Schueler put it. They were indeed very active.