Past Field Trips

February 17 – Birding Arnprior and Environs

On a cold but bright day, seven club members headed out by vehicle to discover and explore some of local birding areas.  Members were provided with a map showing sites ranging from in-town (Arnprior) to fields and forest edges in Packenham.

As the temperature had dropped significantly the night before some of the waterways which had been open and attracting birds the day before, were unfortunately frozen over at the start of our outing.  Much later in the day, some of those had warmed up enough to open up.  So, the lesson here is to swing back to areas in the afternoon which may have warmed up.

Feeders are an unlikely stop on most of our club outings but for birding, they can be very productive (especially when the homeowner is known and invites you to her prime viewing area).  Many of our regular winter birds were seen there:  American Goldfinch in great numbers; Dark-eyed Juncos, American Tree Sparrow, Blue Jays, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers to name a few.  We also had the thrill of seeing a Northern Shrike fly into a tree, flush the many Goldfinches and force the poor little Downy Woodpecker to glue itself to the tree until it felt that the Shrike was safely away.

Snow Buntings were spotted in their known areas and a pair of Red-tailed Hawks were spotted together.  They will be Atlassed for the current Ontario Breeding Bird Survey.  Seventeen species were recorded over our 3.5 hour 54 Kilometer route.  Three more Red-tailed Hawks were seen elsewhere but no other raptors were seen.  The Peregrine Falcon that hangs out on the steeple of St John Church and the Bald Eagles at the marina and further up the Madawaska were not seen.

Thanks again to Betty for all her hard work on developing the route for this outing.  While we did not see everything that we hoped for, now that those spots are known, we will get out and do more exploring.

A full list of our sightings can be seen on the ebird checklist:

Hope to see you out soon.  If you have any suggestions for field trips or leaders, don’t hesitate to let me know via the field trip email:

January 27 – Mudpuppies at Mississippi Mills

On the beautifully mild evening of Saturday January 27th, hearty club members joined Dr. Fred Schueler, Aleta Karstad, PhD Post doc researchers Matt Keevil and Amanda Bennett for an evening of releasing, catching and PIT tagging Mudpuppies at Oxford Mills. On arrival, Matt gave us some basic information about mudpuppies and discussed his process PIT tagging which involves insertion of tiny (1×3 mm) cylinders that allow the radio identification of the mudpuppies. We then descended a small embankment to the base of the falls: I have never seen a bunch of people so happy to walk into an icy cold […]

The club offers regular outings that focus on a range of natural history topics.  Most outings are for members only. You can join the club online here, in person at a monthly meeting here Club Calendar, by e-transfer to or contact us at for more options.

November 25 – A Lichen Walk with Dr. Troy McMullin

We joined Troy and his two very knowledgeable Grad students on “one of the best field trips ever” to look for lichen on Calabogie mountain.  While the hand lenses and cameras were all trained onany species of Macro Lichen, the first trail did not take us to the altitude at which Troy expected to find the rare Pale-bellied Frost Lichen.  After a brief lunch and warm up, some of the group continued to a second location where, after a fairly steep climb and a bit of a tromp through some raspberry canes, the lichen was found in its known location. 

Very happy to report that during Troy’s upcoming presentation on December 6th, the whole club will be treated to pictures of the amazing tiny features of Macro Lichen, some of which were seen during this outing.  Thanks again to Troy, his students and Club participants.

October 28 – Joint OFNC/MFNC Shagbark Hickory outing with Justin Peter

On a gorgeous fall day, 21 members of MacNamara Field Naturalists’ Club and Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club joined Ottawa born and raised Justin Peter to seek out a naturally reproducing stand of Shagbark Hickories at the northern fringe of their range. We identified Shagbark and Bitternut Hickories as well as other trees such as the incredibly hard Ironwood tree and a magnificently huge “mother” Oak tree. We learned about how and where these trees reproduce, when to collect a nut and how to tell if it is viable for planting. 

While our hunt for the “fabled” stand of Shagbark was unsuccessful, we had an opportunity to see a small family of Red Crossbill birds chowing down at the top of a Pine tree.  Thanks again to Justin for his enthusiasm and all the participants from both MFNC and OFNC