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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.

Please read
Guidelines for participants on field trips

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.

All outings

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. 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.

Trip waiver

There can be risks associated with any recreational pursuit. Before you participate in nature walks and similar outdoor activities, we will ask you to read and sign a statement in which you assume the risk of the activity and release the OFNC from liability for any loss, damage or injury, however caused and whether or not contributed to by the OFNC’s negligence. This assumption of risk and release includes any minors accompanying you.

Monthly meetings

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.

Sunday, 29 May, 6-11:30 a.m.
Leader: John Cartwright (613 789-6714)
Meet: 6 a.m. at the Kelsey's in the Elmvale Acres Mall at the SW corner of St Laurent and Smyth for carpooling. Those living closer to Limoges can meet us at 7:00 a.m. at the cemetery just south of Clarence-Cambridge Road on Grant Road.

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 critters in the forest at this time of year. This trip will be cancelled in the event of continuous rain.

Friday, 3 June, 8:30 p.m. to midnight
Leader: Diane Lepage
Meet: 8 p.m. at McDonald's parking lot, 1890 Chemin Innes Rd, Gloucester. We will drive for 30-35 minutes to the forest. Participants needing a ride should call Diane.
Registration required: This outing is limited to 20 participants. Register with Diane (613) 987-5405 or send an e-mail to dlepagehibou[at]sympatico.ca

Come to Larose Forest to discover the nightlife of moths. Black lights will be set-up, and then we will wait as the various moths come to the white sheet set up to attract them. We should see silkworm moths. Bring a flashlight, bug repellent, good footwear and a camera (camera is optional). This trip depends on the weather. Should the temperature drop below 16 °C or in the event of rain, the outing will be cancelled.

Saturday, 11 June, 7 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Justin Peter (jbpetr@yahoo.ca or 613-858-3744) and Carlos Barbery
Meet: 6:30 a.m. near the Pizza Pizza, north east corner of the Lincoln Fields parking lot, near Richmond Road and Assaly Road
7 a.m. at the P8 parking lot in Gatineau Park.

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.

Sunday, 12 June, 1-4 p.m.
Leader: Elena Ponomarenko
Meet: parking lot of the Good Companions Senior Centre, 670 Albert St (parking on north end of Empress Ave.)

In forested areas, extreme windstorms cause mass tree uprootings. Once tree roots and trunks decay and the soil settles down, displaced soil will form pit-and-mound topography of the forest floor. Thanks to such "wind imprints", we can read traces of past hurricanes by looking at the soil surface. The pit-and-mound complexes contain information about the size and age of uprooted trees, distance between them, depth of root systems, and even the direction of wind during the storm. Join us for learning how to see the traces and measure the direction of past hurricanes along trail 15 in the Gatineau Park! Wear sturdy footwear, bring a snack, some water, bug spray if you use it, a hat and have your compass ready. Elena is a soil scientist with PhD in biology, working as a part-time professor at Ottawa U (Geography Dept), and as a consulting soil scientist at Ecosystem Archaeology Services.

Tuesday, 14 June, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Annise Dobson, PhD Candidate, Cornell University
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

You may expect that earthworms have always had a place amongst the leaf litter of our northern forests. However, all of the earthworms found in the area are non-native species from Europe and Asia. During the late 1800s and early 1900s many settlers imported European plants that likely had earthworms or earthworm cocoons (egg cases) in their soils. More recently, the widespread use of earthworms as fishing bait has spread them to more remote areas of the continent. Without earthworms, fallen leaves are slowly decomposed by microbes, fungi and soil invertebrates. This creates a spongy layer of organic duff, which is the natural substrate for native woodland wildflowers and many tree seedlings. Invading earthworms consume the leaves that create the duff layer and are capable of eliminating it completely. In this talk, Annise will discuss the resulting consequences of earthworm invasion from the landscape to the microbial scale.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 2 July, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(rain date Sunday 3 July)
*Especially kid friendly*
Leaders: Jeff Skevington and Peter Hall
Meet: in the parking lot at the intersection of Dwyer Hill Road and March Road (NE of Almonte).

Similar to Christmas Bird Counts, this event is an all-day survey of in a 24 km diameter circle. There is a $4 charge to participants to support the publication of the results. The count area is centred on Manion Corners (SW of Ottawa) and includes several important butterfly areas such as the Long Swamp and the Burnt Lands alvar. 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, please bring them along. Butterflies may be captured for identification and release. Rubber boots are recommended, as some of the sites have a lot of poison ivy. It is an all-day event so bring your lunch.

Call Jeff Skevington Friday evening at 613-720-2862 if in doubt about the weather or for specific questions regarding this event. Use OFNC Facebook or Twitter to arrange car pooling. We plan to meet at 6 p.m. after the count for a compilation and pot luck dinner (location to be announced). Please bring along some food to share plus your own drinks. We hope that everyone can make it to the compilation, as it will be a lot of fun; however, if you can't, we will get your data in the afternoon before you leave.

Saturday, July 9, 8:30 a.m. to noon
Leader: Michael Olsen
Meet: 8:30 a.m. at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot near Pizza Pizza just off Richmond Road
9 a.m. Old Quarry Trail parking lot (just south of the intersection of Eagleson and Robertson/Hazeldean in Kanata)

Stony Swamp and the western Greenbelt can be great places to find butterflies in Ottawa. We will search in some of the fields and along some of the trails in the area. Many species (20 to 30), including native breeding species and migrants such as Great Spangled Fritillary, Aphrodite Fritillary, Mourning Cloak, Eastern Tailed Blue, Summer Azure, Northern Pearly-Eye, Eyed Brown, Peck's Skipper, have been found there. Bring insect repellent, lunch and water. The outing will be cancelled in the event of rain.

Saturday, 16 July, 9 a.m. to noon
Leaders: Staff from RVCA and CityStreamWatch
Meet: Contact Justin Robert at (613) 692-3571 Ext. 1194, or justin.robert@rvca.ca.

Help is needed to pull rosettes of invasive European Water Chestnut from an area at Black Rapids (see article in this issue of Trail & Landscape). The number of volunteers is limited, so please register at the number above. Participants should be comfortable in a canoe; it's especially helpful if you can bring one along with its required safety gear. Also bring clothes that can get wet and dirty, a snack, drinking water, and a sense of humour.

Sunday, 17 July, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leader: Derek Dunnett
Meet: Parent Beach Parking in the Lac Phillipe sector of Gatineau Park, reachable via Highway 366. Park fees apply.

From the trailhead at Parent Beach, we hike along the Cave Trail. The trail can be muddy in places. Once at the caves, we take turns going through in small groups. There are two sections to the caves. Passing through the thigh-deep water of the first cave will satisfy many adventurers; the second - and skippable - cave requires spelunkers to immerse themselves in water. More info on the caves and some maps.

We return via Trail 50, along the shore of Lac Phillipe. Highlights include birding song, odonates (we usually see the beautiful Ebony Jewelwing, but no guarantees), and some surprisingly large Yellow Birch. The hike will run rain or shine. Bring water, a snack, sunscreen and insect repellent, closed-toed footwear you can get wet, and a change of footwear for the trip back. Water-proof flashlights, headlamps, helmets, and towels are all good ideas. The kind of children who enjoy long hikes and who bring their guardians will enjoy the adventure.

Saturday, 20 August, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Leaders: Ontario Nature staff
Meet: 7:30 a.m. at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza (Richmond Road at Assaly Road). Due to very limited space for vehicles at the reserve, carpooling is strongly encouraged.

Ontario Nature maintains a system of 24 conservation reserves across the province. One of these, the Lost Bay Nature Reserve, was expanded in 2014, thanks to donations from Ontario Nature members, concerned citizens, and member organisations including the OFNC. Lost Bay currently protects 238 hectares of forest, wetland, and shoreline in the Frontenac Arch, which is home to a very diverse assemblage of plants and animals, including 24 species at risk. Ontario Nature staff will give OFNC members a guided tour. The usual packing list is recommended: you lunch, water, sturdy footwear, long pants, more water, weather-appropriate clothing, sunscreen, binoculars, etc.

Please note: It will take approximately 2 hours to drive to Lost Bay, and the tour will last about two hours. A 2:00 p.m. return to Ottawa is only an estimate. This trip is strictly limited to members only. For information, contact Jakob Mueller at jm890_7 AT hotmail.com or (613) 314-1495.

Saturday, 27 August, 8 a.m. to noon
Leader: Ken Allison, (613) 256-4283
Meet: 7:20 a.m. in the north east corner of the Lincoln Fields parking lot close to the intersection of Assaly and Richmond Road near the Pizza Pizza
8 a.m. at home of Ken and Ruth Allison, just west of Almonte at 561 Wolf Grove Rd.
Off-street parking at the Allison property is somewhat limited, so car pooling is encouraged.

Step outside of your usual patch and explore the edge of the Canadian Shield in Lanark County. This will be a general interest walk, including botany and birds, but also anything else that we come across. This will be a half-day outing, with a fair bit of walking on good trails with some hills. We will see beaver ponds and typical Lanark County forests at various successional stages. If water levels are suitable we will probably finish up at the Almonte lagoons to check for shorebirds and waterfowl. Children who can walk a few kilometers are very welcome. Wear good walking footwear, bring water, a snack, binoculars and spotting scope.

Saturday, 10 September, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Leader: Sophie Cardinal Location: Salons A and B of the Neatby Building, 960 Carling Ave (Central Experimental Farm).

Bug Day is coordinated by the Entomological Society of Ontario in partnership with AAFC and OFNC. Visitors are invited to learn all about the fascinating world of insects, from expert scientists on hand. Activities will include: a live insect zoo, guided insect nature walks, cockroach races, kid's insect crafts, ask a bug expert, building insect collections, insect eating and more. This event will happen rain or shine.

Sunday, 11 September, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Leader: Jeff Skevington, 613-720-2862
Meet: At 8:00 a.m. along Cassels St, opposite Mud Lake, in Britannia Village.

Experience the diversity of Ottawa's avifauna during the peak of Fall migration. Expect to see warblers, sparrows, waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls and others. Study the subtle differences between similar species as we explore the Ottawa River from different vantage points. We start at Britannia, and will move slowly west (unless other opportunities present themselves), visiting some of Eastern Ontario's best migratory staging areas. Bring a lunch. This is a rain or shine walk.

Tuesday, 13 September, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Dr. Micheline Manseau, Wildlife Ecologist, Parks Canada
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

Caribou are found across the circumpolar north, occupying mountain and boreal forest habitat at the southern limit of its range and the tundra further north. At the northern limits, in the Canadian High Arctic Archipelago, caribou occupy more rugged landscapes and extreme climates. These smaller bodied High Arctic caribou populations (or Peary caribou) have captured the interest of explorers and scientists over the years due to their unique features and adaptive traits. This presentation will outline the origin and evolution of Peary caribou along with past and future conservation challenges.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Saturday, 17 September, 8:15 a.m. to noon
Leader: Justin Peter
Meet: 8:15 a.m. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, at the northeast corner of the parking lot, near Pizza Pizza
9 a.m. at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre parking lot on Scott, off Old Chelsea Road, Gatineau Park

The Ottawa area has over 50 native tree species, each of which has adaptations that allow it to exploit certain conditions successfully. We will walk the Sugarbush Trail, identifying various trees along the way while looking at how their presence as species and their individual forms can inform us about local environmental conditions, both present and historic. Besides the abundant Sugar Maple and other common species, we expect to see some locally sporadic to uncommon trees, including Butternut, Rock Elm, Slippery Elm and Bitternut Hickory. We will draw heavily on tree lore and on our own field observations. This excursion should appeal to those who are interested in how various trees fit into our local forested environments as well as those who would like a better grasp of tree identification. If time, energy and interest allows, we may "branch out" and explore surrounding areas. A drink and a snack for the return to the car are recommended. Sturdy footwear for walking is recommended as well. Bring binoculars if you have them. This excursion will be cancelled in the event of stormy weather or heavy, sustained winds/rain.

Difficulty: the Sugarbush Trail is universally accessible and is rated as easy by the NCC. We may also walk a short side-trail that is considered moderate in difficulty.

Sunday, 18 September, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Leader: Paul Gammon, Geological Survey of Canada (613-730-7725)
Meet: 9:30 a.m. at Samuel de Champlain parking lot, Gatineau. Head north on Pont Champlain Bridge to the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Turn west onto Boulevard du Lucerne at the first set of lights on the Quebec side. Proceed 150 m along Boulevard du Lucerne and turn south (left) into Samuel de Champlain parking lot. The entrance to this parking lot is relatively small and the lot is not easily visible from the road due to trees, so if you reach the Rue Champêtre exit on the north side of the road, you have gone too far west.

Come explore the 450 million-year-old Ottawa Group limestones, deposited in the Ottawa Embayment during the Ordovician Period. This was possibly the most interesting period of all in earth's history, marking the time when our current marine ecosystems evolved. Prior to this, the Cambrian "explosion" of multi-cellular life was a set of random evolutionary experiments, many of which were evolutionary dead ends. The two field sites will show fossil groups and arrangements that demonstrate this Ordovician revolution. Our first stop is reminiscent of the earlier simple ecosystems, as we visit Ottawa's famous stromatolites, accretions formed in shallow waters by micro-organisms (usually blue-green algae). Our second stop demonstrates the ways in which fossil diversity increased during the later Ordovician period. This is also a great spot for a picnic lunch. Bring a lunch, a drink, and a hand lens if you have one. Rain will cancel this trip, as it is difficult to observe features on wet limestones. Kids with an interest in fossils are encouraged to come along, as long as they are supervised.

Tuesday, 11 October, 7 pm social; 7:30 pm presentation
Speaker: Justin Peter
Location: Salon B, K.W. Neatby Building, Central Experimental Farm, 960 Carling Avenue

The Galapagos Islands are often touted as a laboratory of evolution by natural selection, and some of the archipelago's birds are among the best-studied organisms anywhere. In this illustrated talk, Justin will help us get acquainted with some of these birds. We'll see what they look like and how they behave, as well as gain insights into their origins through some of the latest research findings stemming from decades of research.

Monthly meetings are open to the general public.

Sunday, 23 October, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Leaders: Greg Froude and Martha Farkas
Meet: W. Erskine Johnston Public School, 50 Varley Dr., Kanata

This site is a wonderful exposure to Precambrian shield metamorphic paragneiss with various generations of both mafic and felsic igneous intrusions. After examining this "basement rock" the participants will visit other sites representative of different layers of sedimentary rock which accumulated in the various paleoenvironments that existed in Ottawa during the Cambrian to Ordovician. Participants will get introduced to, discuss and apply various Earth Sciences topics including paleontology, sedimentology and stratigraphy, mineralogy, as well as basic metamorphic and igneous petrology. All sites go ahead regardless of weather. Bring a lunch, something to drink, dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes/boots.

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This page was revised on 27 May 2016
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