The Birding Committee of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN), held their first meeting of 2022 to plan the year’s list of birding events for this year. Highlights of the previous year were discussed and included several very successful events. A purple martin house was erected along the edge of the Almonte Sewage Treatment Lagoon and two bird feeders are now in place on the property, one on the woods trail and one at the Potvin observation tower. The feeders are filled regularly by MVFN volunteers.
Covid restrictions stopped several events from full participation in 2021 but a few birders completed the annual Early Bird outings in April on four different trails and Ken Allison conducted several successful Zoom sessions on Birding by Ear. A well attended September Open House programme for the public was held at the MVFN observation platform by the Almonte Lagoon.
The 2022 MVFN birding activities will begin in April with the annual Early Bird Walks, held on April 6, 13, 20, 27, beginning and led by Michel Gauthier, Remy Poulin, Ken Allison and Tim Pullin respectively.
Michel Gauthier provided a report on MVFN’s involvement in the Grassland Ontario Project, administered by the Lanark County Stewardship Council. The aim of the project is to monitor the health of grassland bird species. In 2021, two properties were involved, one in Perth and one in Carleton Place. Four MVFN volunteers, Ken Allison, Michel Gauthier, Rémy Poulin, and Iain Wilkes participated for a total of 61 volunteer hours. Only one property will be surveyed this year.
The Fall Migration Almonte Lagoon Open Houses will be conducted again this year on Sept. 7, 14, 21, 28. Several local leading birders will be on hand with their spotting scopes to guide visitors to various species on the water and in the air. Ken Allison and Nick de Boer have installed a swallow nesting box at the viewing platform to add to the species count. Rémy Poulin will lead a birding walk at the Perth Wildlife Reserve and Ken Allison will be leading a warbler walk on his property on Wolf Grove May 14. He will also be leading a general nature walk on the Burntlands Alvar on June 4, at 8 A.M..
The Annual Mississippi Lakes Loon Survey will begin during the final week of June and continue on the final week of July and August. This survey is sponsored jointly by MVFN and the Mississippi Lakes Association. Three Christmas Bird Counts, sponsored by MVFN will be held in December centred in Rideau Ferry, Carleton Place and Lanark Highlands.
All activities will be held under existing Covid regulations and are open to the general public. Dates and times for all these and other MVFN events will be posted on the MVFN website mvfn.ca. Members of the MVFN Birding Committee include Valerie Wilkinson, Clayton Lake; Ken Allison, Almonte; Cliff Bennett, Carleton Place; Mary Robinson, Clayton Lake; Remy Poulin, Perth; Michel Gauthier and Tim Pullen, Almonte.