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Thanks for a Successful MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz!
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Thanks for a Successful MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz!

[caption id="attachment_27776" align="alignleft" width="300"]NatureBlitz participants on a walk Participants on an insect walk at the MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz[/caption] Thanks to everyone who took part in our MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz last weekend! A big success The NatureBlitz was a big success. Despite the weekend's poor weather forecast, a total of 100 people took part in the event between 2 pm Friday, May 13th and 2 pm Saturday, May 14th. It was wonderful to share the beauty and serenity of this natural area - which is part of the Beckett Creek Migratory Bird Sanctuary - with participants of all ages! What did we find? In addition to seeing and hearing bats and owls, we observed lots of songbirds, frogs, insects, and even salamanders during the event. A full species list - including 34 lichens - is being compiled for publication here on Nature Canada's blog within the next couple of weeks. The trilliums were in full bloom during the event, providing a perfect backdrop for spring in the National Capital Region. [caption id="attachment_27777" align="alignright" width="300"]Mammals activity during the MacSkimming Centre NatureBlitz Participants listen to a presentation on fur-bearing mammals during the NatureBlitz[/caption] Get social! We're asking participants to share their photos from the event on social media using the hashtags #NatureBlitz and #OdySci. Our event was part of Canada's 2016 Science Odyssey celebrations so we're trying to spread the word about the value and importance natural and biological sciences using the #OdySci hashtag. You can use it,too! Thanks to our walk leaders & supporters!  NatureBlitz events can't happen without the willingness of local naturalists and experts to share their time, experience and knowledge with the community. On behalf of all of our walk leaders (shown in the schedule below), we thank everyone for their interest in nature! Day 1 Schedule for MacSkimming NatureBlitz - May 13, 2016 Day 2 Schedule for MacSkimming NatureBlitz - May 14, 2016               As a charity, Nature Canada relies on the support of members, funders and sponsors to help us be a voice for nature and deliver fun public events like NatureBlitzes and Bird Day celebrations. Consider becoming a voice for nature today: In addition to saying a BIG thank you to the OCDSB MacSkimming Outdoor Education Centre staff, we would like to thank the following funders and sponsors for their financial support:   Thank you to sponsors/partners:  

Monarchs & Nighthawks – Nature Canada celebrates National Moth Week! (Part 3 of 3)
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Monarchs & Nighthawks – Nature Canada celebrates National Moth Week! (Part 3 of 3)

The beginning of Moth Week began the 3rd weekend of July, the same day as Day 1 of our 2015 Summer NatureBlitz. National Moth week is used to celebrate the wonders of moths, all over the world. This way, we can identify areas with great moth diversity, and find species that may be uncommon or rare! Our expert for the night was Diane Lepage. An excellent moth expert indeed, she was able to identify many of the species that ended up making an appearance. The event began at 9:30 pm, with a great show of fireflies leading up to the event. Fireflies have an amazing chemical reaction in their abdomen that causes illumination. Scientists are studying fireflies very closely, as the light source is nearly 100% efficient, meaning none of the energy escapes as heat. If you’re interested in seeing fireflies in large numbers, July is a great time to see them at the edge of Carlignton Woods! So how does someone go “mothing”? You need a few things; a cotton sheet (cheap ones are fine), rope, a light source (regular bulb, black, or mercury vapor light), a flashlight, and a good field guide! Peterson’s Moth Guide to Northeastern North America seems to be the best identification guide out there at the moment. Cameras are always handy, as some moths don’t like being lit. A quick shot can capture a moth forever, even allowing you to zoom in and get a great amount of detail. To being, set up a sheet in open area with nearby trees or shrubs. Tie your rope from one tree to another, and drape your cloth over it. If you have different kinds of lights, you can set them up on either side of the sheet. This way, you can get different species attracted to different light sources. Now you just sit and wait! It doesn’t take long before moths find their way to your sheet. The peak time during the night for moths is around 1 a.m., but you are guaranteed to see many others before! Why are moths attracted to lights? Many believe that it’s because they use the moon to navigate. But there is no real answer. The only thing we know is that the light disorientates the moths, and they need to rest, so they stick to the sheet to take a break. Nature Canada would like to personally thank all of the volunteers, experts, and participants for coming out and making this another successful event! Below, you will find the complete list of species found, and some photos of the specimen themselves.  

GEOMETRIDAE

[one_half]Camaea perlata Idaea dimidiata Protoboarmia porcelaria Scopula cacuminaria[/one_half] [one_half_last] Pale Beauty Single-dotted Wave Porcelain Gray Frosted Tan Wave[/one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_22130" align="alignnone" width="450"]Scopula cacuminaria Frosted Tan Wave Photo by David Beadle[/caption]

ERIBIDAE

[one_half]Virbia Ferriginiosa[/one_half] [one_half_last]Rusty Virbia [/one_half_last]

ERIBIDAE (Sub families)

[one_half]Red-lined Panopoda Zanclognatha jacchusalis[/one_half] [one_half_last]Panopoda rufimargo Wavy-lined Zanclognatha[/one_half_last]

NOCTUIDAE

[one_half]Acronicta morula Apamea amputatrix Eueretagrotis sigmoides[/one_half] [one_half_last]Ochre Dagger Moth Yellow-headed Cutworm Moth Sigmoid Dart[/one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_22137" align="alignnone" width="283"]Photo by Janice Stiefel Photo by Janice Stiefel[/caption] [one_half]Leucania ursula Panopoda rufimargo[/one_half] [one_half_last]Ursula Wainsco Red-lined Panopoda[/one_half_last]

LASIOCAMPIDAE

[one_half]Malacosoma Americana[/one_half] [one_half_last]Eastern Tent Caterpillar moth[/one_half_last]

CRAMBIDAE

[one_half]Herpetogramma pertiextalis Herpetogramma aeglealis[/one_half] [one_half_last]Bold-Feathered Grass moth[/one_half_last]

TORTRICIDAE

[one_half]Olethreutes ferriferana Olethreutes permundana Cenopsis pettitana[/one_half] [one_half_last]Hydrangea Leaftier Moth Raspberry Leafroller Moth Maple-Basswood leafroller[/one_half_last]

YPONOMEUTIDAE

[one_half]Yponomeuta padella[/one_half] [one_half_last]Orchard Ermine[/one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_22138" align="alignnone" width="450"]Photo by Graham Calow Photo by Graham Calow[/caption]

PTEROPHORIDAE

[one_half]Emmelina Monodactyla[/one_half] [one_half_last]Morning Glory Plume moth[/one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_22139" align="alignnone" width="560"]Photo by Jim Moore Photo by Jim Moore[/caption]

Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 2 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 2 of 3)
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Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 2 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 2 of 3)

by Nicholas Conroy,  NatureHood Conservation Intern [caption id="attachment_22042" align="alignright" width="200"]blackburnian_warbler_F5R5199 A Blackburnian Warbler, a bird species seen on the early songbird walk in Carlington Woods[/caption] Day 2 began early the following morning of day 1 (July 18th). A warm, sticky morning made for a successful songbird walk, guided by Emily Bird. There were a few surprises, including a great species for the Ottawa region, the Blackburnian Warbler. These birds are gorgeous; deep orange patches on its head, and black and white streaking on their back. The morning is always a great time to bird. Why? This is due to birds calling out to the surrounding area, letting other birds know “I’m here!” Although in the spring, males will have a different sound, this time they’ll sing a song, trying to attract females to be potential mates. Between 8 am and 10 am, there was a scavenger hunt with a great turn out. Many of the children came back to receive their prize of bookmarks, bird guides and species at risk trading cards. At 10 am, a large group joined William Halliday and Nicolas Conroy for a snake walk. Here in Ottawa, there are no venomous species present. Almost all of the species in Ottawa have very small teeth, which feel more like the rough side of Velcro. The group walked along the forest edge, and pre-placed boards were set up to attract them. Sadly, no snakes were found, but William had brought a few from a different location and showed everyone just what they were looking for, allowing everyone to touch a snake. If you own a lot of land, placing dark, flat objects in fields or near edges of water are a great way to help out snakes. Most of the day, snakes are hiding. They don’t like to be exposed, and will slither under objects to seek cover. In the morning and evening, they will look for warm areas to keep their body temperature up as the sun goes down. [caption id="attachment_22043" align="alignleft" width="300"]Salamander A lungless species, the Red-backed Salamander, can breathe without lungs due to its extremely permeable skin. Photo: Nicolas Conroy[/caption] As the snake walk wrapped up, the focus went from reptiles, to amphibians, with a special presentation by Save the Salamanders.  Many salamanders were brought; some exotic, some native, and everyone attending got to see every one up close. Salamanders (like many amphibians), have extremely sensitive skin. So sensitive, that it’s not always best to pick up a salamander with your bare hand. The natural oils and salts on your skin can be absorbed into the salamander, cause chemical imbalances and possible problems to the amphibian. This is why using powder free latex/nitrile gloves. Some salamanders are very small, and can sit on the end of your finger!   Part 3 will be up soon, showcasing the results and highlights from our mothing event! This event marks the beginning of National Moth Week across Canada. See you then!    

Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 1 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 1 of 3)
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Monarchs & Nighthawks – Day 1 of our July NatureBlitz (Part 1 of 3)

During one of the hottest weekends in July, Nature Canada beat the heat with a NatureBlitz held in Ottawa’s Carlington Woods area. The 24-hour event on July 18th & 19th (see the schedule here) was a great success and featured guided walks with local plant and wildlife experts, children’s activities, fun with ultrasonic bat detectors, and a live amphibian demonstration by the Ontario-based group, Save the Salamanders. On behalf of Nature Canada, we would like to thank our volunteers, our experts and the public on coming out! [caption id="attachment_21907" align="alignleft" width="300"]Group participating in a nature walk during the July 2015 NatureBlitz at Carlington Woods The NatureBlitz featured a number of guided group walks, each exploring a different set of organisms at the site. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] So what is a NatureBlitz? It’s very much like a BioBlitz, i.e., an effort to inventory as many living things as possible in a given area during a given time, usually 24 hours). However, our NatureBlitz events are more focused on building awareness and educating the public – by helping urban residents explore and experience nearby nature right in their communities. These events are one of the public engagement tools used in our NatureHood program. Like a traditional BioBlitz, our NatureBlitzes take place over 24 hours, include a tally of all the species we observe, and are open to anyone – especially nature-newbies! While we carefully record all of the species we observe throughout the event and during each walk, we also address two important barriers to nature engagement for many people: knowledge and the ‘intimidation factor’. We do this by sharing fun facts, encouraging appropriate hands-on exploration and experiences of nature, and by interpreting the plants, wildlife and local environment for participants. Sound like fun? We chose Carlington Woods for this summer’s NatureBlitz given its mature trees, the large diversity of birds it is known to host, and the unique ecological setting of the NCC owned property. The entire forest is surrounded by busy streets and dense urban neighborhoods, and that is exactly what piqued our interest. We wondered, can this island of forest hold any species that we would not expect to find within a bustling city? We’re happy to report that the NatureBlitz showcased just how important isolated pockets of urban forest can be. Not surprisingly they’re safe-havens for wildlife, including species at risk! [caption id="attachment_21908" align="alignright" width="300"]Man examines a tree branch Local plant expert, Owen Clarkin, shows participants the tricks for identifying a Bitternut Hickory during his Trees & Shrubs walk on Saturday. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] Our first event on the Saturday was a trees & shrubs walk, led by local plant expert, Owen Clarkin. A species of interest was the Butternut tree (Juglans cinerea), which is found peppered throughout this NCC-owned property. Currently, the tree is being attacked by a fungal disease, Butternut canker, and is being wiped out of much of its native range in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. The butternut is a nationally and provincially endangered species, protected by law. Nature Canada’s own Alex MacDonald hosted two back-to-back events on Saturday: an insect walk and a children’s scavenger hunt. With a large crowd, Alex led visitors out with butterfly nets and temporary sampling containers to catch what they could find. Beetles, butterflies, bees and grasshoppers seemed to be the stars of the walk. After the insect walk, the scavenger hunt attracted even more people, and as a reward, the kids got to exchange their sightings cards for our NatureHood species at risk trading card. The cards highlight 26 local species that are legally protected as special concern, threatened, or endangered, including the Butternut tree and the monarch butterfly – each of which was observed during the walks! The evening bird walk had some interesting finds. Led again by Alex MacDonald, the group saw (and heard) lots of Grey Catbirds, some Black-crowned Night Herons flying over, and even a Brown Thrasher. The group even spotted a provincially and nationally threatened species:  the Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor). This nocturnal species’ main food source is flying insects. With the large-scale use of pesticides, and the resulting pollution of downstream waterways where many flying insects breed, coupled again with habitat loss and the perils of migration, there has been a widespread decline in Common Nighthawks across Canada. The species considered at-risk with a "special concern" designation in Ontario. [caption id="attachment_21910" align="alignleft" width="200"]Girl examining contents of a bug-net One of our scavenger hunt participants checks to see if there's a lady beetle in her net. Photo: Susanne Ure[/caption] Our bat walk at dusk proved to be quite a popular choice for people, as well! Not only did we hear these amazing flying mammals, we also saw them! Flying overhead and probably catching the mosquitoes trying to bite us, we used an array of handheld bat detectors to ‘hear’ the ultrasonic echolocation signals – similar to sonar - of the bats at frequencies audible to human ears. By tuning the detectors to different frequencies and listening to changes in the quality of the sound, it’s possible (with practice!) to get a sense of which species may be flying overhead. The species we detected included the Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus; confirmed visually) and either the endangered Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus) or the Tri-coloured Bat/Eastern Pipestrelle (Perimyotis subflavus). It's a case of 'either, or' because those two species echolocate at roughly the same frequencies, both can have light undersides (which we observed) and the habitat at Carlington Woods is suitable for both. We’re conducting follow-up assessments in the area and reviewing our audio recordings from the night to reach a conclusion on the latter two. Take a listen to what bat echolocation sounds like within our hearing range below! Pssst! Nature Canada now offers a FREE public bat detector lending library for anyone in the National Capital Region interested in borrowing one! Contact us here to inquire. [audio wav="http://naturecanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/bat-walk-3-Carlington-Woods-NatureBlitz.wav"][/audio]   A big thanks to Nicolas Conroy, Nature Canada's NatureHood Conservation Intern, who prepared a draft of this post!

To be continued…

Financial assistance for this project has been provided by: Govt of Ontario logo

White Swan logo (white)

Join our NatureBlitz! Nature Canada celebrates Moth Week in the capital!
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Join our NatureBlitz! Nature Canada celebrates Moth Week in the capital!

[caption id="attachment_19913" align="alignleft" width="300"]Cedar Waxwing Join our NatureBlitz to see birds like these Cedar Waxwings![/caption]

Join Nature Canada and local nature experts for a NatureBlitz on Saturday, July 18th and Sunday, July 19th in Ottawa's Carlington Woods area! The event will feature walks, talks and presentations over a 24-hour period from 12pm Saturday until 12pm Sunday (map and full schedule below).

Help us explore your NatureHood, and try your hand at using an ultrasonic bat detector! NatureBlitzes are a great way to get outside and learn about nature with members of your community and local nature experts! This is the first survey of its kind in the Carlington Woods area and we hope to identify as many different living things as possible at the site (map below).

Visitor events will include themed guided walks during which guests can learn to identify the plants, birds, amphibian, reptiles and insects found in Carlington Woods. The walks will also have a special focus on local species at risk, including Little Brown and Northern Long-eared bats, Barn and Bank Swallows, Chimney Swifts and Monarch butterflies. So get your binoculars, hiking boots and flashlights ready and come join us as we get up close and personal with a world of mystery right outside your door. It's nearby nature! And it's your NatureHood! Don't have binoculars? No field guide? No flashlight? Don't worry! You can borrow one of ours. We have 8 pairs of binoculars, bilingual field guides and some head-lamps available to sign-out at the Nature Canada tent once you've registered for a guided walk. And we'll have handheld ultrasonic bat detectors available for sign-out, too! [caption id="attachment_16786" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo of expert examining tree bark Jennifer is using a small hand held magnifying glass to examine the lichen on tree bark. Don't be afraid to look at the world from a new perspective. You might be surprised at the beautiful details that are easily overlooked.[/caption] Check the schedule to see which walk(s) you would like to join, or come out for all of them! Beginners, experts and especially kids and their families are welcome to this FREE event! We hope to see you there! Saturday, July 18, 2015 You've heard him present the "Tweet of the Week" on CBC, now join Alex MacDonald as he leads a scavenger hunt for kids and listens for evening birds. [caption id="attachment_21555" align="aligncenter" width="960"]NatureBlitz Schedule for Saturday, July 18 2015 Join us for afternoon, evening or nighttime walks on Saturday, July 18, 2015. We'll be celebrating National Moth Week with local experts and checking out which species of bats are flying around the area![/caption] Sunday, July 19, 2015 [caption id="attachment_21556" align="aligncenter" width="960"]NatureBlitz Schedule for Sunday, July 19 2015 Don't miss "Save the Salamanders" with Matt Ellerbeck at 11am, and rise with the early birds to join Emily Bird as she points out our feathered friends at 7am![/caption]   Please check-in and register at the Nature Canada tent when you arrive. The tent/basecamp for the event will be located at the end Morriset Avenue (1503 Morriset) just before the fence to the city's reservoir area. Look for the blue tent. [caption id="attachment_21568" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Map of Carlington Woods area, Ottawa, Ontario Carlington Woods is nestled between the communities of Carlington, Central Park and Copeland Park-Bel Air Heights-Braemar Park. Find us in the blue tent at the end of Morriset Avenue! Map provided by Google.[/caption]   A special Thank You to all the experts who will be sharing their expert knowledge and passion with us at this event! Financial support for this initiative is provided in part by through the Government of Ontario's Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, and White Swan. Govt of Ontario logo White Swan logo (white)

Exploring Canada’s Creatures of the Night
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Exploring Canada’s Creatures of the Night

Not all creatures are ones that you can spot during the day. In fact, there are many species you can find at night that are just as fascinating! If you interested in going on, or organizing your own, night nature walk we offer the following tips to improve this experience: Dress Warmly Often times you'll be standing still listening for creature noises or stopping to examine an animal you've come across. Don't underestimate the drop in temperature during the night. [caption id="attachment_37787" align="alignright" width="305"]Image of a Boreal Owl Photo of a Boreal Owl[/caption] Bring Flashlights, but use them sparingly Flashlights will not harm nocturnal creatures, but they will scare them off. It's often best to let your eyes adjust to the natural light reflected by the moon than it is to use battery powered lights. Bring a recorded owl call Recorded owl calls are a great way to induce a barn or screech owl to return a call, but use them sparingly as owls will assume a potential rival is infringing on their territory and you don't want to disturb them too much! Also remember to start with the calls of the smallest owl first (such as a saw whet owl) and work your way up to the larger owls (such as a great grey owl) as even small owls will be intimated by the presumed presence of the large owls and will fall silent. Be as quiet as you can In the dark, listening to creatures can be as important (and rewarding) as seeing them with your eyes. Naturalists are just as happy to hear an owl as they are to see one. However, you do stand a greater chance of seeing animals if you're not making a lot of noise. Have people look in different directions Organize your group so that your eyes cover as much of the surrounding area as possible. A sighting is a sighting whether it's done by you or someone else! Know the trails before heading out The last thing you want is to be lost out on the trails in the middle of night. Make sure you have prior knowledge of the pathways and always know how to get back to the entrance. Bring a map, if possible, and ensure you have some a cellphone in case of an emergency.


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In 2014, Nature Canada did our own night walk to look for nocturnal creatures. We began our walk along the dark trail guided only by the beams of light provided by our head lamps and flashlights. The low, constant hum of crickets could immediately be heard from the brush lining the path and was occasionally punctuated by the chirp of birds that had bedded down for the night. We approached our first bait station, located near the trail entrance, to see what creatures our fermented brew had attracted. By day, Ottawa's Mud Lake is host to a wide variety of active creatures from snapping turtles, to blue heron and all manner of insects, but by night, the wooded areas surrounding the lake transform and -- if you're lucky or have a particularly attuned set of eyes – a very different set of creatures can be seen. Mud Lake is also the site of Ottawa's NatureHood program. On this evening, a group of visitors had gathered at Ottawa's Mud Lake to explore the often overlooked biodiversity of the area at night. Spotting nocturnal animals is a fun activity, but it's also an important one if we are to know the makeup of Canada's biodiversity. We spotted a rabbit stopped to observe our group at one point, its eyes glowing eerily from the reflected light of our camera flashes. At our second bait station we encountered not moths, but a group of white banded ants that our sweet potion had attracted. The ants quickly scurried away from the gaze of our lights, but we were able to get a close look at a black spider that had set up a web between two bushes nearby. As we made our way to the final bait stations, we stopped to look out on the lake. A muskrat bobbed up and down in the dark water as it made its way to the far shore. At the final station we found that our bait had attracted a moth! It stayed still long enough on the tree for us to identify it as a sharp-winged shade. Based on what we know about moths (and our own limited success at spotting them at the Mud Lake nature walk) in the fall season, moths become more difficult to see due to falling temperatures. However, there are plenty of other nocturnal creatures that can be seen year-round in the Canadian environment. Chris Earley is an Interpretive biologist at the Guelph Arboretum at the University of Guelph, where he's been leading night time nature walks for close to 20 years. He says that many of Canada's nocturnal creatures can still be seen when the temperature drops including: great horned owls, barn owls, flying squirrels, rabbits, coyotes and other small mammals. “Nature walks are actually a great winter activity,” Earley said. “The freshly fallen snow makes it a very pretty environment to go owl watching.” Earley leads evening nature sightseeing events and workshops called Owl Prowls in which a group of visitors learn about the creatures before heading out into a wooded area at the arboretum to attempt to spot or hear the owls using territorial calls. Earley says going out and exploring Canada's nocturnal creatures can lead to some interesting nature stories and sightings. Thank you to our guest blogger Dylan Copland for this post and photos. Dylan is a journalist and media specialist living in Ottawa, Ontario. He is currently volunteering with Nature Canada where he is writing about animals, nature and the people who love them. And thank you to Alex MacDonald with Nature Canada, Chris Earley with the University of Guelph and Casey Whiterock with the Stanley Park Ecological Society for providing information for this article.

Foresters volunteers join Nature Canada’s BioBlitz
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Foresters volunteers join Nature Canada’s BioBlitz

Nature Canada wants to thank the wonderful volunteers at Foresters for joining us at the Fall BioBlitz. Foresters insurance company partners with charitable organizations to support families and communities through volunteering events. The Fall BioBlitz was one such event. 15 volunteers joined Nature Canada at the Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake to build bird and bat houses. In total 24 bird houses and 12 bat houses were constructed and donated to Nature Canada. We will work with communities to place the bird and bat houses in critical spots around the city to support healthy urban wildlife populations. Thank you Foresters volunteers! [caption id="attachment_16901" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of family building a bird house Building bird houses at the BioBlitz[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16900" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of people building a bat house Building a bat house at the BioBlitz[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16902" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of volunteers with complete bird and bat housees Foresters volunteers with the completed bird and bat houses at the BioBlitz[/caption] Photography by Susanne Ure.

Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake, September 2014
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Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake, September 2014

Thanks to everyone who came out to take part in the adventure and help us identify local wildlife at Nature Canada’s Fall BioBlitz. Over 150 citizens of the national capital region accompanied local expert naturalists on guided walks where they learned to identify plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and more! [caption id="attachment_16892" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo of birders Birding early in the morning at the BioBlitz. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] The BioBlitz brought out experts and amateur enthusiasts alike on one of the first brisk weekends of the fall to Mud Lake conservation area. Mud Lake is considered by many to be a wilderness gem in the heart of our busy city and is found within the Lac Deschênes- Ottawa River Important Bird Area. It was the perfect location for such an inventory. Easy to get to and containing various habitats in a confined area, Mud Lake is an ideal spot to connect to your NatureHood. A BioBlitz take many forms, but is generally an intense 24 hour survey of a location with a mission to identify as many living things as possible at the site. This event is part of a larger effort to learn more about the state of local biodiversity and catalogue changes over time in population patterns. It is also a great opportunity to connect urban citizens to nearby nature right in the city. [caption id="attachment_16893" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo of moss Examining the aptly named fern moss. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Each walk focused on a particular group of plants or animals. An ultraviolet light focused on a white sheet called-in night-flying insects for close examination after the sun had set. Birders, expert and aspiring, rose early to search out common and rare species. We even got an up close look at snapping turtle hatchlings that were making their way from the nest to the water. Not event rain could dampen the enthusiasm of those on the Saturday afternoon plant and reptile walks. The final species list included species listed as at risk in Ontario and federally including the snapping turtle and the butternut tree. All in all it was a very exciting 24 hours! We would like to thank everyone who came out to help us survey the area, in particular all the fantastic local naturalists who shared their expertise and helped to make the day such a resounding success! [caption id="attachment_16894" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo of young snapping turtle. Snapping turtle hatchling. Photography by Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl[/caption] We hope you can join us for the next BioBlitz in the spring. Check out more photos from the event, learn more about how Foresters volunteers worked to help Nature Canada at the BioBlitz and read the full list of species identified over the 24hour period (coming soon).

Photo Blog: Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake, September 2014
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Photo Blog: Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake, September 2014

This past weekend Nature Canada hosted a Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake Conservation Area in Ottawa, ON. Over 150 local citizens came out to explore the area and learn the secrets of identifying birds, plants, insects, reptiles and more! Everyone had a great time enjoying the beautiful area and the brisk weather. Here are some photos from the event. [caption id="attachment_16768" align="aligncenter" width="945"]Participants in the birding walk got up with the sun to catch a glimpse of migrating birds at their most active time of the day. Many birds are never seen through the foliage, so expert birders rely on unique calls and even flight patterns to identify secretive birds. Participants in the birding walk got up with the sun to catch a glimpse of migrating birds at their most active time of the day. Many birds are never seen through the foliage, so expert birders rely on unique calls and even flight patterns to identify secretive birds. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16769" align="aligncenter" width="945"]chichadee This curious Black-capped Chickadee watched the birders right back! Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16784" align="aligncenter" width="948"]Photo of fall warbler This young Black-throated Green Warbler is on its first migration journey from the Boreal Forest to South America. Many warbles migrate at night using the stars to navigate. Photography by Julia Gamble[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16770" align="aligncenter" width="945"]image of seed pods on a milkweed plant Seed pods on a milkweed plant. Milkweed has a contentious history and has been actively eradicated as it is listed as a noxious weed. Recently however, the public has come to understand the important role that milkweed plays in the Monarch butterfly life cycle and milkweed is beginning to flourish again. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16786" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of expert examining tree bark Jennifer is using a small hand held magnifying glass to examine the lichen on tree bark. Don't be afraid to look at the world from a new perspective. You might be surprised at the beautiful details that are easily overlooked. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16788" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of examining moss Moss is a complex group full of variety. This aptly named Wiry Fern Moss resembles tiny ferns. Mosses do not have typical root structures and thus rely on their leaves to absorb water and nutrients. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16790" align="aligncenter" width="950"]photo of snapping turtle hatchling Snapping turtles, a species listed as special concern in Ontario and Federally, nest at Mud Lake. We were lucky enough to see a few of the young hatchlings making their way from the nest site to the water at the BioBlitz. Unfortunately this little guy and a couple of his siblings were too small to make it over the curb to get off the road, so we gave them a hand by transporting them to a safe place with an umbrella. Photography by Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl[/caption] [caption id="attachment_16793" align="aligncenter" width="945"]photo of expert examining plants. Even the rain did not dampen our enthusiasm. Photography by Susanne Ure[/caption] Thanks to our wonderful experts for making this event possible. You can read full details of the event and see the complete list of species identified at the BioBlitz (coming soon).

Nature Canada to host community fall BioBlitz in Ottawa’s Mud Lake area
News

Nature Canada to host community fall BioBlitz in Ottawa’s Mud Lake area

OTTAWA (September 10, 2014) ― Nature Canada and naturalist experts from across the National Capital Region are gathering this weekend to host a fall “BioBlitz” in Ottawa’s Mud Lake area near Britannia Park. The event is open to the general public and is part of a larger effort to learn more about the state of local biodiversity and catalogue changes over time in population patterns. The event runs over a 24 hour period from 3pm on Friday to 3pm on Saturday and includes guided tours for the general public focussing on how to identify groups such as plants, birds, amphibians and reptiles. “Our goal is to involve the general public in the scientific process and to have fun while doing it,” said Alex MacDonald, Nature Canada’s Manager of Protected Areas. MacDonald continued, “our hope is that lots of people join us for a fun, engaging day at this unique urban wilderness site”. MacDonald and other Ottawa-area naturalist experts are aiming to locate, identify and photograph as many different species as possible around the site in a 24 hour period. For more information including a full schedule of events and directions to the site, members of the general public are encouraged to visit: http://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/nature-canadas-fall-bioblitz-at-mud-lake/

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[one_half][separator headline="h2" title="Media Contacts:"] Paul Jorgenson, Senior Communications Manager 613-562-3447 ext 248 | pjorgenson@naturecanada.ca Sarah Kirkpatrick-Wahl, Conservation Coordinator 613-562-3447 ext 252 | skirkpatrick-wahl@naturecanada.ca Monica Tanaka, Communications Coordinator 613-562-3447 ext 241 | mtanaka@naturecanada.ca [/one_half] [one_half_last][separator headline="h2" title="About Nature Canada"] Nature Canada is the oldest national nature conservation charity in Canada. Over the past 75 years, we’ve helped protect over 63 million acres of parks and wildlife areas in Canada and the countless species that depend on this habitat. Today, we represent a network of over 45,000 members & supporters and more than 350 nature organizations in every province across Canada.[/one_half_last]

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