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A great end to the summer – Champlain Park NatureBlitz!
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A great end to the summer – Champlain Park NatureBlitz!

[caption id="attachment_27983" align="alignleft" width="150"]Image of Tejal Mistry Tejal Mistry, Conservation Coordinator[/caption] This year held another great year for our NatureHood NatureBlitzes! Our final Ottawa ‘Blitz ran from Friday September 16 to Saturday September 17, 2016 along the Ottawa River near the Champlain Bridge. The weather was in our favour and held out on the rain until the exact time we were wrapping up. Friday night held an unexpected surprise, even for us! The evening ended with a bat walk under the Champlain Bridge. Because of the street lights dotting the area under the bridge, there were many insects and so many bats! It was a great success as the lamps also shed light on the small mammals, giving everyone a great view. Some other great finds were the Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalus), a red-backed salamander and even fossils of bivalve (shells). [one_half] [caption id="attachment_29793" align="alignnone" width="222"]Image of a Cardinal Flower Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalus[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_29795" align="alignnone" width="222"]Image of fossils of shells on a rock Fossils of shells found on the rocks of the Ottawa River[/caption] [/one_half_last] The Saturday morning was beautiful and gave way for a great morning of birding and ended with a very exciting and full aquatic invertebrates session! Our first catch from the Ottawa River had crayfish, and mayfly and other insect larvae. Some of our young participants became our experts as they dropped in one crayfish after the other into our buckets for which the group gladly gathered around for the hour. It was a fantastic end to the NatureBlitz. We received really positive and enthusiastic feedback from our participants, and how much they learned about the wildlife they didn’t know existed right near their neighbourhoods! [one_half] [caption id="attachment_29796" align="alignnone" width="222"]Image of a Red Backed Salamander A Red Backed Salamander[/caption] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [caption id="attachment_29794" align="alignnone" width="222"]Image of participants at NatureBlitz Discovering the aquatic invertebrates of the Ottawa River[/caption] [/one_half_last] A big thank you to Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR) for helping to fund this event!

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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:  

2016: Year of Action on Nature Conservation 
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2016: Year of Action on Nature Conservation 

[caption id="attachment_16447" align="alignleft" width="150"]Stephen Hazell Stephen Hazell
Director of Conservation
and General Counsel[/caption] So far, so good for nature conservation in 2016—thanks to Nature Canada’s members! Wilderness and Wildlife Protection - Three months in office, and the new Liberal government is making pretty good progress taking action to conserve nature. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has signalled that she wants to move quickly to amend the Rouge National Urban Park legislation to protect the ecological integrity of the park and expand the park to include key provincial lands.  Nature Canada is also on the verge of convincing the Liberal government to reverse the previous government’s bad decisions on prairie grasslands that provide important habitat for dozens of species at risk. Stay tuned for details. The Green Budget Coalition (which includes Nature Canada) has had a series of excellent meetings with the Prime Minister's Office, the Department of Finance and Environment Canada to make the 2016 federal budget as green as it can be. The Coalition is recommending additional funding to protect species at risk, conserve threatened grasslands, increase the number and size of protected areas such as National Wildlife Areas, and connect Canadians to nature. Image of a winter landscapeStrengthening Environmental Laws - Nature Canada is satisfied with the consultations with federal officials to restore and strengthen environmental laws. The government' interim principles to improve hearings for pipelines are a step in the right direction, and the right of cross-examination will almost certainly be reinstated for the Energy East hearings. We are confident that the public review of environmental assessment will be carried out either by an independent panel or the House of Commons Environment Committee.  With a public review, it makes it more likely that the government will introduce some constructive changes to environmental assessment laws. Saving Songbirds- The official launch of Nature Canada's program to keep cats safe and save birds from cat predation is set for late February. Growing NatureHood -  And our NatureHood program continues to grow in cities and communities across Canada. A NatureBlitz will be hosted in Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary and Alaksen National Wildlife Area on February 27th for youth and all young at heart to explore this wonderful site. What a great start to 2016—thanks to all our members for your tremendous membership support which helps to defend wildlife and wilderness!! [button link="https://netdonor.net/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1909&ea.campaign.id=47834" size="large" target="_self" icon="" color="blue" lightbox="false"]If you have not yet renewed your membership, please donate today by clicking here![/button]

Join the Lower Mainland’s First NatureBiltz!
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Join the Lower Mainland’s First NatureBiltz!

[caption id="attachment_24954" align="alignleft" width="200"]Kids feeding Chickadees at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary - Oct 14 2015 Feeding Chickadees & Nuthatches at the Reifel MBS. Photo by A. MacDonald[/caption] Join the Lower Mainland's first NatureBlitz on Saturday, February 27th in the Reifel Bird Sanctuary and Alaksen National Wildlife Area, located at 5191 and 5421 Robertson Rd (respectively) on Westham Island in Delta, BC. This free, family-friendly nature adventure offers a dawn to dusk line-up of wildlife walks, outdoor exploration and even a photography contest, all with the help of local naturalists and nature experts from NatureKids BC, Nature Canada, the BC Waterfowl Society, the Delta Naturalists Society, the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust and the Canadian Wildlife Service. PLEASE NOTE: Limited spaces are available for each activity during the NatureBlitz, so advance registration is required. You can register for free tickets by activity on our EventBrite page. We may open up additional spaces for activities that are over-subscribed.  Eventbrite - Lower Mainland NatureBlitz Participants will get an up-close, educational look at waterfowl and songbirds, small grassland mammals, invasive species, and possibly even owls, bats and other creatures of the night through a series of activities at each of these amazing natural areas. A full schedule and map are available below. So get your warm outdoor clothing (and rain gear), gum boots and flashlights ready and come join us as we explore the midwinter mysteries of nature right on Metro Vancouver’s doorstep. It's nearby nature – and it's your NatureHood! Don't forget to pack a camera or camera phone/Smartphone for the event, either! You can enter our draw for best NatureBlitz photos simply by posting your nature pics from the event on social media (Instagram, facebook, Twitter, etc.) using the hashtag #NatureBlitz! ** This is a RAIN or SHINE event. Some events will be modified in the event of rain. ** A limited number of binoculars, field guides and magnifying lenses will be available to borrow at the event. Light snacks will be available at noon but participants are encouraged to bring their own food. Limited on-site parking is available. Please consider carpooling to the event if possible.   Walk schedule for Lower Mainland NatureBlitz, February 27, 2016 Financial support for this initiative has been provided by: Environment and Climate Change Canada logo 55eTD logo         Email Signup

Join our 2015 Fall NatureBlitz at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School!
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Join our 2015 Fall NatureBlitz at the Ottawa Forest & Nature School!

Join Nature Canada, the Child & Nature Alliance and local nature experts for a NatureBlitz on Saturday, October 3rd and Sunday, October 4th at Ottawa's Forest & Nature School on 411 Corkstown Road (Wesley Clover Campground)! This event will feature walks*, nature-based activities and family fun  from 10:30 am Saturday until 2 pm Sunday (map and daily schedules below).

[caption id="attachment_22682" align="alignleft" width="300"]Man examines a Bitternut Hickory during our Summer NatureBlitz event in Ottawa Local tree expert, Owen Clarkin, examines a Bitternut Hickory during our Summer NatureBlitz event in Ottawa. Photo by: Susanne Ure[/caption]

Help us explore your NatureHood in Ottawa's amazing Greenbelt, and test your ability to migrate like a bird, find clues about animals preparing for winter, or detect bats using a special ultrasonic microphone! 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 this area and we hope to identify as many different living things as possible at the site.

  Visitor events will include guided wildlife walks, a migration obstacle course and flap-a-thon, nature scavenger hunts and a search for bats and other night creatures! Participants will have an opportunity to learn how to identify the trees, plants, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, insects and fungi found around the Ottawa Forest & Nature School, which is located on this property and includes a great outdoor classroom. The walks will also have a special focus on local species at risk, including Little Brown and Northern Long-eared bats, which might be foraging in the area before or as they are forming into colonies to roost and hibernate for the winter. So get your binoculars, rain gear, 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!   [caption id="attachment_22541" align="alignright" width="300"]Red fox kits. Photo by: Phil Myers Red fox kits. Will we see any signs of fox during the NatureBlitz? Come find out! Photo by: Phil Myers[/caption] 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!   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! Please download your free NatureBlitz tickets at EventBrite. [caption id="attachment_22686" align="aligncenter" width="960"]Fall NatureBlitz boundary map Ottawa Fall NatureBlitz boundary map (approximate). Aerial imagery from Bing Maps.[/caption] A detailed trail map by Orienteering Ottawa is also available here. Financial support for this NatureBlitz is provided by: Govt of Ontario logo White Swan logo (white)            

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

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Help us Find At-risk Bats in your NatureHood!
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Help us Find At-risk Bats in your NatureHood!

Alex MacDonald, click for contact informationHave you ever wondered if there are bats in your neighbourhood? What about your yard? If so, Nature Canada can help you answer this question with the handheld bat detectors we have available through our lending library! If you live in the National Capital Region, you can borrow a detector - free of charge - for up to one week. [caption id="attachment_23140" align="alignright" width="200"]Close-up of an Eastern Pipistrelle bat hanging upside down in a cave, species at risk, Canada, nature, nocturnal The Eastern Pipistrelle is a migratory bat found in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. It feeds on flying insects most actively during the crepuscular period at dawn and dusk.[/caption] But we're not doing this for just any reason. Here's the scoop: Have you heard about White-nose Syndrome (WNS), an introduced fungal disease (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) that's decimating many bat populations in North America? Estimates place the death toll from WNS at over 6 million bats since it was first detected in North America in 2006 (read Ontario's response plan here). Sadly, populations of up to 7 different bat species found in and around Ottawa have been impacted by WNS, and 3 of those species currently legally designated as "endangered" by the Government of Ontario: Little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), Northern myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and Eastern small-footed myotis (Myotis leibii). Given this situation we need to understand the habitats these bat species are using and how local populations are doing. That's where the bat detectors - and YOU - come in. Members of the public can borrow one of our Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detectors to ‘hear’ the ultrasonic echolocation signals – similar to sonar – that bats make as they fly, socialize and feed. Human ears are not capable of hearing sound in the frequency ranges at which most bats echolocate - that's why the frequencies are called "ultrasonic". The bat detectors pick up these ultrasonic signals and convert them into the audible range for humans, playing them for you in real-time through a speaker in the unit. Many bats echolocate at different frequencies, though there is just enough overlap between them to make things confusing! By 'tuning' the bat detector to hone in on particular frequencies, you can get a sense of  which species you may be detecting. With practice in the field, and [caption id="attachment_23169" align="alignleft" width="300"]Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detector shown with Peterson's Guide to the Mammals of North America You can borrow the Magenta Bat5 handheld bat detector (shown here) for up to 1-week using our lending library![/caption] following the tips we provide here, you can get pretty good at recognizing the different species. If you're interested in helping us monitor for the presence (or absence) of at-risk bat species in the National Capital Region, you can download the sign-out sheet here. Simply submit the form by email or drop it off when you pick up the detector at our office at 75 Albert Street (third floor, suite 300). And our data submission form is available online or as a hard-copy. You can use the detector in your backyard, in your neighbourhood or at a local park, or you might consider visiting one of the areas we're hoping to cover in our seasonal surveys (see map below).

Financial support for this project is 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)

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