This is a cross-posting from Katherine Forster at Wild.Here., a blog that focuses on creative and unexpected ways to get closer to nature in and around Ottawa, no matter how urban your neighbourhood. Visit www.wildhere.ca for more!
Places to Get Up Close to Wildlife in Ottawa (Spring & early Summer edition)
This series started last winter as I thought of ways for people to be able to get outdoors and enjoy some wildlife – during those months when it feels like every creature is hibernating and the cold season continues endlessly.
As mentioned April is a busy month for wildlife as migrating birds start moving through our area and other creatures are stirring from their long slumbers and deep sleeps underground.
1. Spring Frog Chorus
Were you able to hear some of the spring frog chorus, either the ubiquitous spring peepers that provide a vibrato accent to the auditory backdrop of our homes or perhaps you were out int he woods and were greeted with the Wood Frogs cacophony of mating calls? While these frogs may not be as co-operative as chickadees who are content to eat out of our hands, there is still the opportunity to visit your local pond or vernal pool and see what might be visiting!
2. Innis Point Bird Observatory (Kanata)
While this one is not in an urban setting, Innis Point Bird Observatory provides those who want to volunteer an opportunity to see birds up close as they migrate through and nest in our area. The bird observatory does scientific data gathering on these birds both for the Spring Migration Monitoring Program which starts in mid April and for the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program which starts in June. This is a great opportunity to help collect data and see birds up close. Learn more on their Facebook page.
3. Petrie Island (Orleans)
Starting with the Jane’s Walk in early May, Petrie Island offers opportunities to see its “famous” turtles – who bask on rocks and logs in the various ponds and bays of this island complex. You will also find many frogs (especially if you go early in the morning) and probably spot a heron or two due to its long narrow shape that provides access to both the larger Ottawa river and the quiet and shallower bays and inlets on the southern side. The Friends of Petrie Island keep the trails clear and provide lots of natural history educational signage, so there is a lot to see and do here!
4. Macoun Marsh
Macoun Marsh is well known among the nature lovers of this fair city, but many others, would be surprised to learn about this small marsh at the back end of the Beechwood Cemetery and the fact that the students of St. Laurent Academy have found over 1400 species of flora and fauna here – from the microscopic to the surprising visits of larger mammals and raptors. There is even a Virginia Rail that nests here (a very shy bird species that stays hidden behind marsh plants for the most part). Take a visit and see what you can spot here!
5. Purple Martin Colony
Also mentioned on the Wild. Here. Urban Nature Bucket List is the Purple Martin colony at the Nepean Sailing Club. This is a wonderful opportunity to get up close and see the Purple Martin young as the Innis Point Bird Observatory volunteers band these new birds in late June, early July. Check out the IPBO events page to find out specific dates and consider donating to this great organization!