November 09, 2022

Turtle Conservation Program Webinar

In 2022 Friends of the Carp Hills ran a turtle conservation program in and near the Carp Hills with support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. We had two goals:

  1. improve our understanding of turtle nest behaviour in the Carp Hills, and
  2. protect nests from predation, particularly those of Blanding’s and Snapping turtles.

Results: we learned a lot! And many eggs became hatchlings, released into ponds and wetlands near their nest sites.

Our webinar (7 November 2022) provides an overview of the conservation project, the results, and what we recommend for the future, which includes more community involvement. You can watch the webinar on our YouTube channel here:

Posted on November 09, 2022 11:34 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 08, 2022

Blanding's Turtle Hatchlings Released

On 7 August, the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) released twelve Blanding’s turtles into a Carp Hills pond.

Friends of the Carp Hills worked with CWF to conduct a turtle nest monitoring program in June to support turtle population sustainability. CWF collected twelve eggs from a roadside Blanding’s turtle nest flagged on the evening of 8 June by Rachel, one of our turtle monitors. CWF incubated the eggs, which started to hatch on 5 August. We released the hatchlings in a pond near the location where the eggs were laid.

For more information, photos, and a video see:

Posted on August 08, 2022 10:55 AM by jlmason jlmason | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 04, 2022

Turtle Nesting Monitoring

One 3 June, Friends of the Carp Hills kicked off one month of turtle nesting monitoring with training by CWF biologist Dave Seburn. Blanding's turtle eggs and Snapping turtle eggs will be collected, incubated, and released if laid on the roadside or where a nest protector cannot provide adequate protection.
Friends of the Carp Hills have four part-time monitors patrolling for turtles whose eggs need help.

Posted on June 04, 2022 05:53 PM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 18, 2021

Carp Barrens Plant Monitoring 17 July 2021

JL Mason and ecologist Cathy Keddy conducted plant monitoring on the Carp Barrens Trail on 17 July 2021.
Under the Carp Barrens Monitoring Plan, Friends of the Carp Hills record the status of Regionally Significant plants located on and near the trail, which could be disturbed by trail use. Non-native species are also recorded. A checklist is filled-in and actions recommended to protect species and to remove non-native ones.
The tag "Plant Monitoring" is used to identify the plants observed during the annual monitoring exercise.

Highlights of this monitoring session:

  • increasing growth of non-native species all along the trail brought in on bike tires and shoes;
  • new orchid - Green Adder's-Mouth, found beside the trail; and
  • there seems to be a decline in Pink Lady's Slipper orchid at locations near the trailhead.
Posted on July 18, 2021 02:41 PM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 24, 2021

Fen Plants Identified

Yesterday plant ecologists Cathy Keddy and Eleanor Thomson, and field naturalists Greg Lutick and Jakob Mueller visited a 4.5 acre fen southwest of the Crazy Horse Trail to help document the plant community. At least four Regionally Significant plants were confirmed, one - Eriophorum tenellum - is Regionally Rare. Thank you to the team for helping to document the biodiversity of the Carp Hills.

Posted on June 24, 2021 02:43 PM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 18, 2020

Frogs on the Crazy Horse Trail

Conservation biologist and author Robert Alvo provided us with a list of frogs he heard on the Crazy Horse. the list is based on hearing their vocalizations.

Spring Peeper
Wood Frog -- egg masses found too.
Northern Leopard Frog
Gray Treefrog
Mink Frog
Green Frog
American Bullfrog

These records are from 2020, April to June.

Posted on June 18, 2020 10:24 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 18, 2019

Carp Barrens Trail Study Phase 2 Report Completed

Ecologist Holly Bickerton has completed Phase 2 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study. A summary of her findings is provided below.

• The single largest impact of the trail network is the incursion of human presence into a previously inaccessible and regionally significant, high quality natural area. Cyclists, hikers, dog walkers and naturalists have all been observed using these trails.
• A high number of predated turtle nests along the trail suggest that the loose soil of the trail is functioning as a habitat sink, meaning female turtles may be drawn to nest in these unsafe areas.
• Five species (one considered regionally significant) of herptiles were found under rocks on or near a trail. Snakes or their sheltering rocks may be run over by bikes. The rocks on which they depend for shelter and hibernation have been displaced throughout the area for trail or cairn construction.
• Direct impacts (trampling, compaction, erosion) were observed to populations of nine regionally significant terrestrial plant species, and non-native plants continue to be observed in higher concentration along the trail network.
• Observation of fishers and Black Bear south of Thomas Dolan Parkway demonstrate that the area has a high ecological integrity for wide-ranging mammals, which may be affected by the increased presence of humans and dogs.

Posted on October 18, 2019 11:09 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 06, 2019

5 Oct 2019 - Fungi Hike with George P. White

Mycologist George P. White led a guided hike on the Crazy Horse Trail, resulting in the discovery and identification of many fungi.

Posted on October 06, 2019 11:55 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 14, 2019

Carp Barrens Trail Study Phase 1 Report Completed

Under contract to Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH), consulting ecologist Holly Bickerton carried out Phase 1 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study in May and June. Her focus was on determining the extent of the trail network, physical impacts, and the presence of early breeding birds

Holly had volunteer help from FCH, from bryologist Cassandra Robillard (Canadian Museum of Nature), and from the Ottawa Field Naturalists’ Club Bird Committee. Experienced birders Bob Cermak (Committee Chair) and Bernie Ladouceur surveyed for night calling birds between 3:30am and 5:30am on one day and in late evening on another. Thank you!

Early results confirm that the Carp Barrens provide critical habitat for Species at Risk:

  • Significant numbers of Eastern Whip-poor-will (Threatened) and Common Nighthawk (Special Concern) were observed. A Nighthawk nest was found near a trail. Both birds are ground nesters and easily disturbed by human traffic.
  • Blanding’s turtles (Threatened) and Snapping turtles (Special Concern) were found on both north and south sides. The area is likely used by Blanding’s turtles for nests, which we will look for in Phase 2. Turtles were easily disturbed during many observations, even from a distance. Repeated disturbance of turtle basking by human traffic disrupts thermoregulation and increases energy expenditure.
  • Eastern Wood Peewees (Special Concern) were heard on multiple occasions.
    A number of regionally rare plants were also confirmed as was the presence of non-native species along the trails.

Holly’s costs were covered by donations from individuals, a donation from the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club, and by a research grant from the Ottawa Field Naturalists' Club (OFNC). Phases 2 and 3 will be covered by a City of Ottawa grant and by the OFNC grant.

Background information about the study and its purpose are available on the Friends of the Carp Hills web site: Carp Barrens Trail Study.

Posted on July 14, 2019 11:04 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 14, 2019

Carp Hills Bog (Fen) Article

Holly Bickerton and Dan Brunton wrote an article published in OFNC's Trail and Landscape Magazine (January-March 2019, Vol 53, No. 1) titled: "Crazy Horse Bog: A Small Gem on the Carp Ridge with a New Plant Species for the City of Ottawa." There are many observations at this bog/fen from 2016 and 2017 in this project.

Posted on January 14, 2019 01:50 AM by jlmason jlmason | 0 comments | Leave a comment