Carp Barrens Trail Study – Phase 1 Report

Consulting ecologist Holly Bickerton carried out Phase 1 of the Carp Barrens Trail Study in May and June, and is just wrapping up her report.  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 (over $1500 received), a donation from the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club, and by a research grant from OFNC.  Phases 2 and 3 will be covered by a City of Ottawa grant and by the OFNC grant (see article below).

Background information about the study and its purpose are available at:  Carp Barrens Trail Study.