Thanks to Jacinta Cillis-Asquith for sharing these photos, taken last week in our area.
“Stittsville…home to Herons everywhere,” she writes. “I could not fit enough trees into my picture. This must have been the general meeting of these birds. There were over 30 herons and egrets! A pretty amazing day.”
(We’ve had a few readers ask where these photos were taken. Cillis-Asquith says that wildlife photographers will typically not share exact locations in order to preserve the natural habitat of the wildlife.)
We spotted this guy (or gal?) on a path near Poole Creek on the weekend. It’s a snapping turtle, and they’re a common sight in Stittsville near creeks and marshes at this time of year. Don’t get too close though – these guys won’t hesitate to snap if they feel threatened. In late May and early June, you’ll start to see mother turtles burying their eggs in the sand at local playgrounds, and then the turtles hatch in September. More photos & stories about Stittsville turtles here…
(PHOTO: Shawna Church Roy with her second service dog, Loki.)
SHAWNA CHURCH ROY WAS WALKING BACK FROM SOME ERRANDS WHEN SHE SAW IT: flames shooting out the roof of her family’s house.
She dropped her bags and ran up to the driveway. That’s when her biggest fear was confirmed – her kids were still inside, screaming for help. The doors were locked and the windows too hot to touch. As the tower of smoke rose into the air and the screams became louder, Roy realized she was completely powerless to save them. Continue reading →
The Responsible Dog Owners of Canada (RDOC) are organizing a clean-up at the “unofficial” Stittsville dog park south of Abbott Street. The event happens on Saturday, September 10 from 9am-10am. Gloves and bags will be provided.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) say they haven’t had a confirmed cougar sighting in Ontario since 1884, but many of our readers are convinced that there are cougars living in the province.
Norah Kinny and Jack William present their donation to Andy Parent from Big Sky Ranch. Photos via Marriam Kinny
Grade 6 students at Westwind Public School are doing some great things in their final year at the school.
Students were asked to pick a charity as part of “The Nobody Project” and help raise awareness for the charity in the form of donations, volunteer time or whatever the charity needed. Continue reading →
(ABOVE: Neighbours on Savage Drive think this paw print may be from a cougar. Photo via Pat Goyette.)
It’s not impossible, but it’s unlikely there are any cougars wandering around Stittsville, despite recent reports of exactly that. In fact, there hasn’t been a confirmed sighting of a wild cougar in this province for 132 years.
We’ve been reading about a few possible cougar sightings in the area on social media. Late in May, neighbours on Savage Drive (south of Hazeldean) reported spotting what they thought was a cougar coming out of Amberway Park. They posted these footprints.
We forwarded the photographed footprints to Kamal Khidas, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Khidas said the photographs were too poor quality to have any certainty, but there was no clear indication the prints came from a cougar. He suggested it may have come from a wolf instead.
A wolf is just one of dozens of animals people could confuse for a cougar, says Jane Devlin, management biologist with the Kemptville office of the Ministry of Natural Resources.
“I think the common animals that are confused and mistakenly identified as a cougar could be a white-tailed deer, dog, domestic cat, a bobcat, even a fisher… it could be any number of those.”
She says the ministry receives reports of cougars all the time, but there’s never solid evidence to confirm one – not since 1884, the last confirmed sighting of a wild cougar.
Devlin didn’t rule out the possibility of an escaped cougar from captivity, for example from a zoo or an exotic pet owner. If there were any around Ottawa, trail cams would likely have taped them.
Whether it’s a cougar or not, Devlin said there are important safety tips to keep in mind in case you are confronted by a wild animal. Face it directly, back away slowly, make lots of noise and try to appear larger than you actually are.
And please, no cougar jokes. We’ve heard them all.
Thanks to Karla Torres for the heads up about the return of the Stitt Park turtle, spotted by several people yesterday morning. The photo above is from Jean-Michel Bastien, via Facebook.
Could this be the same turtle who buried her eggs in the sand last summer? Torres and her family saw a turtle laying eggs, then helped build an enclosure to protect the nest. A few weks later the community got involved to protect it after vandals destroyed the structure. When the turtles hatched in September, neighbours helped move them to safety in nearby Poole Creek. (Read more, plus cute baby turtle photos here…) Continue reading →
Global Pet Foods in Stittsville is supporting homeless pets in the community with a donation to the Lanark Animal Welfare Society (LAWS).
Franchisee Richard Higgs and the staff at his store raised $1,770.29 for LAWS through the national Show Us Your Heart fundraiser. Being a no-kill shelter LAWS will use the funds to provide shelter and care to each animal until their forever home is found.
Customers at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada donated a total of $1,250,000 in February as part of the national campaign.
(Above: Karla Torres’ family witnessed nature up close in June when they saw a snapping turtle laying her eggs in the sand at Stitt Street Park.)
One of the greatest things about living in Stittsville is how close we are to nature. That leads to some unexpected encounters and sometimes even conflict. Here are nine of our favourite stories about nature from the past year. (More “Best of 2015” stories here…)Continue reading →
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to our new canine affairs correspondent, Roscoe. He’s an eight-month-old boxer – pictured above – with some strong opinions and a love of peanut butter. He’ll be writing from time to time about pressing dog issues.)
I’m usually a pretty happy guy. There are only a few things I get mad at. Squirrels. The Crate. And the lack of fenced-in dog parks in Ottawa.
Kanata North councillor Marianne Wilkinson is hosting a town hall meeting next week that will include details about a proposed fenced dog park on Terry Fox Drive between Campeau Drive and Kanata Avenue. Continue reading →
The hope is still alive to find Holly the lost Goldendoodle. One of the volunteers searching for her says the group has received a report of a sighting this weekend in the Fallowfield Road / Huntley Road area just south of Stittsville. Continue reading →