I set out with my friend Christian to the Toronto Island to get a good hike in and to see if my boards have been productive. We started the hike, as with any good hike at the pub where I got to try the house IPA brewed on the island. We then headed for the petting zoo. I asked christian if he would hold the bearded dragon they had if I donated a few coins but he quickly refused... Not the best person to take herping. We eventually got to my board spot although he was too afraid of the tall grass to come with me, one board was still there but yielded nothing. the other boards were all under water due to the flooding so we headed back to the main path. On the path we did manage to find one lonely Eastern Garter Snake which had an unusual orange colour on its underbelly and tail.
While doing forest day (as a director) with Pawsitively Pets Kids Camp I took the kids to find some turtles which were plentiful with a large Red-Eared Slider basking on a nearby log. Heading back to camp we stumbled upon a deceased bat in a Burdock plant. The Large Brown Bat displayed no signs of white-nose syndrome and instead had gotten stuck in the Burdock unable to escape. Despite the bat being deceased it did offer the kids a unique chance to see a bat up close, something very few will have the opportunity to do again.
I headed to my board site again after work and while the first two boards yielded nothing I did manage to flip a neonate Eastern Milksnake with an unusual pattern on its back. The board also had some small Eastern Garter Snakes and Dekay's Brown Snakes but I prioritized the neonate.
After work I headed to my board spot to see what I could flip, I found some Eastern Garters but the main prize was the Dekay's Brown Snakes which I got many photos of despite being swarmed by Fire Ants.
Heading to one of my turtle spots, I managed to find two Daddy-Long-Legs mating which is something I dont recall ever seeing before. I soon found a Dekay's Brown Snake along with some Midland Painted Turtles. There were also Common Snapping Turtles, Green Frog tadpoles and Red-Eared Sliders
With Pawsitively Pets Kids Camp we went on a number of field trips, one of which was to Mountsberg Conservation area, there the kids got to spend the morning at the raptor centre looking at birds of prey and in the afternoon a tour of the park where they got to dipnet for invertebrates, fish and amphibians along with checking out the duckblind down by the lake. We managed to find some Midland Painted Turtles basking along with some tiny Eastern American Toadlets hopping along the path.
While working at Pawsitively Pets Kids Camp, we went on what we called forest day where we would bring the campers to high park to look for animals and play some outdoor and nature themed activities. While there today, we managed to find some turtles such as Midland Painted Turtles and Red-Eared Sliders. I tried to make the experience as informative as possible talking about how Red-Eared Sliders become invasive and why they shouldn't be released. The kids also got to build forts out of sticks in the woods but took down their forts at the end so that we don't disturb the microhabitats under the sticks and logs too much. After work I visited my father and was delighted to find an Eastern American Toad although it had gotten itself stuck in the pool. I brought him out, rinsed him off and released him by the river.
After Work, Jen and I headed to the Royal Ontario Museum as they were having free admission that day after a certain time. Before meeting up, I headed to my board spot where we went to prior, while I didn't manage to flip any Eastern Milksnakes I did find some Dekay's Brown Snakes and Eastern Garters. Covered in Snake Musk we headed downtown where I met up with Jen and visited the ROM.
The Brickworks is becoming one of my staple herping spots and while it is filled with more common species it is extra special to see such life flourish in the middle of Canada's largest city. I went to the Brickworks mainly as it is local and I wanted to try out my new camera; my Minolta XD, a hand-me-down from my uncle. It is a film camera so I had to wait some time to see how the photos came out. Upon getting to the Brickworks, I managed to find an Eastern Garter Snake crossing the path which I of course caught and photographed. Because they are constantly moving, it proved too difficult to photograph with the Minolta so i stuck with my Canon SX540. A little further was a spot a friend told me about where I could find a Dekay's Brown Snake, a species I had never seen at this location. Sure enough there was a little Dekay's Brown Snake which was very well behaved and allowed me to photograph it both with the Minolta and the Canon. the park of course had its turtles with Red-Eared Sliders and a small hatchling Midland Painted Turtle which I got some close up shots with using the Canon. Heading back to the house through Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, a cyclist showed me where there was a Red-Tailed Hawk nest and although the nest was empty a juvenile came out of nowhere and flew only a few metres over my head and landed on a nearby headstone, perfect for shooting.
After work, Jen and I headed to the Brickworks for some herping. We managed to find some Northern Green Frogs and some large Snapping Turtles before heading downtown.
I'm Mac Marzolini and I created this blog for a variety of reasons, the first of course is to open a window into what is happening in my life (cause my grandmother reads this), but also to help myself catalogue some of my favorite photos from my many adventures.