I went to campus not expecting to see much and found much more then I thought I would. As I got to campus I started by walking in the woods and flipping logs for salamanders, found none so I continued to a small wetland, by the water's edge I found partly submerged Wood Frog eggs. Heading back towards the main areas of campus I went to another wetland where Spring Peepers were calling. I tried to see if I can find one but alas I did not, while doing so however I turned around to see a massive Snapping Turtle looking up at me. My first snapper directly on campus. Next I headed to where I knew I could hear Chorus Frogs and tried homing in on their calls. Like with the Spring Peepers I had little to no luck as I was within meters of the frog but as I got too close it stopped calling all together. The wetland was full of fairy shrimp however and I eventually found perhaps the smallest tadpole I had ever seen, about the size of a pen tip but it swam away before I could get a photo. In the same wetland I stumbled upon Blue-Spotted Salamander eggs which are the only species of salamander I have ever found in that area so I think its safe to assume the species. As I was photographing the salamander eggs toads were calling in the distance, a species I had not seen yet this year. After photographing the eggs I headed back towards land and noticed the smallest little salamander larvae swimming in the water. I caught it between my fingers and got a photo with my iPod. I got out of the water and headed around to where I heard the toads calling. Sure enough they were easy to find by simply following the long trail of eggs.
On the Sunday we decided to hike the Trent Wildlife Sanctuary to see if we could find some Red-Bellied Snakes. We checked where I found them before and found an adorable little Garter Snake under a rock. At this point I had discovered that I had forgotten my memory card in my computer and instead had to rely on my iPod for photos. We continued through the wildlife sanctuary walking through a wetland full of Spring Peepers and even observed a Grackle mimicking the calls of the small frogs. As it got dark we noticed some deer and that the leaves surrounding the path were making noises as if they were moving, we soon found that the noise was made by large night crawlers moving around the forest floor.
We decided to go for a hike at the Peterborough Petroglyphs but arrived to find that they were closed until early May. Instead we found some crown land and decided to go for a hike. We found tons of Garter Snakes (4) and four Red-Backed Salamanders, my first for the year. At the wetlands there we also found many Northern Green Frogs, a Northern Leopard Frog and a Beaver dam. A good hike and lots of great photos.
Today the weather was rather rainy so we decided to check out the Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre (I know its called the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre now but I still call it the KTTC). We then headed to the Peterborough Zoo and the local reptile shop before ending the day.
My original intention for this outing was to herp during the hike although with no herptiles found it was simply a hike with some spelunking thrown in. With my friend Brenda, we headed though various paths to one area which had a beautiful view of the river there, we headed back where we decided to climb into some caves. Despite the warm days we have been having there was still ice in the caves and in one I fell on my backside (and my camera in my back pocket) and continued to slide down. In the first cave however we found a few spiders and one little Tricoloured Bat asleep. Entering a cave known to house hibernating bats can be detrimental to the bat's health as if they are woken too early the cold can kill them. Also it can introduce diseases such as White Nose Syndrome which this bat luckily didn't have. Even though no herptiles were found it was still an enjoyable trip and a good chance to get out doors for Earth Day.
The other day my friend Baz and I went on a hike up the Rotary Trail that extends from Peterborough North to Lakefield. The trail used to be a train track but has since been demolished and made into a green space where people can hike and enjoy the local wildlife. Along the path we saw many birds such as Wood Ducks, Northern Flickers, Kinglets and Northern Leopard Frogs among others. Once we got to the Lakefield area we checked out a wetland that is full of migratory birds especially ducks. Among the ducks we also found a Red-Eared Slider which is an invasive species in the area, because they are invasive I decided to take her home.
Trent University claims to be an environmental university and raves about its environmental program although many of the decisions Trent makes has a negative impact on the surrounding environment. One of their upcoming plans is the build a new hockey arena right next to land they designated as a wildlife sanctuary. The proposed arena will also be build right next to a wetland with historical records of endangered species. By having the city fund part of the construction, Trent University rids itself of having to do any environmental assessment meaning they will not invest any money into looking at what will be affected by the new hockey arena. I along with others in the biology and environment department are trying to stop the construction along with doing our own environmental assessment. Yesterday I had planned a bioblitz though I had to change the date on short notice due to weather and because it was also around exam time, only myself and my friend Baz went out to collect observation. We started with a wetland on campus which was full of frog eggs before heading to the wildlife sanctuary. The wildlife sanctuary is as always thriving with wildlife from different species of fungi to Fairy Shrimp and a plethora of birds and reptiles. One species in particular was the Red-Bellied Snake which was a lifer for me and allowed me to make an observation on the app; Inaturalist. We stopped for lunch before heading down the rotary path to try and find more wildlife, there we found more frog eggs, calling Leopard Frogs, Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs. We also found two more Red-Bellied Snakes and a skeleton of another.
For Easter I went to my aunt and uncle's place in Cameron. They have a large back field that would often have snakes so I went on a little walk before dinner with my cousins and found about four Garter Snakes. These were the first Ontario reptiles of the year and I got to spend my time with my cousins who are also nature enthusiasts!
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.