I spent the last few days in Cameron visiting my grandmother. On the first night I was there I went for a walk up the road where I saw a few birds and heard a chorus of Spring Peepers in the field. Spring Peepers have not been observed in this area before so I made the first observation here via Ontario Nature. I went looking for them although was not able to find one as they were hiding too well in the grass. The next day I went to my Red-Spotted Salamander spot where although I didn’t find any Plethodons I did manage to see some Garter Snakes breeding. There were two males trying to find the much larger female. Every time one of the males would get to close to her, she would run away and the males would have to try to find her all over again. I also managed to hear many calling Leopard Frogs, flipped a Blue-Spotted Salamander and saw a pair of Bald Eagles. On the way back I noticed a small Red-Bellied Snake sticking its head out of a hole in the ground. As I moved closer it hid in the hole but not enough that I can’t get photos. The next morning I went fishing with my uncle for Crappie. We caught one each though I caught a lot more Blue Gills and Sun Fish. The following day I went to a local lagoon where I saw a my first turtle of the year a small Midland Painted Turtle. I also found a wetland I never noticed in the twenty one years I’ve been going there. The wetland was filled of calling Leopard Frogs and Wood Frogs, I also found a bunch of birds there such as a Ruffed Grouse and a Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker.
Today I met up with Baz to go herping on Trent Campus. At the first wetland we checked out we saw roughly five Northern Leopard Frog, many of which were calling. The rest of the wetland was filled with a symphony of calls from Spring Peepers, Western Chorus Frogs and even Wood Frogs. We then headed to a snake spot to see if we can find our first reptiles of the year. Sure enough there were four Eastern Garter Snakes, one was missing its tail but shows the resilience of this species. We set up the moth trap and headed to the other side of campus. There we heard the calls of Chorus Frogs and even found fairy shrimp in a flooded farmers field. The moth trap only had two moths of different species. Originally we had hoped to find a specific S1 listed species which is suppose to be found on campus. This just means we will have to go again to try and find it. The air was cold, we were both hungry and I was beginning to develop trench foot from the water in my boots so we headed home satisfied with our finds.
What better way to celebrate earth day than to go out and embrace nature. Yesterday I headed to some ponds where I have heard Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs. The first pond seemed to only have Spring Peepers calling though due to the large amount of vegetation on the side of the pond I was only able to see one small Peeper before he dived into the pond. The second pond had at least two Spring Peepers and the calls of roughly seven Western Chorus Frogs. I crept into the pond slowly and silently so the frogs would not notice me. Many were too focused on attracting a female to notice my presence. The flashlight however did cause them to stop singing a couple of times. When they would go silent it would last what felt like forever until a lonely Spring Peeper would start falling again followed by one Chorus Frog to me left and eventually the rest would join in. The noise was so loud I could barely hear myself think while I was surrounded by the chorus. During the second interval of silence I watched as a dark frog like shape moved through the reads, I knew it to be a Chorus Frog but only watched as it disappeared into the dark waters. I knew if I went to catch it than it would be sometime before the chorus would resume. In the distance on the far side of the pond was also one lonely Leopard Frog calling out. Soon more will likely join it in the coming weeks and I’ll be able to record it’s calls for the photo arc. I managed to catch a chorus frog in my net and get enough photos of him before releasing. It was then that I realized that the last bus had left roughly an hour ago and I had to walk home in the cold with a boot full of water... worth it.
The past few days had been filled with ice storms and snow despite it being mid April. Because today seemed like the one day in a while where the temperature was just above zero I decided to head out in the hopes of finding some Chorus Frogs or Spring Peepers. The first pond I checked where they often frequent was silent with large amounts of ice in the centre of the pond. The second pond I checked was also silent but as I checked the water’s edge with my torch I noticed a long object with species of blue. A Blue-Spotted Salamander was sitting motionless under the ice. I got some photos then tried to break the thin ice to try to get a better photo but sadly he disappeared into the abyss of the pond. I checked the rest of the pond in the hopes of finding another but all i was able to produce was a boot filled with water which was a good sign to head home.
On easter morning I woke up early in order to catch a bus with Eric to the Hamilton area to look for my lifer; Jefferson Salamander and his lifer; the Yellow-Spotted Salamander. The air was rather cold of three degrees Celsius with the night time temperatures in the minuses. The previous day was rather warm with rain so we were hoping some salamanders would still be able to be found under cover. We walked towards the pond I had found online that is suppose to procure salamanders although along the way to said pond we found what we thought might be a rather small vernal. The pond was more of a large puddle and had large pieces of wood along its edge. The first piece of wood produced a gorgeous Yellow-Spotted Salamander while another piece of cover along the opposite edge had a Jefferson Salamander (likely polyploid) underneath it. The wetland also had unusual plants in the shape of flames of which I later discovered to be skink cabbage, a deceased Blue-Spotted Salamander which was clearly predated upon and some spermatophores. Heading to the next pond we found very little under cover although the much larger pond had a thick layer of ice and where we managed to find an opening we found a Blue-Spotted Salamander (likely polyploid) and my first aquatic newt. We continued walking around the woods until we stumbled upon another pond which did not have much in the way of salamanders but did have a large amount of Jefferson egg masses and many spermatophores.
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.