We decided to go on a walk during the day around campus and a little down the Rotary path. We first headed to the abandoned farm behind campus where we found Turkey Vultures and under one piece of tin a half dozen Red-Bellied Snakes which scattered as soon as light touched them. I managed to get one for someone to photographed before it slithered out of my hand and disappeared into the grass. Later that night we headed back to campus to some wetlands where we saw a brownish Grey Treefrog, some tadpoles, Blue-Spotted Salamander larvae and a few Leopard Frogs. We then headed around some of the buildings to see if any treefrogs were attracted to the light but only found a few cool moths.
On the way back from Niagara I met up with my Mom in Toronto and we headed on the Go Train to Oshawa where my Aunt and Grandmother would pick us up and bring us to Cameron for Mother's Day. My Mom and I went on a hike down the old converted railroad tracks and found a number of insects and a Bobolink which I was rather excited by. I later went on a hike by myself to one of my favourite wetlands for turtles, I saw a few turtles and quite a few Garter Snakes however they managed to escape into the underbrush where I could not catch them. One Garter in particular managed to escape into some nettles which I only after discovered where nettles. It was nice to spend some time with my Mom, my Grandmother and my Cousin's bird which my Grandmother was looking after. Happy Mother's Day!!!
Once I got off the bus in Niagara and dropping my things off (including my pet frogs) we headed to a reptile shop where another snake named Cream-Sicle was purchased. We were then off on a hike in the Niagara Gorge where we found tons of Red-Backed Salamanders among other animals. Towards the end of the hike we somehow lost the path and ended up having to do a tad of rock climbing to get up to the road where we saw the Red Fox. We then headed to a nice Irish pub.
We decided to finish up the gorge and went down a path we had not taken the day before where I heard something move, turned to look and sure enough a large garter snake was moving in the underbrush, I grabbed the snake and soon saw as another one was slithering not two meters from the first. Eastern Garter Snakes are rather diverse with many different colourations and patterns, some are more common in some areas then others. The path soon followed a small river which there were of course more Red-Backed Salamanders and we even found a Silver-Backed Salamander, same species as the Red-Backed Salamanders although like the Lead-Backs is a colour mutation and especially rare. After the hike we headed to Niagara College where we saw tons of migratory birds around the lagoons. Afterwards we went to yet another place to hike, to see Fowler's Toads. Fowler's Toads frequent beaches at night and using Ontario Nature's reptile and amphibian app I found a spot within their range. We found nothing but did notice a good sign that they might be in the area.
The spot we went for Fowler's Toads is unusual to say the least with both the locals and the area's biology. We headed back there during the day as we had found a large beach area on Google Maps. Once we got there we checked the beach again but instead of toads found Red-Backed Salamanders (yes, salamanders on the beach) and a few Garters Snakes. We headed down a road that led into the woods but was soon confronted by a local who questioned why we were there. I asked if he had seen any Fowler's Toads and sure enough he said they were everywhere on the beaches although we were not allowed to go to the beaches as they were all private. We headed back to the public beach we were at before and asked another local for where we could find some toads. He told us one public area to check and mentioned that the large expanse of beach in the area was private and that we were not allowed there... he mentioned this twice within the two minutes of talking to him. Like I said the people here are unusual, they are rather secluded and almost xenophobic towards people not from their tiny community. Later at night (when we were super tired from hiking and whatnot) we headed to the spot the local suggested and found nothing. We headed back to where we were looking before and sure enough found some toads. We heard a toad calling in a wetland and debated over whether it sounded like an American Toad or a Fowler's Toad even though we were basing it off of the calls in the Ontario Nature app. I caught it and got some photos, it looked like an American Toad although it had a plain belly without any spots which is characteristic of Fowler's Toads. We checked the beach again and sure enough found small toads hopping over the sand like little chicken nuggets with legs. All the toads found looked like American Toads but with Fowler Characteristics suggesting either some form of hybridization or an adaptation for camouflage in the localized population. Either way the trip was lots of fun with a possible lifer!!!
This evening my little half moon betta fish; Poseidon sadly passed away. He appeared sick the past few days with behavioural changes and a lack of appetite, his condition had worsened to inability to balance and swimming difficulties until I found him stiff at the bottom of his tank only minutes ago. Rest in peace little bugger 😞🐠
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.