What a fantastic day of herping with the Salamander Man, Clinton and Kenny. We headed to the Georgian Bay area where we saved a Massasauga Rattlesnake from getting hit by a car and finally got some use out of my snake hook. We also found not one but two Spotted Turtles. Spotted Turtles are the rarest species of turtle in Ontario and are only out and about when the temperature is not too cold and not too hot. Today we were lucky enough to see two in a wetland and watched as they began courting. The male starts to court the female by nipping at the female's shell and their courting period is throughout the summer.
Today I went out for a hike and came across a Star-Nosed Mole (A lifer for me) unfortunately it was DOR (dead on road). As I came close to the a river I noticed a Mink playing in the rocks with a crayfish in its mouth. Heading to wards the pond I noticed the ground was filled with tiny toadlets. American toads have very small tadpoles compared to other frogs and when they develop and grow limbs they stay small and climb out of the water. They then grow up from their toadlet stage into a full grown toad. I also found that many of the boards and cover had been either disturbed and not put back and some were completely gone. I have a feeling some other herpers were in the area but did not put cover back where they found it so that animals can return to where they feel safe.
In a small pond just off of the Otonabee River, I found a plethora of wildlife as wetlands are some of the most ecologically rich habitats in Canada. In the pond I found tons of tadpoles unfortunately they darted away faster then I could get my camera out or find them in my few finder. I did however find lots of Green Frog metamorphs. These frogs are the intermediate stage between tadpole and frog and looks like little frogs with tails. I also found three Snapping Turtle Hatchlings, a Midland Painted Turtle and tons of aquatic insects.
I did not find a whole lot at Jackson park except for some frogs and a big old Snapping Turtle. The area did however have lots of wild flowers which made for some nice photos. There are also reports of a Red-Footed Tortoise that was someone's escaped pet which I was hoping to see but alas I did not this time. Perhaps if I go again I will find it... and maybe take it home
As I was headed towards the station I saw some Peregrine Falcons on the top of a skyscraper. Two were fledglings just learning to fly while the other was the mother proudly watching over her young. I caught the train along with a bus and found my way back to Peterborough. While returning to my house in Peterborough I came across an Osprey not far from its nest and caught a frog.
Today I went for a bike ride through the Don Valley and spotted a number of turtles and other herps right in the middle of Toronto. One herp in particular that I saw lots of, were Red-Eared Sliders, sliders are an invasive species that spread from the southern United States to the rest of the world due to their popularity in the pet trade. People buy them as babies not knowing how large it will get and when they no longer want it, they release the slider into the wild. This is the worst thing one can do as sliders compete with native turtles for resources and can introduce a number of diseases that may be harmful to native wildlife. If your thinking of getting a turtle then remember to do your research and be prepared for a life long commitment.
On Tuesday I got back from a week in the Kawartha Lakes region where I saw lots of wildlife from herps to birds to butterflies. Some of the herps I found including some salamander species I didn't know were even in the area as I haven't found any salamanders there before. I also found some new species of birds such as the Meadowlark and Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I also rescued a little Grey Tree Frog from a pool filter and relocated him (I know he was a male, he was singing) to an area where he wont get into any more trouble.
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.