As summer comes to an end so to does my time volunteering at Hands On Exotics for the year. Hands On Exotics is an exotic animal shelter located in the GTA and does outreach where they bring their animals to birthday parties, schools, camps, special needs facilities, etc. While volunteering there I was a volunteer zookeeper where I helped to clean animal enclosures, refresh animal's food and water and helped feed some of the reptiles along with misting the arachnids. Now I have moved back to Peterborough but hopefully I will return next summer.
On Sunday I went to the Toronto zoo with my Dad and Aunt. Before even getting there we spotted a smallish hawk perching just by the garage. We of course got to see the many animals that call the zoo their home including the Chinese Giant Salamander.
While in Toronto I checked out Tommy Thompson Park by the water and found that it is much better for birding then for herping. I saw tons of different bird species from Eastern Kingbirds to Yellow Warblers and Great-Blue Herons. I did however see some frogs, only Leopard Frogs for some reason and some dark Leopard Frogs which almost look like Pickerel Frogs. They are easy to differentiate between as Pickerel Frogs have yellow on the lower abdomen. I also met some old birders and had an insightful conversation with one about soil degradation being the number one environmental issue. If the soil does not have the sufficient amount of nutrients then the food produced on the soil does not have the needed nutrients which effects how healthy it is and how it tastes. if the food is deprived of nutrients then it has a negative effect on the health of the individual eating it, effects such as a poorly developed immune system. This poor immune system is responsible for widespread illnesses as it is common throughout a population. An interesting conversation with a different view of the world. He even had experiments with different populations of milkweed on the island, each in different soils, each milkweed population had a significantly different population in Milkwood Bugs, whether the correlation is directly due to the soil quality is not certain. On the way back through the park I stumbled upon a Dekay's Brown Snake that was unfortunately, despite signs, dead on the road (DOR) but at least I know they are in the area so I can look for them next time I'm there.
Day 1 - Haliburton
My Mink Frog photo from before turned out to be only a minky looking Green Frog. Luckily a field technician from Trent University offered to bring me out to find a real Mink Frog in Haliburton. While out we checked out a few ponds where we collected herptile observations which are to be used towards a study surrounding eDNA. we found tons of amphibians including the Mink Frog and some terrestrial phased newts, a species not yet sighted at that pond. It was a great experience and hopefully I will have similar ones in the future.
Day 2/3 - Peterborough
I went out on a hike in Peterborough in a spot where someone in know said they say some Red-Bellied Snakes. I have seen only one before but it got away before I was able to get a photo so I have no actual proof. I did not find the snake but instead found some other animals including birds, butteflies and a porcupine situated not far from my Peterborough house. The next day I headed home and was delighted to find a Painted Turtle.
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.