Head of Trent is our university's equivalent to homecoming but instead of football we have the rowing regatta. This attracts a large amount of people from all over Ontario who both compete and watch as their friends and family compete. This large amount of people is why Head of Trent is the perfect time to protest to get the message out about the development taking place on Trent campus. There was a large Indigenous Presence along with some friends of Debbie who were around campus in animal hats educating people about the development of Trent's wetlands.
I decided that between classes I would take Loverick, the secretary of the Trent Wildlife Society to see if I could find him a salamander, something he has not seen previously in the wild. We headed to a few different spots on campus however only managed to find a rather large Eastern Garter Snake and a photogenic Northern leopard Frog.
The Trent Outdoor Club hosted a hiking trip in Algonquin Park so of course I had to go. Before even leaving the parking lot I was able to find an Eastern Red-Backed Salamander although this was the only species of herptile I was able to see on the trip though I did find many throughout the trail. Some people further ahead on the trail witnessed a Moose however it was gone by the time I got there. After the trail we spent some time in the gift shop where I got a patch and noticed my friend Baz was running the cash.
Between classes I decided to try and flip at a snake spot I had not checked since coming back to Peterborough. As I headed there I noticed an Eastern Garter Snake in the distance eating what I originally thought to be a frog but upon further investigation I noticed a long dark tail sticking out of its mouth. The tail belonged to a Blue-Spotted Salamander, a species I did not know inhabited the wetland. While photographing the snake I noticed that the salamander had produced a rather sticky substance (one I have had one my multiple times and once in my eye) that had made consuming the salamander difficult due to the large amount of debris sticking to the snake's mouth. Now knowing there were salamanders in the area I decided to try flipping and managed to find a large, adult, Blue-Spotted Salamander. For reasons unknown I did not manage to find any metamorphic individuals. Upon heading to the snake spot I found a large amount of people close to the spot and so did not pursue it so that it remains a secret. Crossing the path however was a small Eastern Garter Snake followed by a Northern Red-Bellied Snake. I later phoned fellow herper; Jordan and showed him the Blue-Spotted Salamander I had found previously.
After not finding any salamander the previous day (likely due to the dry heat) we decided to try again in some other spots in the hopes of finding Brenda her lifer Red-Backed Salamadner (of all things). One spot I knew we would find some as they had signs boasting of their large Plethodon population. Heading there we walked along the path and managed to find an Eastern Garter Snake along the edge of the trail. At the beginning we did not manage to flip anything but going deeper into the forest we managed to turn up a recently metamorphed Blue-Spotted Salamander, the most common species of salamander in the area. This was a lifer for Brenda as well although sadly she was not able to get any clear photos of account of her not knowing how to use her Nikon. We eventually found a few Eastern Red-Backed Salamanders, this species, although common everywhere is hard to come by in Peterborough. This anomaly may be due to the high soil acidity which may damage the skin of delicate lungless salamanders while the mole salamanders are able to persevere.
Over the weekend I decided to go for a hike along the rotary where I was fortunate enough to spot a few Eastern Garter Snakes, frogs and Midland Painted Turtles. While viewing the Painted Turtles I met up with my friend Brenda and we headed to several spots in and around Peterborough in the hopes of finding some migratory birds and some Salamanders. Sadly, we did not turn up any salamanders but were fortunate enough to see a juvenile Eastern Musk Turtle.
On Friday between classes I decided to try flipping in one of my snake spots where I have also found salamanders. No snakes although I did find that the salamander migration has started. During early fall every year the newly metamorphed salamanders emerge from their ponds and colonize the land. During this time the salamander metamorphs are both easy to find and plentiful if one knows where to look. One spot I found during a previous fall, sported one of the largest Blue-Spotted Salamander populations I have seen. As a result I often frequent this area during the fall and more times than not have found a plethora of small Blue-Spotted Salamanders and a few clear Unisexual Mole Salamanders.
Due to classes I have not had time to update this blog on my many herping trips from the fall semester, as a result there is a large backlog. On the first of September I went on a hike along the rotary trail which extends from downtown Peterborough to Lakefield. The trail consists of a large amount of different habitats from old growth forests to farmers fields and a large assortment of wetlands where I have seen many different herptile species. The trail itself also holds in heat from the sun which attracts snakes which use these heat reserves for basking. Upon my return to campus the sun was setting so I walked over to some of the buildings on campus to see what insect species the lights would attract.
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.