The Trent Wildlife Society hosted a November trip to the Haliburton Wolf Centre. Members got the chance to tour the wolf museum which showed wolf ecology, evolution and the culture surrounding them. The highlight however was undeniably the wolf viewing area where we got to see the centre’s wolf pack. A pack of pure form timber wolves inhabiting one of the largest enclosures in North America to give the animals a feel of being in the wild. These wolves are all captive bred and do not know how to hunt like wolves in the wild so they are regularly fed donated foods such as deer among other game animals. The Haliburton Wolf Centre aims to educate people on wolves and how to live with these amazing, almost mythical animals. The Haliburton area also has Hershey the moose, a moose who was orphaned and now lives a happy life greeting visitors to the Haliburton Wolf Centre.
One day between classes I thought I would make my way to the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre which is a short bus ride from campus. While there I got to see many of their rescues, turtles that were hit by cars and now reside at the turtle centre. Most of their rescued turtles will end up being released once the weather warms up although some cannot be released and so are used as educational animals for outreach. I also got to see the hatchery where hundreds of turtle hatchlings live. Often times when a turtle is hit on the road, the eggs can still be viable so they are brought to the turtle centre where they are incubated and raised until the following year to give them the best chance. The highlight was getting to see Rusty, the centre’s newest education animal, a Wood Turtle that was missing it’s front legs. It was a nice change of scenery to Trent Campus and reminds me of when I used to volunteer there and got to look after the many hundreds of hatchlings.
This November day was unbelievably warm so naturally I went out herping. Heading to my salamander spot I first checked the rocky outcrop where I usually find snakes, there were none but I did manage to find three Blue-Spotted Salamanders. The first one was beginning to produce "slime" as it were, a sticky substance produced from the base of the tail, they often do this if they feel overly stressed. When I noticed this behavior I quickly returned the salamander to his rock so not to stress him out more than I already have. The second was the smallest terrestrial Blue-Spotted Salamander I have seen, it was small enough to sit comfortably along my outstretched pinky finger. This individual likely had metamorphed relatively recently, hopefully he survives the winter as smaller individuals have a smaller fat reserve than others. Heading deeper into the woods where I usually find salamanders I found none but instead noticed an Eastern Garter Snake cross my path. I got within a meter to take some photos and the Garter put on a threat display not unlike that of Hognose Snake. It had flattened itself out and was rising up in its best attempt to mimic a cobra. I later met up with fellow Herper; Colten, and we went to the silver maple swamp on campus to see what was still out. The air had become much colder as the sun was nearing the horizon so many of the reptiles would no longer be out, we did however manage to see a little Northern Green Frog in the swamp and I got some underwater shots of a Northern Leopard Frog before the sun had gone and we had to leave.
Another surprisingly warm day lead me out to see if I could potentially find a salamander. The night before was raining so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. I managed to find one Blue-Spotted Salamander in my usual spot. Usually I would find more but it is likely that the colder temperatures have sent most other salamanders underground bringing the fall migration to an inevitable end.
During a surprisingly warm day in November I headed to my salamander spot as at this point any herping opportunity could be my last. It was raining out and everything was damp. I started in my snake spot as I have often found salamanders there as well and managed to flip an Eastern Garter Snake in the rain on a somewhat chilly day. The salamanders I later found deeper in the woods I was expecting and managed to find one in a portion of the woods I had never seen a salamander in making for a new observation for iNaturalist.
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.