|Baby American Toad|
|Eastern Garter Snake|
Although it was a slow weekend for herps and for birding, I was still able to see a few of my favourites that I had seen throughout the spring. I was also able to drive around the park with my boyfriend (Michael Colley) and get to learn all about his Master's Project (With Laurentian & Queens University) taking place there. As some of you may know, Killbear Provincial park has been installing underground eco-passages throughout the park for reptiles (mainly for Massasauga Rattlesnakes)
ECOPASSAGE: A series of fences leading to under-road tunnels that allow wildlife (and in this case snakes) to safely cross roadways
|Dead Massasauga Rattlesnake|
Massasauga Rattlesnakes are the only venomous snake in Ontario! They have only three populations which can be found in the Georgian Bay (largest pop), a small area in Niagara, and a small area in Windsor.
This project involved a crap ton of surveys, which is mainly walking and biking up a variety of roads and collecting data on dead snakes that are found as well as collecting and processing live massasaugas. "Processing" the snake involves first placing a tube around it's upper potion (so that it can't bite you). The lower buttons of the rattle are then painted colours and they are pit-tagged (which is similar to microchipping). The paint allows the snake to be detected as having been caught before while in the wild, while the pit-tag allows electronic readers at either end of the ecopassage to detect when a snake has used it. The reader will bring up a number associated with the tag and then researchers will be able to know which snakes (ie. sex, approx how old, etc) have been using the passage and if populations are able to mix.
|Massassauga being processed|
|Mike and the Georgian Bay Sunset|
It was so sad when the weekend was over. Great food, great friends, an unbelievably beautiful sunset, and amazing little creatures. Of course, the weekend ended with much more sun and warmer temperatures leading to the last find....helping a Blanding's Turtle cross the road!
Till next time! Happy Outdoorsing!
|Me and a Blanding's!|