Sunday, 11 June 2017

Down by the Riverside...........

08 June 2017

     We are very fortunate in having ready access to many natural areas close to home and we are never at a loss to find a pleasant spot to explore.
     One of our favourites is the Mill Race Trail in St. Jacobs, where we have the watercourse created to drive grist mills on one side of the path, and the Conestogo River on the other.
     Northern White-cedar Thuja occidentalis, sometimes referred to as American arborvitae, or Tree of Life, based on the various medicinal and utilitarian uses of this tree, is common.


     Water is a magnet for wildlife, of course, and there is much to be discovered for the patient observer. This American Robin Turdus migratorius was bathing and preening at the water's edge.



     Turtles of various species are commonly seen at this time of year as they seek suitable areas in which to lay their eggs. Many are killed on busy roads, unfortunately, as they try to cross, but more and more frequently one sees turtle crossings built under the road and Turtle Crossing signs abound. Hopefully, the carnage is being reduced.
     This large Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina was basking in the warm sun. Perhaps it is a female, resting from a night of egg laying. In any event, it is an impressive creature.



     Green Frogs Lithobates clamintans could be heard throughout, and it was not difficult to find several of them.


     
         There were thousands of tadpoles, presumably of this species, and they seemed to prefer shallow water close to shore.



     The tadpoles hatch, but do not evolve into froglets until the following season.
     The fact that there were numerous adult frogs in very close proximity to the tadpoles led us to wonder whether the adults protect the tadpoles, but I can find nothing in the literature to verify whether this is true or not. Perhaps it was mere coincidence. (See the following observation from Fraser Gibson, an eminent local naturalist: I suspect the tadpoles in your photo are American Toads. They congregate in large schools in shallow water in early June. By early July they will be tiny toadlets (about 1cm long) with all 4 legs . Toad tadpoles have black bellies while (I think) all frog tadpoles have lightly coloured bellies.)



     A Woodchuck (Groundhog) Marmota momax had a burrow close to the shore and was meandering up and down feeding. Every time I tried to take a picture it would scamper away and I have a great selection of blurred images! Miriam managed this one.


     Dragonflies and damselflies are increasingly to be found, Ebony Jewelwing Calopteryx maculata being one of the most common.


     We came away from our walk in good spirits, refreshed and renewed. Maybe it's time to go right back there to see what else we can discover.

19 comments:

  1. How beautiful to see nature in all its splendor during the spring, in contrast to the cold days that are already arriving in these latitudes. Very good photos of the frogs. How lucky you are to have so many protected places near your house.

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  2. Beautiful pictures you have here David.
    Very nice to see all the different types.
    Greetings Tinie

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  3. Hi Both and some really good images, like the frogs and tadpoles, nature is so wonderful in its way. Super post, all the best, John

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  4. I made a comment and it may have disappeared. If this is a repeat, please ignore. Love your portraits. It is wonderful to have choices of beautiful places to get out in nature -- as you do and I appreciate your shares so much. We saw our first robin in a long while today -- they are very common in the Pacific Northwest, but we never see them in Florida. It felt today as if I'd spotted a rare bird (we are in East Texas at the moment )..
    In spite of all that's wrong with our country (and there is a lot) we are still happy to be traveling and seeing different scenery and thinking about the diversity in land and people.... even though we're moving somewhat quickly on this leg o the journey (quickly for a couple of old people anyway).

    Thanks for sharing the beauty of your area. We'd love to visit it someday. Sigh... so many places ....

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    1. Any time, Sallie. The red carpet will start at the border and go all the way to my house.

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  5. Great to see tadpoles, haven't seen any for years.
    All the photos are lovely.

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  6. Great group of things you discovered.

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  7. That's a big turtle............

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  8. Love this post and it gives me an idea of what creatures there are close by to you. You have turtles and we have lizards :-) Have a good week Diane

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  9. Of course we don't have turtles here and over there I might be tempted to pick up a Snapping Turtle to have a closer look should I see one. I seem to remeber being given warnings about not picking them up. They are rather mean I believe?

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    1. They tend to be ill-tempered to be sure. I sometimes pick them up to help them across a road and I grasp them firmly mid point at either side of their body. I have't lost a finger yet!

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  10. Wow, this is really amazing place with lot of animals. The turtle is very nice. Greetings!

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  11. Buen reportaje amigo mío, las fotos son excelentes. Un abrazo desde España.

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  12. I think the Groundhog is the "Star" here - but the big turtle is remarkable, too.

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  13. Stunning photos, my favourite is the Green Frog, superb.

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  14. Beautiful set of pics.. Congrats and regards from Spain..

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  15. You saw so much down by the riverside and I'm so pleased you shared it with us.
    Wonderful collection of photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  16. Just catching up after returning from Scotland, David. I found this an interesting post about a beautiful place. Thank you.

    I'd no idea that you had so many turtles in Canada. The nearest thing we get to such creatures in UK are those that irresponsible people have released into our rivers and canals when their 'pets' get too big to keep. These are starting to impact on the ecology - they seem to like taking young waterfowl.

    Love to you both - - Richard

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  17. You are blessed with so many beautiful nature areas near home :-)
    Beautiful bird and beautiful insects will show you.
    Nature is truly amazing and we must respect that.

    Best regards, Helma

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