24 de noviembre de 2019

ERS 346 Outing #4

Time and Date: 19/11/19 16:20
Duration: 40 minutes
Location: Laurel Creek, Waterloo, ON
Weather: 3, slight breeze, No precip, mostly cloudy
Habitat: Urban, River, Riparian

Metisse and I headed to Laurel Creek on our fourth outing. This habitat was more urban than any of the habitats we had visited before this. As we started the outing we counted 27 American Crows flying overhead. Walking closer to the river we found some Eastern Grey Squirrel nests high up in some trees. Reaching the edge of the river, most of the vegetation had turned brown and lost its leaves for the winter. Despite this we identified goldenrod and European Buckthorn along the river's edge. Once we reached the river we saw roughly 100 Mallard ducks swimming in an area where Laurel Creek ponds. We observed them going upsidedown in the water to feed. They were also very noisy. There were about 15 Canadian Geese mixed in with the Mallards. We also observed a female Northern Cardinal calling from a tree. We could tell it was female because of its brown colour. When we crossed to the other side of Laurel Creek, using a bridge, we found some tracks in the snow. There was a mixture of Canada Goose and mammal tracks. Nearing the end of our outing, we also spotted 3 Black-capped Chickadees in some shrubs.

Some of the Mallards we observed had molted into breeding plumage, with the males having green heads and looking distinctly different from the females. This is different than what was observed in Outing # 2 when none of the ducks were in breeding plummage.

Ingresado el 24 de noviembre de 2019 por kcaruso kcaruso | 9 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

ERS 346 Outing #3

Time and Date: 19/10/07 13:00
Duration: 180 minutes
Location: Forks of the Credit Provincial Park, Caledon, ON
Weather: 14, Windy, No precip, Partly cloudy
Habitat: Interior Deciduous Forest

I decided to go on a fall walk during reading week to see the fall colours. Forks of the Credit is not too far of a drive from my home in Brampton, so I decided to head there. I spotted an Isabella Tiger Moth caterpillar moving along the pavement when I got out of my car. On my walk from the car to the beginning of the trailhead, I heard several Black-capped Chickadees with their classic "chick-a-dee-dee" call. I also saw them flying and hopping from tree to tree. The majority of the trees along the trail were Sugar Maples, although I also saw lots of Trembling Aspen and birch trees. There was lots of Staghorn Sumac along the trail. Near the beginning of my walk I heard what sounded like a nuthatch. It stopped calling and I was not positive that I had heard anything until I spotted the White-breasted Nuthatch. It, unfortunately, would not stay still enough for a picture as it was hopping around the branches of a tree, searching for insects in the bark. As I continued walking, I spotted a chipmunk hopping along the forest floor. I also spotted some feces on the trail, although I'm pretty sure it belongs to a domestic dog. As I was almost finished my hike, I noticed some strange fruits, iNaturalist identified this plant as an Eastern Black Walnut. As I was heading back to my car I heard and spotted a Red-breasted Nuthatch. It was quite windy during this outing which made it difficult to hear any other birds that may have been in the area.

It was interesting to see a different variety of species in the interior of a forest. This was vastly different than the waterbirds observed in the first two outings. The nuthatches and chickadees are specialized at eating the berries and insects in the forest and are small with small sharp bills. Waterbirds, on the other, hand have different features that allow them to be successful in their habitat.

Ingresado el 24 de noviembre de 2019 por kcaruso kcaruso | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

ERS 346 Outing #2

Time and Date: 19/09/23 15:21
Duration: 34 minutes
Location: Claire Lake, Waterloo, ON
Weather: 22, moderate breeze, No precip during the observation period, cloudy
Habitat: Shoreline, Lake, Urban

Since Metisse and I saw lots of species at Columbia Lake, we thought we would try a different lake in the Waterloo area. Claire Lake is a manmade lake nestled in a suburban area. On our walk from the car to the lake, we observed 2 Eastern Grey Squirrels chasing each other up a tree. Once we got to the lake, a Mallard walked right up to us. Around the lake, there was lots of goldenrod, aster, dogwood, and several willow trees. There was a large American Beech tree around where we were observing. The shoreline was relatively small and we were unable to walk very far along the lake. Many houses backed onto the lake. We spotted roughly 30 Mallards across the lake, and when they spotted us, they all swam over. It's clear that people in this neighbourhood feed the ducks because they did not fear us at all. We did not see any more wildlife during this outing which was quite disappointing. We ended up cutting this outing short because it started pouring rain and we ran back to the safety of the car.

We noticed that all of the Mallards present were brown. None of them had the green head that is typical of male breeding Mallards. This is because male Mallards molt into their breeding plumage later in the fall. It is expected that mallards in breeding plumage will be observed in later observations.

Ingresado el 24 de noviembre de 2019 por kcaruso kcaruso | 1 observación | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

ERS 346 Outing #1

Date and Time: 19/09/16 15:06
Duration: 62 minutes
Location: Columbia Lake
Weather: 20, light breeze, cloudy, no precip
Habitat: Lake, Wetland, Shoreline, Mixed Deciduous Forest

Metisse and I decided to drive to Columbia Lake for our first outing. Once we got out of the car, we could hear a Blue Jay calling from a nearby tree. Around the perimeter of the lake, the vegetation consisted of Goldenrod, Cattails, Willow trees, and some species of Aster. There were 5 Western Honey Bees on the Aster. We noticed 2 birds of prey flying high in the sky. Despite having binoculars, they were too far up to get a positive identification. I'm thinking they were Red-tailed Hawks because I had seen several in the Waterloo area a few days prior. We also noted 2 ring-billed gulls flying overhead. Two dragonflies were also observed flying over the lake. Scanning the vegetation with binoculars, I noticed a Great Blue Heron standing still on the edge of the lake. It was most likely looking for small fish in the water to eat. We attempted to get a closer look, but the heron flew away. We walked to the larger portion of the lake and found several bird species hanging out on a spit of land. These included 22 Canadian Geese, 150 Ring-billed Gulls, and 1 Great Egret. I also heard a Killdeer as we were watching the Great Egret. Walking further along the edge of the lake, we saw 3 Double-crested Cormorants swimming in the lake. We also observed another 3 Great Blue Herons as we walked along the edge of the lake. Most of these birds were probably heading south for the winter and were using Columbia Lake as a food source before their journey.

The area of Columbia Lake also contains a wooded area dominated by deciduous trees and a couple of pine trees. Upon entering the forest we saw a fluffy caterpillar, which was later identified as a Hickory Tussock Moth by iNaturalist. In the forest, we found some mammal feces with seeds in it. I'm not sure what species the feces belongs to, but the seeds indicate that it is some type of herbivore or omnivore. Metisse discovered some bones on the ground. We attempted to reassemble the skeleton to see what the animal was. We figured it was some type of bird because the bones were hollow. iNaturalist users decided it was some type of gull. It was most likely predated and brought into the wooded area, as gulls tend not to reside in forests and prefer open areas. We also found some Common Raccoon prints in the mud. On the way back to the car, we spotted a garter snake in the grass.

Ingresado el 24 de noviembre de 2019 por kcaruso kcaruso | 14 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario