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Thread: Spring has finally sprung in Ontario- some nighttime frogs, a couple snake and a bonus turtle

  1. #1

    Default Spring has finally sprung in Ontario- some nighttime frogs, a couple snake and a bonus turtle

    It's been a looooong winter. As much as I love the seasons that don't involve mosquitoes, I've been hankering for some outdoor frog time. Mid-April the margins of the ponds were starting to be clear of ice and one of my usual haunts turned up large numbers of dead Leopard frogs just under the ice. It's been a tougher winter on the frogs than on me.

    Waldo, my Grey Treefrog, made the mistake of calling attention to himself by trilling on the 16th so the camera was aimed his way while I still pined for some outdoor targets. He was kind enough to pose for me on one of his snake plants (click on any picture for a larger version):

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    But we're not here for captive frogs, and Waldo has had just about enough of me this winter. My first live herps of the season were actually a couple of snakes found on random hikes on sunny kinda warmish days that brought them out to bask. From left to right an Eastern Gartersnake, Thamnophis sirtalis, from the 19th and an Eastern Ribbonsnake, Thamnophis sauritus, from the 20th:

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    A bit more sun, with a bit of rain thrown in, April 21st was finally a night worth going out in. About 11C, with a light sprinkling of rain I found my first live frogs of the season. The first of the night, a Leopard Frog, Lithobates pipiens, was trying it's best not to draw attention to itself by just sitting motionless on the bottom of the pond:

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    I always find these guys a little hard to look at in the spring, the sub-adult Northern Green Frogs, Lithobates clamitans, that always seem to look emaciated this time of year. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are hanging out at the breeding ponds to snack on wee Peepers, so I don't feel too sorry for them:

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    There was much chorusing, Wood Frogs, Leopard Frogs, and Pickerel Frogs were all sounding off. As usual, the bravest are also the smallest. Hard to locate among last years dead grasses, but once found a Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer, will usually resume peeping with little encouragement:

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    And another Peeper, hanging on to some dead grasses. By this time, I had remembered how I had a pin-hole leak somewhere in my chest waders and my right boot was starting to get full (later in the summer I go out in sandals and bathing suit):

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    The last frog of the night, a robust adult Green Frog. I don't expect them to start calling for another month at least, but there are usually a few big males around with shifty looks in their eyes:

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    Overall a pretty decent first night out. But I think my best herping encounter so far happened when I scouted the swamp in the daylight hours before I returned after sundown for the frogs. I was delighted to find one of our resident Snapping Turtles, Chelydra serpentina, hanging out on a mound of dead grass just out of the water.

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    It's a big'un. I believe it's one of two giants that I've found many times slowly swimming through the swamp or adjacent lazy stream last year (indeed, I found it again when I was out at night perusing the frog selection), but it was a treat to find it out of the water. More so since it was content to let me take as many pictures as I wanted, and get within it's snapping distance without showing any aggression towards me at all. A portrait of the turtle:

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    I checked back on it about 45 minutes after leaving it's space and it still hadn't moved- it was content to lounge in the air and nibble on the nearby dead grass. I usually only find them on land when they're laying eggs, or on their way to lay eggs, and those busy females I don't bother too much. I felt pretty ok invading this ones personal space for about 15 minutes, time enough to get some decent pics and probably what will be my favorite herp encounter of 2014. Is it too early to call that?

    Thanks for taking the time to look!

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  3. #2
    Moderator Mentat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Spring has finally sprung in Ontario- some nighttime frogs, a couple snake and a bonus turtle

    Thanks for sharing your trip anecdotes and excellent photo's Brian ! Waldo looks awesome !
    Remember to take care of the enclosure and it will take care of your frog !​

  4. #3
    SweetApples
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    Default Re: Spring has finally sprung in Ontario- some nighttime frogs, a couple snake and a bonus turtle

    Will you get Waldo a mate if he wants to breed?.

  5. #4

    Default Re: Spring has finally sprung in Ontario- some nighttime frogs, a couple snake and a bonus turtle

    Quote Originally Posted by Mentat View Post
    Thanks for sharing your trip anecdotes and excellent photo's Brian ! Waldo looks awesome !
    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by SweetApples View Post
    Will you get Waldo a mate if he wants to breed?.
    Nope, no breeding for him.

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