Notes From The Field-May 30 2017

Notes From The Field-May 30 2017

Today was a busy day, although it started out slow, with a weather delay. I was scheduled to help the Long Point Basin Land Trust with the annual Fox Snake survey but we had to delay due to a morning rain shower. I spent the morning trudging through bush and fields looking for the elusive snakes but yet again we were disappointed. My time wasn’t wasted though as I was taking pictures of all the plants I found interesting. Many of them I haven’t identified yet.

If anyone knows what the following plants are, I’d love to know.

18767687_10154338832546148_2005083378539360015_n18739868_10154338834591148_5607753887372752155_n18739921_10154338835981148_5323802465697392105_n18740812_10154338836421148_4896982637873412350_n

On one of the properties surveyed, there is a very healthy deer population. There are subtle signs of their presence everywhere you look if you know what to look for.  Tracks and scat are the obvious signs to look for and there is plenty of that. By looking carefully, one can also find deer hair, laydowns (bedding areas) shed antlers in the spring and lots of game trails. Can you see the game trails in the photos below?

18765716_10154338839576148_7246420851297837217_n18739724_10154338839936148_7506511730361371843_n

After the snake survey and the subsequent removal of several ticks, I went off in search of some fishing. I went to one of my favourite spots and ate my lunch while watching the birds. The spot I fish at is the mouth of a small creek that flows out of a provincially significant wetland. The creek on one side of the road is contained within the boundary of a national wildlife reserve. I was standing on that side, in the reserve, when I looked down and saw movement in the water. My first thought was that I’d found a water snake!! But no, this was much much better. I had stumbled upon a school of spawning Longnose Gar!!! I estimated there to be well over 50 individual fish in the school and they were amazing!! Up till that point I had only seen one or two and here there were scads of them and I could watch them in their natural habitat and watch their spawning behaviour. Longnose Gar is an ancient fish, practically dinosaurs, and they are one of very few fish species that breathes air. They perform a gas exchange by skimming and snapping along the surface of the water and this behaviour was very apparent today. I was mesmerised!

18740169_10154338792621148_1816525298460554680_n18835839_10154338792816148_3692131926195426294_n

 

While the bugs were horrible and I did get a sunburn, it was all told a wonderful day in the field in Norfolk County!!