Journal archives for March 2016

March 04, 2016

Visiting Spring Garden (In Not-Quite-Yet-Spring)

I love Ojibway Park in Windsor, Ontario and have extensively visited its forest and prairie land. Until this Monday however, I haven't visited an unconnected plot of land known as "Spring Garden Natural area," which is also part of the Ojibway Park complex.

The Spring Garden is a 289 acre plot that was purchased by the City of Windsor in 1999. A walking/cycling trail winds through it. According to the Ojibway Park website "Many rare, threatened and endangered species of plants and animals inhabit Spring Garden such as Purple Twayblade Orchid, American Chestnut, Colic-root, Dense Blazing Star, Wild Indigo Duskywing butterfly, Duke's Skipper, Red-headed Woodpecker and Grey Fox.

Spring Garden features oak savanna and woodland, dry prairie, buttonbush swamp and a wetland in the form of an old lagoon. Formerly the area was much more open but trees have invaded many sites"

It also happens that the rather rare Massasauga Rattlesnake and the endangered Eastern Fox Snake have made their home there.

It was beautiful and I am very enamored by the habitat. We have a lot of nice natural areas in Essex County, but it is astounding that I have not as of yet spent any time in this one! I'm also glad I got there before snow came once again. That said, I only count this winter visit to the Spring Garden a "half visit" and I look forward to visiting the site in Spring.

While walking back to my car, I saw my second wolf spider of the year!

Posted on March 04, 2016 11:18 by marknenadov marknenadov | 13 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 09, 2016

Another Visit To Spring Garden

This was the second day in a row that I visited the Spring Garden natural area in Windsor, Ontario. The weather has been in the 50's and low 60's. Yesterday, there was a surprising amount left, but today it was completely gone.

It was a short visit and I spent most of the time walking a water-logged trail near one of the entrances.This trip was surprisingly fruitful. I was able to add three new species to my life list, including a delightful Western Chorus Frog. I saw my first frog, snake, and butterflies of 2016. There were also a few creatures I saw that haven't been recorded on here (since I don't have a firm ID nor a photograph of them), including a few birds and a wolf spider.

I look forward to visiting this location more when Spring and Summer come!

Posted on March 09, 2016 02:17 by marknenadov marknenadov | 14 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 23, 2016

First Spring in "Spring Garden"

The weather warmed up to over 50F and so I decided to visit the Spring Garden natural area. The Eastern Garter Snakes were out and about, and moving than they were when the temperature was in the mid 40s. It was a pleasant short hike.

I started going off trail a bit, though I didn't find any snakes until I returned to the trail. I found my first "snake under cover" for the year when I returned to some roofing shingles I had discovered on a previous visit.

I didn't find anything interesting spider wise--just a handful of immature wolf spiders. I found a couple of Mourning Cloak butterflies and my first honey bee of the season. Flipping logs and other items yielded slugs in genus Arion and genus Ambigolimax, as well as a few snails, probably from the genus Oxychilus. I also found a fairly large nematode.

Posted on March 23, 2016 09:29 by marknenadov marknenadov | 13 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 28, 2016

Micro-Habitat Experiment

Over the winter, I left a Christmas wreath on the grass of a residential property. On March 11th, I began to shake and strike the wreath to see what creatures have made it their home.

My first couple of attempts yielded lots of spiders. There were probably 30 or so spiders that dropped out of it when I struck the wreath against the pavement twice. The yield was mostly immature wolf spiders, though I did record a thickjawed orbweaver (Pachygnatha tristriata) and a spider in the genus Erigone. The thickjawed orbweaver was a very exciting find, my first ever. Other than the spiders, there were a few millipedes.

Periodically, I checked the wreath between March 19th to March 27th. Subsequent attempts to dislodge creatures from the wreath yielded nothing but a small handful of immature wolf spiders. And then the flies have seemed to make their presence known. I found a Fungus Gnat (Mycetophilidae), a Dung Fly (Limosininae), and a fly within the super family Muscoidea. I also found a non-insect hexapod, a springtail within the genus Entomobryomorpha.

Overall, I've found it an interesting and simple way to survey invertebrates. It helped me to find creatures from one class, two families, one subfamily, and one genus that I have never found before. I would like to try it again, perhaps later in the year. I'm disappointed that more spiders didn't colonize the wreath after the initial couple surveys. However, it is still early in the year and in general the species variety is not yet that great on the property in general (mainly just immature wolf spiders and I found the first jumping spider this weekend).

Posted on March 28, 2016 17:02 by marknenadov marknenadov | 9 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

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