WRN Teens – Salamanders and Periwinkle

Saturday, April 23 2022
Morning – monitoring salamanders and nest boxes at SpruceHaven
Afternoon – invasive plant control at Montgomery Sanctuary
Haiden’s comments about salamander monitoring with Graeme and Linda on Saturday morning at SpruceHaven:
     On the salamander hunt we all had different jobs. We went around to different boards and lifted them up. Some of them we found salamanders under. We saw Red-backed Salamanders. They were curled up under the boards. Under other boards there were just sticks and leaf litter.  
     The most exciting part was when we lifted up a board and saw the blue-spotted part of a salamander. We all got excited because we thought that it was a Blue-spotted Salamander but when we flipped it over, we realized it was just another Red-backed Salamander that was upside down!
checking for salamanders
checking a nest box
Marg’s comments about nest box monitoring:
     At SpruceHaven, I was with the other group that Michelle led to monitor the nest boxes in Teens’ Row. We were excited to see an Eastern Bluebird nearby. We hope that some will use our boxes! There was also lots of Tree Swallow activity along Teens’ Row. Five of the nine boxes had evidence of the beginnings of nest building — a great sign to see our first time out. It was too early to see eggs but next time we expect the nests to have progressed enough for us to be able to recognize which species built them.
Millie’s comments about our Saturday afternoon work project with Fraser and Levi:
     This outing was at F.H. Montgomery Wildlife Sanctuary, to try and reduce the spread of Periwinkle, because it is invasive. After discussing what we were going to do, we headed into the forest. We started by pulling up some of the old tarps. We then placed the tarps over areas where Periwinkle was growing in order to stop it spreading. Then we placed logs over the tarps to keep them in place, as the area is sometimes flooded by the Nith River. Overall it was great to get out and try to stop the spread of this invasive species.
a tarp weighted with logs
carrying a tarp
placing a log on a tarp
talking about mussels
Sightings not already mentioned:
– In the morning, the nest box group had a short stop at Teens’ Hollow on the way back and were happy to see that the recently created double pond (where Teens planted 100+ trees in 2020!) has lots of water and is being enjoyed by Canada Geese, Mallards, and Red-winged Blackbirds.
– At Montgomery Sanctuary, Fraser explained that because of the flooding they often find Mollusk shells in the woods! He showed us the shells that had been gathered up recently which had amazing names: Fatmucket, Giant Floater, Spike, and Elk Toe! 

– Another fun sighting that day…  On the way to the nest boxes at SpruceHaven, our group saw a large egg on the laneway by the cell tower. We were surprised to see it whole and on the ground out in the open. I send a photo to one of our WRN mentors, David Gascoigne, who wrote back: “It is a Wild Turkey egg, probably from a fertilized female without a nest who simply dropped the egg there when it was time for it to emerge. I have seen this phenomenon before.” We were all duly impressed, then, that afternoon, at Montgomery, we saw the very same thing! David’s comments later about two Wild Turkey eggs in one day: “Two the same day is a little unusual, but I don’t think the phenomenon itself is all that uncommon. Over the years I would guess that I have seen it at least a dozen times.”

wild turkey egg