Monday, 21 May 2018

Hubby went out, I played at home!

There was a big Bluegrass festival last Friday. They began setting up on Tuesday, when I drove by. Lots of campers. 

Eastern Ontario Bluegrass Festival

Off he went. I wasn't in the mood. Apparently, they moved it from the main building to the barn, which leaks. It was pouring rain. Also, people were to supply their own chairs. He sat in a chair, just borrowing it until its owner returned.

I stayed home and did walkies, too. I spotted some fungus.

I fetched the trailcam photos. Daisy, wild turkeys, a pair of juvie males, Butch raccoon, and a porcupine!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I counted the goldfish. We are down to 5, from 6.

I don't know if this is related, but there was a garter snake in the goldfish pond. Daisy and I watched it, then encouraged it to take off. Last year, they were picking off the froggies one-by-one. We only have one froggie in the pond!

Fred groundhog has been showing up in the afternoons.

The bleeding hearts are blooming under Bob V.
Then, there is the jack-in-the-pulpit. We drove to Native and rare plants, back in 2015 to pick these up. I'm happy to see them. I'd forgotten about them!

I love spring!

We love that we can get our syrup, from trees across the street. Down the highway, they grow asparagus, as well as other things, and there is  a sheep farm! 

I went out onto the front porch early in the morning. There was a rabbit.
Bunny freezes. Daisy thinks she can creep up on it. Hooper was at my feet, he didn't even try.
Daisy & the bunny from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

My photos have been both sad and happy. JB spotted a raptor taking a duck away for lunch. This is all that remains, feathers on the pond.

 The pond is an amazing ecosystem. I miss my lake, but this has given me such pleasure.

I decorated in honour of the UK, thanks to hubby bringing me home a cap and flag. Yup, I know there are pros and cons to the monarchy, but what a ceremony: joy, love, celebration, and an amazing choir.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Paint Party Friday

Yes, I know I'm late to the party, but it's the way it is!
Paint Party Friday: Week 11, Year 8 Check-in
We had a wonderful trip through our forest hunting turtles for a Blanding's (our turtle survey). I have turtles on the brain. This is a combination of pencil crayons, fine markers to outline, and my blue sharpie.

Endangered turtles in Ontario

I even created a turtle bar, just for fun, for the blog post.

There are some wonderful How To online teachers out there. I visited Brown Paper Bunny last week.

I don't use paint at my client's house, when I sit with her twice weekly.
These are fine markers, which require a different technique. I did my blue schmoo with pencil crayon.
For this, I was inspired!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

CHipping sparrow nest

In the veggie garden, under some dried twitch grass. Sadly, I scared her, sitting on her nest, when I went to check for asparagus. The eggs are cold, but they are still courting.

chipping sparrow from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

Wood duck nests 2018

May 16 – Wood duck boxes

Box #1 – 8 eggs
Box #2 – 9 eggs
Box #3 – 4 eggs

Sadly, I was back to check on them. Box #3 (left) the eggs are cold.

#2 and #3

Last year, I would sit across the pond and watch them come and go.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Endangered turtles in Ontario: our turtle survey

I am proud to say we have participated in citizen research, e.g., reporting on nestings (phoebe, robin, wood ducks, barred owls), feeder watch, Interactions occurring at feeders, and the like. We have also released rehabilitated skunks (3 in 2017)) and raccoons (8 last fall + 4 in 2016) from our local wildlife centre (Skunk and Raccoon Release Photos – Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary).


Sadly, 3 of our 8 Ontario turtles species are *endangered (softshell, spotted, wood turtles). One is extirpated (box turtle), 3 more are of 'special concern' (snapping, map and musk/stinkpot turtles), and Blanding's is threatened. Our painted turtles are doing well.

Wednesday, May 16th, we had people from the Canadian Wildlife Federation come to do a survey of Blandings Turtles. Spoiler alert: I am happy to report that they found one in the wetland.

Firstly, we skirted the wetland, binoculars at the ready. Then Dave determine the three of them would march in the deeper wetland. Turtles tend to come out in the morning, to warm up on the tussocks in the sunshine.

Dave, and two of his students, went off to explore the actual wetland from The Point. They shed their backpacks, and marched away. 

I took one student and skirted the edges, going down to the frog pond, and back. The others weren't back at our meeting point, so we went off right to the end of our property and returned to The Point. 

Finally, all of us took a final walk to our third lot. It was slow going, as the young ladies had to turn over every log looking for salamanders, snakes, and the like. The trailcam captured us!

Here is our trek.
We started at the house.
Left them to venture into the wetland at The Point.
M and I did the pink section.
Then we all trekked to the far end and back to the house.
The X marks the spot where they found a Blanding's Turtle!  
Dave's student, with her M.Sc. specialising in turtles, found one in the bog. Dave sent me her photo!
Blanding's Turtle, juvenile ~2 years old
The Y on the map marks the spot where we found the porcupine carcass.  I'd put its body there, as he was roadkill. The turkey vultures made swift work of him, just a few bones remain. I'd totally forgotten it was there. They found it! That is where I put the grouse, as well. Only its feathers remain.

When we were done, hubby invited our crew to sit for lunch. He brought out juice and sandwiches, which he'd bought in town while we were tromping around. I hauled out the umbrella, fetched a few chairs. We sat and had lunch. We watched the birds and then a swallowtail in the flowers.

 While we chatted, Dave, the Freshwater Turtle Specialist (Help The Turtles), explained that ours is the 5th site they've explored. They found Blandings in 2 of the 5 sites. Off they went to their next location.

The next day Dave emailed me and said that on their way home, "We found two Painted Turtles alive on the shoulder of roads on our way back to Ottawa and one juvenile Blandings. It is way too early for nesting season to have begun, so it must be turtles moving from wetlands they were wintering in to summer ranges."

I didn't realize it at the time, but I did find one in October, 2012. I have no memory of the location, but recall it was covered in duck weed. We had a lot of rain that October. I think the date is accurate, it's hard to say, although they should have settled into their winter hibernation by then!

Blandings Oct. 26, 2012
    Blandings Oct. 26, 2012

Why are turtles facing extinction? (CWF)

The Canadian Wildlife Federation and Scales Nature Park are calling for more people to help to save turtles at risk after record numbers of dead turtles were found last summer on roads in the Muskoka and Ottawa regions.
  • 247 dead turtles were found on roads in the Muskoka area.
  • 542 dead turtles were found on roads in the Ottawa area.
  • 83 turtles were provincially threatened Blanding’s Turtle species (22 Muskoka/61 Ottawa).
  • Over 350 people called in to the Turtle Hotline in Muskoka last summer (1-705-955-4284).

*The four categories, or classes, of "at risk" are on a continuum:
  • EXTIRPATED - a native species that no longer exists in the wild in Ontario, but still exists elsewhere  
  • ENDANGERED - a native species facing extinction or extirpation 'Butch' omnivore 
  • THREATENED - a native species at risk of becoming endangered in Ontario 
  • SPECIAL CONCERN - a native species that is sensitive to human activities or natural events which may cause it to become endangered or threatened

Emergency Turtle Rescue

Ironically, hours after turtle surveying, hubby found a painted turtle, quite bloody and wounded on the highway. He brought it home. We ended up driving it to Rideau Valley Wildlife at 9 p.m. They assured us they would sedate it, then check it out in the morning. It was 49 minutes in the dusk, and 56 km. We arrived there at 9:35 p.m. (These are archive photos.) 
Painted Turtles