Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

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Marc Dubois
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Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by Marc Dubois » July 14th, 2010, 3:05 pm

On the last weekend of June, me and my friends (Nicholas '' Nir '', Alexandre, Severine & Victor) was on Georgian Bay.

This is the list of herptiles we found:

- Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus) = 6
- Fox Snake (Mintonius [Pantherophis] gloydii) = 1 DOR
- Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis) = 10+
- Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) = 10 + 1 DOR
- Northern Ringneck (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) = 3
- Northern Red-bellied Snake (Storeria o. occipitomaculata) = 1

- Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta marginata) = 2

- American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus) = 20+
- Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanolota) = many
- Mink Frog (Lithobates septentrionalis) = many (heard)
- Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) = many
- Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) = many
- Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer cricifer) = 1

- Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) = 1
- Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus) = 10+


Some pics:

We saw this gravid female Massasauga every days... on the last day she's basking on boards:
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This juvenile had a meal inside (probably a small snake):
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An other juvenile found few minutes later:
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An adult:
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A very cooperative Water Snake:
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An Eastern Garter Snake:
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An other one found a few feet away at the same spot of the first one:
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A leopard Frog:
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A Green Frog:
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A Grey Tree Frog photographed around 10 pm (calling frog was everywhere at this place !!):
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Some landscape:

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And a very bad sight on the last day when we came back:

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** except for the second Garter Snake & the Grey Tree Frog, all of these pics was in situ**


My friend Nicholas (nir) will ad some different pics and comments

Thanks for looking ;)

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Nir
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by Nir » July 14th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Nice pictures Marc! Here is my account of the trip.

It was a fantastic weekend!! The weather was not on our side as far as camping goes (Marc and Victor caught water in their tent!! hehe), but the snakes seemed to love it. We mostly had rainy days with some clearings at the end of the day. The last few hours of the day were our most productive!

So here are my pictures:

On the first day, we found this large gravid female Eastern Massassauga. She was not very happy to see us! This is the same female that Marc posted on his first pic, but as found on the first day.

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I really enjoy this picture... It's kind of a weird angle but I like it...

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That same night, Marc Victor and me followed the sound of gray tree frogs calling and soon found a bunch of males calling from the side of the water. They were everywhere and we had to be careful not to squish any of them. This specimen was comfortable enough to call right in my face/lens...

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On the second day, we were lucky enough to find two rattlers. They were both yearlings as far as we could tell. One of them was about to shed.

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After finding the second baby, we spotted a duo of garter snakes basking. This specimen let me get about 3 inches from his face and so I got some in situ shots that don't look that much in situ... hehe Here is the result:

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While posing the two garters, Alex flipped this weird looking ringneck snake. I've seen many northern ringnecks, but never have I seen one with it's neck so orange...

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With only a couple of hours of herping done and 3 specimens of our target species found. We were already more than satisfied... Little did we know that the best was yet to come. In the meantime, that evening while letting the others start the fire (I suck at that), I managed to find this nice looking guiness beer. It was a mighty fine way to end the day.

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The next morning, saturday, it was rainy... Once the rain stopped, we decided to hike a trail in the woods. I took the time to do a little birding and saw a few cool warbler species. Once we reached some open space, it wasn't long before we noticed a few garters basking... We thought that the time was good for herps so we decided to check the shore lines for basking fox snakes... As Marc already said, we weren't lucky with this species, but we did see a couple of watersnakes taking advantage of the few rays of sun available. We soon found this nice looking adult who was incredibly cooperative. We spent at least a half hour taking pictures and we never had to touch him... These are my favorite two pictures of the bunch I took...

I love the splash of the waves in this one:

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With habitat

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At the end of the afternoon, the sun was out in full force, so I insisted that we delay our super and go look for rattlers. It was though to convince everyone (sometimes hunger is hard to repell! hehe) but eventually everyone followed. It wasn't long before we knew we had made the right decision when Severine spotted two females basking together. Again, they were very cooperative and we took a couple of pictures.

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I was (and I believe everyone else) in herping heaven!! But that was not all. As Alex came running towards us to photograph the two females he had to stop in his tracks when he heard a rattling sound right at his feet. That's right, there were three massassaugas in a radius of 2 meters!!!

Here is the third one that was hiding in the blueberry bush

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The day was over and the trip was too, so after such a great day, we decided the time was good for a group shot:

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from the left: Victor, Me, Alex, Sev and Marc

That's about it...

KUJordan
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by KUJordan » July 15th, 2010, 4:12 am

Holy cow that was amazing. I've yet to see an eastern sauga, so I can't imagine seeing a pair like those last few pics! Great shots! That versicolor near the top is AMAZING!

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Jon Wedow
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by Jon Wedow » July 15th, 2010, 6:23 am

Great photos from both of you guys!

Marc that fox snake photo is very sad... it looks like she was still holding eggs too.

Nicholas that orange ringneck is really strange!

Jon

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ahockenberry
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by ahockenberry » July 15th, 2010, 12:51 pm

Superb trip, great images and good photography !!
Thanks for sharing

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Nir
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by Nir » July 19th, 2010, 9:39 am

Thanks for the comments!!

Jon, the orange ringneck was weird... However the belly was normally colored...

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Dan Krull
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by Dan Krull » July 19th, 2010, 12:24 pm

What a wonderful post. I really wish I was right there with you.

DAN

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tspuckler
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Re: Georgian Bay, Ontario... saugas & more !

Post by tspuckler » July 19th, 2010, 2:43 pm

That's a whole lotta saugas!
I like the orange tints in those E. Garters.
The ring on that Ringneck is w-i-d-e.

That was quite an enjoyable post!

Tim

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