Showing posts from 2020

Poke, An Introduction

When we were at the Niagara Dufferin Island Nature Area in 2008, we gathered some Poke ( Phytolacca americana ) seeds to see how they would fare with climate change in Bishops Mills. This is a spectacular metres-high perennial broad-leaved herb, which produces spring shoots which used, before they were shown to contain a carcinogen, to be eaten in the spring as a North American analog of Asparagus. By 2011, the one surviving plant of a few initial seedlings was 2.5 m tall, and bearing fruit. The local Birds seemingly didn't need an introduction to the berries of this species, and take them as soon as they turn dark, likely contributing to the purple bird-splats that were on the pavement in front of the houses. In October 2013, something, either the winter or the previous summer's drought, had almost killed the plant, which was only 1 m high, with the first flowers opening. In 2014, though, it was huge, with 10 stems as much as 2.6 m tall. It continued until 2017, when there was

Visits to the Castor River

Visits to Branches of the Castor River   On 26 June 2020, 10h13, air temperature 24°C, sunny, Beaufort gentle breeze, we set out to check the three branches of the Castor River for Molluscs, and for whatever else.  We'd found a nice variety of Unionid mussels at the Little Castor at Rte 400 last fall, and had a nice variety on the main Castor below Russell in 2000, so the upstream branches were a surprising disappointment – a strange mixture of clay and angular rocks, a long brushy way below their bridges. Beavers were conspicuous by their absence. The main Castor below the Russell weir was totally overwhelmed with the  Viviperus  Mystery Snails which had first showed up there in 2012, but we didn't find them in any of the upstream branches. Kilometrage  for this trip was covered by our Ottawa Field Naturalists Club research grant. Quotes in italics are directly from the database narrative output from which this account is edited down. We were late for an appointment, so our o

Arrival of Juvenile Leopard Frogs

juvenile Leopard Frog, Canada: Quebec: St-Barthelemy boatlaunch, in backwater of Maskinonge River, at its mouth on the St Lawrence River, 9.88 km SSW Maskinonge. (107m btwn wpts), 31I/3, 46.14849° N 73.07223° W Arrival and abundance of Juvenile Leopard Frogs in Bishops Mills citation of truncated version: Frederick Schueler. 2019.  Arrival and abundance of Juvenile Leopard Frogs in Bishops Mills. CHORUS: Newsletter of the Ottawa Amphibian and Reptile Association 35(7):4-6 There’s a verse in the Leopard Frog song that goes –  Let us live here in Bishops Mills On the first of every August When the metamorphs from the South Branch marsh Come and fill the fields and the gardens. - but this year the first juvenile  Lithobates pipiens  didn’t show up until the 17 th  of August, which has inspired me to see how variable the date of arrival has been by filtering our database with - RTOD(ACOS(COS(DTOR(LATITUDE-44.87246))*COS(DTOR(LONGITUDE--75.70096)*COS(DTOR(44.8