06 de diciembre de 2019

ERS 346 Outing #4

Time and Date: 03/11/12 15:00
Duration: 60 minutes
Location: Waterloo, ON
Weather: Sunny, 10 degrees, 20% cloud cover
Habitat: Suburban temperate area as well as in a park next to a small man-made lake.

On this unusually warm day, the most notable wildlife I saw was a turtle walking across the field between columbia lake and one of the smaller lakes. As turtles are cold blooded, you wouldn't expect to see one out on a November day, but the day was warm. The turtle could have been going from one lake to the next, potentially to forage. When I approached the turtle it retracted its head slightly into it's shell, so I let it be. This is likely a defence mechanism to make it less vulnerable to predators.

It is always interesting to see the same species in multiple locations. In my last observation I saw a lady bug on the side of a cliff in harsh conditions in Lions Head, this time, the beetle was again on the side of a structure (on the side of a silo). I do not know if lady bugs have any preference for being on vertical surfaces, I do spend a lot of time looking on such surfaces, so this is likely my own bias - also they would be more visible - this would make these ladybugs more easily seen to predators.

The sugar maple was interesting as the leaves in the shaded part of the tree had not yet started changing colours. I do not know why this is, potentially the radiation from the sun speeds up the loss of pigment in leaves. I took a picture of the spruce to note that the needles do not change colour. I unfortunately lost the picture of the tamarack turning yellow, this softwood tree is interesting because it is the only softwood to change colours in the fall.

Ingresado el 06 de diciembre de 2019 por jlpolgar jlpolgar | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

31 de octubre de 2019

ERS 346 - Outing #3

Time and Date: 26/10/12 15:00
Duration: 45 minutes
Location: Lion’s Head, ON
Weather: Sunny, 21 degrees, 20% cloud cover
Habitat: Side of limestone cliff exposed to wind from large fresh water lake, temperate forest above and below the cliff.

The town of Lion’s Head is named for a cliff that looks like the head of a lion with a mane of cedars, looking out over Georgian Bay. It is a beautiful and relatively easy to access lookout that attracts many hikers and tourists. The extensive limestone cliffs is also a draw for many climbers to come to the area. My observations for this journal entry were from photographs taken while rappelling down the side of the cliff in 2 places – one just down the Lion’s Head Lookout and the other about 40 meters to the southwest of the lookout. All observations were made above the canopy.

All of the species found on the side of this cliff need to be adapted to live in harsh conditions, with very little soil and constant high wind exposure off of Georgian Bay. That being said, there did seem to be one species out of place, there was some sort of deciduous tree growing. I could not identify the tree from pictures – I should have gotten a better look in person. But this tree was growing on horizontal ledge of about 1 square meter. The tree seemed to be holding a large amount of soil on the ledge and so had by far the most biodiverse microhabitat on the side of the cliff. The tree is in the observation “angiosperm”.
Eastern white cedars are common to see growing on the sides of cliffs. They are able to grow just in the cracks of the rock. Unlike the deciduous tree, the cedars were not supporting a large amount of soil to allow for other species to grow.

The smooth cliff brake is a species especially adapted to grow on the cliff faces in small cracks (https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/smooth-cliff-brake) . The smooth cliff brake seemed to always be growing on its own and not with any other species present. Maybe this is because they are easily outcompeted, and so they can only live in these harsh environments. The cliff brakes were not found in the microhabitat around the deciduous tree. Also, a cliff brake was found in a small cave, showing that it can survive with minimal light.

I was excited to see one animal on the cliff, it was a ladybug just below the Lion’s Head Lookout. It was hanging onto the cliff just under a ledge, potentially hiding from predators. I do not know what sort of food it could have been looking for in it’s location.

The geranium flower and the golden rods were found in areas where some soil had accumulated.

The wild strawberries were growing in cracks and on small ledges. Maybe the seeds were transported here by birds. In one of the strawberry pictures, a bird’s feather can be seen next to the plant.

There were also some grasses growing in cracks and ledges down the cliff. Lichens were growing along the entire face of the cliff.

Ingresado el 31 de octubre de 2019 por jlpolgar jlpolgar | 8 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

23 de octubre de 2019

ERS 346 - Outing #2

Time and Date: 19/10/12 14:30
Duration: 60 minutes
Location: Daniel Boone Forest, KY, USA
Weather: Sunny, 21 degrees, 25% cloud cover
Habitat: Base of sandstone cliffs in deciduous temperate forests.

Daniel Boone Forest is a super popular area for rock climbing due to all of the sandstone cliffs in the forest. There are usually people at the base of these cliffs and climbing on them. All of my observations for this journal entry are from the base of one of these cliffs in the forest.

Though there were some small plants growing along the base of the cliffs at the climbing spots, there were not many compared to cliffs that did not have climbers present. Also cliffs with poor rock quality (loose rock and dirt) had many more plants, and larger plants. This is probably due to the fact that people aren’t climbing there, but also there are more places for plants to take root when there are more cracks in the rock and areas with buildup of dirt. There were some mosses and lichens present, but I have attached two observations of some higher plants – a fern and an umbrella magnolia. These ferns and magnolias were growing throughout the forest, but these two plants growing on the rock were clearly stunted. The magnolia seemed to have taken root in a crack on a ledge, while the fern was growing out of a small dirt patch at the base of the cliff.

There were other types of magnolias as well. I found the shoots of the bigleaf magnolia growing at the edge of the forest and about 10m away from the cliff. The shoots were directly next to the tree itself, they were green and covered in some fuzzy material. The top of the shoot seemed to be very close to sprouting new leaves. There were leaf scars all down the shoot. Livingin Ontario, I am not very familiar with seeing so many magnolias, but just by looking at the magnolias, it seems that they only produce leaves at the terminal ends of the plant.

The pipe-organ wasp nests were all over the cliffs. At first I wasn’t sure if they were a fossil, but on evening I saw one of these nests on a wooden plank, so I then realized it must be a nest of some sort. I did not see any wasps the entire week being there, though I was not looking for them. All of the nests I saw seemed to be very damaged and old compared to pictures I saw online, maybe this has to do with the time of year I was there.

I found it interesting to see the same type of millipede I saw in my last journal post. The American Giant Millipede has a range from Ontario and Quebec to Texas (https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Narceus_americanus/), so it makes sense that I saw it both next to Georgian Bay and in Kentucky

Ingresado el 23 de octubre de 2019 por jlpolgar jlpolgar | 6 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de octubre de 2019

ERS 346 Outing #1

Time and Date: 19/09/28 16:45
Duration: 40 minutes
Location: McCrae Lake, Georgian Bay, ON
Weather: Sunny, 18 degrees, 0% cloud cover
Habitat: Edge of lake at a cliff, and on top of the cliff in temperate forest

I was at McCrae Lake to camp and climb for the weekend. As I spent a lot of time at the cliff for climbing, this is where I did my observations. There were 6 people at the base of the cliff at the time and probably around 50 along the lake camping.

The most interesting observations I made were of the Grey Treefrog and of the Mapleleaf Viburnum.

The Grey Treefrog was basking half way up the side of the cliff and almost perfectly camouflaged into the rock around it. When looking online trying to ID the frog, I found that this frog was much better camouflaged than the photos online, it matched the granite perfectly around it. Maybe the frog was basking on the side of the cliff to take advantage of the long hours of direct sunlight it can get. Since this location could be dangerous for the frog (as it could easily be plucked up by a bird), it likely needed to develop perfect camouflage in order to be hidden in such an open spot.
I was climbing and reached up and felt something slimy... I accidentally put my hand on the frog and pulled it off the wall, it fell about 40 feet to the ground and seemed completely unharmed. Maybe if there was a predator about to catch the frog, it uses its location of being high on the cliff to jump off and quickly travel a long distance to get away from the predator.

The Snake also seemed to be basking in the sunlight at the base of the cliff, it slithered away quickly and I cannot be sure of the species. Since the snake was very close to the water and it has a dark grey brown colour, I am guessing it was a Northern Water Snake.

I initially thought the Mapleleaf Viburnum was a small red maple, due to the U-shapes between the lobes and the 3 large lobes. I thought the maple may have a fungus or bacteria turing it purple. After looking online, it seems more likely that it was a Mapleleaf Viburnum, which can turn bright purple in the fall, though I did not see the fruits common with this plant. The shape of the leaves and purple do seem to match though. The berries could very well have been already foraged by some of the animals in the forest.

The bright orange stripes on the millipede seem to match those of the American Giant Millipede. It was traversing a rock quickly, potentially in search of food.

The Striped Fishing Spider only moved once within a 10 minute period of watching it, and just to the other side of the leaf. It was likely waiting for prey to get caught in its net.

Ingresado el 02 de octubre de 2019 por jlpolgar jlpolgar | 5 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario