Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Flooding caualty

While taking a walk about a month ago, along a
flooded and closed section of Rte 117 in Bolton
(just west of the 110 intersection; the sign just
visible in the background is at the entrance of the canoe launch), Donna came upon this muskrat sitting along the side of the road.

It was about 9:30 in the morning, with the temperature in the low forties. He/she didn't seem to mind being photographed and made no move to run away. It was only after examining the photos closely (see photo below) that the reason for this became visible.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Eaters and the Eaten

On today's menu: Chipped Munk and Whole-Belly Toad

The chipmunk carcass was fairly well aged, but still appealing to this crow. The image was caught on a motion-activated camera.

The garter snake/toad photo speaks for itself. Talk about determination.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Road-killed otter 4/8

What a sorry end for this male otter found on Rt. 495 South; just before Rt. 3 exits. The site was along a narrow wet area near the Concord River abutting a housing development-- an unlikely spot illustrates the lengths of otter travel. I've only found 2 other such road-kills before...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spotted Sally Sighting

These salamanders are pictured doing their spring thing in a vernal pool in one of the town's conservation areas. My brother Paul got some good shots over the weekend of them with their eggs among the leaf litter. The spotted salamander can grow up to nine inches long and live for 20 years. For more information on these sallies, go to the Mass Audubon site: http://www.massaudubon.org/Nature_Connection/wildlife/index.php?subject=Reptiles%20and%20Amphibians&id=58

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Post-Flood Report from the Delaney Wetlands

Dan took advantage of the warm weather to kayak around the flooded Delaney wetlands today. (Don't try this without a wet-suit, kids!)

The waters are starting to recede, after three storms dropped nearly 15" of rain on the surrounding watershed. Entire peninsulas of land are now underwater, and at one beaver lodge, only the very top of the log pile was visible in the high water.

Despite this, there's ample evidence that the wildlife is coping just fine. Ducks and geese have returned from winter quarters, and the honkers are loudly staking claim to the few tussocks and dry spots in the flooded marsh.

Paddling around the water's edge (which would normally be a hundred feet inland), there are signs that life is returning to normal. Beaver have begun scent marking, and the muskrats and alligators have been dragging fresh mud and black muck from the bottom to form their feeding and nesting platforms. It's unusual to see them out at mid-day, but there's lots of work to be done, and the sunshine probably feels good after a month of rain.

Soon those nests will have eggs, and while the geese take turns insulating their nests with their downy rumps, the gators will simply rely on the warming rays of the sun to heat the black, organic material surrounding their clutch of eggs. In another two months, Delaney will be reborn, with goslings and baby gators following their mothers around, clumsily learning to forage and survive on their own.

By mid-July, if you bring along your fishing pole, and a supply of minnows, you'll have no problem catching either species at Delaney. Goslings are most active in the morning. Wait for the hot weather in August for the best gator jigging. When landing the larger ones, be sure to keep a firm grasp with one hand just below the mouth.

It's still pretty cold at Delaney, so if you do venture out, wear your PFD and bring a warm sweater, and by all means, keep your little toesies and fingers inside the boat!