Ontario Nature Blog

Protecting wild species and wild spaces since 1931

Tag: John Urquhart (Page 1 of 2)

The history of herping in Ontario

Wood turtle photo by Joe Crowley

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

In the spring 2014 issue of ON Nature magazine, Tanya Pulfer wrote an article about 30 years of herp atlassing in Ontario. Limited by the short length of her article, Pulfer could only hint at the rich history of this important conservation work. Here, she provides more details and pays homage to key contributors.

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Rattlesnake country

Looking for rattlers on the Bruce by Peter Middleton

Looking for rattlers on the Bruce by Peter Middleton

Most people try to avoid encounters with venomous reptiles, but that wasn’t the case for the team of Ontario Nature staff that I accompanied to the Bruce Peninsula last week. These herpetologists and avid naturalists ventured fearlessly across tall-grass meadows, forest clearings and rocky beaches in search of Sistrurus catenatus, commonly known as the massasauga rattlesnake.

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On Lost Bay

John processing a stinkpot

John processing a stinkpot

When was the last time you were so moved by a place and an experience in nature that you took the time to write about it? When Catherine Jimenea, Ontario reptile and amphibian atlas assistant, signed-up for four days of turtling in Lost Bay Nature Reserve, her experience far surpassed her expectations. So much so, that she wrote this ode to the reserve.

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Is it ok to move turtle eggs?

People often ask Ontario Nature staff for advice about how to deal with situations that they encounter in nature. Whether putting out a bird feeder, planting native flowers or grasses, or choosing not to cut down the trees on your property, people are on the front lines of local conservation efforts more often than you might realize.

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Me and the map turtles

May 9, 2010

It is hard to believe we’ve been working in the Lost Bay nature reserve for almost two weeks already. We spent the first week surveying the property and evaluating the habitat in terms of where we were most likely to find turtles and snakes. Three minutes into our first walk, we found a good sized male snapping turtle basking in the sun about 100 m from water! I wasn’t even planning on finding turtles at all that afternoon. Luckily I had a file and could mark its shell so we could identify it if we found it later. Our first turtle has notch code 12L. We proceeded to search for snake hibernacula and found a ribbon snake up on a rocky ledge. Thus within 10 minutes of entering the site we found two of the eight reptile at risk species we were searching for!

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