Choices: Cranes or Turtles! How about we talk about both.
During the early evening of Sunday, April 18th we were pleasantly surprised by 13 Sandhill Cranes (Antigone canadensis) flying over-head and landing in the marshy area of the pond at the Robert L. Bowles Nature Centre.
They were a mix of adults and juveniles, the juveniles having a reddish-brown colouring to their upper parts, the adults having that gray overall look to their bodies. It was a beautiful sight. They didn't stay long, with a group of 10 leaving first, heading north and the last 3 following a few minutes later.
After researching these long-necked and long-legged birds https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/sandhill-crane we discovered they gather in the thousands at various migratory stopover points throughout North America. So having 13 here at the centre may not sound like much, but it was still a spectacular sight. We were able to capture 4 of the 13 sandhill cranes in our photo shoot.
As we mentioned in our blog last week we retrieved our game camera and found some wonderful footage of midland painted turtles (Chrysemys picta marginata) in their natural habitat. It nearly appears they are posing for the camera while basking in the sun. We will continue to monitor these turtles, especially when the females nest and we will protect the clutch of eggs from predators. Wire cages are placed over the nest to deter racoons, skunks, foxes and any other critters that eat eggs. The cages are then removed in the early fall before the hatchlings start to emerge.
There are 4 levels of Designations given to wildlife in Canada; Endangered, Threatened, Species of Special Concern or Not at Risk. We have 8 native turtle species, in Ontario, all at risk and requiring our help. There are many ways to get involved in saving our turtles and their wetland habitats. Please visit https://ontarioturtle.ca for more information.
We hope you enjoy this short video.
We'll keep you posted about the spring happenings at the Nature Centre during this wonderful season.