Thursday, April 20, 2017

Windsor's Malden Park - Mid April Migrants

I stopped by Malden Park on the way home today after work, and was pleasantly surprised to see some nice migrants. One highlite was hearing a Brown Thrasher singing its heart out, with its paired sounds. I was listening to its calls for a few minutes before I was able to spot the bird - and one can't help but smile when one hears its song. 

A few other common birds were around, Black capped Chickadees, Flickers and Downy Woodpeckers - but a familiar woodpecker call graced my ears as I walked along the forest -field habitat - perhaps my favorite bird - a Red Headed Woodpecker!

Blue grey Gnatcatchers were seen and heard today, along with a pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers and my FOS Black throated Green Warblers! A flyby raptor seems to have fields marks that hint at Broad-winged Hawk.

This past weekend, while visiting the in-laws, my kids found this snake on the road. Sadly, it was not moving even though it did not appear to be crushed by road traffic. I grabbed a stick nearby and gave it a more dignified resting place in the grass along the side of the road. Perhaps a sharp eyed raptor will eat this little fellow.

I photographed this snake assuming that it was simply a common Garter Snake, but remembered a field mark that I had heard about for the "Butlers" subspecies of Garter Snake. The field mark is a bright yellow scale in front of the snake's eyes. I had asked herp expert Josh V for a confirmation and he agreed on the ID. Regarding the ID of this snake Josh noted: 'Of note are the small head (its neck is the same width as the head), relatively short and stocky appearance, reddish brown coloration along its sides, and pale crescent in front of the eye (a feature not noted in most field guides, but something I have noticed over the years).' I've seen many snakes over the last few years of nature observation but this is my first confirmed look at a Butler's Garter Snake. It was found on a residential road that bisects the South Cameron Woodlot forest in Windsor. Sadly, I've seen many dead snakes on this road over the years.

Good birding, herping, leping, and botanizing!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Dwayne! And nice find with the Red-headed Woodpecker, always a treat to see especially this early in the spring! A small comment regarding the snake - Butler's Gartersnake is actually a different species than Eastern Gartersnake (as opposed to subspecies), and despite their similar appearances they aren't too closely related, as least among species within the Thamnophis genus. Butler's Gartersnake is an Endangered species in Ontario:



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