Turtle Tally & Spider WebWatch

Yesterday, we spent much of the afternoon at two of our favourite places – Baird Woods, and Purdon Bog, both of which are located in the Lanark Highlands. We did some bioblitzing while hiking around. I’ll post some photos and a report on that in the next day or so. Today, I’m getting started blitzing around the farm and will report on that as the week progresses.

If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll have seen photos and a report on some interesting turtle sightings. We saw more turtles yesterday — five Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta), and another huge Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina). The Painted Turtles were basking on bits of floating driftwood at Purdon Bog. Very unfortunately, the huge Snapping Turtle was found lying dead on the roadside at the bridge where Franktown Road crosses over the Jock River. Busy roads and nearby lakes, creeks, marshes and rivers are a deadly combination for turtles and frogs. Many lives are lost when these creatures venture across these roads during their migrations to or from areas where they breed, feed or nest. It’s important to identify areas where high numbers of road-kills occur. Once a problem area has been identified, signs can be posted to alert drivers to the hazard of turtle crossings. So, how to identify such areas. A lot depends on reports made by concerned individuals. One group that has done a lot for getting signs posted here in Ontario, is Turtle S.H.E.L.L.. In addition to working towards having signs posted at such crossing zones, Turtle S.H.E.L.L. also operates a turtle rehabilitation center where turtles are nursed back to health following injury.

Other initiatives for turtles include Adopt-a-Pond’s new Turtle Tally, which will be used to collect data on turtles across Ontario. To submit sightings of live and/or dead, or road-killed turtles, fill in this simple online form. I’ve already submitted all of my turtle sightings from the weekend, including the dead Snapping Turtle on Franktown Road.

While I’m on the subject of reporting sightings, this morning, while doing a bit of bioblitzing here at the farm, I spotted a Bronze Jumping Spider (Eris militaris) (see photo below). It happens that this is one of the 9 spider species being tracked by Spider WebWatch, so I submitted a record for it — my first record submitted for 2007. Hopefully there will be many more.

Submitting your observations to most data collection projects is usually quite simple once you get used to how each site works. This summer, I’ll be submitting observations to projects tracking turtles, spiders, birds, frogs, and butterflies. If you’re interested in participating in these types of projects, check out the citizen science page on this blog. If you know of an interesting project that isn’t listed, let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

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4 Responses to “Turtle Tally & Spider WebWatch”

  1. Cathy Says:

    The Spider Web watch program is neat. I explored the sight and actually clicked on spider photos and realized I’d seen a few of these species. Then I thought it might be interesting to know if any of these critters are ‘hanging’ in basement or shed. Hmmmmm. Maybe.

  2. burning silo Says:

    Cathy – Yes, it is a neat program. You should be able to see almost all of those spiders in your area as they’re common around here except Araneus gemmoides – I think it’s more a species of the western states and provinces. For the other species, the places to look would be:

    Bronze Jumper and Bold Jumper – I see these on Milkweed leaves in summer, but as reported today, I found one on a tree. They would be commonly found in gardens and oldfield habitat.

    Argiope spiders: The two Argiope are found in oldfield habitat and gardens (you’ve met these ones before). They’re very common in any place where there is tall grass and plants to anchor their orbs.

    Dolomedes triton: Watch for this one sitting on top of the water around cattails in marshes. I see them occasionally when we’re walking along boardwalks through wetland habitat.

    Zebra jumper: These are often found on the walls of houses. We have some gray angelstone siding material around the door of our house and these spiders seem to like to hang out there.

    Parson spider: This is a ground spider and runs quite fast. They can probably be just about anywhere, but under boards is a good place to look. I’ve found them in my house several times. They have quite distinctive markings.

    Goldenrod Crab Spider: They can be either yellow or white, with pink markings on the abdomen (the female, that is). These are very commonly found on wild and cultivated flowers.

    So! If you see any of these, be sure to post a sighting on Spider WebWatch. Anyone can post there – Canada or the U.S.

  3. Jeremy Bruno Says:

    I am so jealous of your finds, Bev! Haven’t seen a snapper around here since I was a child, actually.

    I love the animal tallies, btw. Looking forward to the next post…

  4. burning silo Says:

    Jeremy – Hey! I was rather surprised to have such a good day! It was a little more than I had hoped for. Thanks, re: the animal tallies. I’ll be doing the same for my Day Two post as soon as I get a bit more time.