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Notes From the Field – Fall 2017

Praying Mantis stuck in a web. photo: Aiesha Aggarwal

This Praying Mantis stuck in a spider web was discovered by one of our Invasive Monitoring Teams on Windmill Ranch last week.

On October 3rd, Aiesha Aggarwal and Sue Mcintosh headed out for a meandering hike of Windmill Ranch.  They are one of our five Monitoring Teams who are scouring Carden Alvar Provincial Park for  invasive species such as Dog Strangling Vine, Phragmites, Garlic Mustard, and Yellow Parsnip.  These nature enthusiasts kept their ears perked and eyes peeled for the Carden Alvar holds a treasure trove of interesting creatures.

They spotted a flock of palm warblers, a mollusk fossil, and a praying mantis stuck on an abandoned spider web.  Happily they did not see any invasive species on this trip!  See more photos from the trip

Note:  While the Praying Mantis also “preys”, they are named for their prominent front legs, which are bent and held in a prayer position. 


The seed pods of the Dog Strangling Vine plant are still easily observed in October on Windmill Ranch. Photo by Ginny Moore



October 2nd:  Ginny Moore and Tom Wilson did, unfortunately, find Dog Strangling Vine on their visit to Windmill Ranch.  It is still readily identifiable in October.    They also observed an Eastern Meadowlark, listed as a Species at Risk in Ontario.  This sighting will be submited to Bird Studies Canada and the National Heritage Information Centre. 








A Northern Water Snake at McGee Creek. photo: Vicki Sherwood


Bill and Vicki Sherwood, dedicated members of our Water Quality Monitoring Team, have been observing a family of Northern Water Snakes at their testing site all year. 

Because our citizen science teams are assigned permanent sites, they are able to provide invaluable anecdotal observations about the areas they are researching, that go well beyond their area of study.  Bill and Vicki have also been observing the habits of a beaver in the area, and the beaver’s struggle to establish a dam. 








Read our summer Notes from the Field here