Tree Swallows, Painted Turtles, Wood Frogs and Commas Welcome Spring at Mountsberg Conservation Area

I recently took a long march around the Pioneer Creek Trail at Mounstberg Conservation Area near Campbellville Ontario. Everywhere I looked, creatures were greeting spring. Here are some of the ones I encountered that stayed still long enough to allow a (bit blurry but still identifiable) photo or two.

Photo of Mountsberg Painted Turtle on NaturalCrooksDotCom

There were several small Painted Turtles sunning near the Visitor’s Centre.

Photo of Mountberg Canada Goose Face on NaturalCrooksDotCom

According to the staff, a pair of Canada Geese is using the old Osprey nest and the just-returned Ospreys are furious. This goose was playing it safe and nesting on the ground.

Photo of Mountsberg Grackle On NaturalCrooksDotCom

At the start of the trail, Grackles were calling from several of the trees.

Photo of Mountsberg Red Winged Blackbird on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Photo of Mountsberg Red Winged Blackbird Female on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Male and female Red Winged Blackbirds were also calling and exploring the old rushes.

Photo of Mountsberg Blue Jay On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Either the Blue Jays kept following me around the trail or there were several small groups of Jays that day.

Photo of Mountsberg Belted Kingfisher Female on NaturalCrooksDotCom

A pair of Kingfishers were calling and keeping an eye on me near a small creek. This is the female.

Throughout the walk, I could hear various types of frogs calling from the wetlands and temporary pools. The Wood Frogs were making duck-like quacks. One group of them was so intent on perpetuating the species that they didn’t even move away when I was only a few feet from them.

Photo of Mountsberg Ball of Wood Frogs on NaturalCrooksDotCom

It’s a good thing that frogs don’t need to breathe only air or the female underneath this pile might be gasping.

Photo of Mountsberg Coltsfoot on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Along the long straight road section of the trail returning towards the reservoir were some drier patches. Coltsfoot was in bloom and many insects were taking advantage of this welcome food source.

Photo of Mountsberg Mourning Cloak On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Both Mourning Cloak butterflies and

Photo of Mountsberg Comma On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Commas were patrolling territories along the road and basking periodically.

Photo of Mountsberg Wood Frog Male On NaturalCrooksDotCom

As well as classes of high school students, I soon encountered a large group of Wood Frogs. I believe that this is a male waiting for the approach of a receptive female.

Photo of Mountsberg Frogs Eggs On NaturalCrooksDotCom

These are probably frogs eggs given the large numbers of frogs calling and resting in the area and the absence of any toads.Wood frogs, the most likely suspects, are said to lay their eggs in attached masses like this.

Photo of Mountsberg Giant Diving Beetle On NaturalCrooksDotCom

There were several interesting types of water insects busily hunting and foraging while I was trying to find the other kinds of frogs to get photos. This giant diving beetle was very active and as large as the first joint of my thumb.

Photo of Mountsberg Downy Woodpecker On NaturalCrooksDotCom

This male Downy landed on a drowned tree stump in front of me oblivious to all of the insect life swirling around in the water near its feet.

Photo of Mountsberg Ospreys On NaturalCrooksDotCom

Near the reservoir I looked up to see three raptors circling. I didn’t have time to get a good photo but

Photo of Mountsberg Ospreys Closeup On NaturalCrooksDotCom

you can see at least 2 of them were Ospreys.

Photo of Mountsberg Tree Swallow On NaturalCrooksDotCom

The newly arrived Tree Swallows were more cooperative. They were perching on some of the dozens of nesting boxes in Swallow Town although I don’t think they’ve been back long enough to start using them.

Overall, it was a very pleasant day to ramble through the woods and fields!

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Have you been out for a spring walk yet? Any frogs calling in your neck of the woods? Please share your finds with a comment.