Deciduous swamp and Cattail/Willow marsh,
6 km north of Kemptville,
Grenville County, Ontario,
Fred and I took our dog Marigold with us this morning to the big swamp north of Kemptville to collect
Leopard Frog eggs for the Canadian Wildlife Service's experimental breeding population in New Brunswick.
It was about 6 kilometres north of Kemptville, and about a kilometre in on an old track from Co Rd #44
or Donelly Drive.
I had been in the wooded part of this swamp before, but don't remember wading out into the marsh – at
least not in as high water as there is now! It was knee-deep (more in some spots) water over dense muck.
Fred went toward the Leopard Frog chorus to the south west, and I took Marigold with me toward the nearer
chorus in the north east, close to the edge of the woods. I kept voice notes on my handheld all the way
in, and some photos on the camera as well.
When I found the first new egg masses I called to Fred,
stationed Marigold on a rotting stump so she would not be splashing around in the water, messing up any
other eggs there might be and frightening frogs. When Fred arrived, after having found some already
hatching eggs at his end, together we watched a male frog approach purposefully, and begin to call about
a metre and a half from us. I took a few movie clips, thrilled to record this singing male chase a
non-singing satellite male, and see him in turn chased another.
Real simple digital camera “wildlife photography”!
View my beginner's attempt as a 20 MB Flash
.swf movie, farther down in our journal and photos. There is also a link to a 7 MB .wmv movie file,
if the Flash takes too long to load.
Leopard Frog Breeding Chorus 25 April 2007
Combined field notes of Frederick W. Schueler
and Aleta Karstad,
Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
25 April 2007
1) (Bishops Mills Store) TIME: 1030. AIR TEMP: 11.5, hazy, sunny, calm. OBSERVER: Frederick W. Schueler,
Aleta Karstad Schueler. villagerlog, departure (event). natural history, drive. 201711 km, to
Fairmile for Rana pipiens eggs.
moved 19.0 km N.
2) Co Road 44/3.3 km NW Kemptville. 31G/4, UTM 18TVE 468.4 876.8 45.04258N 75.67465W.
TIME: 1050ca. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, hazy, sunny, calm. HABITAT: road & roadside ditches through bulldozed
swampy forest. 2007/055/c, visit () (event). adult, driveby. woods W of the road being torn
up for subdivision. The goal of this devastation is evidently to provide housing for an invasive
population of Sump Pump People. "The focus of the household used to be the hearth, but now it's the sump
pump, keeping the boat-house afloat in the sea of inappropriate habitat in which it has been moored by
the flood-tide of
speculative subdivision. "
moved 4.2 km NNE.
3) Canada: Ontario: Ottawa-Carleton Region: Rideau: Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE49 490
913 45.07532N 75.64754W. TIME: 1102-1106. AIR TEMP: 12, light overcast, calm. ROUTE: oldfield/Ash
thickets/Red Maple, Aspen woods/ditches. 2007/056/-, departure (departure) (event). natural
history, walk. heading W along double-track right-of-way through Maple swamp.
moved 0.1 km WSW.
4) Reeve Craig right-of-way, 0.1 km WSW Reg Road 5. UTM 18TVE 488.9 912.3 45.07471N 75.64895W.
TIME: 1108-1111. AIR TEMP: 12, light overcast, calm. HABITAT: ATV track in young 2 nd growth woods.
2007/056/a, Cladonia () (lichen). dominant seen, photo. WAYPT/013, on foam rubber of old
carseat among roadside trash. AKS took photos of lichen and moss growing on old foam and rusty springs
of what may have been a car seat. We have never seen lichen growing on foam rubber, though FWS "sort of"
recalls seeing these in 2004.
moved 0.5 km WSW.
5) Reeve Craig right-of-way, 0.6 km WSW Reg 5 Road. UTM 18TVE 484.7 910.2 45.07273N 75.65430W.
TIME: 1120. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: lawn-like clearing between young 2 nd growth woods
& lowland forest. AKS 07 Apr 251120/a, visit () (event). walk, photo. WAYPT/022, head
N through lawn-like area S end of ATV track. Grass short and new. Up hill a bit to the south, at the edge
of the woods, we see a big old Maple stump beside a grandly flowering Red Maple.
moved 0.4 km NW.
6) Fairmile Wetland, 0.8 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 482.3 913.3 45.07552N 75.65728W.
TIME: 1127. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: ATV track through Alnus-ditched soggy
oldfield/swampy woods. 2007/056/b, Rana (True Frog) (herp). 1 adult, dead, seen. WAYPT/014,
large ad, rotten, fd in watery ATV rut. Photo of track snaking through the woods. We have headed
north west through Poplar, Alder, young Red Maple, Ash, following it into the woods where it winds about
between trees. We notice the route marked with orange flagging tape as a distinct path disappears and we
are wading ankle & calf deep around the trees.
7) Fairmile Wetland, 0.9 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 481 913.3 45.07552N 75.65896W.
TIME: 1133-1135. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: tree stand in open brown-water Acer/Fraxinus
swamp forest. 2007/056/c, visit () (event). call, walk, photo. photo of FWS & Marigold
at deer stand.
We are coming out of wet part of swamp, and see swamp to west. We can begin to hear the
Leopard Frog choruses about as loud as the distant road noise to the north, but of a different quality.
Heading west now among vernal pools beginning to dry down. Many trees bent over from ice storms and
trailing with Vitis vines.
moved 0.0 km WSW.
8) Fairmile Wetland, 0.9 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 480.7 913.1 45.07534N 75.65939W.
TIME: 1140. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: Salix/alnus shrub swamp. AKS 07 Apr 251140/a,
visit () (event). natural history, walk. WAYPT/015, edge of open wetland. When we walked out
several metres, finding that the way water was mid-calf depth and it was difficult to pull our feet from
the 20-25 cm of dense muck overlaying the firmer clay bottom, we decided to separate - Fred to the more
distant chorus to the south, and AKS to a closer one, about 50 metres (according to the GPS reading from
the 2004 visit) northward and back toward the woods edge and north. Marigold was to stay with AKS.
moved 0.0 km W.
9) Fairmile Wetland, 1.0 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 480.2 913 45.07526N 75.66001W.
TIME: 1149. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: opening in hummocky Carex-grass marsh@inner border
2 m Salix/Alnus shrub swamp. 2007/056/d, Rana pipiens (Leopard Frog) (herp). 30(ca)masses
egg, hatch, seen. WAYPT/016, hatching-out eggmasses in a close cluster. These must have been laid right
after the 2-3 April movement. There's no calling around here, but FWs turned back from the chorus S of
here when AKS found fresh eggs.
moved 0.1 km N.
10) Rideau: Fairmile Wetland, 1.0 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 480.3 913.8 45.07595N
75.65988W. TIME: 1149-1220. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: opening in hummocky Carex-grass
marsh@inner border 2 m Salix/Alnus shrub swamp. AKS 07 Apr 251149/a, Rana pipiens (Leopard
Frog) (herp). many adult, call, egg, seen, captured. WAYPT/017, few new-laid eggs, calling & satellite
MM. AKS called FWS when she found 3 new egg masses near a rotting stump. Recording of Leopard Frog calls.
There are a few Spring Peepers calling too, one trilling a bit as it gets 'warmed up'. Photo of one egg
mass, before collecting.
Video and photos of a large male Leopard Frog, with a rival about a metre away. AKS took a movie of
him approaching from a willow bush about three metres away, and then he settled down to call. The voice
sacs on either side of his head are brown and glossy as they expand before forcing each sound.
We got video clips of the big calling male chasing and clasping the #1
non-calling satellite male, and of that male chasing another lurker. Wildlife motion pictures!
There is also another male resting quietly right in among the submerged mossy branches of a willow and
AKS took a still photo.
Marigold stayed pretty quiet for the most part, but when the frogs began to call very nearby, she tilted
her head this way and that, trying to get a location, and then sploshed around, searching for a scent of
what they'd been.
Fred wrote afterward: "We were actually IN a motorboat chorus at the Fairmile Wetland yesterday, the
first time I've been able to watch a diurnal Leopard Frog chorus from the inside since Long Point in 1972. Aleta juggled her still & video camera and hand-held computer & audio recorder to completely document the event, which will likely make it to a webpage some time soon. Also Marigold the Dog was very good about not interrupting the frogs or getting into the view of the camera. My sole contribution was to follow memory and waypoints in to the exact same habitat where I'd found eggs in 2004. "
12h25: we made our way back through the knee-deep water and "sucking muck" bottom,
and into the flooded
woods, looking for the deer stand, and then the forest track which will take us out.
moved 0.1 km ENE.
11) Fairmile Wetland, 0.9 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 481 914 45.07611N 75.65902W.
TIME: 1226-1231. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: low sandy raised area of Ash/aspen woods in
swamp forest. 2007/056/ea, Odocoileus virginianus (Whitetail Deer) (Mammal). 1 adult, male,
skeleton, seen, photo. WAYPT/019, complete skeleton, bleached & clean. . . . apparently without any
scent that would attract a dog. There's also a lot of signs of browsing and recent tracks.
We have come to a raised grassy area, at least a metre higher than the surrounding swamp, with an
amazing quantity of fallen Aspen, the live trees mostly Ash. A scaley-barked Black Cherry, about 25 cm
DBH. Narrow-leaved Carex, tufts of curved green blades with frost-bleached tips. A tall Red Maple
with strappy-scaley lower bark stands near, twin trunks with the main fork of each at the same height, 5
or 6 metres up -- a stately fountain-shaped tree reminding us of Elm. The raised area is linear in shape,
about east-west, and about 100 metres long.
moved 0.1 km ESE.
12) Fairmile Wetland, 0.8 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 481.6 913.5 45.07572N 75.65816W.
TIME: 1233. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: open brown-water Acer/Fraxinus swamp forest.
AKS 07 Apr 251233/a, Fraxinus (Ash) (Plant). dominant tree, photo. WAYPT/020, AKS photo of FWS
standing under multiple arches. . . . of tall thin Ash (with a few Elm) trees bent into hoops by an ice
storm, perhaps a year or two ago (AKS) or perhaps in 1998 (FWS). There are vertical twigs, but no heavier
branches in corrective orientation.
moved 0.1 km E.
13) Fairmile Wetland, 0.8 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 482.3 913.6 45.07580N 75.65729W.
TIME: 1240. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: open brown-water Acer/Fraxinus swamp forest. AKS 07
Apr 241240/a, Odocoileus virginianus (Whitetail Deer) (Mammal). present adult, photo. WAYPT/021,
E end of narrow active deer trail. AKS photos of the stem of an antler-rubbed sapling near a flakey-barked
tree with very fine twigs, perhaps Ironwood. We have been following a Deer trail, and FWS made this
waypoint a little to the south among a group of large Betula papyrifera (Paper Birch).
The ground here is trampled and the mossy logs have been abraded -- the top sides scuffed off,
exposing not punky rotted wood, but fibers and strings of roots and rootlets that have grown
through the rotted wood and finally replaced it.
moved 0.0 km S.
14) Fairmile Wetland, 0.8 km W Reg 5/Reeve Craig Rds. UTM 18TVE 482.3 913.3 45.07552N 75.65728W.
TIME: 1246. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: ATV track through Alnus-ditched soggy
oldfield/swampy woods. FWS 07 Apr 251246/a, Rana sylvatica (Wood Frog) (herp). 1 adult, male, seen.
in watery ATV rut.
moved 0.4 km SE.
15) Reeve Craig right-of-way, 0.6 km WSW Reg 5 Road. UTM 18TVE 484.7 910.2 45.07273N 75.65430W.
TIME: 1249. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: lawn-like clearing between young 2 nd growth woods
& lowland forest. AKS 07 Apr 241249/a, cf Microtus pennsylvanicus (Meadow Vole) (Mammal).
1 adult, tracks, photo. mouse run, crossing the track in the lawn area. The run is partially exposed,
partially screened - arched over by dead grass blades. It looks as if no-one has driven this way since
snowmelt as the delicately grass-cloistered tunnel is not flattened.
We turn now back eastward along the
straight right-of-way toward the highway, and its deep ruts and muddy puddles seem much less problematic
since wading the thigh-deep water and "sucking muck" of the Leopard Frog marsh.
moved 0.5 km ENE.
16) Reeve Craig right-of-way, 0.1 km WSW Reg Road 5. UTM 18TVE 488.9 912.3 45.07471N 75.64895W.
TIME: 1305. AIR TEMP: 12 ca, cloudy, calm. HABITAT: fenceline of ATV track in young 2 nd growth woods.
2007/056/f, Lepus americanus (Snowshoe Hare) (Mammal). 1 adult, prey of predator, seen,
photo. cached body still warm, missing head & shoulders. Returning to the van, Marigold turned
aside to nose about in the Maple litter by the fenceline, and failing to call her away from it, AKS went
over to check it out -- just as she was taking the body of a Hare in her mouth. AKS told her "Don't touch"
and she retreated. She had partially exposed the Hare, and AKS took a PHOTO and covered it back up with
leaves as it had been, and then another photo before we departed in the van. We hoped whoever had cached
it there would be bold enough to reclaim it now that our scent is there, but it's most likely a hungry
mother Fox should be desperate enough to feed the rest of it to her kits in spite of canine and human