In the spirit of the spring holidays, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper brings you this letter from Jim Robb. More information about the Beare Wetland is available on the Friends of the Rouge Watershed web site: www.frw.ca
Around this time of year, for thousands of years, an annual migration begins.
With the first warm spring night (12 C to 20 C) and rain, toads migrate from their terrestrial winter hibernation spots to shallow breeding ponds.
The rain floods dew worms out of their burrows providing a feast for the toads after their long winter sleep.
As I walked up the Beare Lane to the wetland, more than 12 toads, large females and smaller males, were purposefully heading towards the ponds.
When I got to the 5 hectare Rouge Park wetland Friends of the Rouge Watershed has created, over 10 Chorus frogs and several wood frogs were already calling for mates.
The number of male chorus (12) and wood frogs (6) calling on April 12, 2006, was more than double the numbers last year. The wood frogs and tree frogs have been calling on warmer (10+ C) days for about two weeks. The wood frog call is like a short Duck-like chuckle or chortle. The Chorus frog call sounds like a finger slowly moving across the teeth of a large comb.
As I finished the walk, three of the male toads had made it to a suitable pond and they had began their high pitched trill.
Last week, Toronto Zoo turtle monitoring staff reported that the rare Blandings turtle (Colin) has over-wintered successfully in the Beare wetland and he has been exploring two of the larger ponds, and that some 50 painted turtles had been counted in the vicinity of the Beare Wetland on Monday.
It is nice to see, and hear, turtle and amphibian populations increasing around the newly created Beare Wetland.
With careful wetland creation and restoration, amphibians and their breeding calls which evolved millions of years ago, will continue into the future.
Please mark June 3, 2006, 10 am to 12 am on your calendar, it is the official opening of Beare Wetland. You are cordially invited to attend.
Sincerely, Jim Robb