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Bells Corners, Canada

Seburn D.C.,Seburn Ecological Services
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2013

Crawfish nets have been successfully used to capture a variety of aquatic turtle species in the southern USA, and they proved to be particularly successful at catching Eastern Musk Turtles (Sternotherus odoratus). Using similar crab nets, this technique was tested at four sites in eastern Ontario, Canada, known or suspected to have Eastern Musk Turtles, a species at risk in Canada. Although no Eastern Musk Turtles were caught during two days of surveys at each site, the nets successfully attracted Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta), one Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and one Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii), a species not previously caught using this technique. There was poor consistency in the number of species caught from one survey to the next, suggesting that multiple surveys are required to determine what species are present at a site.

Seburn D.C.,Seburn Ecological Services | Gunson K.,ECO International | Schueler F.W.,Bishops Mills Natural History Center
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2014

The Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata) was once common in the eastern Ottawa area. To assess its current status, we conducted auditory surveys at 184 wetlands in 2011 and 2012. Boreal Chorus Frogs were heard at only five (2.7%) of the surveyed sites. These five sites were spatially aggregated, with only 0.5-7.5 km between any two sites. Sites occupied by Boreal Chorus Frogs in eastern Ottawa were surrounded by significantly greater agricultural cover (at 1.0-, 1.5-, and 2.0-km radii), less forest cover (1.0- and 2.0-km radii), and less wetland cover (1.5- and 2.0-km radii) than occupied sites in western Ottawa. Sites in eastern Ottawa that were apparently unoccupied were surrounded by significantly greater agricultural cover (only at the 2.0-km radius), similar forest cover (all radii), and less wetland cover (all radii) compared with occupied sites in western Ottawa. Boreal Chorus Frog populations are commonly subject to extirpation resulting from stochastic events. The reduced wetland cover in eastern Ottawa may be accompanied by reduced wetland connectivity, making recolonization of wetlands difficult or impossible. Our data do not show whether wetland connectivity has been reduced, but future research should address this important topic.

Seburn D.C.,Seburn Ecological Services
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2010

Seven Blanding's Turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) were followed using radiotelemetry to determine their habitat use during hibernation near Ottawa, Ontario. During May to August, five of the seven turtles occupied wetlands in which they would eventually hibernate. The turtles hibernated in five different wetlands: three in Organic Shallow Marsh Ecosites and two in Organic Thicket Swamp Ecosites. One Blanding's Turtle over-wintered in a temporary marsh that did not form until October. Blanding's Turtles do not appear to be limited in their choice of suitable hibernation sites even near the northern range limit of the species.

Seburn D.C.,Seburn Ecological Services | Gunson K.,ECO International
Canadian Field-Naturalist | Year: 2012

To determine whether the Western Chorus Frog has declined in western Ottawa, we conducted auditory surveys at historical locations as well as at various other wetlands. Western Chorus Frogs were detected at 12 of 18 historical locations. Wetland habitat remained at all historical locations where the species was not detected. There was no difference in the year of historical records for sites where Western Chorus Frogs were (median 1987.5) and were not (median 1987.5) detected. In the present study, Western Chorus Frogs were also detected at 30 locations where they had not been previously reported. Historical sites where Western Chorus Frogs were not detected were not significantly farther away from known Western Chorus Frog sites (median distance: 2.2 km) than historical sites where Western Chorus Frogs were detected (median distance: 1.4 km). Land use variables for historical sites where Western Chorus Frogs were and were not detected did not vary significantly at any spatial scale from 0.5 to 2.0 km. Western Chorus Frogs were detected in areas with up to 50% forest cover and up to 86% agricultural cover at the 1.0-km radius. The lack of historical data makes it difficult to assess the current status of the Western Chorus Frog in western Ottawa. The species may have declined, remained approximately the same (by shifting to different breeding sites), or even increased its distribution (by colonizing additional sites).

Seburn D.C.,Seburn Ecological Services
Herpetology Notes | Year: 2012

Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) typically make use of multiple wetlands during the active season. Movements between wetlands can put Spotted Turtles at significant risk of traffic mortality. A fen in eastern Ontario, Canada, bisected by a two-lane paved road, supported a small population of Spotted Turtles on one side of the road. To determine if the turtles commonly crossed the road, five turtles (three females, two males) were radio-tracked. All 5 of the radio-tracked turtles came within 30 m of the road, but none of them crossed the road, made use of any other wetland, or left the fen to use upland habitat. Surveys across the road in the remainder of the wetland failed to locate any Spotted Turtles. The range length of the females averaged 202 m (180-244 m) while males averaged 262 m (200-324 m). Minimum Convex Polygon home ranges of the females averaged 1.3 ha (0.7-2.2 ha) while males averaged 2.1 ha (1.7-2.5 ha). Although the Spotted Turtles remained within a portion of a single wetland, this habitat was highly diverse, containing permanent pools, seasonal pools and "upland habitat" consisting of sphagnum hummocks. Despite the fact that Spotted Turtles across their range may face a significant threat from traffic mortality, some populations may be relatively immune to this threat if they remain within large wetlands. The identification and protection of such sites should be a conservation priority.

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