Adventures on Georgian Bay

2:05 PM

I have a soft spot for Georgian Bay. I've spent many years working with the wildlife and exploring the habitat along Georgian Bay's shorelines. These shorelines are home to some of Ontario's most unique and endangered flora and fauna. From Piping Plovers to a number of rare orchids it is a paradise for naturalists. Many of my favourite places and parks in Ontario are found along Georgian Bay including: Bruce Peninsula National Park, Georgian Bay Islands National Park, Massasauga Provincial Park, Killbear Provincial Park, French River Provincial Park, Killarney Provincial Park and the list goes on and on. Any time I can enjoy the limestone or granite shorelines (depending on where you are) and the beautiful windswept pines I'm in my happy place (minus the black and deer flies).  I've been catching up on my photos from the spring and summer and recently had the chance to edit some photos from an awesome excursion to Georgian Bay with good friends. We saw lots of amazing wildlife and plants and the weather was spectacular. Enjoy

The Reptiles and Amphibians
The area we visited is home to some of Ontario's most incredible reptiles and amphibians. We came across 7 species in total Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus), Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos), Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum), Northern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus), Eastern Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis), Northern Watersnake (Nerodia sipedon) and Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi). We also spotted several Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica), American Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus), American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus), Northern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates pipiens), Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) and heard many Gray Treefrogs (Hyla versicolor).
Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus)
Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos)
Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos)
Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos)
Eastern Hognose (Heterodon platirhinos)
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
Eastern Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum)
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)- Female is largest turtle on the back of the rock, smaller turtles are males and younger turtles.
Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Large female Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)

The Incredible Flora
The flora of the area where we were exploring are primarily plants that can tolerate highly acidic soil, shallow soil depths and shady conditions. One of my favourite flowers of the Georgian Bay area is the Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule). Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid are almost impossible to grow outside of their preferred conditions and do not survive when dug up. They are highly susceptible pathogens in soil, but thrive in acidic soils because this soil type helps to keep the pathogens at bay. We observed several other notable flowers including Rock Harlequins, Wild Sarsaparilla (not pictured), Starflower, Flowering Wintergreen, Blue-bead Lily (not pictured) and Wild Columbine. Many different types of ferns were also observed including Royal Ferns, Rock Polypody (Polypodium virginianum), Bracken Fern and Ostrich Fern.
Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)
Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)
Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)
Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium acaule)
Flowering Wingtergreen (Polygala paucifolia)
Flowering Wingtergreen (Polygala paucifolia)
Rock Harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens)
Rock Harlequin (Capnoides sempervirens)
Starflower (Trientalis borealis)
Starflower (Trientalis borealis)
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)
Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis)
We also saw many species of birds during our advenutres- 44 species including 11 species of warblers. 😃 I didn't get many photos of the birds but the highlight for me was 3 Prairie Warblers (Setophaga discolor). 👍Hope you enjoy the photos- happy trails everyone!

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