Wildlife – herpetology chapter

We have a pesticide free garden. It’s difficult to use insect-killing preparations when you raise insects – the bees are just as susceptible to Safer Soap and tobacco solution as mites and aphids. I use Surround CP almost exclusively for spraying and after that I lean heavily on passive prevention techniques: sticky girdles around tree trunks, red balls for apple maggot fly, traps for Japanese beetles, etc. Surround is made with clay and forms a chalky barrier on leaves and fruit. It doesn’t seem to bother the bees at all. After a few years of keeping the grounds poison free, we have an abundance of amphibian and insect life.

I’ve been keeping a list of species observed since this spring and plan to continue recording for a few years. Our swamp provides a buffer of permanently damp soil, but summers on the island differ widely in temperature and rainfall and I’ll be interested to see how the populations changes over time.

Observed so far in 2011:

Green frog (above, sunning in the mulch hay near the pumpkins), spring peeper, gray tree frog, bull frog, pickerel, wood frog, mink, Northern leopard, American toad

Spotted turtle, box turtle, snapping turtle

Eastern and Maritime garter snake (very pretty), Ribbon snake (not sure if it’s an Eastern or a Northern, very shy), Smooth Green snake,Eastern milk snake

Eastern red-backed and spotted salamanders – I’m sure there are more salamanders out there I haven’t seen yet.

Next year we’ll start cataloging insects!


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