Twelve Nights at the Beaver Dam – Trail Camera Fun

In early October, I set up a motion activated trail camera facing the beaver dam at the Lone Pine Marsh. There is a muddy area at the side of the dam where I had seen many types of tracks on my monitoring visits to the marsh. It appeared that animals had been feeding there, as well as using the beaver dam as a route across the marsh. After 12 days, I went back and picked up the data card from the camera, and put a fresh one in.
trail camera photo of coyote at Braham Tract
There is nothing more fun than loading up the photos from a trail camera to see what action has ensued. It feels like looking into a secret world. The great thing about trail cameras is that they record wildlife without disturbing the animal’s natural behaviour patterns. Trail cameras can also record in the middle of the night when we are not willing or able to sit out with a camera.
trail camera photo of deer at Braham Tract
During the first 12 days the camera was out at the beaver dam and it recorded 8 species of mammals: Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Beaver, Eastern Coyote, White-tailed Deer, Red Squirrel, Eastern Chipmunk, Grey Squirrel, and Raccoon. They were definitely using the dam as a bridge across to the other side of the marsh, as I saw many of these animals heading back and forth. Beavers, raccoons, and coyotes were recorded only at night. Raccoons were photographed on every night but one and were looking for food as well as transiting the dam.
trail camera photo of rabbit at Braham Tract
In the daytime, the camera recorded images of multiple Canada geese, starlings, and robins feeding in the mud and on the plants around the dam.
trail camera photo of racoon at Braham Tract
Trail cameras are a great tool to help us record the diversity of life in our Lone Pine Land Trust Properties. Trail cameras were also an enormously helpful tool in the biological studies run by Shrew Solutions this summer, and showed us even more fascinating creatures that inhabit the Lone Pine Land Trust properties.

Doe Fight at McColl Tract

The trail camera at McColl captured a magnificent “doe fight” this winter. The camera captured two does in a face off — standing on their hind legs and circling, until one backed down and moved off. An unexpected and wonderful capture!

animal mammal deer 2018

Turtles at Braham Tract in Spring

Two species of turtles were seen at the Braham tract this spring.

Blanding’s turtle observed near the southeast corner of the marsh. (credit: Reta Preece)

Thanks to a neighbour, Reta Preece, who used our report-a-sighting online form, we know a Blanding’s turtle was laying eggs at the marsh.


Snapping turtle laying eggs in parking lot of Braham Tract (11-Jun-2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)

As well, a snapping turtle was observed on June 11 attempting to lay eggs in the parking lot.

The report-a-sightings form is easy to use and we love to get your submissions!

Summer Bird Count – Jun 11, 2016

Margaret Bain once again did the bird count at Braham tract. She writes:
We had hoped for sunnier weather after last year’s Summer Count, but instead we got heavy rain and high winds for our Saturday morning start! After we had parked carefully to avoid the large Snapping Turtle laying eggs at the edge of the gravel parking area, the rain lessened, but it remained very windy for most of the day, and this did discourage bird song especially among the small flycatchers and warblers. A Virginia Rail and a Pied-billed Grebe called from the marsh, though we didn’t see either of them. A persistently cooing Least Bittern sounded quite close too, but remained invisible. On a scouting expedition in late May a Black-billed Cuckoo had flown past while I sat at the picnic table at the edge of the marsh, but sadly this was not repeated on Count Day. Red-winged Blackbirds and grackles ignored the rain of course and were as loud and disputatious as ever. The Tree Swallows too seemed quite happy in the rain, feeding actively around the nest boxes. The nearby grassy fields looked lush and healthy – two Eastern Meadowlarks flew low over the windswept grasses but we couldn’t find any Bobolinks, though later in other areas of our Count section they were in good numbers. Sparrows, flycatchers, and warblers must have been present in higher numbers than we could detect because of the stormy morning, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to come back later for a second chance.
In spite of the weather we did hear or see a good variety of bird life in and around Lone Pine Marsh again this year – especially reassuring as surrounding agricultural fields creep ever larger with more hedgerows and shelter trees disappearing every time we visit.

List of birds:

Canada Goose 24 flying over
Wood Duck only 1 adult female seen this year
Mallard none here this year!
Pied-billed Grebe one calling loudly from marsh
Least Bittern one very vocal at near edge of cattails, but not seen
Green Heron one flyover
Turkey Vulture 2 overhead
Virginia Rail 1 calling in SE corner of marsh
Ring-billed Gull small numbers steadily flying over
Mourning Dove several on hydro wires
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 1 in small tree in roadside front yard
Northern Flicker 2 heard
Great Crested Flycatcher 2 heard in woods north of marsh
Eastern Kingbird 1 on edge of field
Warbling Vireo 3 in trees along road – seem common this spring
Red-eyed Vireo several singing in trees along road and around marsh
Blue Jay 2 or 3
American Crow several in fields and flying over
Common Raven 1 flying along hydro line, chased by 2 noisy crows
Tree Swallow up to 10 in flight and several entering nest boxes
Barn Swallow one pair
Black-capped Chickadee several in treed areas
House Wren 2 singing along road
Marsh Wren a few singing from edge of cattails far out in the marsh
Veery 1 calling from woods at the north end
American Robin numerous
Gray Catbird 2 mewing in roadside vegetation
Brown Thrasher one singing from treetop
European Starling small flocks here and there
Mourning Warbler one singing in the distance
Common Yellowthroat at least 2 heard around edge of marsh
Yellow Warbler 2 or 3 in meadow and marsh edges
Chipping Sparrow several on roadside verges
Savannah Sparrow 2 at edge of field
Song Sparrow several in small trees and bushes
Swamp Sparrow numerous on south side of marsh
Northern Cardinal one male at roadside
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2 or 3 singing from taller trees
Indigo Bunting fewer than usual – many trees at field edges recently felled
Red-winged Blackbird numerous in cattails
Eastern Meadowlark 2 flying low over grassy field NW of marsh
Common Grackle 10+ on west side of marsh
Brown-headed Cowbird only a few this year
American Goldfinch several flying over

Odonates at Braham Tract – Jun 7, 2016

I visited the marsh at Braham Tract today and walked north along the creek. I stopped to visit the beaver dam but the highlight was the many Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) that I saw in the meadow near the creek. Using Ontario Nature’s online Odonate guide, I identified five species.
I hope you enjoy these photos (all are cropped – I was not able to get that close to the flighty insects).

Male common baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male common baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta) on milkweed (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta) on milkweed (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Female twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Female twelve-spotted skimmer (Libellula pulchella) (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Male sedge sprite (Nehalennia irene) on goldenrod (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Male bluet (Enallagma sp.) on a leaf (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male bluet (Enallagma sp.) on a leaf (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Male chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia) on the picnic table (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Male chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia) on the picnic table (Jun 7, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)


Mating sedge sprites (Nehalennia irene) (Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)
Mating sedge sprites (Nehalennia irene) (Jun 11, 2016). (credit: Dalila Seckar)