Ben Shearer and I walked the 10km of the 401 from the Escott-Rockport Road (west of Mallorytown) up to and back from the Whatever-it’s-called water body a km and a bit W of La Rue Mills Road, and we found a great diversity of species: among Mammals – Muskrat, Raccoon, Gray Squirrel, Ermine, Fisher, 2 Red Bats, Deer Mouse, what’s probably a Flying Squirrel, and others too battered to guess at – only missing Skunks, Deer, Woodchuck, Coyote and Beaver.

There was a fair variety of Birds – Cedar Waxwing, Ovenbird, Mourning Dove, & Yellowthroat, but none of the Ducks and Herons we’d found last week.

We were surprised by the Salamanders: 2 Yellow-spotted, and one Eft, and Green, Bull, and Leopard frogs. One long-dead Snapping Turtle carapace, and a couple of dried out Painted Turtles.

We saw a few Garter and Water snakes alive, Dekay’s and this year’s juvenile Water Snakes dead on the road, and one big Garter Snake pounded into a monomolecular film with the vertebral column in low orangish relief on the Whatever-it’s-called water body, and two Water Snakes swimming in the water below the bridge.

But it was the Insects that went crazy: Wooly Bears in huge numbers heading south across the highway and then being blown back by passing traffic (or some of them crushed), brown ones that I take to be Banded Tiger Moth, Halysidota tessellaris (there are photos) in small numbers, and a fair number of the black bristly, red-skinned, caterpillars of Giant Leopard Moth, Hypercompe scribonia, which we don’t see around Bishops Mills. One not-freshly-dead Monarch, probably from a migratory wave others saw more than a week ago, and one Alfalfa Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) were the extent of the Butterflies.

Grasshoppers were on the road, dead and alive in considerable number, Harmonia axyridis Ladybirds were out in the afternoon, and we saw several Stick Insects (Diapheromera femorata) and Mantids (Mantis religiosa) on the paved shoulders of the highway, variously dead or alive.

This is one of the stretches where the east- and west- bound lanes are widely separated, so woods on both sides of the road were contributing to the diversity of the slaughter.

But there’s 150 waypoints to process, so I’d better switch to that…


Snapping Turtle (Danielle Tassie)

Snapping Turtle (Danielle Tassie)

Categories: Sightings

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.