Fabulous Field Finds 2022

Person sitting in a boat with monitoring equipment on a lake

See What Staff Have Discovered

Technology allows us to store, analyze and expand our knowledge and understanding of the Credit River Watershed through high-quality science. It also allows us to share the amazing field finds our field staff capture while in the water and on the ground.

Here are some of the fabulous field finds we discovered through our monitoring and inventory programs during the 2022 field season.

American brook lamprey

Four hands holding a lamprey on a wooden ruler.
Lamprey are an ancient form of fish without jaws or paired fins.

How many hands does it take to measure an American brook lamprey? American brook lamprey are native, non-parasitic filter feeders that live in rivers and streams. They are not to be confused with sea lamprey which are parasitic and controlled for in the Great Lakes basin. The presence of American brook lamprey are an indicator of stream health because they thrive in cold-water conditions. They are commonly found in our trout streams in the middle watershed. The middle watershed contains the Niagara Escarpment and the western edge of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Beautiful butterflies

A butterfly sitting on a flower, surrounded by leaves.
A butterfly’s tongue it called a proboscis. It uses it to drink nectar.

Finding butterflies in the watershed is always a win-win for staff. They’re a delight for the eye and we get to submit the sighting to our annual Butterfly Blitz. Staff shared this northern cloudywing to this year’s blitz. Learn more about the Butterfly Blitz.

Cute and tiny

A small snake on the ground surrounded by dirt and fallen leaves.
DeKay’s brownsnakes easily camouflage in its habitat.

Beautiful wildlife like the DeKay’s brownsnake is also found near CVC’s Head Office in Mississauga. The DeKay’s brownsnake is one of Ontario’s smallest snakes and only grows up to about 50 centimetres in length. It is fairly common in the watershed but can be tough to spot due to its size and colouration, so make sure to watch your step on the trails!

Bugs are the best

A caterpillar crawling on a stick.
CVC’s Kyle Swanson always carries his professional camera around with him just in case he finds cool species like this cecropia caterpillar.

It’s always exciting to spot big animals like deer and beaver but sometimes the most interesting wildlife are the smallest. For example, CVC staff found this cecropia moth caterpillar in Brampton.

During its caterpillar stage, the cecropia has a huge appetite. It eats the leaves of many trees and shrubs, including ash, birch, box elder, alder, elm, maple, poplar, wild cherry, plum, willow, apple and lilac. However, once it transforms into a moth, it doesn’t eat–in fact it doesn’t even have a mouth! It only lives for a few weeks and is around long enough to mate.

Precious porcupine

A young porcupine laying on a tree branch.
Baby porcupines are born with soft quills and harden within a few days.

Can anyone say, cuteness overload? Staff were able to determine that this porcupine was just a few days old when it was spotted because it had hair and its quills hadn’t fully hardened yet. Did you know that porcupines are born with their eyes open? Neat!

Flower mutations

Two types of trilliums that have different petal colours and shapes growing on a forest floor.
Red trillium (left) with a pigment mutation compared to a white trillium (right).

Did you know red trilliums can have creamy yellow petals? This is caused by a pigment mutation. You can tell it’s really a red trillium because of the petal shape but more distinctively, from the red petal veins.

Good luck little buddy!

A young owl with fluffy feathers perched on a branch.
Great horned owls nest in January or February and the young hatch after about a month.

Seeing an owl is an amazing feeling. While in Mississauga, CVC’s Jon Clayton spotted this young great horned owl. This might have been one of its first trips away from the nest because this photo was taken a short distance away from its home in a nearby tree cavity.

We are fortunate to have a diversity of habitats that animals can call home across the Credit River Watershed. Our committed monitoring and inventory staff add to our datasets year after year, expanding our knowledge of local biodiversity and understanding of the overall health of the watershed’s natural systems. Learn more about our monitoring work and discover more amazing sightings in our 2021 field finds blog.

Have cool findings of your own from the Credit River Watershed? Share them with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

By Kimberley Laird, Associate, Marketing and Communications

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