l have been a part of a few successful wildlife rescues and educate people on wildlife and environmental issues. We have helped in issues to save wetlands, woodlands etc.to save the precious life within. It is well worth the effort. We can all learn to live and work together. Education is the key. In 2011 I won an education award from Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority for the work and photography I do. Habitat is fast disappearing and with it, many species are also declining in numbers. So many species can actually tell us the health of our environment and alert us to problems we need to know about. They all need to be protected.

Jen's Creative Photography

For the more domestic side of my work, for example, pet photography, babies and other photo shoots, please go to
Jen's Creative Photography


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Merlin Family,May 7th through July 22nd,2011

I was so fortunate this summer to monitor a merlin pair nesting. From May 7th, when a lady thought she had peregrin falcons. I offered to go ID the birds finding within minuets,a beautiful pair of merlins. They moved from that location however. But only a couple blocks over. They found a wonderful place to raise their little ones. Almost at the top of a huge Jack Pine. It only took a couple of visits to confirm she was sitting on eggs. Merlins lay 4 to 6 eggs that are layed about 2 or so days apart. They hatch out in same order. Incubation period is 28 to 32 days by the female. Days in nest are about 29 to 34 days. Typical fledge age is just over 4 weeks for females and almost 5 weeks for males. The fledglings follow flight of parents until at least fall migration. 2 to 4 weeks around the nest I believe. Between 6 and 9 weeks they should be on their own. I thank a good friend Ann B for that info. During my weeks at this nest sight I have met many great people of the area. Neighbours beside and across from the nest have been fantastic in filling me in on the days I was not there or after I left. I have put in 30 hours to date at the nest sight and countless more on the well over 1000 photos I have taken during that time. Weeding through the photos to choose the best for my upcoming blog has been difficult. I am working on a Merlin Family blog which I will be getting printed. I will also order a PDF DVD of same. I will make these available to those who would like to purchase it. I am not done yet. But I think it will be soon. As always in my nature watches I learn from my subject. These birds have been very co operative on their teachings. Some have approached me to see if my work is for sale. yes it is. Everything you see on my blog is for sale. Please contact me at: sashagirl12001@yahoo.com to find out more. Or for those who will see me at the nest site, please feel free to discuss it with me there. To protect the species from certain harrassment I am not giving out the location of this nest. This will be a great coffee table book or if you would like the DVD. Packed full of everything I documented during my time with the merlin family. Great to put on your DVD player or TV. Of coarse I can not put everything in this blog. But will carefully choose the best I can to share with you. The photos I have posted here are a little taste of what it will be like. But will have my information as well. Like the bald eagle,red headed woodpecker and monarch blogs you can view on the main page of natureworks.
My goal for my photography is to educate people on different species. I can not believe how many local people came to me and took interest in these birds. Some went home and brought back others from the house including grandchildren. Some got on the phone and said get down here you won't beleive this. Totally amazing responce. If the merlins only knew how special they are. Another job well done.

Momma merlin having a nice preening. Giving a little shake of the feathers after sitting in the nest for so long. Oh that feels good!!!

merlin Family,May 7th through July 22nd,2011

July 13th. Babes in the nest.

July 12th. Young merlins in nest. Beautiful!

July 8th. Babes are very young here. Lighting was terrible this day for shooting. However as these are for documentation you shoot anyways and hope for the best. Although this shot is not great. I love it. It shows 2 of the young nestling nuzzling each other. Very touching.

July 7th. First time I saw a little nestling up there in the nest. How amazing they are. So tiny and pure.

May 7th. This is a great shot of the female before they actually nested.

merlin Family,May 7th through July 22nd,2011

July 18th. To my surprise today a fourth head peeked up in the nest. And then there were 4.

July 16th. Mom brings in more food and is plucking it for the young.

July 16th. How the little ones are growing. Every time I come I see such a huge change in these babes.

July 20th. This fledgling just had a short flight from tree to tree. But the landing sure needs work still.

July 19th. Mom just dropped a bird in the nest for the nestling to eat. With 4 young in the nest it sure looks like a feeding frenzy here.

merlin Family,May 7th through July 22nd,2011

July 21st. Feeding time in the nest.

July 21st. A young doing flight practice.

July 21st.The young ones are flittin about around the nest.

July 21st. I call this one bird to another. A fledgling sits beside the nest as an airplane flies overhead.

Merlin Family,May 7th through July 22nd,2011

Fledged young merlin relaxing in the nest tree. July 22nd.

Fledgling enjoying a tasty meal,July 22nd.

After flying to another tree,this fledgling is taking a rest. July 22nd.

This young merlin comes in after a brief flight. Landing needs a little work still. July 22.

Mom getting the food ready for hungry young,July 22

A rescue of a differnt kind, June 16th/11

Not your average rescue. This midland painted turtle was a very lucky girl. I have educated people for many years,my 19 year old son Jeff has come into my world and been a part of many rescues from turtles to a loon and a trumpeter swan. He & I have rubbed off on my husband Mark. How could you not. We live for our wildlife friends,photograph them,help them when in need and have done many biological/wildlife surveys for various reasons. We live in Big Bay Point, Innisfil. Jeff & I were responsible in getting the first turtle crossing signs up along this stretch of road were many turtles have been seen. A rich area of wetlands surrounds the road into the point. Some people say they have never seen a one. But others many. It is all in the timeing! I helped a snapping turtle across the road and when I got her across safely someone came to me and said. You know what. That turtle crossed right in front of the crossing sign!! No kidding I said. It just so happened it was our deputy councellor.I was so focused on getting that turtle to safety I never noticed. ( would of made a terrific photo).Main thing is we made it. Last year the snapper was number 7 of 8 species to be listed as a species at risk of special concern. One left not on the list and that is the midland painted turtle. This lucky turtle was on her way to lay her precious eggs when my husband saw her. He drove by and for some reason he turned around and went back. ( It didn't look right,he said. wasn't sure what he saw) Gut feeling was to turn around and go and check it out. So back he went. It was a painted turtle on her back with all 4 legs up in the air. She was trying to right herself but couldn't. She would of died. Not from her injuries but most likely a predator and because she was in a very vunerable position ,could not eat,get out of the hot sun etc. He gently picked her up,wrapped her in his sweatshirt,called me and got home. Found a plastic tub and put her in. She had been hit by a car. Her carapace(upper shell) was damaged. Her plastron(bottom shell) was cracked and there was a bit of blood under her body sitting on the plastron.One thing good was she was pretty fiesty. I checked her out and immediatly called the Karwartha Turtle Trauma Center in Peterborough. After assessing her condition as it was getting late and it was a 2 plus hour drive. We decided she was stable and could spend the night with us. I put heated towels around the outside of her bin and covered her to keep her calm. 6AM we loaded her up. She had a good night. And I was off. My friend Fran offered to drive. I was glad because she was a fiesty little girl. Wanted no way to be covered. She wanted to see what was going on. I had her in the front seat beside me and she kept peeking her head out the opening in the towel. So I decided when I went to Fran's car that she was sitting on my lap in the container. I uncovered her. And she was very happy to be park of the conversation. She was very cute and sociable. She was very active,a good sign. And I knew she was a female because females nails are shorter than males. Males nails are longer for the breeding process. On the way we had to stop and check on a big snapper laying her eggs on the side of the road by a wetland. Still had a long way to go so checked on the way back. She finished her job and got back safe and sound.
When we arrived. The trauma center awaited us with paperwork. As good a description as possible is important when you rescue a turtle to go to the center. It has to go back to wear it came from. A turtle carries a bacteria from it's area that could harm or even wipe out another area of turtles. It is critical that you write down all the info you can. GPS is good too. Not all of us carries one of coarse. When it is released god willing it will go back to that spot or at least within 1 km. After medical director Sue Carstairs examined our girl and I filled out the paper work that Olivia gave me. Our turtle was admitted. Sue found another area that was injured. This is were the blood was coming from. Along her side. And would take the longest to heal. She may be there until next spring. They would x-ray her to see if she had eggs. A week later I followed up on # 140. She indeed had eggs. Another follow up a couple weeks later ,she had laid 8 eggs. They were numbered as her eggs and would be incubated as her eggs separately from others. They would go home with Mom when time was right. There is no bond between mom and baby turtles by the way. But they will carry that same bacteria from that same wetland area. So they must go back there as well. So Mark saved not one turtle but all goes well 9 turtles. Amazing.This trauma center is much needed. Some of you may say. Why worry,there are lots of turtles out there. I see them on the logs basking. Ah yes you do. However,the females are the ones who travel to lay those eggs in the spring. The females are the ones who get hit. And depending on the species,turtles are not mature enough to even lay eggs from between 12-20 years. The turtle trauma center this year when I last called had I beleive around or over 500 turtle eggs to hatch. And 173 injured turtles of various species. Not all hit turtles survive. Our painted is very lucky. Also if you see a dead turtle, (TAKE IT IN,IT MAY HAVE EGGS THAT CAN BE SAVED)The females are the ones that mostly get hit. Meaning that all those turtles you see basking may be males. Our 8 species of turtles in Ontario. Only the midland painted turtle is not on the species at risk list to date. YET!
Habitat is being lost every time you turn around. Not significant they say. I think not.

Join the Ontario Turtle Tally from the Toronto Zoo at aap@torontozoo.ca or check web page at www.torontozoo.com/adoptapond/TurtleTally.asp and become a citzen scientist in helping to keep track of our Ontario turtles numbers. Great for adults and children. Register and get your ID kit today.

Injured turtles Call

Karwartha Turtle Trauma Center, Peterborough,at 705-741-5000 check out there web page at
www.karwarthaturtle.org (If you do handle a turtle ,try to wear gloves and wash thoroughly afterwards.)

The volume the center is experiencing this year has put a real strain on their finances,and the threat to close is real. We can't let that happen. Donations are much appreciated. Thank you.

The folowing are our list of Ontario Turtles and there rating on the SAR list.

midland painted NONE
Snapping turtle SPECIAL CONCERN
Spotted turtle ENDANGERED
Spiny Softshell THREATENED
Northern Map Turtle SPECIAL CONCERN
Wood turtle ENDANGERED

Red eared sliders NON NATVE SPECIES, these turtle are bought at pet shops and often as they grow,are let loose.DO NOT LET THESE TURTLES LOOSE. There are places such as Scales Reptile Park that may be able to take them in. Located just outside of Orillia.

More little miracles rescued

July 21st More little babes rescued. Story to follow with more shots.They arrive at the wildlife rehab and Helen gives them a quick assessment and a rubdown. Then the first much needed meal. They would not of lived much longer. Were extremely dehydrated and starving. Lying out in the middle of a not well traveled dirt road in over 90 deg. heat plus humidity. Out of desparation they made it out of their nest to try to get help. Luckily,they found it. A very kind young man came across them and with help from another who called me. Got them help.

I know I can be long winded. But please take the time to read what I have writen with the next set of photos. My whole goal with my work is to try to educate people about wildife. I promise you it will be worth your while to read the next segment. Thank you.

Little miracle rescued,July 19th/11

Here is a true story that I encountered in my back yard the other night. July 18th at 1:30 AM. I awoke to this awful noise in my backyard. My bedroom is at the front of the house and this noise was so loud,it was coming from my backyard. I have a certified backyard habitat which I did back in 2003 I think it was. Through the certification program at Canadian Wildlife Federation. I highly recommend this program and promote it as well. No matter were you live or how big OR little your backyard is. House or appartment. You can do this. Providing much needed habitat ( food,water,shelter )for our wildlife friends of all kinds when their habitat is disappearing so quickly around us. Because of us. A small thing to do. And such a rewarding thing to do as well. I have all my woodpecker friends every year now bring their babies to us. Pileated,red headed,red bellied,hairy,downy and yellow bellied sapsuckers. And so many songbirds. It is awesome. Of coarse I am in a semi roural place as well so I do get raccoons ,skunks,chipmunks and squirrels. We have had a moose out front on the road,a coyote walk down the road,wild turkeys,mallards ducks,deer,and foxes. But that is where I live and why I live here. So I suggest you go to CWF's web page and check that out. You will not be sorry you did.

Now back to my story. I dawned a flashlight. And wandered out back to find out what it was that was crying so much and so loudly in desparation. I am thinking ( what am I doing out here at this hour ). But the loud cries made me determined. We have 2 ponds in this area. One for the goldfish and one shallow with a fountain for the critters to drink and bathe in. My thought was that something amy have fallen in the pond maybe. I opened the gate to the pond area. A lovely arbour with a beautiful vine is my entrance to this wildlife sancuary of mine. My peaceful get away area I spend many hours in or watching from my window. And there it was. A wee baby raccoon. It cried and cried. I spoke softly to it. My wildlife photography work has put me into a situation many time to sit amongst the babes. Patience and quietness is the key. I put myself in this little ones space,quietly,and spoke softly. Time does not matter when I am in their world. Only the peace and quiet and gentleness of the moment matters. This baby needed comforting. I was there. It calmed down. I assumed as it wandered off into the back of my yard that it would find it's momma. It didn't.

The next night. As I was out back watching the other 3 of 5 babies that were older now and had been orphaned playing in the tree. They were doing well. 2 I am hopeing have wondered off on their own now. But unless they show up again ( which I am hopefull they will ). I will never know there fate. As I watched in amazement. The hours of entertainment has been marvelous from these babes. I noticed this little tiny ball in the crook of the tree above the older babes. My instant thought was. That baby didn't find it's mother. It needed help. I got a better look at it of coarse in the day light. It was tiny,hungry and dehydrated. And it started to cry again when it saw me. It crawled to the other older babes. But they backed off and grumbled at it. It of coarse grumbled back as it was scared. The older but still babes themselves raccoons didn't know what to make of this little thing that was seeking them out. It went back up the tree. I spoke softly to it to try to get it down. And it kept trying to come to me. But kept getting to a point it was unsure of and went back up. My hubby on standby to hop the fence and grab it. I shook some kibble to hopefully attract it. But it didn't relate to that as it was to little.

Well darkness set in. Mark missed his chance. It came down but was very fast at going back up. We went in. I was very upset and fearful for it's survival. 30 min. later I heard it's cries. We rushed out. A male raccon who will kill a baby. Was confronting it. It was crying. And he backed it up right into our big pond. I heard the plunk as it went in. We rushed over. Male ran off. And Mark grabbed it up quickly. It's back end was in and it was hanging on for dear life. Oh how it squealed the poor thing. Cage was ready. We got it!!! 10PM. Oh how releaved we were. I called Helen. She guided me through and an early morning trip was awaiting me and the babe. I warmed blankets in the dryer. It snuggled in right away. I thought it would cry all night. But it slept like a baby. Ate it's 3 slices of chopped banana and teaspoon of yogurt. Tipped up it's water. ( probably trying to wash it's little hands). 6:30 AM we were off to it's new mom. Fran took me up as I was not sure of the directions. And the babe would soon get a much needed meal. It was dehydrated and hungry. It was scared and lost. To young to be out on it's own. It was out looking for Mom. Who was gone. The only one that apparently survived from that litter. She will be fine now.

After 2 days she accepted her new mom with a little more quietness and ease. She was so scared at first and unsure. I can't think of anyone else I would rather see her with except for her real Mom than Helen. A very amazing woman who will love her and care for her as best she can like the babes own Mom would. Totally amazing job. What a precious little baby girl. I do not know what happened to her mother. This is mom # 2 that has disappeared. #1 was killed by a dog up the street. This little baby made it's way into the real world to find her momma. I can only wonder, were there any more!!

Little miracles rescued July 21/11

I was in town about to make a purchase when my cell phone rang. I answered to find out 2 more babies smaller than the first one were in the middle of the hot road near my house in Big Bay Point, Innisfil. One on top of the other,clearly in distress. Told the store clerk I would be back. Had an emergency to tend to. And I was off. I had a friend with me (Fran) and we were on a mission to save a couple more lives. I told Gwen ( another friend and neighbour) what to do and it was done fast. The babes were awaiting in a recycle bin 30 min later when we arrived. The cage was still in the back of the car from this mornings trip to the wildlife rehabilitation center with the first baby my husband & I rescued from my backyard last night. Apparently the little ones put up a fight when removed from the road. But when I lifted them with a towel out of the bin,there was no fight at all. They were hot,dehydrated and starving. Mom was gone. Another mom missing. This is 3 in a month. And I am guessing more babes probably died. These little ones are not old enough to leave the nest yet. And I am thinking they made their way out from desperation to find food and water. Thier tiny little bodies lay motionless in the middle of the hot gravel road in temperatures of in the mid 40's with humidity. The hottest day of the season so far. It was aweful. I am surprised they didn't surcomb. They could go no farther. We called Helen. She was awaiting our arrival and tended to the babes immediatly. They had a warm bottle and warm wipe down and some electrolights. I was very worried about one but it perked up along the way. Strong little things. They are very young. Helen said they would not of made it much longer. They were fighting the bottle a bit but then realized this was what they were looking for. They snuggled into Helen as she took them both out and fed them one at a time. They cried a bit. They ate a bit and they snuggled into their new mom some more. It was awesome. The other little one we brought in that morning was very curious of the new comers and their little cries. Later Helen will give them a bath to make sure there is no problems when she puts them together as they are from different litters. They are all little girls.
Update from Friday July 22nd. All 3 babes are together and enjoying each others company. About 2 weeks apart in age. So between 5-8 weeks of age.They have a nice tunnel and some toys to play with. Babes are all eating.

One thing I really feel the need to say here. Is that I realize some people do not want wildlife around their homes. Lets not forget a very big thing here. They were here first. I know,you have heard that before. But the fact is . That is true. AND. Development. We are around a big development change going on here and we are seeing more wildlife that has been uprooted from thier homes. NOT THIER FAULT!! Oh I know some developers do end up ding amazing things for the wildlife in the end. BUT. During that process,they are uprooted and have no place to go. It is a no win situation. They are being forced to live amongst us. DO NOT TRAP and move an animal. They may have young. These little lives are innocent and they can not help themselves. THEY NEED MOM. This was a miracle that these littel ones were able to get to the outside world to get help. They were very lucky the kind gentleman found them and did something about it fast. For that I thank you. I beleive there are laws in effect here as well at this time of year especially. Chipmunks,squirrels,skunks etc. The list goes on. All have young at this time of year that need them. Mom's are just trying to get some R&R away from the babes when you see them out during the day. They may be hungry and looking for a drink ,a much need rest, whatever. There are other humane ways to tell them you don't want them there if you must! Leaving a radio on .Leaving lights on at night with the radio. 1 part garlic juice to 10 parts water is suppose to deter wildlife AND cats as well by spraying it around. Contact Toronto Wildlife Center or other rehab centers for information on that as well. I am sure they will be glad to help you out there.

POISON: I hate poison. You are not only poisoning a mouse,a rat whatever. But you are poisoning what eats that animal and what eats THAT animal and on and on it goes . The food chain. The mouse is poisoned,it is a slow horible death,the hawk or fox eats that mouse,the turkey vulture eats that fox. The food chain has just all been poisoned. PLUS. Posibly someones precious pet may get into that poison as well. Cats eat mice. Something to think about!!!

To all those wildlife rehabilitators out there, and there are not near enough of them. You are all very special people who care and give it your all to save our wildlife young and old alike. Way to go and keep up the excellent work you do.

We have lost to many wildlife rehab centers due to funding. If you need help for one of your wildlife friends,wether it be injured and or orphaned. Please check with your nearest MNR ( Ministry of Natural Resources) to find out what is nearest you.
A couple places I know of are
Procyon in Beeton,Toronto Wildlife Center in Toronto,Aspen Valley Wildlife center in Parry Sound. And there also is a wildlife rehab in Staynor. Internet is a good sourse also to locate these places. I have a book with all these important numbers I carry with me. You never know. And sometimes you don't have a lot of time. God willing you will never need to know.

To my wildlife rehaber friend Helen.
THANK YOU. And the babes thank you too!!