Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall BioBlitz at Mud Lake

Nature Canada’s first ever Fall BioBlitz was a huge success! We were joined by over 200 citizens of the national capital region who accompanied local expert naturalists on guided walks where they learned to identify plants, birds, amphibians, reptiles and more!

Photo Credit: Rocky Chan
A BioBlitz can take many forms, but is generally an intense 24 hour survey of a location with a mission to identify as many living things as possible at the site. With the help of naturalists and citizen investigators we managed to identify a total of 295 species, at least four of which are considered species at risk: the Common Nighthawk, the Rusty Blackbird,the Butternut tree and the Snapping Turtle. The Fall BioBlitz is part of a larger effort to learn more about the state of local biodiversity and catalogue changes over time in population patterns.

Mud Lake is considered by many to be a wilderness gem in the heart of our busy city and is found within the Lac DeschĂȘnes- Ottawa River Important Bird Area. It was the perfect location for such an inventory. Easy to get to and containing various habitats in a confined area, Mud Lake is an ideal spot to connect to nature in your own backyard.

Exploring aquatic macro-invertebrates with a kitchen strainer and a tub.
Each walk focused on a particular group of plants or animals. Simple kitchen items revealed a world of tiny living things which thrive in complex communities, often unnoticed, in water. An eye opening experience for many. An ultraviolet light focused on a white sheet called-in night-flying insects for close examination after the sun had set. Birders, expert and aspiring, rose early to search out common and rare species. We even got an up close look at snapping turtles that were making their way from the nest to the water. All in all it was a very exciting 24 hours!

Young snapping turtle.
We hope you can join us for the next BioBlitz at Mud Lake in June 2014.

We would like to thank everyone who came out to help us survey the area, in particular all the fantastic local naturalists who shared their expertise and helped to make the day such a resounding success!

Botany experts – Serguei Ponomarenko, Zoe Pachen, Cassandra Robillard
Insect experts –Henri Goulet, Tara Conroy
Avian experts - Gillian Shields, Carlos Barbery, Emily Bird
Reptile and amphibian experts – Julie Chateauvert, William Halliday, Rachel Thibodeau
General experts – Jeff Skevington, Michelle Locke

We would also like to thank our funders:

Here is an overview of what we found at during our Fall BioBlitz:

 Bird Species - 91
Amphibian and Reptile Species - 6
Mammal Species - 8
Tree Species - 37
Shrubs and Flowering Plants - 57
Other Plant Species (including Fungi) - 14
Beetle Species - 6
Fly Species - 22
Swaflies, Bees, Wasps and Ants - 17
Butterflies and Moths - 8
Dragonflies and Damsleflies - 8
other Insect Species - 21

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