birds, nests, and a bioblitz update

We’re now into the homestretch of the Blogger BioBlitz week. I and others will be wrapping up our surveys of chosen areas over the weekend, and then working to compile the data to send to the team that will be putting together the final tallies. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out the great collection of links to bioblitz reports that Jeremy Bruno has put together at The Voltage Gate. I’ve been visiting many of the blogs and it’s absolutely fascinating to see what each of the participants has found at their chosen survey sites. If you make the rounds of some of these blogs, do post a comment to let the bloggers know that you’ve enjoyed reading about life in their part of the world.

So, what have I been up to the last couple of days? I’d intended to post updates a little more than I have, but it seems I’ve been too busy trying to identify plants and creatures, edit photos and fill in the data sheets that will be used to compile the final bioblitz tally. As I’ve had time, I’ve been uploading photos of things seen here at the farm into an online gallery. I have quite a lot of photos yet to upload, but with any luck, I’ll get to that this evening. Right now, Don and I are just heading off to do a couple of hours of trail maintenance work with the “Friends of Ferguson Forest” at the G. Howard Ferguson Forestry Centre near Kemptville. Of course, I’ll be bringing my camera along and will take photos of anything of interest that might turn up while we’re clearing the winter’s accumulation of fallen trees and branches off the trails.

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours filling out a data sheet for my first bioblitz site, Murphys Point Provincial Park. If you’re curious about such things, here’s the online edition. I hope that link works. This is all *new stuff* to me as I’ve never used Google Spreadsheets before. It seems like the links to photos on the spreadsheet all work, so it’s kind of a neat thing. I can see some other interesting applications for the spreadsheets for future projects. Again, the bioblitz has been an interesting learning experience for me, and probably for most of the other participants as well.

Okay, last thing before we take off with our saws and snippers to do that trail clearing. A week or so ago, I checked into participating in Bird Studies Canada’s Project NestWatch. I guess you could say that Project NestWatch is an online extension of the Ontario Nest Records Scheme which has existed for many years. In the past, observers filled out and submitted data cards on nests that they had seen at various locations. To keep step with the changing technology, the project has moved online, and data can now be submitted through the website.

I decided to participate this year as we see many nests around our farm, so it’s easy enough to observe what’s going on and just fill in the online data sheets as necessary. The first couple of nest records will be for the above Mourning Dove that has been sitting on this nest since April 25th (see above photo). I’m not so sure it’s a great spot — it’s right next to our main hiking trail, so she sees us going by each day. However, she doesn’t seem to be too worried about our presence. Perhaps the scent of our tracks (Sabrina and I) passing by along the trail a few times a day, will confuse any fox or raccoons that happen to be passing by. The second record will be for the American Robin nest (seen below), that happens to be in a pine tree about 15 feet away from the Mourning Dove. The Robin also seems to be taking our presence in stride. Sometimes, she flies up into a nearby birch tree and scolds us as we pass through, but then soon returns to her nest. For a couple of years, we’ve had a Robin that builds her nest in an arbor practically right outside our back door. She flies out to shriek at me from a low branch of one of the trees while I’m weeding the vegetable garden, or dive bombs Sabrina when she’s walking nearby. If anything, she’s more intimidating than intimidated.

Well, time to pack up the tools and hit the trails. With any luck, maybe we’ll see a salamander or some nice snakes or millipedes while we’re clearing up fallen trees this morning!

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