Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

pdf  The Bell Bushlot Bioblitz 2009 Report  

Bell Bushlot bioblitz cover

photos clockwise from top left: Imperial Moth larva (photo Mark Garbutt), red eft (photo Karen Thompson), identifying fungi (photo Pauline Donaldson), Snakeskin Liverwort (photo Karen Thompson), taking a break during the 24-h bioblitz (photo Pauline Donaldson)

Bioblitz report key points and summary below.

The Site

The Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists’ (MVFN) 2009 bioblitz took place in the fall on the 95-acre Bell Bushlot owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The majority of this property is wooded and provides an excellent, representative example of deciduous forest on Canadian Shield in Lanark County. The majority is upland, dominated by Sugar Maple forest, with small areas of mixed hardwoods including Sugar Maple, Ironwood, Basswood, Black Cherry and White Birch. Swamps in the lowlands are composed mostly of Black Ash and White Cedar, with some Yellow Birch. A small pocket of soft maple (red/silver) occurs adjacent to a small, shallow pond. The stream crossing the property and running north under Clayton Road was flowing during the bioblitz. Narrow valley wetlands through which the property drains to the east did not contain standing water at this time of year.

The Bioblitz

The bioblitz of the property (an enumeration of species conducted over a 24-hour period) began at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 19 and continued until Sunday, September 20 at 3:00 p.m. The weather cooperated—both days were sunny and cool (average of 18.5oC high, 4.4oC low). More than 100 participants volunteered in the search to see how many species could be found—large and small, we looked for them all! Over 20 one-hour guided walks, engaging for both the experienced as well as novice naturalist, were led by 23 expert field biologists. A program of nature exploration for children also complemented these guided walks. The schedule for this event is included as Appendix I in the report. Species were tallied during the guided walks, by the experts on their own time, and by other participants. On each guided walk, a photographer accompanied the leader to document interesting finds, habitats, and the joy of participation.

The Results

In just 24 hours over 500 species were seen, heard, or accounted for by other evidence.
Contributions to the species total by organism group:

Vascular Plants 261
Insects 63
Fungi 58
Mosses 50
Birds 30
Mammals 19
Invertebrates Without 6 Legs 17
Liverworts 16
Amphibians 9
Reptiles 2
Fish 1
TOTAL 526

Not only was the biodiversity of the site enumerated, but a preliminary assessment of the
geodiversity of the property was also conducted.

For each group of organisms (fungi, mosses and liverworts, vascular plants, invertebrates
without six legs, insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals), you will find a synopsis
which is followed by the list of species recorded during the 24-hour bioblitz.

The species lists produced as a result of this bioblitz provide a one-day snap shot, not an inventory of the property. A full inventory would, by contrast, involve enumeration of species by experts during all seasons and preferably over several years.

The Messenger

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN's natural history talks take place on 3rd Thursdays, Jan-April and Sept-November, at  Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St., Almonte, ON. All welcome!

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