For the 8th year in a row there has been a Bog BioBlitz. Each year brings us a better understanding of the biodiversity in the Sax-Zim Bog. Participants vary from year to year, as does the number of species found and this year was certainly an anomaly in the history of bioblitzes, as you might expect during a pandemic. We had a format change: no official field trips and an extended schedule! So under these new conditions, how did this year’s bioblitz compare to year’s past?
Even thought we may have lacked traditional field trips, we still called on our field trip leaders from prior bioblitzes to come out an find species in their respective fields. Jerry McCormick patrolled the roadsides and fields of the Sax-Zim Bog looking for butterflies and insects; Chad Heins spent time sweep netting and turning logs looking for spiders; Head Naturalist Clinton and Kristina, as well as Welcome Center Naturalist Jason and Katie took the night shift to document moths in the Sax-Zim Bog; Jason and Katie also spent time netting and photographing dragonflies and damselflies; Kelly Beaster had only a brief day to pop up and document plants; Joan Hunn spent time on a number species but came through documenting lichen diversity; and Executive Director Sparky found a diversity of species and documented his finds on video here.
Over the course of observation the weather was a challenge, with windy conditions, some rain, some cold (relatively speaking for July), generally a tough weekend for finding some species. However, 18 different groups of folks made an incredible effort to document species from July 16-20. As with last year’s BioBlitz we utilized iNaturalist to help record species. Last year, there were 15 observers who made 264 observations of 184 species. This year, we had 14 observers who made 817 observations of 534 species! What an incredible jump in observations!! Thank you to everyone who submitted observations to our BioBlitz iNaturalist project! To view this year’s project, follow this link. To view 2019’s BioBlitz project, follow this link.
So, how many species did we document during Sax-Zim Bog BioBlitz 8? With an extended observation period, iNaturalist use, and all of our intrepid participants we documented 730 species!! In this tally, we added 135 new species to our Master Species List and documented roughly 36% of our entire species list! What an impressive result! Here are results for each species group of note:
TREES AND SHRUBS: 35 species documented, with 5 new additions to the Master Species List.
FLOWERING PLANTS: 164 species documented, with 19 new additions to the Master Species List.
GRASSES AND SEDGES: 54 species documented, with 7 new additions to the Master Species List.
FERNS AND ALLIES: 20 species documented, with 6 new moss species added to the Master Species List.
LICHENS AND FUNGI: 39 species documented, with 7 new lichens and 3 new fungi added to the Master Species List.
DRAGONFLIES AND DAMSELFLIES: 24 species documented, with highlights including Zigzag Darner, Zebra Clubtail, and rare for the Bog Wandering Glider.
BUTTERFLIES: 31 species documented, with Black Swallowtail, Dion Skipper, Baltimore Checkerspot, and great numbers of Acadian Hairstreaks being highlights.
MOTHS: 140 species documented, with 40 new species added to the Master Species List (which is now 12 species away from 500!).
SPIDERS: 45(!) species documented, with 20 species added to the Master Species List. This total includes 12 new county records and 4 new state records!
MISC “BUGS”: 68 species documented, with 28 new species added to the Master Species List.
BIRDS: 84 species documented, with 14 warbler species, 8 sparrow species, 7 species of flycatcher, and Great Gray Owl being highlights.
FISH: Central Mudminnow was the only fish species documented this year, as high water conditions trounced any greater effort in documentation this year.
AMPHIBIANS AND REPTILES: 9 species documented, with no turtles observed during the bioblitz.
MAMMALS: 18 species documented, which is astounding! All 4 canine species, 4 species of bat, Bobcat, Black Bear, and even Northern Flying Squirrel made this year’s mammal list quite amazing.
Thank you again to everyone who submitted checklists of species via email, iNaturalist, or on our Facebook Group with the #bogbioblitz2020. We really appreciate the efforts made to help us continue to learn about the Sax-Zim Bog!
— Head Naturalist Clinton