Journal archives for May 2021

May 04, 2021

Tuesday: Fungi and Herptiles

Thank you all for making Monday such an exciting start to this week's BioBlitz! As of 9am Tuesday morning we have collected 282 observations of 143 different species, and we are just getting started.

A special shoutout to all who embraced yesterday's challenge of observing a pollinator in action! I especially enjoyed robinmclean's bumblebee, head completely submerged in flower, and griffafish's beautiful swallowtail butterfly sighting.

Today (Tuesday) our BioBlitz continues with a focus on fungi and herptiles (reptiles and amphibians). Some of the most interesting organisms hide out in dark and damp places. Tuesday’s BioBlitz Challenge: Submit an observation of an organism you found under a log! Pictured here is an Eastern Red-backed Salamander that was discovered under a log during last year’s BioBlitz. For your safety, remember to roll logs toward you, so critters can scurry in the opposite direction. Additionally, always return logs back to their original position, leaving the microhabitat to function as it was.

Also, just a friendly reminder that we are documenting WILDlife. While you may feel wild at heart, please refrain from submitting selfies, or pictures of pets and houseplants. Thank you and have fun exploring outdoors today!!

Posted on May 04, 2021 13:24 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 03, 2021

Monday: Flowering Plants and Insects

Today kicks off New Jersey Audubon’s BioBlitz 2021! Please join us in documenting and celebrating the diverse wildlife across New Jersey. While we encourage you to submit observations of ALL wild plants and animals you observe, each day will highlight certain classifications of wildlife. Today’s spotlight is on flowering plants and insects. We want to see what is blooming and buzzing in your neighborhood.

Monday’s BioBlitz Challenge: Submit an observation of a pollinator in action!

Posted on May 03, 2021 13:22 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 05, 2021

Wednesday: Invasive Species

Hello BioBlitzers!

Our project continues to grow as we document wildlife across New Jersey. Thank you for your efforts!! As of 9:15am on Wednesday, we have 290 species observed. Do you think we can surpass 300 today?? Remember that in addition to submitting observations, you can help identify unknown or misidentified species observed by other people participating in our project.

Several species of fungi and herps were observed yesterday. I enjoyed seeing the bizarre juniper apple-rust observations, as well as some frogs and turtles. We still don't have any snake observations, but three days remain.

Shoutout to nicholas_carrera for snapping a photo of a leopard slug, which are typically found in dark, damp places like under logs. You are yesterday's challenge winner!

New Jersey Audubon’s BioBlitz 2021 continues today with a focus on invasive plants and animals. Invasive species are fast spreading organisms—out-competing others for resources.

Wednesday’s BioBlitz Challenge: Submit an observation of an invading vine. What type of terrain is it climbing?

Posted on May 05, 2021 13:37 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 06, 2021

Thursday: Native Plants & Animals

We have two more days of BioBlitzing and I can't wait to see what everyone discovers! So far, we've made 803 observations and identified 341 species. The map of observation locations is filling in, showing participation across the garden state.

We've identified 100 different introduced species so far including House Sparrow, Brown Marmorated Stinkbug, and 83 species of plants. The winner of the "invading vine" challenge is sarahofarrell who made five observations of different vine invaders. They also added notes to their observations, sharing their battle with invasive plant management! Keep up the good work.

Today, we focus on native plants and animals. These species have evolved together over time and many have developed symbiotic relationships. Don’t be deceived by common names…many wildlife beneficial plants have the term “weed” in their name. (Think milkweed and monarchs!) Thursday’s BioBlitz Challenge: Submit an observation of a “weed” that is native to New Jersey.

Have fun out there!

Posted on May 06, 2021 13:32 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 07, 2021

Friday: Trees & Birds

As we head in to our final day of this year's BioBlitz we have over 1,000 observations and over 400 species identified...AMAZING!

Yesterday's native species day brought in some great observations, including an Eastern Box Turtle eating a fish that an Osprey dropped (by dale_ross), an Eastern Fence Lizard soaking up some sun on the trunk of a tree (by erin_allison), two White-tailed Deer prancing through a puddle (by osprey1nj), and a Bluefish leaping out of the water (by destinys).

So many of you found a native "weed" growing in your neighborhood. It's great to see so much milkweed around as monarch butterflies are starting to return! cgb25 submitted an observation of poison ivy. This is a native plant that definitely gets treated like a weed, understandably as it causes an uncomfortable reaction in many people. However, poison ivy is a wildlife beneficial plant, especially when it produces berries for birds and other animals to enjoy! What a perfect example of a native plant with a bad reputation.

Today's focus is on birds and trees. As the World Series of Birding is just one day away, this is a perfect opportunity to do some scouting! Friday’s BioBlitz Challenge: Submit an observation of a bird that nests in tree cavities!

Thank you all for your participation in the BioBlitz, and check back in the coming weeks for a more in-depth report of our findings!

Posted on May 07, 2021 13:47 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 20, 2021

NJ Audubon's BioBlitz 2021 Summary Report

New Jersey Audubon’s BioBlitz 2021, the second annual statewide BioBlitz facilitated by New Jersey Audubon (NJA) was held May 3rd-7th, 2021. The iNaturalist project was joined by 285 people across the state of New Jersey and a total of 1,532 observations were submitted. Observations were made in 20 of the 21 counties in New Jersey. Atlantic County had the most observations at 316, followed by Bergen (300) and Gloucester (280). While identifications continue to be made, there were 579 species identified as of May 18th, 2021. The top five most observed species were American Robin (25), Tree Swallow (17), House Sparrow (16), Common Dandelion (16), and Eastern Gray Squirrel (12).

Birds
There were 269 bird observations, and 90 species have been identified. The most observed bird species were American Robin (25), Tree Swallow (17), House Sparrow (16), White-throated Sparrow (11), and Blue Jay (10). Noteworthy observations included Cerulean Warbler, a species of special concern in New Jersey and Brown Booby, a seabird that is rare in the state. Additionally, two species of owls, Great Horned Owl and Barred Owl were observed.

Reptiles and Amphibians
A total of 30 observations were made of 11 species of herptiles (reptiles and amphibians). The most observed species were Common Box Turtle (7), American Bullfrog (6), Fowler’s Toad (3), and Green Frog (2). Some outstanding photos included an Eastern Rat Snake clinging to the trunk of a tree, and an Eastern Box Turtle eating a fish that was dropped by an Osprey!

Mammals
Participants submitted 34 observations of 10 mammal species. The most observed mammals were Eastern Gray Squirrel (12), White-tailed Deer (5), Eastern Cottontail (5), and Groundhog (3). Notable observations included the skull of a Common Bottlenose Dolphin found on the beach and a North American River Otter that fell victim to an automobile collision.

Fish
There were individual observations of five different types of fish. The three observations that were identified to the species level were Atlantic Menhaden, Bluefish and Channel Catfish. The other two observations were identified to the families of minnows/carp, and sunfish.

Insects, Arachnids, and Mollusks
A total of 152 observations were made of 81 species of insects, arachnids and mollusks. The most observed species were Brown Marmorated Stinkbug (3), Blue Blowfly (3), and Eastern Black Carpenter Ant (3). Insect structures were also observed including multiple types of galls, a spittlebug foam nest, and a bagworm moth case.

Plants
There were 898 plant observations with 351 species identified thus far. The most observed species were Common Dandelion (16), Beach Plum (11), Garlic Mustard (9), Greater Periwinkle (8), and Poison Ivy (8). Of the 351 species, 112 are introduced or non-native. Beautiful photos of blooming plants included Pink Lady’s Slipper (a type of orchid), the dainty Primrose-leaved Violet, and the bright yellow Bulbous Buttercup.

Fungi and Lichens
Participants submitted 57 observations of 27 identified species of fungi, including lichens. The most observed species were Juniper-apple Rust (4), Common Greenshield Lichen (3), Turkey Tail (2), and Powdered Ruffle Lichen (2). These organisms were spotted growing on a diversity of surfaces including bark, concrete, soil, and wooden benches.

A big thank you to all who participated in the New Jersey Audubon’s BioBlitz 2021, especially the NJ Watershed Ambassadors who mentored schools across the state, and BASF for their support of STEM education.

Posted on May 20, 2021 14:34 by emily_wilmo emily_wilmo | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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