Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bioblitz- Day 2: Slow Recovery

Day 2 of the BioBlitz dawned gray and cloudy, despite the promise of sunshine. Yes, we even got a bit more rain. I really feel sorry for the organizers. It's very obvious that a lot of work went into the preparation for this event. The species counts were very low relative to what they should have been. Terrestrial insects were particularly hard hit- you just don't see things like butterflies, dragonflies and tiger beetles in this sort of weather. Even the fish surveys were hampered- the water levels were just too high.

Cirsium pitcheri- Pitcher's Thistle

The plant folks were least impacted by the weather, and they saved the day in terms of recording biodiversity. The Indiana Dunes have an amazing plant list, including lots of endangered species. This Pitcher's Thistle is not quite in bloom yet. Not only is it endangered, it's a Great Lakes endemic.

It finally cleared up about an hour and a half before the Blitz ended. Robin and I went back to try to find Karner Blues and Olympia Marblewings. No success on either count. The wind turned off of the lake and the temperature dropped into the 50s.

Things took a turn for the better when I ran into my friends John and Jane. We decided that even though the official species count had ended, we'd go for a walk in Miller Woods and try one more time to see Olympia Marblewings.

John and Jane at the pannes at Miller Woods

We saw no Olympia Marblewings, but we did see some cool stuff. By mid afternoon, it was a beautiful spring day. The leaves on the oak trees are just beginning to unfold.

The damselfly Ishnura verticalis snacks on a small fly

Oak trees greening up around an interdunal pond
There were tons of whirligig beetles in the pond

One disappointment through much of the walk was that although we were traversing excellent tiger beetle habitat, we weren't seeing any. Finaly, as we were trudging through the dunes on the way back to the cars, Big Sand Tiger Beetles (Cicindela formosa) started showing up. I managed to get one of the best tiger beetle photos that I've ever taken. It was a wonderful end to a challenging BioBlitz. I was in bed by 8:15 that night.

Big Sand Tiger Beetle (Cicindela formosa)
This image embiggens well.

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At 19:48, Blogger cedrorum said...

Wow, the formosa picture almost made up for all the crap. I also liked the picture of the pitcher's thistle. Sorry to hear that overall this was a bust. We had a similar thing happen at last year's Christmas bird count. It was cold and drizzly and the birds didn't want to participate.

At 22:32, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fine formosa frame indeed - tigers rock!

At 01:57, Blogger Marvin said...

Sorry about the rain dampened event, but that's a great tiger beetle shot.

At 07:38, Blogger Doug Taron said...

cedrorum- Your name came up on the walk that this post describes. John and Jane had just gotten back from South Carolina and had gotten a tour of a Carolina bay. They were impressed by the excellent fire management program there. Their guide was impressed that they were so knowledgeable about fire.

Ted- Thanks. John and Jane say hi. Your name also came up during the walk.

Marvin- Thanks. I felt like that photo made up for a lot of the weekend's disappointments.

At 10:01, Blogger In Beauyt I Walk said...

Wonderful tiger beetle shot, I've never seen one of them before. I thought about stopping by the bioblitz, but the weather kept me away. I didn't think I would get many good shots in the rain.

At 22:57, Blogger Celeste said...

Spectacular Tiger Beetle photo Doug.

At 01:29, Blogger Unknown said...

All those itty-bitty critters....hmmm...they still give me the willies!! LOL Looks like you are off to your ol' masterful duties. Lead away.

By the way....I'm baaaack again. LOL

At 07:04, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Carol- I'm surprised that you haven't seen these guys before. I'll bet you have seen the really common green species from woodlands.

Celeste- Thanks

Tony- Hey, great to hear from you again. Glad you liked the critter shots.

At 12:24, Blogger orchidartist said...

The first and only time I saw Pitcher's thistle was at a protected area near the group campground at Point Beach State Park up in Wisconsin. I had stopped to talk with the park naturalist and she was so excited to meet a kindred spirit she took us up to see the plants and gave us a tour of the area, which was lovely to behold. That was about ten years ago though. I wonder if they're still there?

At 12:09, Blogger James C. Trager said...

Indeed, the tiger beetle image does embiggen well!

I got invited to this to look at ants, but couldn't make it. Actually, I think friends Laura and Jerry have done a pretty good look for ants up that way. I know from one trip to the area a while back that there are several southern ants that make it that far north only in the Dunes and Sands area. This also true in your favorite taxa.

At 12:10, Blogger James C. Trager said...

Oops, the last sentence was suppose to be a question. Gotta use that preview option!

At 15:01, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Doug, that is an amazing tiger beetle shot!

At 13:29, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Nice shots, Doug. Yours came out better than mine did!


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