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Thriving diversity revealed in BioBlitz in Sullivan County

August 14, 2014

TOWN OF TUSTEN, NY — The official results are in. Nine scientific research teams submitted their final tallies, reporting that 807 different species were collected in 24 hours at the second annual Upper Delaware BioBlitz conducted on June 28 and 29 on the Ten Mile River Scout Camp property in the Town of Tusten. The BioBlitz site included the Indian Cliffs, Rock Lake, Maul’s Pond and Grassy Swamp Pond, one of the only quaking bogs to be scientifically authenticated in the Catskills.

Many first occurrences of species officially documented as appearing in Sullivan County were identified. First occurrences are not new species but show the dearth of field-level research that has taken place over the last century and been published. Results for each team are presented here:
Aquatic macro-invertebrates (aquatic insects, mussels and snails), 47
Birds, 85
Botany (plants), 256
Bryology (lichens, mosses and worts), 121
Fish, 25
Fungi (mushrooms and molds), 104
Herpetology (reptiles and amphibians), 23
Invertebrates (terrestrial insects, worms and snails), 129
Mammals, 17

Species were identified using a variety of collection protocols, ranging from actual capture to digital photography. Mammals, for instance, were mostly identified using a trail camera, vocalizations and other signs. A healthy variety of six different bat species were identified including a maternity colony of little brown bats (a species that has been decimated by white-nose syndrome).

Highlights for the bird team included identifying Louisiana and Northern water thrushes, which are generally found by their territorial singing in late April and May respectively. The team also found an ovenbird’s nest with an incubating female and three eggs; most birders never get to see this warbler let alone find a nest, which is concealed on the ground. The two singing hooded warblers on the yellow dot trail at Ten Mile Access were also an unusual find.

The invertebrate team found two first occurrences, both dragonflies: Celithemis fasciata, Banded Pennant and Gomphus spicatus, Dusky Clubtail.