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Berkshire BioBlitz 2016

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You are cordially invited to

“Berkshire Biological Identification Day”.

This is an event where you are invited to bring any unidentified, curious, baffling biological specimens or items like feathers, fossils, eggs, seeds, insects and weird curly things from your personal collections and our experts will take a look and see if they can identify the specimen.

The specialists will be at the visitor’s center 4:00 to 5:30p.m. If we can’t identify the specimen we will find someone who can!

Scientists and experts will also show off some unusual specimens from their own collections.

Helpful hint: Please bring as much information on your specimen as possible, such as when it was collected and most importantly where you found it!

If its alive, please make sure its in a safe and secure container. If you cannot make it during this time you can bring the specimen to the Visitor Center at anytime during the bioblitz and have it photographed.

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Berkshire BioBlitz 2016

imageTentative dates and locations for Berkshire BioBlitz 2016 are Saturday June 18-Sunday June 19, 2016. This year’s bioBlitz will take place at the base of Mt. Greylock and is sponsored by the Berkshire Environmental Action a Team, BEAT, the Massachusetts Geological Alliance and Dr. Augie’s.

 

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Mini Bioblitz with the Berkshire Museum

museum bioblitz 2015This June the Berkshire Museum held a small bioblitz at Onota Lake with Egermont Elementary School students. It was a great day, lots of collecting and sharing. The weather was perfect the kids were well behaved and the teachers were great to work with in the field. Thanks to Joann Batman for inviting Dr. Augie’s to participate.

pond collecting kids collections crawdad collecting pond

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2015 in backyard science, Berkshire BioBlitz, Children's Art & Science Classes, insects, Science, science in the parks

 

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Blast at the BioBlitz

A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated in the Berkshire BioBlitz 2015! Tallies are still coming in and Scott LaGreca is compiling them as you read this. Meanwhile you can check out Tom Murray’s 2015 Berkshire BioBlitz insect collecting frogslist and identifications.

One weird find were these mushrooms called “Dead Man’s Fingers”, but these were clumped together forming “paws”.

dead mans fingers paws

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2015 in Berkshire BioBlitz, events, insects, Science

 

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SAVE THE DATE! BERKSHIRE BIOBLITZ 2015

bees 1We apologize for the late notice but we would be thrilled if you could participate in the Berkshires BioBlitz scheduled for 12pm Friday June 19th to 12pm Saturday June 20, 2015 at Canoe Meadows, part of the Pleasant Valley Bird Sanctuary in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Canoe Meadows is part of a wildlife corridor from October Mountain and abundant in flora and fauna.

http://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/wildlife-sanctuaries/canoe-meadows/directions

You are being asked to participate in the BioBlitz in your capacity as an expert in your field. If you cannot participate, we would welcome suggestions of who else I might contact instead.

The goal, as with every BioBlitz (sometimes called “Biodiversity Day” in some towns), is to see how many species we can find in a given area in the 24 hour period of the BioBlitz.

We will send you more information via email over the next month.

We hope you can participate again this year!

Sincerely yours,

Lisa Provencher, BioBlitz Coordinator
Jane Winn, Berkshire Environmental Action Team
Scott LaGreca, Curator Cornell University

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in backyard science, Berkshire BioBlitz, Science, science in the parks

 

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Berkshire BioBlitz 2014

bioblitz sign Thanks to coordinator Collin Adkins, Berkshire BioBlitz 2014 was a blast!! Collin is a AmeriCorps Member – MassLIFT, Service Learning Coordinator, AMC-Berkshires, South Egremont, Greenagers, Great Barrington, MA. He did a great job.

This years Berkshire BioBlitz was held at Fountain Pond/Threemile Hill Trail in Great Barrington. I never made it to the trail, I was too busy in the meadow, swamp and hedgerow surrounding the parking lot.

We found some cool bugs. Caroline had this nifty set up to use your smart phone to take pictures of tiny things close up. She studies algae, but we saw some daphnia too. Then a yellow warbler flew into the glass at the gym and stunned itself. It was fine though and we got a chance to see it up close and personal.

 

 

 

yellow warbler warbler in tree table set up smart phone maginfier caroline bioblitz sign aquatics algae

 

 
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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Berkshire BioBlitz, insects, Science, science in the parks

 

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Saw-whet Owls

owl eye colorThis year marks the tenth season of banding Northern Saw-whet Owls (NSWO) at Hopkins Forest. Luckily for me, my friend John found out about it and got hold of Drew Jones who runs the research station. The researchers are collecting data from NSWO during their fall migration that begins in October and ends mid-November. They use an eerie audio-lure to call the birds in and almost invisible mist nets to snare these little owls. Data they collect is used to record the birds migration routes and timing, growth, survivorship and molt progressions.

The habitat of these small owls, Aegolius acadicus are coniferous forests and mixed coniferous and deciduous woods throughout North America. Their diet consists deer mice, toads and small animals. Although they are small, they are not the smallest owls.

owl wing measureThe NSWO has a round, light, white face with brown and cream streaks with dark beaks and yellow eyes. They are cute and look like little toys. But they are raptors and have a formidable constitution, they can scratch and tear at skin if you don’t hold them correctly. The color of the yellow in the eyes ranges from bright to almost brown. Females have the brighter yellow eyes. They have no ear tufts, but the ear slits are huge and offset as in all owls. This way they can triangulate the sound they hear, enabling them to be very good hunters. They also have big eye sockets, that don’t turn, so the entire head turns with the sound and sight.

We parked in the lower lot as told. It was dark. So dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. While getting out of the car I grabbed my flashlight, but couldn’t manage to turn it on. John used his phone to light up the switch. It was my battery charger, not a flashlight. So much for that.

The night was cold and crystal clear. The stars, there were a blue million of them. We followed the sound of the owl call up to the building to meet Drew and the crew. Then we hiked out into the forest with head lanterns. We didn’t go far. In the net were three owls. They were swiftly placed in blue bags and brought back to the research station, aka, the tool shed.

wing under uvThe birds were weighed, head first in a tin can. Yes a soup can. It was a funny sight, but it works. They stay still. Then they had their wings measured, their eye color checked, the new feathers were counted. Then the bird was placed under a UV light where the new feathers glowed a pretty pink. Interesting. Wonder if that works for chickens too? Their beaks were measured, amount of body fat and skin color were recorded. Then they were banded. All three we caught that night were females. One was previously banded and a Canadian research station.

We then hiked a little way from the shed and the nets and released them into the woods, back to their migration to the south. Good luck to our little feathered friends.

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Children's Art & Science Classes, Science, science in the parks

 

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