Featured Image: https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/california/fort-ord-national-monument
During the weekend I took part in an event at Elkhorn Slough Reserved called Bioblitz where people were invited to the reserve to take pictures of nature and upload them into the iNaturalist application. The goal was to use technology (phones, cameras, or ipads) to take as many pictures of different animal and plant species to document Elkhorn Slough’s biodiversity. The iNaturalist app is used by people to upload pictures of animals or plants they encounter; people can either suggest a name for the species or upload it as unknown and a biologist from iNaturalist will find the name of the species.
I co-hosted two of the events at the slough. The first event was at 10am which consisted of a naturalist led walk to Parson’s Overlook. During the walk the naturalist and I talked about the natural history of the slough, projects currently taking place to restore and conserve the slough, and I set up a scope to look at different birds and marine mammals using the mudflat area at the time of the walk. We saw Caspian Terns, Brown Pelicans, Double-Crested Cormorants, Marbled Godwits, Snowy Egrets, Great Egrets, Black-Bellied Plovers, Great Blue Herons, and a Sea Otter; it was a busy morning. The second event consisted of a walk down to Hummingbird Island to the water to retrieve a few crab traps that were lowered down to look at the species in the water. We were able to catch many Yellow Shore Crab, shrimp, and small fish. After retrieving the crab traps we walked a little to look for more wildlife and plants and took more pictures to upload to the iNaturalist app to document our sightings.
Bioblitz was a great event to get citizens involved in the outdoors and to get people to be more aware of their surroundings when outdoors. There were a total of 218 observations that took place during this event. One of my favorite finds was a cicada. I’ve been hearing the cicadas every time I walk by the South Marsh trail and it was fun to finally find one and take a picture of one during this event.
Images below: from right to left, top row to bottom row.
1. Western Gull
2. Butterfly; swallowtail species
3. Sticky Monkey Flower
4. Yellow Shore Crab
5. Female Yellow Shore Crab; broad underpart shaped in U
6. Elkhorn Slough staff retrieving crab traps
7. Dodder on pickleweed
8. Closer look at crab traps
10. Brown Pelican
11. Brown Leatherwing
12. Male Yellow Shore Crab; lighthouse shaped underpart; wider in females.
13. Snowy Egrets with Great Egrets
14. Gopher Snake
15. Unknown species of fish.