Lions and tigers and bears oh my…OK well maybe dandelions, tiger swallowtails and black bears for sure. These are some of the creatures we saw during Bioblitz 2019. To make things more manageable and to coincide better with timing of creatures we were looking for, Bioblitz 2019 was divided into two events.

On May 25 two hardy birders took to the hills to count as many birds as we could during daylight hours. 213 observations were recorded made up of 81 bird species. Although the number of species were the same in 2018 there were 17 species seen in 2019 that were not seen in 2018 and vice versa. (See details here: https://inaturalist.ca/projects/houston-birding-blitz-may-2019). This tells us that there are potentially 99 species around that could be seen during spring migration based on bioblitz results for the past 5 years. Maybe next year we will see them all!

July 6th was a bigger event with 45 people gathered at the hatchery to look for birds, flowers, insects, amphibians, reptiles and fish. From a red-sided garter snake and wood frog tadpoles to water tigers (predacious diving beetle larva) and a leech momma with babies on her belly we discovered new and incredible creatures.

One exciting discovery was attached the detritus we scooped from Silverthorne Lake – a Hydra. These tiny creatures are native to this area but rarely ever seen. Named after the many headed creature in Greek Mythology they are closely related to sea anemones and jellyfish. According to Duke University researcher James Vaupel hydra “keep their bodies young by replacing damaged or lost body parts every few weeks, so harmful mutations have little chance to build up”, making them appear to never die of old age (although they can die from injury, disease or unsuitable habitat). (https://research.duke.edu/forever-young)

This carnivorous sundew plant was seen along the Old Pines Nature Trail boardwalk on Beaver Pelt Lake.

A long-toed salamander larvae was caught in the minnow trap in Silverthorne lake.

A red-sided garter snake caught in the area was our guest for the day.

Common Yellowthroats were seen singing in almost every place there were willows.

Bugs & Blooms in Numbers

93 plants

13 fungi

3 amphibians

5 fishes

7 insects (some still to be identified)

Leech

Hydra

Total: 125 Observations with 89 species confirmed to date.