2012 Frontenac Biothon Results

Baltimore Checkerspot (Chris Dunn)

Our annual Frontenac Biothon was held the weekend of June 9-10, 2012. We were rather nervous about the unstable weather forecast for the weekend but we managed to stay relatively dry and comfortable for the 24-hour blitz. During the inaugural biothon in 2010 we tallied a respectable 431 floral and faunal species in the Big Clear Lake area in the northeast zone of Frontenac Provincial Park. Last year we conducted an extensive tour spanning the rock barrens in the southeast to more mature forest habitats closer to the northwest section of Frontenac. In all, 466 species were identified in 2011. Results from both years combined comprise 727 unique species identified within the boundaries of the park!

Arctic Skipper (Seabrooke Leckie)

This year we opted for less strenuous travel, focusing instead on the lively woods and meadows south of Slide Lake. As the vast majority of the park has succeeded to second-growth and mature forest, the once plentiful meadow habitats that were created by early settlers have gone – except for a few small fields in the Slide Lake area. We found an abundance of insect and plant life in these fields, many of which we hadn’t recorded during previous biothons. Fortunately, our bug guru Seabrooke was on hand to sift through a seemingly infinite sea of invertebrates. Our results for moths and butterflies was considerably higher this year, which will be evident by the photo selection in this post!

Indigo Bunting (D.Derbyshire)

Diversity of birds during the event was a little lower than in 2011, although this is more a reflection of the much smaller area coverage this year. Indigo Buntings are the dominant species in the meadow areas where they occupy scrubby woodland edges. Sightings of Blue-winged Warbler and Blue-headed Vireo were noteworthy and an evening nightjar concert was a highlight.

Young Black Bear (D.Derbyshire)

A session of skipper watching was interrupted when two of us caught a glimpse of a very young Black Bear in the meadow – another biothon first! Mammals are certainly the leanest group of species on an annual basis (6-8 species average) but we’ve not yet attempted any nocturnal trapping and or searching – perhaps next year.

Moth Lights (D.Derbyshire)

The weather on Saturday afternoon alternated between short periods of low dense cloud and sunshine with a moderate breeze. Luckily for us, the winds subsided enough to make for a decent session of mothing in the evening. A total of 77 species were counted in a couple of hours, which was considerably better than the previous year when the moth sheet rippled in the wind and light showers. Seabrooke reports that the best moth of the night was a Silver-spotted Ghost Moth – just her second ever!

Silver-spotted Ghost Moth (Seabrooke Leckie)

This year’s biothon was another success – a productive 24 hours of counting and some much needed dollars raised for Frontenac Bird Studies! Our unofficial total of species counted for the 2012 biothon is 463, just a few shy of our final tally in 2011. It is remarkable how consistent our annual totals have been (431, 466, 463). With the completion of each biothon we make a substantial contribution to a cumulative database on species occurrence information for Frontenac Provincial Park – a valuable asset for Ontario Parks and Frontenac Bird Studies. Having just finished up our third consecutive we are now approaching 1000 species of flora and fauna identified by a small group of friends passionate about the land and its living things.

On behalf of the Migration Research Foundation I wish to extend our thanks to this year’s many sponsors who donated to the three biothon teams. Of course, the whole event would not have been possible without the efforts of our dedicated volunteer biothoners; Chris Dunn, Steve Gillis and Seabrooke Leckie! Lastly, thanks to the following Ontario Parks staff for their continued support of Frontenac Bird Studies and the Frontenac Biothon fundraiser; Corina Brdar, Peter Dawson and Bert Korporaal. Special thanks to Ken and Vera Shepherd for allowing us access through their beautiful farm for the biothon this year.

Below is a small selection of species recorded during this year’s biothon – hope you enjoy!

Harris’s Checkerspot (Chris Dunn)
Marsh Bluet (Seabrooke Leckie)
Spotted Thyris/Raspberry (Seabrooke Leckie)
Ophioninae (D.Derbyshire)
Baltimore Checkerspot chrysalis (D.Derbyshire)
Rock Sandwort (D.Derbyshire)
Rose Pogonia (Chris Dunn)
Northern Cloudywing/Cow Vetch (Chris Dunn)
Calico Pennant (Seabrooke Leckie)
Silver-spotted Skipper/Cow Vetch (Seabrooke Leckie)
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Biothon Is This Weekend!

Eight-spotted Forester

Our annual Frontenac Biothon event will be held this weekend, June 9-10, 2012, in Frontenac Provincial Park.

The Frontenac Biothon was created to raise important funds for our work and make a beneficial contribution to science and conservation at the same time. Held annually in June or July, the Frontenac Biothon is a sponsored event where three teams of naturalists identify as many species as possible within an allotted 24-hour period. Since the inaugural event in 2010, over 700 species have been identified in Frontenac Provincial Park, which includes nearly 600 species of plants and invertebrates! These exhaustive searches have also led to some significant discoveries including occurrence records for many regionally rare species and designated Species at Risk.

This year our teams will take to the woods, meadows and lakes on June 9-10, 2012. Our biologists will be identifying all plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects encountered but will have a specific focus on rare species and designated Species at Risk.

How you can Help

While our biothon teams have all the fun battling bugs, swamps and steep terrain – it’s the sponsors that make the event happen! Frontenac Bird Studies is a program of the Migration Research Foundation – a registered charitable organization in the U.S and Canada. All sponsors receive a tax-creditable receipt for donations over $10. You can sponsor the Frontenac Biothon by mail (see below for details) or online through Paypal. 100% of donations will go directly to support FBS programs.

Sponsor a Biothon Team

Seabrooke Leckie & Dan Derbyshire

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Julia Marko Dunn & Chris Dunn

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Steve Gillis & Karina Dykstra

You can also sponsor the biothon by cheque through regular mail. Please complete the cheque to Migration Research Foundation Inc. Simply include the name of the biothon participant you wish to sponsor on the memo line of the cheque and send the envelope to our address below.

Frontenac Bird Studies
2386 Bathurst 5th Concession
RR7, Perth, ON.
K7H 3C9

Thank you to all of this year’s biothon sponsors!

Fundraiser for Frontenac Bird Studies

Frontenac Bird Studies is a program of Migration Research Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to avian research and monitoring. Since its inception the FBS program has been successfully delivered through the annual support of environmental grant makers and private donors. The Frontenac Biothon was created as an event that would raise important funds for our work and make a beneficial contribution to science and conservation at the same time. Our inaugural biothon in 2010 was a great success as our three teams of nature nuts recorded 441 species, which included a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers – a threatened species and only the second breeding record for Frontenac Provincial Park!

Mink Frog

This year our teams will have their sights on the 500 species barrier when we take to the woods and lakes on June 11-12, 2011. Our biologists will be identifying all plants, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects encountered but will have a specific focus on rare species and designated Species at Risk. The Frontenac Arch is such a biodiverse region that we are guaranteed to have some exciting finds to share after the event!

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How you can Help

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While our biothon teams have all the fun battling bugs, swamps and steep terrain – it’s the sponsors that make the event happen! Frontenac Bird Studies is a program of the Migration Research Foundation – a registered charitable organization in the U.S and Canada. All sponsors receive a tax-creditable receipt for donations over $10. You can sponsor the Frontenac Biothon by mail (see below for details) or online through Paypal. 100% of donations will go directly to support FBS programs.

.

Sponsor a Frontenac Biothon Participant


Seabrooke Leckie & Dan Derbyshire

.

Julia Marko Dunn & Chris Dunn

.

Steve Gillis & Karina Dykstra

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You can also sponsor the biothon by cheque through regular mail. Please complete the cheque to Migration Research Foundation. Simply include the name of the biothon participant you wish to sponsor on the memo line of the cheque and send the envelope to our address below.

.Frontenac Bird Studies
2386 Bathurst 5th Concession
RR7, Perth, ON.
K7H 3C9

2010 Frontenac Biothon Report

Eastern Forktail (Seabrooke Leckie)

Our first annual Frontenac Biothon was held this past weekend in Frontenac Provincial Park. The weather was excellent – clear skies and seasonal temperatures. We had originally planned the biothon to take place on June 10-11 but we had to postpone due to expected thunderstorms and heavy rain. The disadvantage of running it in mid-July was that the birds were MUCH harder to find. On the upside, plants and insects were far more diverse and abundant. Overall, the biothon went very well and all participants had an enjoyable time. Also, as this was our first biothon experience, we’ve learned a lot about what will and won’t work for future editions. We set a goal of identifying 500 species and came oh-so-close to that number, falling just short, with a total of 441! Despite missing our goal, a rather arbitrary figure, our results were fantastic and some truly wonderful species were recorded!

Seabrooke Leckie looking for bugs

The biothon “MVP award” has to go to both Seabrooke Leckie and Julia Marko Dunn who demonstrated superb knowledge of insects and plants respectively. Myself, Steve Gillis and Chris Dunn spent much of our time covering ground in search for elusive birds and ended the biothon with just 64 bird species – well short of what could have been found earlier in the season. However, we have experience outside of birds, as well, and managed to add bits and pieces to the throng of plants and bugs found by the girls.

Tents at Cluster 13

We camped at cluster 13 on Big Clear Lake, which was a good location for the biothon. This area of the park is known for its rugged topography – steep ridges along lakes dominated by Eastern White Pine. Of particular note at this site was the evening serenade provided by the Coyotes, two or three Whip-poor-wills and a couple of Common Nighthawks!

Red-headed Woodpecker habitat (Derbyshire)

A personal/FBS highlight was the discovery of a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers observed in an open swamp near Hardwood Bay, Devil Lake, on Saturday afternoon! My records indicate that the last breeding record for the park dates from over ten years ago near Gibson’s Lake to the northwest. I’m not clear on the historical status of this species in the area but I do know that they have declined sharply in the Kingston region and the province as a whole. This was our first encounter with the Red-headed Woodpecker since the project began in 2009 and it was a thrill to observe these stunning birds sally for insects from the many snags in this swamp. I never would have seen these birds had it not been for Steve who found the swamp and called me over to investigate (thanks Steve!). I will have to go back to this swamp in 2011 to confirm nesting. The Red-headed Woodpecker is a provincial and federally listed Species at Risk with a designation of Threatened.

The woodpeckers were just one of many notable sightings from the weekend – too many to list here unfortunately. We visited lakes, fens, bogs, beaver ponds, deciduous and mixed forests and successional rock barrens in the 24 hour blitz. I’m sure that each participant would describe their biothons differently but it is safe to say that a lot of fun was had and that our stay was much too short!

On behalf of the Migration Research Foundation I wish to extend our grateful thanks to this year’s many sponsors and to Ontario Parks for their support of the biothon. And finally, the whole event would not have been possible without the efforts of our dedicated volunteer biothoners; Chris Dunn, Julia Marko Dunn, Karina Dykstra, Steve Gillis and Seabrooke Leckie (clap clap clap!)

Below is a small selection of the species encountered during the 2010 Frontenac Biothon – hope you enjoy!

Graphocephala teliformis (Seabrooke Leckie)
Spatulate-leaved Sundew (Julia Marko Dunn)
Poison Sumac (Derbyshire)
Big Water Crayfish (Seabrooke Leckie)
Pitcher Plant (Julia Marko Dunn)
Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Frontenac Biothon this weekend!

Eastern Phoebe (Derbyshire)

At long last the biothon weekend has arrived and the weather looks absolutely fine! Our crew of six natural history buffs will be out searching for anything that lives for 24 hours in Frontenac Provincial Park. Our goal is to find 500 species and we are excited to give it our best shot. Thanks to all of our generous sponsors who have been wonderfully supportive of this fledgling initiative in 2010!

A detailed summary will be posted after the biothon so look for that early next week.

Wish us luck!

Dan Derbyshire
Seabrooke Leckie
Steve Gillis
Chris Dunn
Juiia Marko Dunn