Bumblebee (Jennifer Adhika/Special to Langley Advance Times)

GREEN BEAT: 140 citizen scientists blitz Langley, uncovering rare species and more

Rare sightings of map turtles, a western fence lizard, not to mention, dog vomit slime were recorded

by David Clements/Special to Langley Advance Times

In the first half of June, 140 citizen scientists were unleashed throughout Langley.

This phenomenon is part of a growing worldwide movement to recruit ordinary people who love nature to help monitor the state of the planet.

With COVID-19 restrictions, it was not possible to do a bioblitz in the normal way, “blitzing” as a group of enthusiastic naturalists.

So instead, Lisa Dreves, of the Langley Environmental Partners Society, organized a virtual bioblitz – recruiting all six Langley watershed groups.

Each of the 140 citizen scientists fanned out across the Langley landscape throughout the two-week period, and uploaded photos to the iNaturalist app.

According to iNaturalist records, the species counts for each of the six watersheds went up thanks to the two weeks of blitzing.

The Nicomekl watershed went from 467 to 531 species, Glen Valley from 85 to 150, Salmon River from 176 to 268, Little Campbell from 332 to 375, Bertrand Creek from 219 to 274, and Yorkson from 265 to 347.

Naturalist Bob Puls, experienced in identifying plants and critters of all types, also sent in extensive species lists to Dreves during the blitz – some not reflected in the iNaturalist counts, joking that the first 300 species “could be seen from my front window.”

Puls eventually logged 380 native species, plus another 80 non-natives from his vegetable and flower gardens, for a total of 460 species.

For Ted Goshulak, a highlight was “being able to have various grandkids find ‘bugs’ and other creatures and ask me to identify them.”

RELATED – GREEN BEAT: Joining Langley’s first-ever virtual bioblitz this June

Another highlight for Goshulak was discovering an active bald eagle nest near Trinity Western University.

Venturing into the forest near Yorkson Creek, Jennifer Adhika was “blessed to see a mother barred owl and fledged chick calling and flying through the forest to discover a barred owl and its chick.”

On the iNaturalist site, the total species count for the Langley Watersheds Bioblitz was 771, emerging from a staggering total of 3,622 observations.

Obviously there were many repeats, especially photogenic species like osoberry bushes, purple foxgloves, red-berried elders, thimbleberries, salmonberries, spotted towhees, American robins, black-headed grosbeaks, bumblebees, and chocolate arion slugs.

Many rare species or species of concern were also sighted such as the Oregon forest snail, great blue heron, barn swallow, Coho salmon, northern red-legged frog, green heron, Trowbridge’s shrew, and western fence lizard.

The western fence lizard sighting was the first record of this species for Canada.

Dr. Gavin Hanke with the Royal BC Museum, who reported it, thinks it was likely a stowaway from Washington State.

I was out bioblitzing with some family members, when my daughter-in-law Ruthanne Clements noticed that some of the turtles I was photographing were unusual. They turned out to be map turtles not commonly found in B.C. – likely imported from some other part of North America.

RECENT: VIDEO – Langley ecologist takes folks on virtual walk along the Houston Trail

Then there were more bizarre species recorded like the slime molds, dog vomit slime, and chocolate tube slime (you wouldn’t want to eat either).

“We might do this again in the future. I really had a lot of fun getting out of the office,” Dreves said.

I wholeheartedly agree. I was out every day of the blitz myself, recording 742 observations (250 species), second on the list behind Dreves with her 760 observations (228 species).

Neither of us could keep to Bob though!

RECENT COLUMN – GREEN BEAT: Five ‘big moves’ would allow Langley to lead boldly

David Clements PhD, is a professor of biology at Trinity Western University, and co-chair of the geography and environment department

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this column?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

EnvironmentLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Green Beat columnist David Clements

Trillium (Melanie Moore/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Barred owl (Jennifer Adhika/Special to Langley Advance Times)

False Solomon’s Seal (Melanie Moore/Special to Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

VIDEO: One reportedly injured in fire that destroyed Langley shop

Blaze in 5300 block of 244 Street drew massive response

B.C. zoo names new grizzly cub ‘Henry’ in honour of Dr. Bonnie Henry

The top doctor’s surname was chosen from a list of around 6,600 entries to Greater Vancouver Zoo

Start of school pushed back in Langley

Teachers will get more time to prepare for the changed classroom environment

Displaced tenant ‘heartbroken’ after Langley City condo robbed after fire

Wedding rings of Michelle Buchan’s have since been recovered, but much is still missing

GREEN BEAT: 140 citizen scientists blitz Langley, uncovering rare species and more

Rare sightings of map turtles, a western fence lizard, not to mention, dog vomit slime were recorded

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Canucks fan risks life to celebrate at Surrey intersection

‘All fun and games until somebody falls out an open side door of the van’

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

FoodMesh taking its emergency food recovery project nationwide

Pilot project in Chilliwack helped show that food surpluses could be diverted to charities in need

Most Read