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Posts tagged ‘frogs’

14
Aug

Current Community Science Projects

CURRENT AND ONGOING:

The Arlington Archosaur site is closing for the remainder of the summer (as is usual) — in August it’s just Too Darned Hot to dig.  They will return later in the year.

Trinity River Audubon Center’s Third Thursday will have Frogwatch, Amphibian Watch, and National Phenological Database expedition as well as a Chimney Swift watch and possibly an Owl Prowl (whew!)  This time we’ll also be doing a “transect survey” for dragonflies.

Botannical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) has an ongoing need for volunteers to help with their databases (indoor work!) and do some field research.  Contact them for details.

 

GENERAL EDUCATION, public welcome

Connemara Conservacy has an astronomy walk (August 18th) and an evening Open House (September 23.)  See website for details.

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center has a First Saturday Walk & Talk Bird Tour.    9:00 – 11:00 am; $10 includes admission if you’re not a member; $5 for members.

Botannical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT)’s Science Saturday – open plant ID, exhibits, demonstrations, tours, etc First Saturday of every month at  10:00 – 2:00.  This is a fun place to visit, even if you’re not really into plants.

 

PLANNED:

The John Bunker Sands Wetland Center is planning to start some Citizen Science initiatives in the near future.  I will be in a planning meeting about this effort at the end of August.

 

21
Jun

Frogwatch at Trinity River Audubon Center starts up!

As part of my “Community Science Investigations” project, I’m starting up this year’s Frogwatch for both Trinity River Audubon Center and Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center (because, surprisingly, in what I thought was a “frog free” environment, we DO have frogs.)  I’m particularly interested in this after the severe drought of last year.  So we’re doing a “pond watch” of the ponds here at TRAC on the third Thursday of every month.

 

Some general resources for frog-watch folks:

Trinity River Audubon Center: http://www.trinityriver.audubon.org/

Project Frogwatch homepage: http://www.aza.org/frogwatch/

USGS Frog Call http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/frogquiz/
Frog calls of Tennessee (overlap with Texas species, and this is phone friendly)
http://www.leaps.ms/soundpage.htm

Snakes and frogs found at Spring Creek Preserve in Garland, TX:

http://www.springcreekforest.org/frogs_snakes.htm

And the TPWD Amphibian Watch homepage:

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/wildlife_diversity/texas_nature_trackers/amphibian_watch/

25
Aug
Drought

Defining Dallas: Frogs, Mussels, and Amphibians

Trinity River Audubon Center map

Trinity River Audubon Center map

This month’s projects at Trinity river Audubon Center included Mussel Watch, Amphibian Watch, and Turtle Watch. As the drought continues, it’s important to keep up with what’s happening to these three groups.  Although the turtles have the ability to brumate (similar to hibernating) and the frogs can also go into a resting state for some length of time, the mussels have no method of surviving long droughts.

 

This week’s expeditions showed that Great Blue Heron Pond had the greatest diversity in mussels, with five species being represented: Pink Papershells, Giant Pond Floaters, Yellow Sandshells, Bluefers, and Asian Clams.  Shell density shows a population of about 6 large (over 1 inch) individuals per square yard (estimated)  on the shoreline.  There are undoubtedly more than that, but the crows and raccoons and feral hogs and opossums and otters and other wildlife has scattered the evidence.  Other ponds had a lower diversity and density and the main species seemed to only be Giant Pond Floaters, Asian Clams, and a few Bluefers.

Pink Papershell mussel

A fragile Pink Papershell mussel (Potamilus ohiensis)

 

There is a chorus of treefrogs on Great Blue Heron pond — at least 3 individuals and I observed small leopard frogs (an inch long!) on Spiderweb Pond.

 

One yellow-bellied water snake was observed in Trailhead pond.  Surveying the pond for turtles shows six to ten active individuals at any given time, though we know that there are more in the pond.

 

Spiderweb pond is the deepest of the three floodplain ponds and its shores are not exposed so the “heat island effect” is not actively draining the water.  I observed two small (one inch) leopard frogs there and counted 35 turtles in the water.  The pond has always been a home for a large turtle population, but the banks are steep and I worry about how they’ll adapt if the pond actually dries up.  The banks now are far too steep for them to climb out.