Dozens of species catalogued in Otter View ‘bioblitz’
MIDDLEBURY — For a few misty-weathered hours this past Saturdaym 30 to 40 people went on a “bioblitz” in Middlebury’s Otter View Park, cataloguing as many species of flora and fauna as they could identify.
Their final count: 44.
“I think lots of people were both surprised and excited to see the big crayfish,” said Myles Aidan Stokowski, a member of the Wild Middlebury Project at Middlebury College and one of the event’s organizers. As Stokowski understood it, “someone just saw it swimming around, shot after it with a net and luckily caught it.”
Less exciting, and somewhat sobering, was the identification of a mosquito larvae.
Half the species identified on April 27 were plants, which included both the expected (bulrushes and duckweed) and the invasive (purple loosestrife).
Among the 10 catalogued birds, one very definitely did not belong: Melopsittacus undulatus, or the budgerigar, whose natural habitat is limited to … Australia.
THIS CRAYFISH FOUND swimming in the waters of Otter View Park was one of 44 different species of animal and plant found in the Middlebury park this past Saturday.
Photo courtesy of Kufre Udoh
Of course, Melopsittacus undulatus is also known, in American English, as the parakeet.
Later that day, Ron Payne of the Otter Creek Audubon Society, which co-sponsored the bioblitz, wrote an online post hoping to alert anyone whose pet was missing.
Participants — who ranged in age from preschool to retirement and included students, experienced naturalists and curious beginners — used a free phone app called iNaturalist to upload photographs to a central website, where they could eventually become part of the research record.
Launched last September as a club at Middlebury College, the Wild Middlebury Project is a place-based environmental movement that aims to unite youth around local conservation efforts.
Reach Christopher Ross at [email protected].
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