Albany Pine Bush News

Pond Monitoring 2015

P1140244

08/17/2015

We decided to hike out today, although we brought extra water due to the heat. At the pond we did our usual routine, finding many interesting things. A domestic duck was hanging out with a large group of mallards. We could see that the eye was dark, indicating that it was an escapee rather than an albino, which would have pink eyes. There was also some purple loosestrife blooming, an invasive species that could take over the habitat. We saw some last year, but thankfully there doesn’t seem to be more this year. We also found a new fungus today called bird’s nest fungus, which is called that because it looks like three eggs in a bird’s nest.

The annual bloom of Partridge Pea at the pond was in full swing. Andreea noticed that it, “seemed to attract many bees.”

There was a low hum audible when we walked around for the animal survey. We saw in previous years that lots of bees and wasps drink the nectar from the small, yellow flowers. Last year, the dramatic increase in the number of bees and wasps started at the beginning of August, but today was the first day we noticed a large number. It will be interesting to see if the bees are just late or their population is down.

Signing off,

Unnas, Jeremy, Andreea, Pranav, Valerie, and Harun

P1140119

08/24/2015

Despite the fall approaching, we were still going strong as our second to last week of Pond Monitoring took off.

The pond always knows how to throw a loop in our data. Valerie knew that “this year has had more fluctuations as compared to other years [at the pond]”. This week, the depth of the water was at its lowest, (1 inch at Point 3!) and due to this, the turbidity was 100 JTU for all points. Pranav pointed out that “turbidity can affect the life of plants and animals” But the water wasn’t the only thing that changed. As Sam observed, “There was a definite drop in animal count”.

Signing off,

Unnas, Pranav, Valerie, and Sam

P1140195

08/31/2015

Today was the finale of Pond Monitoring 2015! A foggy start left us with yet another sunny day. We were very glad that it didn’t rain once this year, giving the pond what Valerie described as a “cheery feel.”

Pranav noticed that, “The pond was very dry.” The water level had been dropping all summer and some open mud became host to small grasses because they hadn’t been washed over in so long. Maybe our pond, “will become a vernal pond,” as Valerie speculated.

We saw lots of cool animals on our wildlife survey. Andreea said, “We saw an adorable tiny tree frog.” The gray tree frog was about the size of a quarter, sitting on a blade of grass for us to observe. We also saw many ducks, Spotted Sandpipers, and a Green Heron. We did notice that there were far fewer bees around than we expected, but there were tons of grasshoppers.

This year was a great success. We got lots of interesting data that we will look through to compare with previous years. Lots of trends are popping up and it will be great to see how they are related. We look forward to seeing the changes that we find next year as the pond continues to develop.

Signing off,

Jeremy, Andreea, Valerie, Pranav

Blake @ 4:42 pm

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