Misery Bay BioBlitz counts nature

by Tom Sasvari

MISERY BAY — With well over 60 energetic volunteers and many guide-leaders taking part, the reptile and amphibian BioBlitz (the first of its kind on Manitoulin) that took place last month at Misery Bay Provincial Park was a huge success.

“What I heard from everyone is that they thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” said Nancy Kains of the Manitoulin Nature Club, who had originally spearheaded the BioBitz. “There were a total of 65 people that went out on trails, with three people organizing things at the (Misery Bay) visitor centre.”

Ms. Kains told the Recorder that following the event, “the groups-participants identified and saw 91 different species of plants, five fungus, 57 species of birds, five different type of reptiles, six different species of amphibians, and six different type of insect species.” These confirmed sightings, with photographs, will all be sent to the Ontario Reptile and Amphibian Atlas Project to be posted on Ontario Nature maps.

“People had a very good time with the leaders and the groups they were in,” said Ms. Kains. She noted that among the 68 people that took part, there were representatives from Ontario Parks, Ontario Nature, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, a group from Laurentian University, Nature Reserves Conservation, Manitoulin Nature Club, Manitoulin Streams, College Notre-Dame, birders, geologists and many more.

Michael Hawton outlined the species that have already been sighted and confirmed in Misery Bay Provincial Park or in other areas of Manitoulin. “I am doing my undergrad in zoology at the University of Guelph,” he explained. “My interest is mostly in amphibians but I am a field technician for the Blanding turtles project this summer at Misery Bay.”

“Some of the species we are presenting tonight are prevalent in Misery Bay,” said Mr. Hawton. “They are confirmed in the park, or in areas around the Island.”

Using a video to provide pictures and identifying points for each species, Mr. Hawton presented a list of turtles, snakes, salamanders and newts, frogs and amphibians.

Ms. Kains recognized all those who had volunteered for the day as leaders-guides by presenting them each with a bottle of maple syrup on behalf of the Manitoulin Nature Club for their assistance.