In late July I got an invitation from the OFNC’s Conservation Committee to attend a small BioBlitz on the Quebec side of the river on August 28th. A BioBlitz is an intense survey that takes place within a short amount of time that attempts to record all the living species within a designated area. I’ve attended a few BioBlitzes before and generally enjoy them; it gives me the chance to see new places that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to access, and spend time with individuals with other areas of expertise during the survey. I am not a big fan of some of the newer types of BioBlitz which invites the public to come along and asks the experts to lead small groups during the survey – it seems to me that the purpose of these BioBlitzes is more to engage the public and introduce them to the types of flora and fauna that are present in familiar or well-known areas rather than to survey new areas for a particular purpose. I turned down the one opportunity I was given to attend one of these types, so perhaps I’m wrong about this.
In mid-July Chris and I were contacted by Ray Metcalfe, the chair of the Four Seasons Conservancy and Upper Ottawa Nature Club, to participate in the inaugural Deep River BioBlitz being held on July 27 and 28th, 2013. Ray didn’t have anyone who specialized in odonates and invited us to take part in the BioBlitz after reading about our dragonfly walk in the OFNC publication Trail & Landscape. Chris couldn’t make it, but I decided to participate and drove up early Sunday morning.
This was the first such event in the Upper Ottawa Valley and was modeled after the BioBlitzes held by the Kingston Field Naturalists for the past sixteen years. A BioBlitz is an inventory of as many living things (including plants, mammals, fungi, mosses, birds, fish, butterflies, etc., etc.) as can be identified within a 24-hour period within a defined area. Specialists, experts, and amateur naturalists from diverse disciplines all take part by searching for species in the subject area in order to provide valuable citizen-science data on the different species and their whereabouts in the subject area.