Thank you, Freshwater Bay bioblitzers!

Volunteers identify plants, birds, mammals and lichens at our future nature reserve

Moose browsing in Freshwater Bay, captured on trailcam (NCC photo)

Moose browsing in Freshwater Bay, captured on trailcam (NCC photo)

In July, 22 dedicated volunteers joined Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) staff for our first-ever “bioblitz” at Freshwater Bay. We had a great day in the field, identifying the bird, plant, lichen and mammal species on the 98-hectare (243-acre) future nature reserve, located along the East Coast Trail. The Freshwater Bay property consists of boreal forest, interspersed with wetlands, and protects the nearby rocky coastline, which is home to several seabird colonies, including black-legged kittiwake and black guillemot. 

Aided by the expertise of members of the Botanical Arts Society and other local naturalists, volunteers were encouraged to use the iNaturalist app to help identify and record species. Throughout the day, our team documented 55 plants, 28 lichens, 20 birds and four mammals! The information gathered will be useful in the years ahead, as the property is managed for conservation.

We also wanted to learn about wildlife that use the area when we’re not around so, with the help of some researchers from the Wildlife Evolutionary Ecology Lab (WEEL) at Memorial University of Newfoundland, we installed discreet cameras at several points on the property. When looking at the footage that was collected over the following weeks, we weren’t surprised to see moose, an introduced species, browsing on native trees and shrubs. We even got some photos of a moose browsing on the camera!  We’ll be sure to work this research from the field into our conservation plan for the Freshwater Bay Nature Reserve, once it’s fully established in the fall of 2019.

We are grateful for the support of the Botanical Arts Society, the WEEL lab and the East Coast Trail Association. Special thanks to the following people for being our naturalist leaders: Tegan Padgett, Travis Heckford, Quinn Webber, Katrien Kingdon, Laura King, Glynn Bishop, and Sharon Smith.

NCC is still raising funds for our Freshwater Bay conservation project. If you would like to support this initiative, please call our office for details at 709-753-5540. 

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