Vegetation Management Near Snake Cover Boards and Songbird Nest Boxes

Trimming small shrubs and vines near snake cover boards prevents the boards from getting shaded
 and maintains consistant performance of these monitoring tools.
We manage the vegetation near some of our wildlife monitoring projects to make sure they operate consistantly.  The vegetation near our snake cover boards and songbird nest boxes needs to be trimmed back at least once a year.  Most of the vegetation consists of invasive plant species that would overtake the projects if we did not intervene.  We monitor snakes and cavity nesting songbirds in early successional and grassland habitats because these species indicate the quality of these habitats.  The snake species that occupy our cover board piles include Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata), Northern Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi), Northern Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus), Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon), and Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

Our First Songbird Nestbox Damaged by Black Bear

Songbird nestbox damaged by black bear, note the damage to the entrance and roof.
Damage included breaking the pole and bite marks to the predator guard.
We replaced the post and installed the box the following week.
We are checking our songbird nestboxes to insure they are ready as the cavity nesting songbirds return and establish their breeding territories.  We discovered a nestbox damaged; including a broken post, teeth marks on the box and predator guard.  The bite marks are large enough to suggest that the damage was caused by a black bear.  This is the first nestbox damaged by black bear on the property on the property since the bear population recolonized the region.  The box was reinstalled a few days later.  This is another example of how we need to get used to our new neighbor, granted the damage was minimal and reinstallation is very simple.  The purpose of this conservation project is to increase the nest sites for cavity nesting songbirds, which are commonly used by eastern bluebird, tree swallow, house wren, and infrequently used by black-capped chickadee.

Fisheries Survey at Select Waterbodies on WMF Property

Seine Netting at Bantam Lake

Seine Netting at Bantam Lake approaching shore
Wamogo Agriculture Science Fisheries Class using identification keys and anlyzing scales to estimate ages of fish captured.
Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleuscas) captured at Beaver Pond with dip net.
Chain Pickerel (Esox nigra) captured at Beaver Pond by rod and tackle,
as well as estimated to be 6 - 7 years of age.
Wamogo's Agriculture Education Fisheries class conducted fishery surveys on several select waterbodies this spring.  We wanted to learn what species inhabit the lakes and ponds at White Memorial to evaluate the feasibility of assessing population data such as age and body size.  Surveys were conducted at Ongley Pond, North Bay of Bantam Lake, and along the northwestern shore of Beaver Pond. Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) was observed at all of the waterbodies.  A total of 5 fish species were observed in Bantam Lake including: yellow perch (Perca flavenscens), brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), yellow-banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus), and rock bass (Ambloplites rupestris).  We captured two other species at Beaver Pond (see photos above); chain pickerel and golden shiner.  Several methods were utilized including seine nets, dip nets, and rod & tackle.  Although the amount of effort varied between methods used at each waterbody, dip nets produced consistant captures especially in shallow water near shorelines in the vegetation.  Surveys were conducted March 1 in Ongley Pond, March 17 in Bantam Lake, and March 23 in Beaver Pond.