June 26, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 25Jun2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was no group outing to Berry Springs Park and Preserve again this month. However, three people wearing face masks checked on the amphibians while staying at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
Five amphibian species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 1), Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 0), Green Tree Frog (CI = 3), American Bullfrog (CI = 1), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (CI = 3). Photos and/or sound recordings were obtained for all species except American Bullfrog.
There was still no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, and although there had been about an inch of rain received two days before monitoring, there seemed to be less water there than last month. However, the water level in the main ponds was average.
The monitoring period was 20:30 - 22:00.
Participants were Kathy, Christie, and Dale (welcome !).
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 79.2 deg F
  • Water temperature = 77.1 deg F
  • Sky = no/few clouds
  • Water level = much below average
  • Relative humidity = 56 %

Posted on June 26, 2020 23:36 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 4 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

May 16, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 13May2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was no group outing to Berry Springs Park and Preserve again this month. However, two people wearing face masks checked on the amphibians while staying at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
Four amphibian species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 2), Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 1), Green Tree Frog (CI = 3), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (CI = 3). Before monitoring began, we were also treated to two young armadillos in the grass near the park's entrance kiosk.
There was still no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, and even with the inch of rain received two days before monitoring, there seemed to be less water there than last month. However, the water level in the main ponds was average.
The birds in the park were quite evident this month - several were seen before sunset (e.g., Eastern Kingbird, Common Nighthawk, and Eastern Bluebird), several were heard before sunset (e.g., Summer Tanager, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Great Crested Flycatcher), and several were heard after sunset (e.g., Chuck-will's-widow and Barred Owl).
The monitoring period was 20:00 - 21:30.
Participants were Kathy and Amy.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 76.5 deg F
  • Water temperature = 70.5 deg F
  • Sky = mostly cloudy
  • Water level = below average
  • Relative humidity = 58 %

Posted on May 16, 2020 16:18 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 5 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

April 20, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 19Apr2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was no group outing to Berry Springs Park and Preserve again this month. However, two people wearing face masks checked on the amphibians while staying at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
Four species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 3), American Bullfrog (CI = 1), Green Treefrog (CI = 1), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (CI = 3). Photos and/or recordings were collected for all except the Green Treefrog.
There was still no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, but there continues to be more water there each month. The water level in the main ponds was average.
A Redstripe Ribbon Snake was seen swallowing a Blanchard's Cricket Frog at the middle slough springhead at sunset, and a Barred Owl was heard near the main ponds an hour after sunset.
The monitoring period was 20:00 - 21:00.
Participants were Kathy and Carolyn.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 64.8 deg F
  • Water temperature = 66 deg F
  • Sky = no/few clouds
  • Water level = below average
  • Relative humidity = 41 %

Posted on April 20, 2020 20:06 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 3 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

March 26, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 25Mar2020

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there was no group outing to Berry Springs Park and Preserve this month. However, two people checked on the amphibians while staying at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
There had been over 1.5 inches of rain in the previous week, and four species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 2), American Bullfrog (CI = 1), Green Treefrog (CI = 1), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (CI = 2). Photos and/or recordings were collected for all except the American Bullfrog.
There was still no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, but there was considerably more water there than last month. The water level in the main ponds was average.
The monitoring period was 19:45 - 20:45.
Participants were Kathy and Christie.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 70.9 deg F
  • Water temperature = 68.6 deg F
  • Sky = no/few clouds
  • Water level = below average
  • Relative humidity = 57 %

Posted on March 26, 2020 16:24 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 18, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 15Feb2020

After getting almost two inches of rain in the previous week (according to USGS 08105095 Berry Ck at Airport Rd nr Georgetown, TX, https://waterdata.usgs.gov/tx/nwis/uv/?site_no=08105095&PARAmeter_cd=00045), two frog species were seen at Berry Springs Park and Preserve during the monthly monitoring. Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 1) was seen at the middle slough springhead and main ponds, and then finally photographed at the ditch in the pecan orchard, where Mike also photographed an American Bullfrog (CI = 0).
There was still no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, but again there was more water there than last month. The water level in the main ponds was average.
The monitoring period was 18:20 - 19:50.
Participants were Kathy, Bekki, Mike, Kristin (welcome !), Lynne, and Amy & Mike (and Zelda).
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 59.9 deg F
  • Water temperature = 65.4 deg F
  • Sky = mostly cloudy
  • Water level = much below average
  • Relative humidity = 49 %

Posted on February 18, 2020 02:56 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 26, 2020

Freshwater Mussels of Texas report, 24Jan2020

On January 24, 2020, three people did a random shoreline freshwater mussel search along Inks Lake, one of the Highland Lakes in Burnet County, Texas. Water levels were approximately eight feet below normal due to an intentional drawdown by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for continued dock maintenance and cleanup after historic flooding in the fall of 2018. The weather was warm and sunny.
The monitoring period was 2:00 – 3:00 PM, and we walked approximately 900 feet east of the fishing pier in the Day Use Area of Inks Lake State Park (at approximately 30.74431, -98.36480). The substrate was mostly sand. Non-native Asian Clams were observed, but no non-native Zebra Mussels were observed. Five native freshwater mussel species were observed:

  • Giant Floater – 5 shells;
  • Southern Mapleleaf – 1 shell, 2 valves;
  • Tampico Pearlymussel – 1 shell, 1 valve;
  • Paper Pondshell – 2 shells; and,
  • Threeridge – 2 shells.
    We then spent half an hour surveying a stretch of beach at the western end of the park, but no new species were observed. Survey participants were Kathy, April, and Mike. Many thanks to Marsha May for again providing remote assistance with identification (via texting photos) that afternoon.

Posted on January 26, 2020 20:09 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 6 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

January 19, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 19Jan2020

Two frog species were seen at Berry Springs Park and Preserve during the first monthly amphibian monitoring of 2020. Four Blanchard's Cricket Frogs (Call Index = 0) were photographed - two at the middle slough springhead, one where the middle slough crosses the trail, and one at the main ponds. At least two American Bullfrogs (CI = 0) were seen in the ditch in the pecan orchard, and Mike got a photo of one of them. It was a cool but clear night, and there had been about half an inch of rain during the previous week.
After the monitoring hour was complete, we got to watch the International Space Station rise in the southwest, go overhead, and then disappear into the earth's shadow in the northeast. Cool !
There was no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, but there was more water there than last month. The water level in the main ponds was average.
The monitoring period was 17:55 - 18:55.
Participants were Kathy, Christie, Mike, Diane, Krystal & Mark (welcome !), and Tracy & Mark.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 53.6 deg F
  • Water temperature = 64 deg F
  • Sky = No/few clouds
  • Water level = Below Average
  • Relative humidity = 41 %

Posted on January 19, 2020 21:45 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 3 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

December 22, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 21Dec2019

Three frog species were seen, but not heard, at Berry Springs Park and Preserve on the shortest day of the year. Two Blanchard's Cricket Frogs escaped capture where the middle slough crosses the trail, and Mike Farley photographed two Rio Grande Leopard Frogs and one American Bullfrog in the ditch in the pecan orchard. About a third of an inch of rain had fallen the day before, and it was a cool and clear evening.
There was no flow to the pond from the middle slough springhead, but the puddle was larger than last month.
The monitoring period was 17:35 - 18:35.
Participants were Kathy, Christie, Lynne, Mike, Krystal & Ryan (welcome !), and Larry.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 47.5 deg F
  • Water temperature = 60 deg F
  • Sky = No/few clouds
  • Water level = Below Average
  • Relative humidity = 43 %

Posted on December 22, 2019 02:58 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 1 comment | Leave a comment

November 18, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 16Nov2019

The monthly amphibian monitoring at Berry Springs Park and Preserve carried on as usual during the Good Water Master Naturalist chapter's picnic, and because of this concurrent activity we had a number of new folks join us. I stopped counting at 19, and there were at least three little guys enjoying the adventure with the big kids. Unfortunately, no frogs or toads were seen or heard (there had been a freeze for the last six consecutive mornings, so we couldn't blame them for not being active), but the middle slough springhead was flowing again (after being dry for the last two months), bats were heard on the bat detector after dark, and we all had a nice walk.
The monitoring period was 17:35 - 18:35.
Participants were Kathy, Christie, Jim, Keri, Lynne & Walter, Helen (welcome !), Mike, Diane, Bekki, Krystal, Randy & Sandra, Thomas & Binnur (welcome !), Mary Gail (welcome !), and Lisa & Kayden & William (welcome !).
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:

  • Air temperature = 50.9 deg F
  • Water temperature = 60 deg F
  • Sky = No/few clouds
  • Water level = Average (at the main pond)
  • Relative humidity = 35 %

Posted on November 18, 2019 02:27 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 20, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 19Oct2019

Although Austin's Camp Mabry had another record high of 96 deg F, and it was still warm when we started our monthly amphibian monitoring, a couple of cold fronts and a little bit of rain over the last two weeks have eased the drought conditions somewhat. The middle slough springhead was dry, and the artesian well was not flowing, but the main ponds still had water.
A dozen folks pitched in by stopping to look and listen, shining flashlights, spotting frogs, catching toads, carrying equipment, and doing bucket lid duty. We observed four amphibian species - Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Call Index = 0), Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 0), Rio Grande Leopard Frog (CI = 2), and American Bullfrog (CI = 0). The latter was observed in the slough between the playground and the main pond, but it escaped capture and getting its picture taken.
The monitoring period was 18:55 - 20:40.
Participants were Kathy, Amy & Mike, Christie, Carolyn & Susan (welcome !) & Gary (welcome !), Jim, Keri, Mark & Tracy, and Lynne.
Environmental conditions at the main pond 1.5 hours after sunset:

  • Air temperature = 68.4 deg F
  • Water temperature = 71.5 deg F
  • Sky = No/few clouds
  • Water level = below average
  • Relative humidity = 41 %

Posted on October 20, 2019 15:48 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment