May 21, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 17May2019

Due to a foreboding weather forecast, four folks performed the monthly amphibian monitoring at Berry Springs Preserve one evening earlier than usual. We checked out the habitats at the middle slough springhead (by the bird blind), footbridge by the playground, main pond shoreline, and wet weather pond north of the improved campground, and found six species:
- Blanchard's Cricket Frog (ultimately at CI = 3)
- Rio Grande Leopard Frog (CI = 1)
- American Bullfrog (CI = 0)
- Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 1)
- Green Treefrog (CI = 2)
- Western Narrow-mouthed Toads (formerly known as Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toads, CI = 1)

We obtained photos and/or recordings for all of the species except the net- and camera-shy bullfrog in the slough between the footbridge and the main pond.

The monitoring period was 20:20 - 22:00.
Participants were Kathy, Hunter & Tonja, and Leona.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
- Air temperature = 77.4 deg F
- Water temperature = 72 deg F
- Sky = No/few clouds
- Water level = Above average
- Relative humidity = 66 %

Posted on May 21, 2019 13:38 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 23, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 20Apr2019

We had a great spring night - five amphibian species were observed in various locations within the park, and we got photos and/or recordings for all of them !

- Blanchard's Cricket Frogs (ultimately at CI = 3) at the middle slough springhead (by the bird blind) and main pond
- A Rio Grande Leopard Frog (CI = 1) near the footbridge
- Three American Bullfrogs (CI = 1) in the main pond
- Three Gulf Coast Toads (CI = 1) near the footbridge and main pond's fishing deck
- Several Western Narrow-mouthed Toads (formerly known as Great Plains Narrow-mouthed Toads, CI = 1) in a shallow, flooded, grassy area at the base of the hill below the parking lot

Everyone contributed to identifying the calls and catching them - thank you !!
The monitoring period was 20:00 - 21:30.
Participants were Kathy, Christie, Leia, Diane, Mike & Amy, Lynne, and Larry & Marek (aka, the bullfrog whisperer).
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
- Air temperature = 68.7 deg F
- Water temperature = 70 deg F
- Sky = No/few clouds
- Water level = Average
- Relative humidity = 48 %

Posted on April 23, 2019 00:51 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 5 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 16Mar2019

It turned out to be a cool but nice evening at Berry Springs Preserve, and the frogs were back ! We heard Blanchard's Cricket Frogs (CI = 2) and Rio Grande Leopard Frogs (CI = 1) at the middle slough springhead (by the bird blind). Tonja also put one of the Rio Grande Leopard Frogs under the spotlight for us, but a couple of photos didn't turn out well, and we weren't able to catch it.
The monitoring period was 19:40 - 20:40.
Participants were Kathy, Hunter & Tonja, Carolyn, Christie, and Leia.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
- Air temperature = 54.5 deg F
- Water temperature = 65 deg F
- Sky = Mostly Cloudy
- Water level = Average
- Relative humidity = 29 %

Posted on March 17, 2019 17:25 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 18, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 16Feb2019

Ten people met at Berry Springs Preserve on a much cooler night than the record heat the day before. We first walked down to the middle slough springhead (by the bird blind), and then over to the wet-weather pond north of the improved campground, but this was the third month in a row that we did not observe any amphibians during our hour-long monitoring period. Amy and Mike checked out the main ponds afterwards, however, and they heard three different Rio Grande Leopard Frogs calling at CI = 1, so it's good to know that there are still some frogs in the area.
The monitoring period was 18:20 - 19:20.
Participants were Kathy, Amy & Mike, Mike, Hunter, Holly & Ben & Matt, Nancy, and Diane.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
- Air temperature = 50.7 deg F
- Water temperature = 66 deg F
- Sky = Mostly Cloudy
- Water level = Above Average
- Relative humidity = 51 %

Posted on February 18, 2019 17:51 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 1 comments | Leave a comment

February 14, 2019

Freshwater Mussels of Texas report, 12Jan2019

On January 12, 2019, two people did random shoreline freshwater mussel search along two of the Highland Lakes in Burnet County, Texas:
• Lakeside Park and the mouth of Backbone Creek in Marble Falls (Lake Marble Falls);
• Sunset Point on Lake LBJ (a private RV resort) west of Marble Falls (Lake LBJ); and,
• Bluebriar Park in Granite Shoals (Lake LBJ).

All three parks are located in the Colorado River basin; permission was obtained from the Sunset Point property management prior to beginning our survey. Water levels were down approximately seven feet in Lake Marble Falls, and four feet in Lake LBJ, due to an intentional drawdown by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for dock maintenance and cleanup after historic flooding in the fall of 2018. The weather was sunny, but cold and windy.

The monitoring period at Lakeside Park (lat/long approximately 30.567, -98.279) was 9:00 – 11:30 AM and we walked approximately 1,200 feet. The substrate was mostly silt. Non-native Asian Clams were observed, but no non-native Zebra Mussels were observed. Three native freshwater mussel species were observed:
• Threeridge – 2 valves;
• Giant Floater – 4 alive, 3 shells; and,
• Tampico Pearlymussel – 2 valves.

The monitoring period at Sunset Point (lat/long approximately 30.564, -98.342) was 1:15 – 2:30 PM and we walked approximately 550 feet. The substrate was mostly sand with some gravel and a few cobbles. Non-native Asian Clams were observed, but no non-native Zebra Mussels were observed. Four native freshwater mussel species were observed:
• Giant Floater – 6 alive, 9 shells, 1 valve;
• Tampico Pearlymussel – 1 shell, 1 valve;
• Bleufer – 1 shell; and,
• Southern Mapleleaf – 2 valves.

The monitoring period at Bluebriar Park (lat/long approximately 30.593, -98.395) was 2:50 – 3:30 PM and we walked approximately 350 feet. The substrate was mostly sand with some silt and gravel. Non-native Asian Clams were observed, but no non-native Zebra Mussels were observed. Four native freshwater mussel species were observed:
• Threeridge – 1 shell;
• Giant Floater – 1 alive, 4 shells;
• Tampico Pearlymussel – 1 shell, 2 valves; and,
• Southern Mapleleaf – 2 valves.

Survey participants were Kathy and Amy. Many thanks to Marsha May for remote help with identification (texting with photos !) throughout the day.

Posted on February 14, 2019 23:36 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 12 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment

January 21, 2019

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 18Jan2019

Eleven folks came out to kick off the new year of amphibian monitoring at Berry Springs Preserve. After 10 years of monitoring at the main ponds, the focus this year will be on other areas in the park.
We started out with Mike showing us the beaver's bank lodge on the main pond, and then we went over to the middle slough springhead. A number of bats were seen overhead before sunset, and one Rio Grande Leopard Frog called a few times (CI = 1). Amy got a recording of this Rio Grande Leopard Frog, and Mike got a photo of another one at the main pond earlier in the evening.
Then we went over to the wet-weather pond north of the improved campground, but no amphibians were heard or seen.
The monitoring period was 17:55 - 18:55.
Participants were Kathy, Amy & Mike, Christie, Mike & Carol & Mariah, Jim, Hunter, Lynne, and Randy.
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
- Air temperature = 64.9 deg F
- Water temperature = 67 deg F
- Sky = Mostly Cloudy
- Water level = Above Average
- Relative humidity = 75 %
Environmental conditions at the campground pond 45 minutes after sunset:
- Air temperature = 65.5 deg F
- Water temperature = 61.5 deg F
- Sky = Mostly Cloudy
- Water level = Above Average
- Relative humidity = 71 %

Posted on January 21, 2019 20:40 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 1 comments | Leave a comment

December 17, 2018

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 15Dec2018

It was very, very quiet at Berry Springs Preserve on the last monitoring night of the year - it seemed like "not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse", or frogs or toads, for that matter.... Eight people spent about 15 minutes checking out the main ponds and ditch in the pecan orchard, then Amy took the new folks on a little tour around the ponds while the rest of us went over to the wet-weather pond north of the improved campground. It was equally quiet there. Maybe the strong winds over the previous two days had discouraged any froggy activity.
The monitoring period was 17:30 - 18:45.
Participants were Kathy, Amy, Christie, Mike, Lynne & Walter (welcome !), Rowan (welcome !), and Leona.
Environmental conditions at the main pond at sunset:
- Air temperature = 53.8 deg F
- Water temperature = 61 deg F
- Sky = No/few clouds
- Water level = Above Average
- Relative humidity at sunset = 33 %

Posted on December 17, 2018 01:55 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 18, 2018

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 17Nov2018

It was a beautiful fall night at Berry Springs Preserve after the first freeze of the season earlier in the week. Eight people observed three amphibian species at the main ponds, Rio Grande Leopard Frog, Blanchard's Cricket Frog, and Western Narrow-mouthed Toad, all at Call Index = 0. A dead Plain-bellied Watersnake was observed along the edge of the ditch in the pecan orchard, obviously killed by a mighty human. Numerous bats were seen flying over the main ponds at sunset. We also checked out the wet-weather pond behind the improved campground - we couldn't ID the one frog that hopped into the water, and none were calling.
The monitoring period was 17:35 - 18:35.
Participants were Kathy, Amy & Mike, Christie, Mike, Randy & Sandra, and Carolyn.
Environmental conditions at the main pond at sunset:
- Air temperature = 68.0 deg F
- Water temperature = 66.6 deg F
- Sky = Mostly cloudy
- Water level = Average
- Relative humidity at sunset = 46 %

Posted on November 18, 2018 16:07 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 4 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment

October 21, 2018

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 20Oct2018

A feeling of fall was in the air as nine people came out for the monthly amphibian monitoring at Berry Springs Preserve. According to the nearby USGS gauge (08105095 Berry Ck at Airport Rd nr Georgetown, TX, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/tx/nwis/uv/?site_no=08105095&PARAmeter_cd=00045), there had been 4.9 inches of rain in the last week, and standing water was everywhere.
Rio Grande Leopard Frogs were seen in the orchard ditch and were calling (CI = 2) from the sloughs, ponds, grassy pools below the restrooms, and wet-weather pond north of the improved campground. Mike and Randy had seen a number of very young Western Narrow-mouthed Toads along the paths earlier, and Leona found one for us (CI = 0), no doubt a product of last month's calling activity. Randy saw an American Bullfrog (CI = 0) in the main pond; Hunter spotted three of them in the orchard ditch, and Amy got a long-distance photo of one of them. Bats were seen flying low over the ponds and orchard ditch.
The main monitoring period was 19:00 - 20:30. Amy and I went back to the orchard ditch until 21:00.
Participants were Kathy, Amy, Mike, Christie, Leona, Tonja, Randy & Sandra, and Hunter.
Environmental conditions at the main pond at sunset:
- Air temperature = 63.7 deg F
- Water temperature = 67 deg F
- Sky = Mostly cloudy
- Water level = Much above average
- Relative humidity at sunset = 67 %

Posted on October 21, 2018 14:57 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 2 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

September 18, 2018

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 15Sep2018

After a very dry summer (and no rain in August), Berry Springs Preserve's sloughs had dried up and the main ponds were almost dry. However, there had been 5.1 inches of rain in the first two weeks of September (as per USGS gauge 08105095 Berry Ck at Airport Rd nr Georgetown, TX, http://waterdata.usgs.gov/tx/nwis/uv/?site_no=08105095&PARAmeter_cd=00045), the springs were flowing again, the sloughs had water, and the water level in the main ponds was much higher than even the week before. And, boy, did this bring the frogs and toads a-hoppin' !!
Ten people got to see and/or hear four amphibian species - Rio Grande Leopard Frog (max Call Index = 2), Gulf Coast Toad (max CI = 2), Green Treefrog (max CI = 1), and Western Narrowmouth Toad (aka, Great Plains Narrowmouth Toad, max CI = 3). We also saw several watersnakes (at least one was a Blotched (aka, Plain-bellied) Watersnake) swimming in the ponds.
Mike had set up a white sheet and bright light beforehand, and after amphibian monitoring we got to see some big, green, mayflies and little moths - plus about a thousand other unknown, tiny bugs ! Thank you, Mike.
The monitoring period was 19:40 - 20:55.
Participants were Kathy, Mike, Heike, Carolyn, Keri, Christie (thanks for getting everyone started !), Leona (welcome !), and Alexis & Peter & Linda.
Environmental conditions at the main pond at sunset:
- Air temperature = 74.8 deg F
- Water temperature = 76.8 deg F
- Sky = Mostly cloudy
- Water level = Below average
- Relative humidity at sunset = 74 %

Posted on September 18, 2018 01:45 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 4 observations | 1 comments | Leave a comment