October 18, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 17Oct2020

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 (almost) all times.
Three amphibian species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 0), American Bullfrog (CI = 0), and Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 0). Photos were obtained for all three species.
When we arrived at the upper parking lot, a falconer was training a beautiful juvenile Red-tailed Hawk - what a nice way to start the night ! Several deer and a bat were seen at sunset on the walk out to the middle slough springhead - after a month of no rain, however, it was dry. The water level in the main ponds was below average. Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter were putting on a good display.
The monitoring period was 19:00 - 20:30.
Participants were Kathy and Carolyn.
Environmental conditions at the main ponds an hour after sunset:
Air temperature = 69.8 deg F
Water temperature = 68 deg F
Sky = no/few clouds
Water level = below average
Relative humidity = 74 %

Posted on October 18, 2020 19:30 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 26, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 25Sep2020

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was no group outing to Berry Springs Park and Preserve again this month. However, five people wearing face masks checked on the amphibians while staying at least six feet apart from each other at all times.
Three amphibian species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 2), American Bullfrog (CI = 0), and Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 0). Photos were obtained for Gulf Coast Toad and sound recordings were obtained for Rio Grande Leopard Frog.
At sunset, a flock of Great Egrets was seen overhead and a herd of White-tailed Deer was seen in the fields. A Nine-banded Armadillo was seen after sunset, and a Barred Owl and bats (on the bat detector) were heard after sunset. Over 1.5 inches of rain had fallen four days earlier, and although the water level was much below average, the middle slough spring was flowing again. The water level in the main ponds was below average.
The monitoring period was 19:25 - 20:55.
Participants were Kathy, Amy, and Belinda & Charlotte & Miriam (welcome !).
Environmental conditions at the middle slough springhead at sunset:
Air temperature = 67.5 deg F
Water temperature = 73.5 deg F
Sky = no/few clouds
Water level = much below average
Relative humidity = 66 %

Posted on September 26, 2020 23:21 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 24, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 22Aug2020

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.
Five amphibian species were observed: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Call Index = 1), Green Tree Frog (CI = 3), American Bullfrog (CI = 0), Gulf Coast Toad (CI = 0), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (CI = 2). Photos and/or sound recordings were obtained for all species.
Common Nighthawk, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, and bats were seen at sunset. About an inch of rain had fallen that morning, but the sloughs and ditch in the pecan orchard were dry, and the entire dam was exposed in the main pond. Had been in moderate drought for the past month.
The monitoring period was 20:00 - 21:45.
Participants were Kathy and Christie.
Environmental conditions at the main ponds at sunset:
Air temperature = 76.1 deg F
Water temperature = 80 deg F
Sky = no/few clouds
Water level = much below average
Relative humidity = 60 %

Posted on August 24, 2020 23:34 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 5 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 27, 2020

Berry Springs Preserve Herps of Texas report, 26Jul2020

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 = 1), Green Tree Frog (max CI = 2; CI = 1 in sound recording), American Bullfrog (CI = 1), and Blanchard's Cricket Frog (max CI = 3). Photos and/or sound recordings were obtained for all species except American Bullfrog.
Fireflies were seen and coyotes were heard at sunset. Although there had been about a quarter of an inch of rain received in the 24 hours before monitoring, the middle slough springhead was dry, and the water level in the main ponds was below average.
The monitoring period was 20:30 - 21:45.
Participants were Kathy and Amy.
Environmental conditions at the main ponds at 21:35:
Air temperature = 73.0 deg F
Water temperature = 77.5 deg F
Sky = no/few clouds
Water level = below average
Relative humidity = 79 %

Posted on July 27, 2020 22:08 by k_mccormack k_mccormack | 3 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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