EcoBlitz surveys flora and fauna to help protect forest lands

EcoBlitz surveys flora and fauna to help protect forest lands

Knob and Valley Audubon is sponsoring the EcoBlitz in Morgan-Monroe Backcountry Area this summer. The event is organized by Indiana Forest Alliance and Hoosier Environmental Council in an effort to inventory the flora and fauna of the state forest area near the Low Gap Nature Preserve. The effort could lead to protection status for the area as these two groups push for legislation that would create a state wilderness system that includes the five backcountry areas located in southern Indiana state forests.

KAVAS President Rod Goforth took part in the first weekend of the EcoBlitz on June 7 and 8 as leader of the Bird Team that worked over the two day period to survey the forest and inventory the birds within the area. Other teams conducting inventories included reptiles and amphibians, arthropods, flowering plants, fungi, and a macroinvertebrate survey of Honey Creek.

In the bird team report, KAVAS President Rod Goforth, noted that 37 species of birds were observed in 50 observation hours (2-4 observers per observation) over a two-day period concentrating the observations between 6am-11am and 6pm-9pm. Among those 37 species were some of great conservation interest according to Indiana’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need published by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and revised in July 2009. Observed birds of conservation interest include the state endangered Cerulean Warbler and three species of special concern: Broad-winged Hawk, Worm-eating Warbler and the Hooded Warbler.

Also included in the bird team report were the following notable observations:

  • Acadian flycatchers were common throughout the study area while eastern phoebe and eastern peewee were other flycatchers also heard in the study area
  • Red-eyed vireos were common throughout the study area while two yellow-throated Vireos were heard
  • Wood thrush were common throughout the study area and one fledgling was observed
  • Other fledglings observed include worm-eating warbler, Louisiana waterthrush and Carolina wren