Friday, May 28, 2010

Celebrate Biodiversity: BioBlitz 2010 & Kids’ Fishing Day at Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

This year Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is combining two great events in one: BioBlitz and Kid’s Fishing Day!

The public is invited to participate in the Refuge’s 5th annual BioBlitz Festival on Saturday June 12th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Refuge Visitor Center. This free family event includes guided boat trips to net fish on Lake Lowell; bird banding; guided nature walks; and insect-collecting expeditions. Visitors can also view live birds of prey, fish, and reptiles; learn to identify insects at the Bug Tent; learn how to draw wildlife; visit interactive exhibits from wildlife-related organizations in Idaho; participate in kids’ crafts and activities; and explore the Refuge through a photo scavenger hunt. All guided events require pre-registration.

A BioBlitz is a 24-hour rapid survey of biological diversity. On June 11th and 12th, local scientists, naturalists, and volunteers will comb Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge to find and identify as many different species of plants and animals as possible. Although BioBlitzes have been held across the country, this is Idaho’s only one!

Photo by: Robin Peterson

This year’s BioBlitz is being held on Free Fishing Day, so bring your pole to Gotts Point for some fishing! From 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, kids can learn about fish biology, fishing ethics, and water safety. Visitors will have a chance to practice casting and rigging and then test their newly-learned skills by fishing in Lake Lowell! Fishing poles will be available to borrow if needed.

BioBlitz will be at the Refuge Visitor Center; the entrance road is located at the corner of Indiana and Roosevelt in Nampa. Kids’ Fishing Day will be at Gotts Point at the west end of Greenhurst. A map, directions, and a schedule of festival events (see below) are available at To sign up for one of the guided activities or for more information, call the Refuge Visitor Center at (208) 467-9278 or email

BioBlitz Schedule of Guided Events: Saturday June 12th
9:00am Boat trip to net fish
10:00 Boat trip to net fish
10:30 Bird Walk
11:00 Boat trip to net fish
11:00 Plant walk
11:30 Photography walk
12:00 Bird Walk
1:00 Photography walk
All guided events require pre-registration

Long awaited update!

Wow! I’m embarrassed at how long it’s been since I have updated the blog! Spring means Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge is field trip central, we have hosted more than 1,400 students and parents at the refuge since I last wrote. Plus, I am working full tilt on our big summer party: BioBlitz Festival 2010! More on that later…

If you are worried about missing out on the Osprey, don’t fret. Since I last wrote the nest is pretty much status quo. Female incubates the eggs, male hunts fish, he brings home dinner, she accepts the fish-flies off and eats, returns and they switch places again.

BUT! Today is the day! Day 36! If my calculations are correct I except the eggs to hatch today. With the spring cold weather, we will have to wait and see. I am watching closely to see if the female changes her behavior. For the first week of life, the young osprey are not able to keep themselves warm (thermoregulate). The female will still sit tightly on the nest, especially on cold windy days like today, and keep the young warm. Look for feeding behavior: both parents will feed the young.

Our awesome partners, Fiberpipe Internet Services and Gem State Communications have had their hands full keeping the wireless and solar panels up and running during this wet, cold and windy spring. We have another maintenance visit scheduled for June 1st. After that, the cam should be up and running during daylight hours.

If you want to see the osprey in person, there is no better day to visit than June 12th. See the next post and celebrate biodiversity.