Indentifying and Protecting Wildlife Corridors

Archive for the ‘Volunteer’ Category

Thank You!

Thank you everyone for your renewed memberships and donations to Pathways!

If you would still like to be a supporting member of Pathways or make a donation, you can via PayPal on our website:Contact Us/Donate | Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of New Mexico or by sending a check to:

Pathways
P.O. Box 305
Placitas, NM 87043

What we do for wildlife:

1. We gather scientifically valid, research grade data on our local animals to help validate and document their existence. We focus on the larger animals; black bears, mule deer, mountain lions, elk, pronghorn, and bobcats, but we gather information and document the little guys too, as well as birds, insects, and reptiles.

2. We help people live with, rather than kill, their wild neighbors. We give talks, write articles, respond to emailed questions, host a website, and train volunteers in wildlife track and sign identification.

How you can help us, and our wild relatives:

1. Renew your membership/make a donation! It really does help us!

2. Send us your animal stories/sightings, this really helps them! You can send to me at 4winged@gmail.com or directly to: iNaturalist.org · Pathways

3. Drive slowly in Placitas! and watch out for your wild neighbors.

Thank You! from all of us at Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of NM

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Bear food survey 2017

Pathways Mast Surveys Summary 2017

This year Pathways volunteers conducted 8 mast surveys between May 6th and Sept. 23rd, 2017. We surveyed areas mainly on the north end of Sandia Mt. in cooperation with the Sandia Mt. Bear Collaborative, who were conducting mast survey across the rest of Sandia Mountain. Pathways mast survey volunteers included team leaders Peter Callen and Stephanie Long and survey team members Ross Phillips, Mark Bundy, Cameron Weber, Ian Daitz, Elaine Sullivan, Renee Robillard, Jean Roberts, Michael Scialdone, and Cathy Langfelt.
This year we included gathering bear scat for a dietary analysis, but no bear scat was found by our Pathways teams.

The main mast species of Piñon Pine, One-Seed Juniper, and Gambel’s Oak had Juniper berries as the most successful crop this year, with moderate to poor acorn production, and a mast failure of Piñon nuts. These surveys covered the north end of Sandia Mt. from the Piedra Lisa trail to Del Agua Cyn., the Agua Sarca trail from Tunnel Sprgs. up to 7,800’ elevation, Las Huertas Cyn. from Placitas up to the U.S.F.S. picnic area, Palomas Peak trail, Faulty trail from the Sandia Man Cave up 3 miles, and several areas off of Hwy. 165 at higher elevations including Media Cyn., Balsam Glade, and then up the Crest highway to Ellis trail at 10,000’+ elevation.
Dozens of miles of trails were walked while we observed trees and plants along the trails, as well as surveying piñon cone and juniper berry production from a distance with binoculars. Hundreds to thousands of trees and other plants would be closely observed on each of the surveys.

Gamble’s Oak had poor to moderate acorn production, the best areas being near Las Huertas Creek and springs along the Piedra Lisa trail. Wavy leaf oaks had moderate production in the lower elevations (~6,000’+) of Piedra Lisa trail and Las Huertas Cyn.
Piñon Pine trees did not produce new cones this year, and the small cones for next year mostly dried up and died in the hot, dry months of June and July. August was our only real month of moisture and cooler temps., and that helped the One-Seed Juniper production. The Juniper berries started out abundant again this year, especially at the lower (~6,000’) elev., but the summer drought kept them small and thinned out overall production from abundant down to moderate. The rains of August helped plump up and save the Juniper berry crop. September was unusually dry for almost the whole month, but then the last 4 days brought heavy rain. By this time of the year though it was almost too late to actually have an effect other than prolong what was left of the harvest and bring back a little green up of the mature grasses and forbs.

Other soft mast species had very mixed results, with fairly poor to moderate Chokecherry and Oregon Grape production; moderate and fairly good bear corn production; a moderate to good grass and forb production at higher elev. (7,500’ +); and abundant Prickly Pear Cactus production at lower elev. (~6,000’). Banana Yucca was poor however, as were the Currants, Gooseberries and Snowberries. Lower elev. fruit orchards had mixed success as well, with some areas having poor apple and peach production, while other areas had a moderate fruit crop.

So overall it wasn’t a great year for bear foods on Sandia Mt., and bears did come down into the human habitation zone starting in August and continued to raid bird feeders, trash cans and fruit orchards throughout September. The Juniper berry and Cactus fruit were the most abundant mast, with some patches of moderate acorn and bear corn production. Grass and forb production was good at higher elevations, but Fir tree mortality was high in Las Huertas Cyn. and some eastern side canyons. A huge explosion of Tussock Moth caterpillars were everywhere on the dying Fir trees from July into September.

2017 Bear Fair, Sept. 24th

Welcome to another “Bear Fair” sponsored by the Sandia Mt. Bear Collaborative. Starts at 1 PM.Black Bear
Prizes! Fun for the whole family! See you there!

See the PDF version of the flyer here:  finalBear Fair Flyer 2017

Volunteers lay foundation for habitat restoration 

Like the ABQ Wildlife Federation here in New Mexico, these volunteer groups in Arizona are using rocks to build well designed structures, slowing down water run-off and preventing soil erosion, which in turn builds up soil and supports vegetation for wildlife.

Early last Saturday under already sweltering conditions, a half-dozen men and women heaved bread loaf-sized rocks into a large drainage on the outskirts of the Patagonia Mountains to create a “Zuni bowl”, a rock structure designed to prevent soil erosion.

Read the full article here:

Source: Volunteers lay foundation for habitat restoration | Local News Stories | nogalesinternational.com

Wildlife “Track and Sign Identification” course with Casey McFarland

We organized another wildlife track and sign identification course with renown wildlife specialist Casey McFarland on April 9th and 10th.  He will be in the area this summer and would like to do more courses, so get on our wait list and I’ll keep you posted.

Here is some feedback from a couple of the latest participants:

From Michael Cox ~ The weekend was terrific!  Casey taught me a new way of looking at the natural world.  It was like suddenly realizing that you’ve been living in the dark and having the light turned on.  It was intimidating and challenging but I’d do it again next weekend if I could, and I hope that Casey does another session sometime soon.

I am interested in your project, but I should tel you that I only received a 68 in the course, and reached some astoundingly stupid conclusions, so I’m not sure how much help I could be. So please alert me when you go out next time.

PS- Thanks for the heads up on the course, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

and from Sarah and Matt Fontaine ~Hi Peter,

Matt and I both thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, and got so much out of it!  I have been looking at tracks, and books of tracks, for a while… it was so satisfying to have someone with extensive knowledge to give hard facts to what had previously been questionable deduction.  And Casey showed us animal sign that I would have walked right past, not knowing what to look for.  We also appreciate the style of teaching: having us try to figure out what a track/sign is using whatever knowledge and common sense we have, before just telling us.  That really gets one looking around, analyzing the surroundings, asking questions like ‘who would live here?’ or ‘what size animal would make that scat?’

We are interested in volunteering for the Pathways monitoring program, do keep us posted!

Forecasts : BirdCast, heat maps

weather pattern, 4/12/14

Amazing, simply amazing.  The confluence between research science, technology, and volunteers on a massive scale yield these, I’ll say it again, amazing, heat maps of bird migration:  Forecasts : BirdCast.

Without waiting for years of study to become published, and then instantly become irrelevant, this “real time” network of volunteers and bird scientists have been putting together easily readable maps and graphs that show how bird migration not only shapes up for this season, week by week, even day by day, but how it compares to other years at the same time.

To say that bird migration depends on the weather is an understatement, birds must follow weather patterns in order to move the distances they need to arrive at feeding and breeding grounds just in time to continue their life cycle.  When those patterns are too early, birds can “hold on” to their current position to avoid being swept away to an area that is still too cold or dormant.  When the wind and weather is too late, birds may be stranded in inhospitable locations.  Even more complicated is when the seasons get mixed up, as in New England this spring, with winter and summer alternating rapidly, too cold, too hot, with “just right” fleeting fast away.

If you want a graphic example, in real time, of  life trying to adapt to a rapidly changing climate regime, the heat maps of e-bird are a good place to look.

Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge

Planting willows

Planting willows

 

 

Western Willow Flycatcher habitat was improved last Saturday at the Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge as 22 volunteers with the New Mexico Volunteers for the Outdoors helped by cutting and trimming willows, then planting them in holes that were augered down to the water table.

Willow prep

Willow prep

 

Satisfying work on a calm, clear February day.  Flocks of snow geese headed south to the Bosque del Apache refuge as we worked on the willow prep. under the budding old growth cottonwoods along the Rio Grande.  Cutting all but the very top branches off the willow rods helps the willow roots get a good start.  By May they will be leafed out and growing into their first season in their new spot along the river.  These Gooding’s willows will grow much taller than the ubiquitous Coyote Willow, and when filled out with new branches in a few years, provide good habitat, along with the Cottonwoods, for the endangered Western Willow Flycatcher.

The refuge manager, Kathy Granillo, also voiced her concern for wildlife pathways throughout the state of NM, and recognizes the importance of wildlife connectivity between all the refuge lands.  Even though Sevilleta is the largest refuge, 200,000 + acres, it still depends on connectivity with surrounding lands to stay healthy.

As we like to say at Pathways, “Life is a moving thing!”