We had a week of wild fun during the Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz! From June 4th to June 12th people around Whatcom County set out to discover the wildlife in their back yard. This event focused on finding and identifying as many species of birds, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and mammals as possible and logging their findings on iNaturalist. Approximately 200 participants joined five Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz events throughout the week or discovered the wildlife in their own backyard.
June 4th kicked off the first ever Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz with Beach Naturalist Training at Birch Bay State Park. Hosted by the Friends of Birch Bay State Park, Bioblitz Participants learned about intertidal wildlife including seabirds, clams, and crabs.
Bioblitz participates visiting Bender Fields Park in Lynden on June 7th were able to attend naturalist guided nature walks along Fishtrap creek, play games, or observe fish. Hosted by the City of Lynden Public Works, Whatcom CD, Whatcom County Public Works, and Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA), visitors had the chance to see a lamprey up close, learn to identify scat and tracks along the creek, and shore up their knowledge about keeping wildlife wild.
On the beautifully sunny afternoon of June 8th Bioblitz participants were greeted by Whatcom Land Trust, Whatcom County Public Works, Whatcom CD, and an occasional alligator lizard at Stimpson Nature Reserve. Over 25 visitors stopped before or after their hike to learn more about wildlife and log their wildlife observations as they hiked the trails of Stimpson Nature Reserve.
NSEA led games at Whatcom Falls Park on June 11th during Afternoon at the Park. Over 80 visitors stopped at their booth to learn more about the wildlife in Whatcom County.
Day at the Beach concluded the Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz at Birch Bay State Park. Birch Bay Watershed and Aquatic Resources Management District (BBWARM), Whatcom CD, Birch Bay State Park, Garden of the Salish Sea Curriculum, The Friends of Birch Bay State Park, and Whatcom County Libraries met visitors across from the BP Heron Center with games and food. Over 56 visitors stopped by to practice their wildlife ID, visit the booths, or participate in a naturalist led walk along the beach. Despite the overcast day, wildlife was abundant at low tide. Visitors discovered sea squirts, kelp, clams, crabs, shore birds, and more.
Whatcom County is a unique place with incredible access to wildlife. Participants in the Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz learned more about the wildlife in Whatcom County and the connections between people and wildlife. For example, feeding wildlife either intentionally or unintentionally can lead to unhealthy populations of wildlife. Unnaturally increased populations of wildlife living (and pooping) around our creeks can be a source of harmful bacteria!
Wildlife discovery doesn’t need to occur one week out of the year. Join the Whatcom CD’s Whatcom Wildlife Tracking Project on iNaturalist and you can add your observations of wildlife year round! The Whatcom Wildlife Bioblitz was the kickoff event for this project. With over 20 members currently, there is always room for more observers. Data from this project will be used to help understand what wildlife are around in Whatcom County and where they are. Learn more about this project on our website and join today!