Field Trip Report: Garrett County BioBlitz
June 10, 2023 by John Hall
Over the weekend of June 10, 2023, Maryland Biodiversity Project hosted a BioBlitz in Garrett County, Maryland. The BioBlitz encompassed New Germany State Park and Savage River State Forest. Our goal was to document the biodiversity of Garrett County. Most activity was focused on Saturday, June 10, but some participants spent more time in Garrett County that weekend so we gathered data from Thursday through Sunday. Data were reported through iNaturalist and we created an iNat project to summarize the data here: Garrett County BioBlitz iNat project.
Organized activities started on the evening of Friday, June 9. We set up several sheets and moth lights at a pavilion in New Germany State Park. The weather was a little cool – with a high temperature of about 63º F and a low of about 50º F. Garrett County insects are tough and we saw a good diversity of insects at the sheets on Friday night including the Rosy Maple Moth, Hickory Tussock Moth, Friendly Probole Moth, and some Bad-wing Moths. About midnight the temperature really dropped and the insects started to slow down so we decided to save our energy for Saturday.
Saturday morning, most participants met in New Germany State Park before heading out to explore in smaller groups. Participants explored dry ridges, steep mountain slopes, reservoirs, forests and bogs. We documented everything from black bears to insects to single-celled algae! Some typical mountain species observed included Creeping Foamflower, Minniebush, Purple-flowering Raspberry and Starflower.
On Saturday night, we set up sheets again in New Germany State Park at the pavilion and in the parking lot. The weather was much warmer with a high of about 72º F. Insects started coming to the sheets before dark and we stayed busy photographing insects until about 1 in the morning. The insects are still being identified but it appears that more than 200 species of insects came to the sheets on Saturday night! Some of the most spectacular were the Arched Hooktip Moth, Io Moth, Lettered Sphinx, Polyphemus Moth, and Small-eyed Sphinx.
Data are still being compiled from the BioBlitz but here are some current highlights (as of June 19, 2023). Participants have posted more than 4,000 observations representing more than 1,000 species! The BioBlitz added six species of insects and one cyanobacterium to the Maryland Biodiversity Project checklist. Perhaps the most spectacular addition was the Red-spotted Glyph seen on Saturday night by Stephen John Davies. There are few records of this beautiful species in the Mid-Atlantic region making this a particularly exciting find.
The BioBlitz also produced about 80 county records – mostly insects. You can find a list of novelties on MBP’s New Stuff Report for the month.
The Garrett County BioBlitz was extremely productive. The BioBlitz brought in an enormous amount of new data on the biodiversity of western Maryland. Hopefully participants got to see a new species, make a new friend or discover a part of Maryland they had not seen before.