My Pictures from Bioblitz 2009 with Saint Mary’s University in the Blue Mountain-Birch Coves Lake Wilderness Area

In the summer of 2009, I had a chance to volunteer as a photographer in my first Bioblitz. In short, Bioblitz is a 24-hour survey of a wilderness area, in which scientists count and identify the biodiversity of species contained in the area. The previous link gives much more information about Bioblitz, and specifically the one in which I participated with Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. We went to the Blue Mountain-Birch Coves Lake Wilderness Area on June 5th and 6th, newly declared a protected area, and I got some great photos.

The nice thing about Bioblitz, as a photographer, is that people find all kinds of cool critters and varmints, not to mention plants, for you to photograph. Even if they’re relatively common, like a frog, to get one at your beckon for a photo is pretty fun. Plus, you don’t have to touch any of them unless you want to, and you certainly have to go digging cause the knowledgeable scientists, students and other nature lovers there know where to look and dig for all kinds of cool sh*t.

And some of it is sh*t, and really cool!

This year, the local Bioblitz is on June 6th, and I hope to be there again, with even better pictures. I learned a lot doing photography at last year’s event. Regrettably, some of it was through mistakes, missing some excellent shots. But I’ll be more prepared this year, and believe they’ll find even more interesting stuff this year. Last year, it was a little too close to the city. Below are some of my favourites, with a few more on the Saint Mary’s University site, among other great photos taken by other people.

I have a few comments with the pictures. Unfortunately, it’s been a while and I’ve forgotten many of the real names of the plants, flowers and critters. However, I have to tell the story of the cyst.

Cyst. I didn’t know what it was until someone told me the story of the tiny cyst in the photo below (less than 1 cm or half an inch in size). The story goes something like this. Some bug comes along and injects something into a tree. It soften and bubbles up, though “bubble” here could be rather thick and still hard. The bug lays its eggs in it, and the swollen part of the tree both serves as a “nest” for its eggs and food for the young hatchlings.

Cool, eh?

But then, here comes the cooler part. Some other bug comes along, being able to find these eggs over the eons through evolution, and injects something into some of the eggs already there in the cyst. The latter bug turns those eggs into something that functions like a cyst for its own young to nest and feed on. The surviving eggs of the original bug may, in turn, consume the latter bug’s youngs as it comes out, whether by instinct of food or as a survival mechanism to rid of the invaders.

Talk about revenge of the cyst!

The latter’s young don’t have to worry about the former’s young by the time it comes out, probably, pending time overlap between the time it enters after the former’s young. However, as they all leave, the disfigurement of the tree is left. Pending the age of the tree and nature of the cyst, it may be small like the one in the picture. However, you might have seen something like that the size of an entire tree!

Can you write better science fiction than that? Really, I know lots of stories science fiction has nothing with which to compare! Real life is definitely far stranger than fiction!

Please click here to see more of my photography on this website.

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