Orchid Counts 2015: Good News!

Counting Moccasin orchids, June 15, 2015
Counting Moccasin orchids, June 15, 2015
I am trying out some simple observations for monitoring the “Ecological Integrity” of The Bluff Trail and the larger Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area. One is an “Orchid Count”.

On June 16 of last year, I counted the number of Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchids (also known as the Moccasin Orchid) between the trailhead of The Bluff Trail and the Pot Lake Junction which is the most intensively used part of The Bluff Trail On that date, they were at their peak colour and most readily observable. I counted only orchids that could be observed from the Trail, and I did it twice, once going out and once coming back and took the larger number as the best estimate, which was 133. (See Orchids 2014)

I repeated the count this year on June 15, 2015, but took a much younger observer with me, Kai, aged 13,  who also did a count. We each did one side going in and the opposite side going out. Out totals are below. So by my count, the number was up slightly this year over last year… but the count by Kai was substantially higher than mine.  I checked him out at a few places, and sure enough he was seeing a lot more than me, especially a way back from the trail. Either way, it’s good news about the state of The Bluff Trail!

Orchid Count, June 15, 2015

Section Dave Kai
Trailhead to
Big Boardwalk
61 121
Big Bwalk-next (2nd) BWalk 8 17
2nd Bwalk to Whaleback 50 87
Whaleback to Junction 28 37
TOTAL 147 262

– David P with Thanks to Kai.

4 Replies to “Orchid Counts 2015: Good News!”

  1. Some I am looking at:
    -Exotic and invasive plant species. So far none, so this is good! (There are lots on the BLT.);
    -Lungwort lichens; these indicate good air quality, maturing trees;
    -Aquatic plants; ‘looking out for invasive species, and using the makeup of the communities as an indicator of trophic status;

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