Wildlife Survey

REWHC Discussion Forum: Wildlife Survey

Welcome to the Wildlife Survey Discussion Forum for REWHC members. You may enter any of the discussions above by clicking on the appropriate link or scroll down below and enter a message for the general "Wildlife Survey" topic.
William Saslow (Admin) on Sunday, November 21, 1999 - 03:32 am:

Wildlife Sampling Methods Online Book

Distance Sampling
Estimating abundance of biological populations
By S.T. Buckland, D.R. Anderson, K.P. Burnham and J.L Laake

This book is a comprehensive treatment of distance sampling methods for estimating density and abundance of biological populations. It covers both line transect and point transect (variable circular plot) methods in detail, as well as discussing other less widely used methods such as cue counts and trapping webs. There are many clear examples throughout.

By William Saslow (Admin) on Wednesday, November 24, 1999 - 04:54 pm:

At 0900 on 24 November, Veronica Hinds joined the REWHC team in a discussion of our objectives and a tour of our facility. Also present were Beth Ripa, Brenda Bibb, Tom Jones, Diana Ukleja, and Bill Saslow. Ms Hinds is the property manager at the Norman Bird Sanctuary and is very knowledgable about local wildlife. After examination of a site topo map and a briefing about REWHC, the site tour ensued. All were impressed with the numbers of tree species visable and the effects of vines on many of the wooded areas. Ms Hinds pointed out the prospects in many of the areas. Our Walk of the grounds turned up areas of interest many in the group were not aware; there are additional fields of wild grasses past the existing, known fields. Brenda took an action to double check which of these fields, if any are leased to the farmer next door. We also discussed the possibility of using natural methods to control walking path erosion on sloped sections rather than assuming "paving" required. Ms. Hinds agreed to help provide lists of species for all checklists and help define useful survey data formats. She felt that REWHC should participate in the Christmas Bird Count based on the examination of our property. Discussion included getting the Norman Bird Sanctuary involved in a series of lunchtime seminars at Raytheon. All agreed this would be useful and Ms. Hinds agreed to look further into this to prepare a list of possible topics.

By William Saslow (Admin) on Thursday, December 9, 1999 - 05:57 pm:

On December 8th, a first cut of breaking up the Raytheon campus into zones was undertaken. Six zones were defined as follows with a color-coded map included on the survey page on the site:

1. Meadow Fields—This area is bounded by the woods on the south, West Main Road on the east, Chase farm on the North and part of the west, and the parking lot on the west.

2. Eastern Woodland—This area is bounded by Raytheon roadways on the south and west, by open fields on the north, and West Main Road on the east.

3. Manicured Lawns—This area is bounded by Lawton Valley on the south, West Main Road on the east and Raytheon Roadways on the north and west.

4. Lawton Valley—This area is bounded by Lawton Brook on the south, West Main Road on the east, the fence behind Building 4 on the north, and the end of the graveyard on the west.

5. Western Woodland—This area is bounded by a fence on the south, Raytheon roadways on the east, parking lots, and Raytheon roadways, and fencing on the north, and Burma Road on the west.

6. Manicured Lawns—This area is bounded by woods on the south and west, by a fence and meadow fields on the north and Raytheon roadways on the east.

Comments are welcomed!

By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Sunday, April 9, 2000 - 03:20 pm:

The following checklists are going to pubs by the end of the week (4/14):
-Reptiles & Amphibians.

Please review the checklists and provide comments and corrections as needed. Survey chairs are requested to pay special attention to their checklists and respond with affirmation or comment by 4/13;
Birds- Beth Ripa,
Plants- Diane Ukleja,
Insects- Bill Saslow,
Mammals- Ed Rizy,
Reptiles & Amphibians-Tom Jones.


By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Thursday, April 27, 2000 - 05:54 pm:

Lawton Valley Walk - Saturday, 4/29 8AM-11AM
Weather permitting, come take a walk with me in Lawton Valley. Quiet streams and a couple of small waterfalls accentuate this hidden Raytheon gem. Rare trees, some very old, are found in this valley with occasional visits by owls. Lots of deer track as well.

We'll meet in the lobby of building 1 at 8AM sharp and carpool across the street by the reservoir. Leaving the car, we'll walk under West Main Road via the runoff tunnel to our Mysterious Valley. Waterproof boots are a must as we'll be walking part of the way in the stream from rock to rock. The track fades at the start of a marsh. We'll explore ways to continue on and start back after a couple of hours or so.

If not a Raytheon employee, RSVP me at webmaster@rewhc.org and I'll let security know to expect you.

I'm not an expert in the identification of species, but we can muddle through together. I'll bring a Peterson's Bird Guide, Binoculars, and a camera. No camera pass is needed for pictures in the valley so feel free to bring yours.

Happy Trails,

By William Saslow (Admin) on Sunday, May 7, 2000 - 06:54 pm:

National Trails Day is Saturday, June 3rd!

In commemoration, it would be a good idea to plan some walks and some surveying of wildlife on the trails at Raytheon. It is now time to increase surveying activity with survey chairs taking a more active role in planning and publicizing survey outings. Checklists have been printed and are available in Building 1 lobby or Beth Ripa. Databases are online and are starting to be populated.

The survey chairs are as follows:
- Birds: Beth Ripa,
- Mammals: Ed Rizy,
- Plants: Diane Ukleja,
- Reptiles and Amphibians: Tom Jones,
- Insects: Bill Saslow,
- History and Geology: Bill Saslow.

If you're a survey chair or interested in helping out, please contact me over the next week at x3461 or by responding to webmaster@rewhc.org. I'd like to match survey chairs with mentors from local environmental organizations, if possible, and plan walks to coincide with Trails Day. Calendar entries, bulletin board postings, and general mass e-mailings will follow.

Local organizations interested in mentoring a survey chairperson or participating in trail day events are welcome. Please contact me at 401-842-3461 or at webmaster@rewhc.org.

Bill Saslow

By William Saslow (Admin) on Tuesday, May 9, 2000 - 07:09 am:

Help Needed Categorizing Photographs!

The new image library supports a need for documentating our starting point and progress in managing our wildlife habitat. For best effect, images need to be readily accessible, searchable by keywords and viewable.

With the new image library function, we are able to define keywords to be used by the search engine for each image. There is a gap between taking the images and identifying them. Many of the plants and some of the people I've photographed I've not yet identified. This is where your help in suggesting keywords for images can really help me out.

Each image has a unique name (e.g. zone4_002). Assistance can take the form of an e-mail including the image name and any associated keywords.

For example, if you see a picture with a person and a tree you can identify, you might suggest keywords:

zone6_020: metasequoia glyptostroboides dawn redwood matthew largess tree

The image library is at:

Partial lists of keywords are useful as well, so don't think that you need to fully identify all keywords if you don't know them.

Any help you could provide would be appreciated. New pictures added weekly, so this is a continuing process where your continuing help would be valuable. Please reply to webmaster@rewhc.org.


By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Monday, July 17, 2000 - 05:39 pm:

Visit To Oakland Forest 7/17/00

Nestled above St Mary's Pond in Portsmouth is 20 acres of amazing old growth forest know as Oakland Forest. Rescued from condo development by a team of extremely dedicated naturalists including Matt Largess, Oakland Farm is planned for development into an interpretive trail system.

After our REWHC meeting, we drove over to the forest with Matt and brought along our survey form. What follows is a listing of the 29 species of plants observed:
Common Nettle
Yellow Birch
Scarlet Oak
Wood Sorrel
Black Cherry
Striped Wintergreen
European Linden
Cow Parsley
Multiflora Rose
Princess Pine
Japanese Maple
American Beech
Arrow Wood
Cinnamon Fern
Great Mullein
High Bush Blueberry
Jewel Weed
Norway Maple
Poison Ivy
Red Maple
Sensitive Fern
Sycamore Maple
Black Tupelo
Virginia Creeper
White Oak
White Sassafras

Present on the walk were Matt Largess, Ed Rizy, Bob Yetner, Brenda Bibb, Harry Mutter, Winifred Andrew, Tom Jones, Bill Saslow, and Diane Ukleja.

By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Monday, August 28, 2000 - 12:41 pm:

Bird and Tree Walks!
Veronica Hinds and Matthew Largess will be joining us at the summer cookout this Tuesday, 8/29 from 11:30 to 1PM supporting guided Bird and Tree walks respectively. All members and team-mates are welcome. Sorry for the late notice to our teammates outside Raytheon. If interested, I'd be happy to escort you. Please RSVP 401-842-3461 so I can give you directions and meet you.

By William Saslow (Admin) on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 12:34 pm:

REWHC To Participate In Bioblitz 2001 (9/14-9/15)
A Bioblitz is a 24-hour inventory, conducted by volunteer naturalists and scientists, of the plants, animals, and other organisms of a particular locale. Aquidneck Island was chosen as the locale for 2001 and REWHC has managed to get the Raytheon campus added to the list of sites for evaluation. With the Norman Bird Sanctuary as a base, volunteers of all skill levels will fan out to multiple sites on the Island. This is a 24 hour event running from 3PM on Friday 9/14 to 3PM on Saturday 9/15. Mark your calendars! Volunteers are needed to support the Bioblitz, especially during escort at Raytheon. We also need REWHC members to make sure we obtain data surveyed on the campus. All REWHC members are welcome to join in either on the REWHC trails and Lawton Valley or generally with the team. Please reply to webmaster@rewhc.org. I'll attempt to provide further information as we get closer to the date. Also, check out the Rhode Island Natural History Survey website for updates on Bioblitz 2001.

By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Monday, August 27, 2001 - 12:20 pm:

Bioblitz Call For Volunteers 9/14-9/15
Volunteers needed to host bioblitz researchers on the Raytheon Campus. We'll meet at the Norman Bird Sanctuary at 3PM on Friday (9/14) Some time in the PM, the bioblitz researchers would like to visit Raytheon and set some traps both for insects and Mammals. Optional dinner at the Norman Bird Sanctuary Friday night with the bioblitz team (need a head count ASAP). In the early AM, check traps and survey walks. At 3PM, Bioblitz completes at the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Bioblitz will cover about 5 sites including oakland forest, raytheon, sachuest, Norman, and some other point in-between. Good opportunity to observe professional researchers and see if all tree huggers wear plaid! While we need to escort them on our site, voluteers are welcome to assist in other areas as well. Should be a good team effort. The chairs of the REWHC survey team (Ed, Beth, Tom, Diana) are especially encouraged to attend to gain access to pro surveyors and their methods and to ensure we get a copy of their raytheon survey info for our databases. Others at all skill levels welcome! Please respond ASAP to webmaster@rewhc.org. Thanks!

By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Wednesday, September 5, 2001 - 03:38 pm:

Technical Information Center (TIC) To Add Wildlife Section!
Want to go for a birdwalk during lunch? The TIC in the Nimitz building now has a pair of binoculars and a few bird guides available for borrowing. Take them on the trails . . . Identify a bird . . . Add it to our database!

If you have any old (working) binoculars or old wildlife field guides for our region and you'd like to donate them to REWHC, let me know at webmaster@rewhc.org or bring them in directly to the TIC.


By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Tuesday, September 18, 2001 - 07:02 am:

REWHC Participation In Bioblitz - A Blast!
Teamed with the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, other local organizations and environmental professionals, REWHC made a significant contribution to Bioblitz 2001 last Friday and Saturday 9/14 and 9/15.

Contributing to the effort from REWHC were Matt Coffin, Diana Ukleja, Tom Jones (with children), Beth Ripa, Ed Rizy (with scouts) and Bill Saslow.

Friday was cold and drizzly, not the best birding weather. Matt, Tom, and Bill joined Arliss Ryan, a Norman Bird Sanctuary Volunteer to survey birds. Diana joined Lisa Gould, the executive director of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, in survey of plants. REWHC activities were restricted to the Norman Bird Sanctuary on Friday.

Saturday was cool and clear, and a bird/plant contingent met at Raytheon for survey. Jay Manning, president of the Norman Bird Sanctuary joined Arliss Ryan, Bill Saslow and Beth Ripa for a bird survey of the campus. Tom Jones, accompanied by his children, teamed up with Lisa Gould to survey the Raytheon meadow fields. Ed Rizy and Scouts surveyed St Mary's pond during the Bioblitz.

Overall, approximately 79 people took part exploring Aquidneck Island on Friday and Saturday. On 3:00 p.m. Saturday, the Bioblitz species tally was 736, including some 36 bird species and over one hundred plant species from the Raytheon Campus.

Bioblitz Raytheon birds were added to the REWHC database and the plants will be added to our database shortly.

By Brenda J. Bibb (Bibbb) on Thursday, December 19, 2002 - 03:00 pm:

I have received the following as a result of the "Backyard Bird Count" that Beth and I did last year and wanted to post it for all to see:

Last February, the data you collected for the Great Backyard Bird Count
(GBBC) provided scientists with a "snapshot" view of bird abundance and
distribution. Throughout last winter, over 16,000 individuals in the United
States and Canada participated in Project FeederWatch--another survey that
monitors backyard bird populations. Like the GBBC, FeederWatch counts are
submitted to scientists who use the data to examine trends in bird
populations. FeederWatch, however, is a winter-long project. Participants
count the birds at their feeders as often as every week from November
through early April. Participants then submit counts either on paper forms
or over the Internet. We invite you to contribute to our understanding of
winter bird populations by joining your fellow bird watchers in Project

FeederWatch data provide a detailed picture of weekly changes in the
distribution and abundance of birds across the continent. Long-term
monitoring programs, such as FeederWatch, are important for identifying the
impacts of disease on bird populations. FeederWatch data have recently been
used to track the spread of the eye disease affecting House Finch
populations. We continue to monitor this disease and will also examine
FeederWatch data to gauge the impact of West Nile virus on birds. Please
help monitor the health of winter bird populations by joining us in the
16th season of Project FeederWatch. Learn more about the project at
www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw. Click on the Data Retrieval and News tabs to
examine results and maps generated from FeederWatch data.

FeederWatchers receive a subscription to Birdscope (the quarterly
newsletter of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), and a full Research Kit that
* the FeederWatch Handbook, our guide to feeding birds;
* a full-color poster of common feeder birds (both Eastern and Western);
* a 14-month Bird Watching Days calendar;
* instructions on how to participate; and
* paper data forms and/or access to our online data entry system.

There is a $15 annual participation fee ($12 for Lab members, CAN$25 for
Canadian participants) that covers your materials and newsletter
subscription, staff support, web site support, and data analysis. If you
are currently participating in FeederWatch, thank you! Please do not renew
your participation until we send you a renewal notice.

U.S. Residents:
1. Visit and sign up over our secure server. OR
2. Call (800) 843-2473 (BIRD) OR
3. Send a check made payable to Project FeederWatch to:
Project FeederWatch / GBBC
P.O. Box 11
Ithaca, New York 14851-0011

Canadian Residents:
1. Call (888) 448-2473 (BIRD) OR
2. Send a check made payable to Project FeederWatch to:
Project FeederWatch
Bird Studies Canada
P.O. Box 160
Port Rowan, ON N0E1M0

Project FeederWatch is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
Bird Studies Canada, Audubon, and the Canadian Nature Federation.

Thank you and Good Birding,

David Bonter
Leader, Project FeederWatch (U.S.)

Project FeederWatch
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 254-2427 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw

By Harry S. Mutter (Mutterh) on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 02:38 pm:

Some guys get neckties or shop vacs for their birthday, I got a Sassafras tree -- obviously Winifred knows how to make Harry happy. She found it at Sylvan nursery and we planted it on Woodland Wander. (Look for it near the 2 ton sitting rock we placed across from the Sycamore Maple.) It is the only tree you will ever see with three different leaf patterns: one lobed, two lobed (looks like a mitten) and three lobed. In the South, Sassafras grows to be a large tree 20 to 40 foot high but in Rhode Island it is common as a tall shrub (tiny state, tiny tree).

Please be very gentle with it, it was in very bad shape at the nursery and remains in shock.

The Sassafras is the only spice tree in North America. Its leaves are ground to a powder to make file', a basic ingredient of cajun and creole cooking -- File' Gumbo, yum! An extract from the roots was the first cash crop for the American colonies. In England they made a morning tea that got the blood flowing and it was a cure for many ailments. Until recently it was an ingredient in that unique American beverage, root beer. (The extract from the roots is now suspected to cause cancer in rats.) The extract is still available as an essential oil and is used to scent inexpensive soaps. The decorative wood is used in fine woodworking.

Recent sightings: Two baby raccoons, Winifred saw two Baltimore Orioles and Lynn Kern a coyote. If you have been watching the wildflower meadow you saw that last week the predominant color was white from the daisys and now this week yellow has taken over. Tell Winifred if you know the yellow flowers name and she will post it.

By Brenda J. Bibb (Bibbb) on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 02:44 pm:

Well, maybe it is the only spice tree. But it is NOT the only tree involved in root beer. You have to sample Birch Beer (even Stop and Shop sells it). Then snap a twig from a Grey Birch (I think we have some). Definitely root beer.

By Harry S. Mutter (Mutterh) on Tuesday, July 1, 2003 - 03:00 pm:

You're right Brenda and now it is not used at all. The rats kept drinking it until they got cancer . . . got to protect those rats.

Now if Brenda (always has the last word) Bibb would just tell us the name of the yellow wildflower so we can post it.

By William P. Saslow (Sasloww) on Sunday, April 4, 2004 - 07:04 pm:

New Survey Database Prototype On-line
The REWHC second-generation survey database prototype is on-line and comments are welcomed. It's at:

Significant improvements include

- A single point and click entry checklist across all zones. Not only does this mean that you don't have to look up species reference IDs, but a single record covers an entire survey visit. The generation of a matching paper checklist, ordered the same as the on-line form, makes surveying and data entry quick and easy.

- Reporting has been modified from the existing system to make it more directly useful to our needs. Occurence reporting by month-of-year, similar to that suggested by Robert A. Conway of the Rhode Island Ornithological Club. Now you can view at-a-glance, the months when a particular species has been spotted.

- Abundance reporting by month-of-year.

- Printing of a blank checklist, from the database, for field use.

- The following classes have been configured to date based on the "Biota of Rhode Island" listings from the Rhode Island National History Survey: Birds, Mammals, Insects, Reptiles, and Amphibians.

- Databases populated from old database for birds and mammals.

- Database program, written in Perl, is entirely homegrown and is intended to be fully distributable to our non-profit colleages in the community. It accepts text configuration files which define classes, families, and related species. This makes it easy to create new classes and modify existing ones for any purpose.

- Remaining work to do is to create the Plants checklist and convert the old plant, reptile, amphibian, and insect data to the new database. Also need to create an Admin capability to allow users to be added, deleted, and configured. This latter step, while not necessary for REWHC, is important in making the script distributable to our friends in the WHC and the community. Existing REWHC accounts will work on the new database.

Your comments are welcomed. The intent is to transfer over to the new database shortly. More details to come.

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