Rice Creek Research Reports, 1997

Material Information

Rice Creek Research Reports, 1997
Series Title:
Rice Creek Research
Weber, Nicholas ( author )
Weber, Peter ( author )
Nelson, Andrew ( author )
Weeks, John ( author )
Chepko-Sade, Diane ( author )
Frank, Jennifer ( author )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Rice Creek Field Station
SUNY Oswego


Contains the Following Research Reports: Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: The 1997 Season; Survey of the Amphibian and Earthworm Species at Rice Creek Field Station; Flora of Rice Creek Field Station; A Study of Bird Nesting on Rice Pond and Adjoining Habitats; A Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station (Year 2); Research Related Publications from Rice Creek Field Station.
General Note:
The summer of 1997 marked the second season of field research at Rice Creek Field Station under the Rice Creek Associates small grants program. Support from Rice Creek Associates was again supplemented by a contribution from the Division of Continuing Education at Oswego State University. With additional support from the University's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and an increase in the level of funding from Rice Creek Associates, it was possible to underwrite four research projects in 1997. Diane Chepko-Sade and Peter and Nicholas Weber continued their investigations of the Field Station's small mammal and butterfly populations. Jennifer Frank, a graduate student in biology at the State University at Albany, investigated the possibility of using our hardwood forest as a point of comparison in ongoing studies of the interactions between salamanders, earthworms, and decomposition of forest litter at the E. N. Huyck Preserve in Albany County. Jennifer did not find a population of salamanders adequate to make our site a meaningful addition to the Huyck Preserve study. Not long ago, our small patch of old growth forest was an isolated farm woodlot in the midst of pastures and cultivated fields. I am led to consider the potential for monitoring our site to see if salamander populations characteristic of larger forest areas will be established in the Rice Creek forest as the successional woodlands now surrounding it grow to maturity. John Weeks, an old friend and supporter of Rice Creek and one who was instrumental in the establishment of the Field Station, undertook to update our knowledge of the populations of birds breeding in the wetlands bordering Rice Pond. John's study speaks of both continuity and change in these populations and will serve as a benchmark for further such surveys in years to come. The job of editing and formatting these reports of research during the 1997 season has provided me with valuable new insights into the ecology of Rice Creek Field Station. Andrew P. Nelson, Director Rice Creek Field Station June 21, 1998
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General Note:
Rice Creek Associates; SUNY Oswego Division of Education; SUNY Oswego Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

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'". Rice Creek Research Reports 1997 The summer of 1997 marked the second season of field research at Rice Creek Field Station under the Rice Creek Associates small grants program. Support from Rice Creek Associates was again supplemented by a contribution from the Division ofContinuing Education at Oswego State University. With additional support from the University's Office ofResearch and Sponsored Programs and an increase in the level of funding from Rice Creek Associates, it was possible to underwrite four research projects in 1997. Diane Chepko-Sade and Peter and Nicholas Weber continued their investigations ofthe Field Station's small mammal and butterfly populations. Jennifer Frank, a graduate student in biology at the State University at Albany, investigated the possibility ofusing our hardwood forest as a point of comparison in ongoing studies ofthe il}teractions between salamanders, earthworms, and decomposition of forest litter at the E. N. Huyck Preserve in Albany County. Jennifer did not find a population of salamanders adequate to make our site a meaningful addition to the Huyck Preserve study. Not long ago, our small patch ofold growth forest was an isolated farm woodlot in the midst ofpastures and cultivated fields. I am led to consider the potential for monitoring our site to see if salamander populations characteristic of larger forest areas will be established in the Rice Creek forest as the successional woodlands now surrounding it grow to maturity. John Weeks, an old friend and supporter ofRice Creek and one who was instrumental in the establishment of the Field Station, undertook to update our knowledge ofthe populations ofbirds breeding in the wetlands bordering Rice Pond. John's study speaks ofboth continuity and change in these populations and will serve as a benchmark for further such surveys in years to come. The job ofediting and formatting these reports ofresearch during the 1997 season has provided me with valuable new insights into the ecology ofRice Creek Field Station. Andrew P. Nelson, Director Rice Creek Field Station June 21, 1998 Contents Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: The 1997 Season 1 Survey ofthe Amphibian and Earthworm Species at Rice Creek Field Station 16 Flora ofRice Creek Field Station 20 A Study ofBird Nesting on Rice Pond and Adjoining Habitats 21 A Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station (Year 2) 30 Research Related Publications from Rice Creek Field Station 35


Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: The 1997 Seasonl Nicholas F. A. Weber, Lafayette College, Easton, PA Peter G. Weber, Professor ofBiology, Oswego State University Purpose and Scope of Project: The details ofthe species composition and population numbers ofRice Creek Field Station (RCFS) butterflies were first systematically described by Weber and Weber (1997). Prior to their study the only account ofNorth Central New York butterflies were the county by county maps of species' presence given in Shapiro (1974). The purpose ofour 1997 study, was to continue to describe in detail the RCFS butterfly fauna. In the long term we intend to create an annotated monograph characterizing the butterflies of the RCFS grounds, similar to that which exists for Oswego Co. birds (Fosdick 1995). The monograph will characterize the Station's butterfly community in terms of relative population abundance for each species over several seasons in each habitat. It will be a valuable resource for entomologists interested in butterfly diversity, to visitors to RCFS interested in butterfly natural history, and to the, Station's director who is responsible for habitat management decisions. The theme ofthis report will be comparisons between the two years ofsampling. Such assessment should give an idea of where more data might be required. Rd.T ." ,." ". -. Rd -+ --Property Boundary Cycle Trail 0 Blue Trail .. Open Field @.. Red Trail .@).. Dam Access Abandlllled Road .. Green Trail 0.0 Climatit Data 1 Financial support provided by Rice Creek Associates and Oswego State University's Division of Continuing Education and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.


Materials and Methods: As in 1996, our initial sampling commenced on May 18, from which time on we sampled twice per week until the end ofAugust when sampling became weekly. Weekly sampling continued until October 19, after which weather conditions for butterfly activity deteriorated, as the autumn of 1997 was unusually cold and wet. Both ofus participated in all sampling sessions until August 18, after which one ofus (PW) sampled. We estimated the relative population abundance ofeach butterfly species by means oftransect sampling (Pollard, Elias et al. 1975; Pollard 1977; Pollard 1979). We used the existing RCFS trails as transects, counting each butterfly encountered within 5M on either side ofthe transect (Fig. 1). Fields were sampled by fixed zigzagged transects. Our sampling technique provides an index ofrelative abundance for each species in each habitat on a given date. We tried to ensure that the same individual butterfly was Bot counted twice by not counting those individuals we were unsure ofin adjacent parts ofa transect. Thus we tried to err on the conservative side ifthere was any doubt. In addition to recording the number of individual butterflies, we also recorded the number ofherb and shrub species in bloom along the transects. Unusual, new, or difficult to identify species were captured, cooled in an ice chest, photographed, and released. This provided a permanent visual record ofthe butterfly, for identification and verification, without removing it from the population. We were able to obtain adequate photos for all but four butterfly and two skipper species encountered during the 1997 season. We measured the length oftransects as well as the periphery offields and woodland openings using a Rolatape Dual Counter Metric Distance Measuring Wheel (Model 415 MD). The periphery measures may be used in future analyses ofbutterfly patch dynamics. As Table 1 shows, somewhat in excess of 5,500 M oftotal transect lengths were sampled during each sampling session. Ofthese lengths, somewhat over 70% traversed forested habitats, which Table 1. Transect Lenath and Percent of Lenath oer Community Ecoloaical Communities Transect Lenath lM) % Transect Forested Communities Conifer Plantation 239 3.770/0 Hardwood Swamp 454 7.150/0 Mature Deciduous Forest 637 10.04% Successional Deciduous Forest 2807 44.23% Open Communities Lawn & Gardens 110 1.730/0 Marsh 331 5.22% Fields & Wood Ooeninas 1768 27.86% Sum 6346 100.000/0 provide less than ideal environments for most butterfly species. The remaining transect lengths, about 27%, traversed open habitats which are very suitable for butterflies. As in 1996, we monitored physical conditions in order to assess whether butterfly abundance is related to microclimatic conditions. Air temperature was taken with a Bamant thermocouple thermometer (model 100), wind speed measured with a Sims hand held anemometer (model BTC), relative humidity was taken with a Taylor sling psychrometer and insolation measured with an A.W. Sperry digital light meter (model SLM-II0). These measurements were taken in the same two lowland, wooded upland and upland field locations as in 1996 (Fig. 1). 2


Results: Overall Description ofthe RCFS Butterfly Community As shown in Figure 2, the cumulative number ofspecies over sampling effort was similar in 1996 and 1997. In both years the curves essentially leveled off after the 17th sampling session. Fig. 2 Specl S.mpllng Effort Curve 40 35 I 30125:20 j 15 10 -0-1996 __1997 5 u --r-T'''''''I 1 3 5 7 9 11 13151719 21 23 252729 31 33 Cumulative sampling &fort Approximately at this point a1% increase in sampling effort would yield less than a 1% increase in new species. This implies that our sampling effort in each year was adequate in estimating the number of species on the Station' grounds. The pattern ofbutterfly species diversity over the season was also remarkably similar between 1996 and 1997 (Figure 3). In 1997 the peak number ofspecies of20 was reached on 11 July; in 1996 the 60 UlSO 8:... : 40 130 +-.J L,II,I L,II,I L,a,l Lr-I-0 i I/) I/) '0 20 -10'0 o0 z 10 -20 z Fig. 3 Number of Butterfly Specie. by Date 30 D1996 .1997 20 tog: ... 10 . peak, also on 11 July, was 17 species. In both years the seasonal pattern of butterfly species diversity mimicked the pattern ofthe number ofherb and shrub species in bloom. The peak in the number ofherb and shrub species in bloom, however, was reached around the beginning of August, later than the butterfly species peak (Figure 4). In both years the pattern of relative butterfly abundance was bimodal with peaks in early June and late September (Figure 5). The June peak was due to the appearance ofskippers, especially large numbers ofEuropean skippers. The later peak was \. due to monarch migration and the emergence of sulphurs.


As Figure 6 shows, theFlg.4 Number of Blooming Plant Specie. by Date relationship between the 01996 .1997 number ofbutterfly species160 80 bloom (Figure 7) showed no such relationship in either year (in 1997, F(1,31) = 3.1, N.S.; in 1996, FO,21) = 1.1, N.S.). In both years the correlations were low and not statistically significant (1997, r =0.302, z = 1.7, N.S.; 1996, r = 0.225, z = 1.02, N.S.). 1998 1997 1998 1997 Papilionidae (swallowtails) 8.57 5.71 2.74 1.61 Pieridae (whites,sulphurs) 8.57 8.57 19.00 17.31 Danaidae (monarch) 2.86 2.86 15.55 30.19 Satyridae (satyrs,nymphs) 11.43 11.43 7.83 5.25 Nymphalidae (brushfoots) 31.43 31.43 13.47 11.08 Lycaenidae (hairsteaks,blues) 11.43 14.29 1.70 0.73 Hesoeriidae (skiooers) 25.71 25.71 39.70 33.82 Table 2 compares the two years in terms ofthe percent ofspecies in each family and percent of relative abundance (individuals) in each family. The species composition by family was nearly identical in the two years, with one fewer Papilionid and one more Lycaenid species in 1997. 4 60 140 120'P' 40 .,. 100 20 80 0 U) 60 40 20 o I i ini' 'i' 'i' 'i' 'i i' 'i' 'i''i' 'i i' 'i i' 'i i' 'i ii ii i ii ii ii iii iii iii iii iii iii iii 'ii 'I -80 CD CD CJ) CW) 0 &0 -,... CD,... CJ) -0 ,... _ N CD-_,... CD_ :: CD j::::-N---N-N-N&0 &0 CD CD ,... ,... ,... CD CD CJ) -0-Date i''i' 'i'ii' 'i' 'i' 'i' 'I''i' 'i' 'in,'li''i' 'i''i' 'i'i''i' 'i''i' 'i' 'i=1 Fig. 5 Num ber of Butterflle. Ob.erved by Date700 [J 1996 .1997 600 ":' 500 .,. 400 "D:a 300">.5 '0 200 o Z 100 o I=i iii''i''i' 'i' 'i' 'i CD 0 NCD ,...0CD CJ) CW) &0 'P' ,... CD ,...- CJ)-CD__ __ _,..._ :: CD j::::-N---N-N-N&0 &0 CD CD ,... ,... ,... CD CD CJ) -0 'P' Date 350 250 150 50 .250 -350 ,... 'P'. In ,... 'P' ...,. "D ">:; .5 '0 ci z and the number ofplant species in bloom was significantly positive (in 1997, F(1,31)= 90.5, P < 0.0001; in 1996 FO,21) = 8.7, P < 0.008). Moreover, in 1997 the correlation showed a marked, and significant, relationship ( r = 0.863, z = 7.1, P < 0.0001), while in 1996 the correlation was moderate, but significant (r = 0.541, z = 2.7, P < 0.007). In 1997 approximately 75% ofthe variation in butterfly species diversity was explained by the number of plant species in bloom, in 1996 only 29% was thus explained. In contrast, butterfly relative abundance (number ofindividuals) and the number ofplant species in


__ 20 : 15 Ua. ... '" ::: .10 II 5 Fig. 8 Number of Butterfly Specie. a. Function of Plant Specie. In Bloom J. 0.3)')..41'2 o lue 1187 o ....... Iue o o o o o .... o 0" ... 0 .' 0 1117 ...... ..... o o o Not unexpectedly, the relative abundance within families was not consistent between years. While the proportion ofrelative abundance in most families declined, that ofthe Danidae nearly doubled in 1997. The proportion of abundance in Papilionids and Lycaenids was nearly halved in 1997. Detailed Description of the ReFS Butterfly Fauna Table 3 shows that the same nine skipper species were recorded from the Station grounds in both years. If we consider Oswego County to harbor 21 skipper species, that is, ., o 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 o 1020 3040 50 60 No. Pllnl Spiel 1020 3040 50 60 Fig. 7 Number of Butterflle. a. Function of Plant Specie. In Bloom o lue 1187 ....... 1ue __1187 Ooo. o ,-1.8Ux + 14.332o .,.. O.85b .31.503o 80 i.8 ............ 00" 0 0.' __--r-----....,......JOL..CL..--.........--=--___._---_, the 18 given in Shapiro (1974) and our three new species, the Station grounds were inhabited by about 43% of all species found in the County in the two years of the study. Table 4 shows that 26 species of true butterflies were present in both years. However, the species composition was not identical each year. Ringlets and spicebush swallowtail were absent in 1997 and eyed brown and American copper wet;e present. In the two years of sampling, then, we have recorded 28 species of true butterflies on the Station grounds. This represents about 61% ofOswego County's 46 species oftrue butterflies [43 given in Shapiro (1974) plus our three new species for the County]. Skipper Phenology: Appendix A shows estimated abundance, arranged in the order of phenological appearance, ofthe nine skipper species found on the Station grounds. The earliest appearing skipper was the Hobomok, the latest the Peck's skipper. In general all ofthe skippers showed similar patterns ofabundance between years. Only the least skipper was multi-brooded. It, the smallest skipper on the Station grounds, and the silver-spotted skipper, the largest, had the longest seasonal presence. The Delaware and Peck's skippers had the shortest seasonal presence. 5


Table 3. Skipper Species at Rice Creek Field Station Rice Creek Total Family Hesperiidae Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) xx x Northern Cloudy Wing (Thorybes pylades) X Checkered Skipper (Pyrgus communis) X Dreamy Dusky Wing (Erynnis icelus) X Common Dusky Wing (Gesta gesta) X Persius Dusky Wing (Erynnis persius) X Arctic Skipper (Carterocephalus palaemon) X European Skipper (Thymelicus lineola) xX Least Skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) XX X Leonard's Skipper (Hesperia leonardus) X Indian Skipper (Hesperia sassacus) X Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) X Tawny-edged Skipper (Polites themistoc/es) X Peck's Skipper (Polites peckius) XX X Long Dash (Polites mystic) X XX Northern Broken Dash (Wallengrenia egerement) XX Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok) X X X Delaware Skipper (Atrytone logan) XX Dun Skipper (Euphyes vestris) XX X Pepper and Salt Skipper (Amblyscirtes hegon) X Roadside Skipper (Amblyscirtes vialis) X Total 99 18 True Butterfly Phenology: Appendices B -G present the estimated abundance over the season of all 28 true butterfly species found on the Station grounds over the two years. These Figures are arranged in phenological order within family. Four species of Satyrids are definite residents of the Station grounds (Appendix B). The status ofthe Ringlet, a new Oswego County record, is uncertain as it was recorded on only one occasion in 1996 and could have represented passing migrants. The Appalachian eyed brown and the eyed brown are very similar in appearance and easily confused. The presence of the eyed brown, a slightly lighter brown version of the Appalachian eyed brown, was overlooked in 1996. Unlike the forest-dwelling Appalachian eyed brown the eyed brown is restricted to open habitats (Shapiro 1974; Opler 1992). We, thus, a posteriori considered any Appalachian eyed brown recorded from a field habitat in 1996 to have been an eyed brown. Monarchs, the only representative ofthe Danaidae, were present in low numbers throughout the summer when eggs and larvae were also found. In mid to late September monarch numbers increased rapidly as migrants moved through the Station grounds (Appendix C). At this time many were seen nectaring on milkweeds (Asclepias sp.), Joe-pye-weed (Eupatorium maculatum), brown knapweed (Centaureajacea), asters (Aster sp.) and goldenrods (Solidago sp.). 6


Table 4. Butterfly Species at Rice Creek Field Station Family Satyrldae Northern Pearly Eye Appalachian Eyed Brown Eyed Brown little Wood Satyr Ringlet Common Wood Nymph Family Danaldae Monarch Family Nymphalldae Atlantis Fritillary Great Spangled Fritillary Aphrodite Fritillary Silver-bordered Fritillary Meadow Fritillary Baltimore Harris' Checkerspot Silver Checkerspot Tawny Crescent Pearl Crescent Question Mark Painted Lady American Painted Lady Red Admiral Hop Merchant Gray Comma Compton Tortoise Shell Milbert Tortoise Shell Mourning Cloak Viceroy White Admiral Family Lycaenidae Coral Hairstreak Acadia Hairstreak Banded Hairstreak Striped Hairstreak Brown Elfin Eastern Pine Elfin American Copper Bronze Copper Bog Copper Eastern Tailed Blue Spring Azure Harvester Family Papillonidae Black Swallowtail Tiger Swallowtail Spicebush Swallowtail Family Pieridae Cabbage Butterfly Clouded Sulphur Alfalfa Butterfly (Enodia anthedon) (Satyrodes appalachia) (Satyroides eurydice) (Megisto cyme/a) (Coenonympha tullia) (Cercyonis pega/a) (Danaus p/exippus) (Speyeria at/antis) (Speyeria cybe/e) (Speyeria aphrodite) (C/ossiana selene) (C/ossiana bel/ona) (Euphydryas phaeton) (Charidryas harrisii) (Charidryas nycteis) (Phyciodes batesii) (Phyciodes tharos) (Po/ygonia interrogationis) (Vanessa cardui) (Vanessa virginiensis) (Vanessa atalanta) (Po/ygonia comma) (Po/ygonia progne) (Nympha/is vaua/bum) (Nymphalis mi/berti) (Nymphalis antiopa) (Basi/archia archippus) (Basi/archia arthemis) (Harkenc/enus titus) (Satyrium acadicum) (Satyrium ca/anus) (Satyrium liparops) (lncisalia augustinus) (/ncisalia niphon) (Lycaena ph/aeas) (Hyl/o/ycaena thoe) (Epidemia epixanthe) (Everes comyntas) (Ce/astrina argio/us) (Feniseca tarquinius) (Papilio po/yxenes) (pterourus g/aucus) (pterourus troi/us) (Pieris rapae) (Co/ias philodice) (Colias eUryfheme) Total Rice Creek Total X XX XX X X X X XX X XX X X XX X X X X XX X X X X XX X XX X XX X XX X XX X X XX X X XX X XX X XX X X X XX X XX X X X XX X X XX X X X X X XX X X X X X X X X X X X X 26 26 43 The Nymphalid family was represented by 11 species on the Station grounds (Appendix D). Mourning cloaks, question marks, red admirals and hop merchants were found in modest numbers from spring to autumn. Pearl crescent, also a species with a long flying period over the season, was double brooded with a main brood in late summer and another in the fall. Viceroy, white admiral, Baltimore and great spangled fritillary were mid to late summer flying species. Compton tortoise shell and American painted lady have been recorded too few times to discern a phenological pattern. Five species of L ycaenids have been recorded from the Station grounds. None were very abundant and none showed a very clear phenological pattern (Appendix E). The spring azure, as the name implies, was one ofthe earliest flying species on the Station grounds. The hairstreaks seem to be midsummer flying species and the eastern tailed blue may be a late season Lycaenid. Only a single specimen of the widespread American copper has been sampled


from the Station grounds, in 1997. Ofthe three species ofswallowtails recorded from the Station grounds, only tiger swallowtails occurred in any number or showed a definitive seasonal pattern (Appendix F). The three species of Pie rids exhibited somewhat similar abundance patterns over the season. That is, they were present in small or moderate numbers over the entire season then reached high numbers at the end ofthe summer or early autumn. The cabbage butterfly was clearly double brooded, the clouded sulphur and alfalfa butterfly may be double brooded in some years, although more data is required to confirm this (Appendix G). Conservation Status ofRice Creek Field Station Butterflies The New York Natural Heritage Program monitors the status ofplant and animal species in New York State. According to their ranking, the Gobal rank of RCFS butterfly and skipper species is either G5, "Demonstrably secure globally..." or, in the case ofthe Baltimore and eyed brown, G4,"Apparently secure globally .. .". Likewise, the State rank for all Station species is either S5, "Very common, demonstrably secure in New York" or, in the case ofBaltimore and eyed brown, S4,"Common, apparently secure in New York State .. .". The state rank ofthe dun skipper and striped hairstreak are presently uncertain (New York Natural Heritage Program 1997). To date the Station grounds harbor no protected butterfly species. Future Work We have not performed statistical analyses comparing the phenological population patterns between years for any Table 5. Skipper and butterfly species which have shown similar phenological patterns between 1996 & 1997 and species which have not. Similar 1996,1997 Phenology Dissimilar 1996,1997 Phenology or Not Enough Data for a Pattern SKIPPERS Hobmok Silver-spotted European Delaware No. Broken Dash Peck's Long Dash Least Dun BUTTERFLIES Little Wood Satyr Ringlet Compo Tortoise Shell Common Wood Nymph Eyed Brown Am. Painted Lady Appalachian Eyed Brown Mourning Cloak Spring Azure Monarch Question Mark Striped Hairstreak Peart Crescent Hop Merchant Banded Hairstreak Tiger Swallowtail Red Admiral American Copper Cabbage Butterfly Viceroy E. Tailed Blue Clouded Sulphur White Admiral Black Swallowtail Blatimore Spicebush Swallowtail Gr. Soanaled Fritillarv Alfalfa Butterflv TOTAL: 14 23 skipper or butterfly species. However, inspection ofthe Figures in Appendices A -G can, in a preliminary way, indicate ifand where further information might be desirable in order to discern more than a provisional phenological pattern in abundance for a given species. Table 5 lists species phenologies which, by inspection, appear similar between years and those which do not. In general the skippers seem to show consistent, clear abundance patterns 8 '"'"


between years. It would be desirable to have further data on the Delaware, Peck's and silver spotted skippers, each ofwhich is widely distributed throughout N.Y. State (Shapiro 1974). Only eight ofthe 28 butterfly species show clear and consistent abundance patterns between years. For the majority ofspecies the need for at least another season or two ofdata would seem evident. References: Fosdick, C. R. (1995). The Birds o/Oswego County: An Annotated Checklist. Rice Creek Field Station, SUNY Oswego, Bulletin No.7. New York Natural Heritage Program (1997). "Animal Status List." Biological and Conservation Data System. New York State Deparatment ofEnvironmental Conservation, Latham, N.Y. Opler, P. E. (1992). A Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA. Pollard, E. (1977). "A Method for Assessing Changes in the Abundance ofButterflies." Biological Conservation 12: 115-134. Pollard, E. (1979). "A National Scheme for Monitoring the Abundance of Butterflies: The First Three Years." Proceedings o/the Brithsh Entomological and Natural History Society 12: 77-90. Pollard, E., D. O. Elias, J. Skelton and J. A. Thomas (1975). "A Method of Assessing the Abundance ofButterflies in Monk's Wood National Nature Reserve in 1973." Entomologist's Gazette 26: 79-88. Shapiro, A. M. (1974). "The Butterflies and Skippers ofNew York (Lepidoptera: Papilionoidea, Hesperioidea)." Search: Agriculture, Entomology 12 (4): 1-60. Weber, N. F. A. and P. G. Weber (1997). "Butterfly Populations at Rice Creek Field Station: A Progress Report." Rice Creek Research Reports 1996 (A. P. Nelson, Ed.) pp. 1-10. Rice Creek Field Station, Oswego, NY.


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Appendix A: (continued) I 1! il u 18 12 8 4 0 CD 5i Fill. A I: Pol,...peclrlua (pec:k'a Sldpper) Cllll18 .1997 I .. !!! .. iii .. iii ;:: ;::: iii S S :: la "li-S'";::: ... ... iii la o.te 8 4 i 0 ] -4 -8 Appendix B: Population estimates ofSatyridae (nymph) species over time eo Fill. B 1: "el1'stu cymel. (Little Wood S.tyr) 40 Fill. B 3: Cercyonl. pe".'. 30 (Common Wood Nymph) 15 Cl;;e .1;;7 25 Cl;;e .1;;7 10 eo 20 20 40 15.. .. ;; !:: .. i; N a .. ;:: .. .. ;; .. .. 10 20 :! .. !!! f:! 0 .. .. S !oi .. !:: !!! ;:; .. .. .. 0 .. .. t! !oi .. !:: .. t! .. 5 S .. 5l t! 5 .. ;; s .. ;;; .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Dat. Dat. Fill. B 2: Coenonymph. fum. (Rlnilet) Fill. B 4: S.tyroldepp.l.chl.10 Ie (App.I.chl.n Eyed Brown)Cl;;e .le;7 Cl;;e .,;;7 12 .. ;l = .. !!! .. !oi .. = !oi .. .. N .. 5l t! .. .. S -I S ;; .. ;:: .. .. ;; 0 -4 -5 -e.. .. !!! .. 0 .. .. S !oi .. !:: .. .. !!! f:! 0 .. .. S !:: S !!! ;:;5l .. t! t! S .. ;;; t! .. t! .. ;;; .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Dat. Dat. Fill. B 5: S.tyrold..eurydice (Eyed Brown) Cl;;e .1;;7 0 5i .. S N a =.. !il .... .. .. !!! f:! 0 .. i; S 5i .. !:: ;:; !!! ;:;;;; 5l .. t! ;:: ;:: S .. .. .. .. .. .. Dal.


----/'\ppenOlX L: Population estimates of Danaidae (monarch) species over time 500 Fig. C 1: DIInausplexlppus (Monarch) 01996 .,997 r250 400 150 c &200 u 50 C -50 & U 100 -150 0 w M w c.l. Appendix D: Population estimates ofNymphalidae (brushfoot) species over time ii : '.' f,,'.i, i Fig. D 1: Nymph./ls.ntlop. (Mourning Closk) 0,996.,997 -2 .. M g ... .. to .. to ... -4 :li 5i .. .. on iii ... ... ;: .. 5i.. 0O_t_ 60 55 50 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 Fig. D 2: Phycold.. th.ros (P.arl 01996.,997 .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ::: :;; ;:: ;: .. ;:N a '" ... .. 5i '" .. 0... .. .. ... MN '":li M 5i ii on :;; ... ... ... .. 5i ;: -0'" '" Oat. Fig. D 3: Polygonl.lnt.rrog.tlonls 10, (Quutlon Merk) 0,996.,997 N.. .. .. .. .... 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 -10 -15 -20 -25 -30 ... 1 E N c:;; ;J ... ... ;: .. .. 5i ;:a ::: -1 '" .. g ... .. .. ... ... !!!M N N N'" 5i Oi '"2> on :;; '" iii ;:: ... ... .. .. .. 2>'" D 12 Fig. D 4: V.n.... 1.I.nt. (R.d Admlrel) 01996.,997 ..a -1 -2 -3 .... M 0 ... .. ... .. ... '" N .. .. ii on iii ... ... ;: ..5i .. 0 Oat. Fig. D 5: Polygonl. comma (Hop M.rchenl) 20 r10. 1 01996.,997 16 12 ,,', ,',','., ""'" ",.,1,.,1,1,'1mm_m Nm L' .. .. -6 ii, ,O' I i.". i.". i' Ii'" i ,",",'1, I -10.. 0 j ... ... .. ...'" :li M 5i iii ii ;:; on ... ... ... .. 5i .. aon '" O.t. Fig_ D I: Su".rchle .rchlppus (Vic. roy) rIO 201 0,996.,997 16 12 L" l ,.,1"",1,', .... ,.11111,1,1,., ,',', I_ _ _ _ _ _ m -6 .. .. M 0 ... .. N .. !!! ... -10 '" iii !:! .. Oi 0:;; .. ;:: ;: iii 5i ;: aon -'" Oat. L l. rt::. .. -.:'


Count a 1Count 1881 o co co ;; Nco 51115111 5121 ."5121 119 119 l:I 1123 6123 11301130 l' 715 715 ;;7111 17111 c ;71177117 IIi COi 712.i 712. ;612Count'''' 612 o ..S o co W W5/18 I' 119 118 Go8n 8118n 3 6123 1118 8121 9122 8/21 II 1130 6128 a."lOll 101.lOll;a7187/5 II_ l:I 10127 10118 7111 10127 l:I CO ."aIII i iII C'l:Ico II co .. co;)."716 co co III... IIiii 3 1119 11297111 e7111712. III W 5121118 Ill. 612. '8119122 101. ) \0119), 0. .. .. ..o co .:. 0w ..C: 7117 Count .7 CounteT.-II .. co I/): .. 'l:Ii 712. -Go"i612 Count '" .... -:z. f'l Count '": "WI o oW 5/18 I 'c. Ig. ___ 0:.._ _.{ .'


ropUlanon estImates of Lycaenidae (blue and hairstreak) species over time Fig. E 1: Ce/..trlne .rdlo/u. (Spring Azure) 4 01888.1887 r I 8 .. .. = :. 4 c u 8, 5 .... 4 = :. 3 u ..... 0.. .. .. .. le .. =Ct: ::!:;!! iii .. ..N 0.. ... ... iii i u .... .. ... t: N le !:! l:! .. 0 ;;; S; .. ..0 ;:: ... iii .. .. Dlt. Fig. E 2: S.tyrlum IIp.rop. (Striped Halretr..k) r3 0'888.1887 ..... = 0 c-..s; ..le .... .. ;!! ... .. ... iii ..t: .iii .. .. N N a :!! .. ...S !!! 0 !:! !:: le.. .. .. 0 J Fig. E 3: S.tyrlum ca/.nu. (Banded Ha'retre.k) 81 .. .. = u 3 2 c 01888.1887 .. .. .. .. ..... ..N ::!:N !:! ;!! iii iii !:! 0 :: on iii .. ;:: ... .. .. Dat. Fig. E 4: Lye..n. p"'.... (American Copper, 01888.1887 .. .. .... .. .. .... ;!! iii t; ::!: 0s; .. ;:: ;:: iii ..-(; ..... 0= c ., u o I I" I " " I .. .. .. 0 ... .. .. ..... !:! !:! t: ;;; S; 5 ;:: ;:: iii .. .. 2, .. .. = :. 1 c 0 u ..... ..-0 c u o I , , I !!! t: !::.... .. 0 ... ;;; 5 ;:: ;:: .. i on S; .. ..!:! 5 ;:: ;:: .. iii .. .. ..!:! -Det. Dlt. I Fig. E 5: Evere. eomynt41. '8 (Ea"ern Tailed Blue, 14 12 : 10 = 8C. 0 8u 01888.1887 2 .....0 C..S; ..le .. ..!:! ;!! ... iii ..t: . iii .... iN ::!: :!!o = .... 0 .... t: t: le ;;; !:! ;; l:! .. .. 1:; 0 on .. .. ... ... iii .. Olt. 14


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Survey of the Amphibian and Earthworm Species at Rice Creek Field Stationl Jennifer A. Frank2 Department ofBiological Sciences, State University at Albany Earthworms are long lived animals but field data on longevity are rare. Life spans ofcommon species have been estimated to be between 1 and 10 years (Hendrix, 1995). Earthworms are hermaphroditic and produce cocoons during the warmer months. The behavior and feeding habits ofearthworms vary and three ecological groupings have been defined based primarily on feeding habits and burrowing strategies (Coleman and Crossley, 1996). Epigenic species live in the surface litter and are adapted to a variable environment. They are typically small and feed on the coarse particulate matter found on the soil surface. Endogenic species are active in the mineral soil layer and inhabit temporary burrows. Anecic species live in permanent vertical burrows that extend several meters into the soil. They pull leaf litter from the surface into their burrows to be consumed. Many have recognized earthworms as potentially the most significant members ofthe soil fauna (Darwin, 1881; Coleman, 1996). Numerous studies have established the importance of earthworms as biological agents in soil formation, organic litter decomposition, and the redistribution oforganic matter in the soil (Edwards and Lofty, 1977; Lee, 1985). In North America there are twelve families of earthworms with 147 species. Of these 47% were introduced from either Europe or Asia. In addition to their role in decomposition, earthworms are often an abundant resource used by birds, invertebrates, reptiles, mammals, and amphibians. These predators consume the earthworm tissue that has a high protein content (approximately 60%-70% dry weight) and is rich in essential amino acids (Lee, 1985). One such organism for which earthworms are an essential part of the diet is the yellow spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum (Bishop, 1941). The salamander is most abundant in deciduous and mixed deciduous forests where permanent ponds, slow streams, or temporary ponds offer suitable breeding sites. Adults average 15-17 cm and wander considerable distances away from sources ofwater. They use rocks and fallen trees as retreat sites. They are nocturnal and prey on earthworms they encounter on the soil surface and in their burrows. Presently there is little quantitative data on the effects ofpredation on earthworms. A few studies (e.g., Bengston, 1976; Satchell, 1983) found that earthworm populations could be reduced by predation in agricultural ecosystems. None have correlated population declines with decomposition rates or other effects on the ecosystem. The turnover ofmatter in terrestrial systems and what regulates them must be investigated to better understand the global carbon cycle. This cycle is driven by photosynthesis and respiration. Carbon dioxide is the main vehicle ofthe carbon flux between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biota. Records show that the concentration ofcarbon dioxide has increased dramatically and the trend continues. I Financial support provided by Rice Creek Associates and Oswego State University's Division of Continuing Education and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. 2 Ms. Frank was assisted in this investigation by field assistant Geoff Gardner. 16


Considering what is known about how much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere by human activities and the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, the equation is not balanced. We are releasing carbon dioxide that cannot be accounted for and terrestrial systems could be acting as a net sink for atmospheric carbon. Information gathered in this study will contribute to a better understanding ofthe decomposition of forest litter. As global changes occur and biodiversity is threatened, understanding this process and the interactions among members ofthe forest floor community becomes more critical. Both the extirpation of amphibians that prey on detritivores such as earthworms and the expansion ofintroduced earthworm populations could alter the rate of decomposition. Objectives: The objective ofthis study was to survey the earthworm and amphibian species occurring at the Rice Creek Field Station. The data was gathered to better understand earthworm distributions in deciduous forests and to determine if the site was suitable for a study of the effects ofpredation by amphibians on earthworms. Future work would be an expansion of a project already begun at the E. N. Huyck Preserve in Albany County, New York. Methods: In June of 1997, twelve 100 m transects were established perpendicular to the grade ofthe slope in a beech maple stand on the Rice Creek Field Station. At this time three transects were searched. Throughout the survey all selections were made using the random numbers table. One meter by two meter subsections along each transect were randomly chosen every 10m and thoroughly searched for amphibians. Within each subsection, every rock, piece ofwood, and leafwas turned. Earthworm searches were performed by establishing one 25 cm x 25 cm quadrat from the first 50m and one quadrat from the second 50m ofeach transect. These quadrats were first treated with a mustard powder solution to extract earthworms such as Lumbricus terrestris that could potentially move out of the quadrat before the soil was removed. The soil in the quadrat was then excavated to a depth of25 cm and hand sorted to remove earthworms. The earthworms collected were preserved in 10% formalin and identified in the laboratory using a dissecting microscope. The survey was repeated in October and four of the 12 original transects were searched. The forest at the site was described by sampling trees along each transect during the June survey. The four closest trees to each amphibian plot were.identified and the diameter at breast height measured (DBH). Results: No amphibians were found in the seventy 1m x 2m plots searched during this survey. Bullfrogs (Rana catesbiana), green frogs (Rana clamitans), and grey treefrogs (Hyla versicolor) were found in field and pond habitats adjacent to the site. Of the 336 earthworms collected 288 were juveniles, 49 were adults, and 44 of these were identified. An average of25.67 juveniles per quadrat and an average of4.67 adults per quadrat were collected in June. There was a mean density of 121 earthworms / m2 During the October survey fewer earthworms were found with an average of 16.75 juveniles per quadrat and 2.5 adults per quadrat. There was a mean density of77 / m2 A total of8 L. terrestris, 6 L. castaneus, 18 Aporrectodea caliginosa, 10 Bimastos


longicintus, 1 A. tuberculata, and 1 Bimastos sp. were found (Table 1). The number of individuals of each species varied between surveys as well as among quadrats. Slope did not have an effect on species composition. TABLE 1: SID pctober SID TOTAL JUVENILES ADULTS L. terrestris L. castaneus A. caliginosa A. tuberculata B. B. sp. Unknown longicintus 182154 29 3 6 9 0 9 0 2 .18 .38 154 134 20 7 0 9 1 1 11 .75 .62 The site was found to be primarily a beech (Fagus grandifolia) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum) stand with some mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia), white ash (Fraxinus americana), hop hom beam (Ostrya virginiana), black cherry (Prunus serotina), and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) (Figure 1). 120 trees were sampled and the FIGURE 1: Tree Species Frequency I average DBH calculated for each species is presented in Table 2. TABLE 2: E1Beech III Sugar Maple IIIMountain Ash CYeliow Birch 49% IIHop Horn Beam CI Black Cherry .White Ash Species AverageDBH Beech 9.41 Black Cherry 8.85 HornBeam 16.36 Mountain Ash 15.56 Sugar Maple 31.91 White Ash 23.18 Yellow Birch 11.03 Discussion: Amphibian Survey: The lack of amphibians at the site was surprising. The mixed deciduous forest appeared to offer an ideal habitat with retreat sites, moist soil, a forest canopy, and a nearby pond. It is possible that salamander populations were reduced when the forest became fragmented and conditions unfavorable. Farming likely reduced the amount of suitable habitat when forests were converted to fields. A reduced area would have been able to support fewer individuals as well as possibly changed the microclimate of the fragment. Farming would have also likely increased pollution at the site with the use of fertilizers. It is possible that the increased activity ofboth humans and grazing cattle stressed the amphibians further. The mammal populations at the site may have increased with the increase in fields and decrease of forest habitat. With all of these factors negatively effecting amphibians, populations could not be maintained. 1. 18


More work is required to better understand the lack of amphibians at this site. Historical records should be examined more closely to determine if the proposed explanation is likely. Why amphibians have not moved back into the forest since farming has ceased should be considered. There are several possibilities for this and it may be a combination of factors preventing amphibian populations from being reestablished. There may not be large enough populations in surrounding areas for individuals to immigrate from. Since most individuals return to their natal pond to breed the chance that amphibian populations will be established in an isolated patch of forest is less likely than is the case with other organisms which would move into the area and remain there. Individuals would have to locate the patch, return to the breeding site, and survive the migration back. To breed in a new water source many individuals would have to migrate to the site. Another possibility is that individuals are entering the forest but are either preyed upon by small mammals before populations are established or soil conditions make the habitat unsuitable. Earthworm Survey: Six earthworm species were identified based on the morphology of sexually mature individuals. L. terrestris, the largest of the earthworms found, is an anecic species that would significantly accelerate the breakdown and disappearance of surface leaf litter. The other five species identified were smaller and found in the humus or mineral soil. The distribution of the earthworms varied between samples as well as between surveys. The differences between quadrats sampled was likely due to natural variation in earthworm distributions. This variation could be the result ofthe patchiness ofthe habitat. More favorable conditions such as increased soil moisture or a higher concentration of organic matter could have been varied between the quadrats sampled. The decrease in earthworms from June to October was likely the result of increased mortality caused by harsh environmental conditions and predation. In June conditions were favorable for earthworms. The earthworms which survived the winter were able to reproduce in early spring and feed on the leaf litter which had accumulated the previous autumn. By June juveniles of most species would have hatched from cocoons but many of these earthworms however would not be able to avoid predation or survive the changing environmental conditions ofthe summer. Literature Cited: Bengston, S.A. 1976. Effects ofbird predation on lumbricid populations. Oikos 27:9-12. Bishop, S.c. 1941. The salamanders of New Yotk. The State University ofNew York, Albany. Blair, J.M., RW. Parmelee, and RL.Wyman. 1994. A comparison of the forest floor invertebrate communities in northeastern U.S. Pedbiologia 38: 146-160. Coleman, D.C. and D.A. Crossley. 1996. Fundamentals of soil ecology. Academic Press, NY. Darwin, C. 1881. The formation ofvegetable mould through the action ofworms with observations on their habits. Murray, London. Edwards, C. A. and J.R Lofty. 1977. Biology ofEarthworms. Chapman and Hall LTD, London. Lee, K.E. 1985. Earthworms: their ecology and relationships with soils and landuse. Academic Press, NY.


Satchell, J.E. (ed.) 1983. Earthwonn ecology: from Darwin to venniculture. Chapman and Hall, NY. Witcamp, M. 1969. Environmental effects on microbial turnover ofsome mineral elements. Soil Bioi. Biochem. 1: 167-176. Flora of Rice Creek Field Station Andrew P. Nelson, Visiting Assistant Professor Oswego State University Thelistofplants known from the properties ofRice Creek Field Station was increased in 1997 to 560 species. Additions included a moss, a fern, 13 dicots, and 11 monocots. The floristic list on the Field Station's website at has been updated to reflect these changes. The four areas being utilized as trapping sites in the study of small mammals at Rice Creek (see page 30) were surveyed and the plant species present in each quadrat recorded. These sites will be monitored periodically in order to explore relationships between any changes in mammal populations and plant species composition. In July 1997, Niagara Mohawk Power Company mowed the power line right ofway leading from Thompson Road to the Field Station buildings. The right ofway, which runs through second growth woodlands and along the edge of a white spruce plantation, had filled in with shrubs and small trees two to three meters tall. A heavy-duty rotary mower was used to clear the area. Only the herbaceous vegetation in the wettest sections ofthe right ofway escaped mowing. On July 11, 1997, within a week ofmowing, the right ofway was surveyed and a list of surviving plants compiled. This list was updated on August 26 and again on October 8. We will continue to monitor the development ofthis vegetation in coming years. 20


A Study of Bird Nesting on Rice Pond and Adjoining Habitatst Spring and Summer 1997 John A. Weeks INTRODUCTION: Oswego State University purchased the property that now contains the pond at Rice Creek Field Station (Rice Pond) in 1962. At the time ofacquisition, the property had a long history as pasture and cropland. Although agriculture ceased in 1960, a portion ofthe land was used as horse pasture until just before initial surveys and planning for the creation of Rice Pond by the damming ofRice Creek were completed in 1965. Throughout its long agricultural history, the land was flooded for brief periods in the spring. "During a 5 year period ofobservation (1960-65), flooding occurred every year. The duration varied from two days to two weeks, the area flooded from about 5 to 15 acres." (Weeks 1988) When the pond was flooded in March of 1966, the habitat was immediately changed. There was a rapid disappearance ofupland plants from the permanent flood zone and gradual establishment MAP I: EMERGENT VEGETATION AT RICE POND .... 1lI0p0nD-IIlIl ofwetland species, most ofwhich were previously present only along the fringes ofRice Creek as it meandered through the pasture. As the pond filled in 1966, 80% ofthe shoreline was herbaceous (Weeks 1988). Within a few years emergent wetland plants such as cat-tails (Typha), bur-reeds (Sparganium), rushes (Scirpus) and sedges (Carex) became established along the shoreline. By 1985, aquatic species existed throughout the flood zone, forming 5.5 acres ofemergent herbaceous vegetation. The extent of emergent plants has increased little since then (Map 1). During tl).e period from 1966 to 1985, shoreline vegetation changed from 80% herbaceous to 75% wooded, extending right down to the water line (Weeks 1988). These habitat changes produced obvious adjustments in bird life. Table 1 compares pre-flood and post flood species. Smith and Ryan (Smith and Ryan 1978), and Fosdick (Fosdick 1996) make some references to wetland and shoreline bird species at Rice Creek Field Station, but no systematic surveys ofnesting within the flood zone exist to document this change. I Financial support provided by Rice Creek Associates and Oswego State University's Division ofContinuing Education and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.


This author made brief surveys ofthe emergent zones in 1985 and 1986. They revealed the presence ofmarsh wren, red-winged blackbird, common grackle, mallard, wood duck, blue winged teal, black duck, Canada goose and alder flycatcher. Other species ofwetland birds were observed, but their nests were not found. None of the nests found were documented. TABLE 1: Comparison of Bird Populations Before and After flooding of Rice Pond Pre-Flood Post-flood Species Pre-Flood Post-flood Species 1964-66 1986 1997 1964-66 1986 1997 0 FL FL Canada Goose P P 0 Eastern Bluebird FL FL FL Mallard Duck NE X X Cedar Waxwing 0 0 FL Green-Winged Teal ON X 0 European Starling 0 FL 0 Blue-winged Teal S 0 0 Red-eyed Vireo 0 FL 0 Black Duck FY 0 S Warbling Vireo FL FL FL Wood duck NE S NE Yellow Warbler X 0 0 Kestral DD DD DD Common Yellowthroat NE 0 0 Ring-necked Pheasant NE 0 0 Bobolink X 0 0 Woodcock DD 0 0 Eastern Meadowlark NE 0 NE Mourning Dove NE NE NE Red-winged Blackbird X 0 0 Yellow-billed Cuckoo NE NE ON Northern Oriole 0 0 UN Black-billed cuckloo NE NE NE Common Grackle X 0 0 Ruby-throated Hummingbird NE NE NE Brown-headed cowbird X 0 S Kingbird X 0 0 Scarlet Tanager X 0 S Great-crested Flycatcher X P UN Cardinal NE NE NE Phoebe P 0 UN Indigo Bunting NE X S Alder Flycatcher NE 0 0 Goldfinch X 0 S Least Flycatcher S 0 0 Savannah Sparrow ON ON ON Tree Swalow S 0 0 Vesper Sparrow NE X 0 Bam Swallow S 0 0 Grasshopper Sparrow ON 0 S House Wren S 0 0 Henslow's Sparrow 0 NE 0 Marsh Wren S 0 0 Field Sparrow NE S NE Gray CatBird 0 X S Swamp Sparrow NE S NE American Robin NE S NE Song Sparrow Legend: X Species observed in breeding season ON Adults at nest hole P Pair observed in breeding habitat NE Nest and eggs S Singing or calling male DD Distraction Display UN Used nest 0 none observed FY Adults with food for young FL Fledged young During the 1997 nesting season, a detailed study was made ofbird nesting in the emergent wetlands, the islands, and the fringing shoreline zone within 50 feet ofthe water level (Map 2). In addition to providing the first published list ofnesting birds since the pond was constructed, this study creates baseline information and a method ofstudy that can be reproduced iffuture research ofthis sort is done at Rice Pond. The study and the method could also be used for measurement ofthe effects of any shoreline management that may be practiced in the future. OBJECTIVES: Establish a method for studying bird nesting associated with Rice Pond which could be reproduced in the future, or could be used for comparison with future studies. Orientation points will be developed so that 1997 nest sites can be pinpointed in future years. 22


" .: 5caIe In Feel 21'" vegetation, they were marked with a numbered tag posted 3 feet north the actual nest site. Shrub and tree nests were marked on the ground with instructions on how to locate them. This procedure avoids drawing attention to the exact location ofthe nest and avoids the necessity of approaching the nest so close that screening cover is destroyed. Waterfowl broods observed on the water were also noted and information on species, age and number of young recorded. TABLE 2: Observation Dates Develop a base map and grid system upon which the location of all nests discovered can be plotted. This map will also give an indication of the present extent of emergent vegetation within the study zone. Compile a list ofbird species including notes on any behavior that might indicate nesting for those species and individuals whose nests are not found. Notation used will be that employed by the NYS Atlas ofBreeding Birds (Audrle and Carroll 1988). SAMPLING METHODS: The original plan for surveying areas of emergent marsh was to set up grids and to work the grids regularly in order to discover all nests. Because of the nature of the bottom, which consists of a floating mat of cat-tails, reeds and rushes, this proved to be physically difficult and very disruptive to the cover. Ground predators, such as raccoons, apparently followed the pathways left by the researchers, and several nests were destroyed after the first field trip. It was decided that a better approach would be to circumnavigate the pond by canoe, watching carefully for the activities ofterritorial males and especially the activities of females. All subsequent nests in the marsh were located by this method. Those in the 50 foot wide fringe ofupland shoreline were located by walking the 1.2 mile strip and checking shrubs and trees for nests. All shrubs within the study area were checked whether there were territorial birds present or not. Only a few nests were located where territorial birds were not present. Field observations were made on a total of fifteen dates (Table 2). A diary of these trips is on file at Rice Creek Field Station. When nests were located on the ground or in herbaceous In order to facilitate the survey and provide for relocation of nest sites in future years, permanent benchmarks were installed on the east shoreline ofthe pond and a temporary grid system was set up (Map 1). Coordinates for the relocation of the nest sites are noted in the field notes and on the base maps. MAP 2: RICE POND STUDY AREA 01-May-97 04-Jun-97 25-Jun-97 14-May-97 09-Jun-97 02-Jul-97 2Q-May-97 12-Jun-97 3Q-Jul-97 22-May-97 18-Jun-97 13-Aug-97 28-May-97 21-Jun-97 15-Aug-97


Symbols used for noting birds (Table 3) and their activities (Table 1) are from the "NYS Atlas of Breeding Birds" (Andrle and Carroll 1988). TABLE 3: Monograms ofBird Species ALFL AMRO BBCU CAGO COGE COYE EAKI EAPH GCFS GRCA GWfE HOWR Alder Flycatcher MADU Mallard Duck American Robin MOOO Mourning Dove Black-billed Cuckoo NOCA Northern Cardinal Canada Goose NOOR Northern Oriole Common Grackle RWBL Red-winged Blackbird Common Yellowthroat SOSP Song Sparrow Eastern Kingbird SWSP Swamp Sparrow Eastern Phoebe TRSW Tree Swallow Great-crested Flycatcher WA VI Warbling Vireo -. Gray Catbird WODU Wood Duck Green-wingedTeal YEWA Yellow Warbler House Wren RESULTS: During the fifteen survey trips, 15 nests were located in the emergent vegetation along the edge ofthe pond. Twenty-three (23) nests were located in the trees and shrubs that fringe the pond. One (1) nest, that ofa song sparrow was located on the ground among the grasses. Three (3) nests were located in bird boxes and 5 were located on man made structures. Twelve (12) broods ofwaterfowl were observed on the water or resting along the shoreline. This tally of47 nests and 12 broods ofwaterfowl includes 17 species ofnesting birds (Table 4, Map 3). In addition to nests and broods discovered, notes were kept ofsinging, protesting and foraging birds observed within the study area, iftheir activities seemed to relate to territory or nesting. These activities are considered to indicate probable nesting (Andrle and Carroll 1988). Species included in this group of possible or probable nesters were: house wren, common yellowthroat, eastern kingbird, alder fly catcher, warbling vireo and swamp sparrow. The major areas ofthis activity are indicated in Map 4. TABLE 4: Nest Identifications No. Species No. Species No. Species No. Species 1 CAGO 16 RWBL 31 YEWA 46 NOCA 2 RWBL 17 RWBL 32 GRCA 47 NOCA 3 RWBL 18 GRCA 33 GRCA 48 GRCA 4 I RWBL 19 GRCA 34 RWBL 49 GCFL 5 RWBL 20 AMRO 35 RWBL 50 MADU 6 EAPH 21 GRCA 36 EAPH 51 WOOU 7 GRCA 22 EAPH 37 MODO 52 WOOU 8 TRSW 23 TRSW 38 RWBL 53 MADU 9 CAGO 24 GRCA 39 GRCA 54 MADU 10 CAGO 25 RWBL 40 RWBL 55 MADU 11 GRCA 26 NOOR 41 GRCA 56 GWTE 12 NOOR 27 RWBL 42 NOOR 57 WOOU 13 RWBL 28 NOOR 43 GRCA 58 WOOU 14 COGR 29 SOSP 44 BBCU 59 MADU 15 GRCA 30 RWBL 45 NOCA VEGETATION AND NESTING: Fourteen kinds ofplants were chosen for nest sites (Table 5, Fig. 1). A record was kept of the heights ofnests above the ground or above the water level. Measurements were adjusted to take into account fluctuations in water level that occurred during the study period. Average heights and limits are shown in Figure 2. It is difficult to make accurate measurements ofnest heights in heavy cover without serious disruption ofthe cover. Nest heights were estimated using a calibrated rod as a standard and sighting the nest top across the measuring stick. Nests higher than 6 feet were measured using a mirror on an extendable pole. Heights were recorded to the nearest half foot. Actual heights might be 2-3 inches above or below the recorded height. Red-winged blackbird nests were recorded to the nearest inch. 24


MAP 3: NEST LOCAnONS MAP 4: TERRITORIAL BEHAVIORS 9 2f Scale in Feet 2f Scale in Feel TABLE 5: Plants Used for Nesting ALDER ARBORVITAE ARROWWOOD ASH BEECH CATTAIL CHERRY Alnus incana Thuja occidentalis Viburnum dentatum Fraxinus pennsylvanica Fagus grandifolia Typhasp. Prunus avium, P. serotina CORNEL Comus amomum, C. serlcea GRASSES Various HONEYSUCKLE Lonicera morrowii, L. tartarica LOOSESTRIFE Lythrum salicaria M-F ROSE Rosa multiflora SNOWBERRY Symphoricarpos albus YEW Taxus x media DISCUSSION: PRE-FLOOD CONDITIONS: A prime goal of this study was to measure changes in bird populations in the flood zone of Rice Pond since a pre-flooding study completed in 1964-1966. Previous to the creation of the pond, the flood zone was a cow pasture until 1960, after which a few horses were pastured there. During the years when the first bird census was done, the flood zone was covered with perennial grasses and weeds. Adjacent uplands to the west had been planted to com and small grains. To the east, the adjacent uplands were mostly old fields following pasture.


10 FIG. 1: Number of Nests per Plant Species9 8 J! I 6z '5 5 j E4 z 3 2 ... o I ..:" '!!i!:ll n!!!1 Ill: ... ww :z: :z: w W II Z C Ill: Ill: c Ill:9 u JJ W W w :z: IIIJ 8u It Ill: mS :I 5l Iz Ill: Ill: o:z: u !.. The only wooded portion ofthe flood zone was south and east ofthe field station building site. About one acre of mature woodland occupied a knoll across the creek south ofthe building site. All ofthe acreage east ofthe creek and the building site was abandoned orchard or pasture dominated by young hardwoods. Along the banks ofRice Creek, as it meandered through the pasture, were scattered discontinuous band of small shrubs. The wetlands bordering the creek occupied a channel from 15 to 30 feet wider than the stream itself. In small marshy or swampy pockets were bur-reed, swamp milk weed, cat-tail, broad-leafed arrowhead, lizard tail, pickerelweed and sweet flag. Some water holes were deep enough to harbor potamogetons, anacharis and water smartweeds. This varied habitat accounts for the relatively long list ofbirds recorded by the early morning bird walk groups and by students doing independent study work on the pre-flood acres. FIG. 2: Average HeIght of Nest Above Ground (Excluding EAPH, NOOR and TRSW) WIth 95% Confidence Interval 110 100 I 90 10 .0=1 ,le n=1 e 0=1 e 0=1 --=,'> e 0=170 Te 10 n=3 50CIi40I 1: f 30I en=: 20 x I 0=12 T 10 0 .. AMRO ECU COGR GCR. GRCA MODO NOCA RWIlL SOSP YBNA Bird Speeles POST-FLOOD CONDITIONS: When it was filled, the pond occupied just under 26 acres counting the islands. Flooding ofthis area produced sweeping changes in cover types, flooding out and killing all but about 9 acres ofthe grasses and perennial weeds. In the 35 years since the first survey was completed, the pond has developed nearly 6 acres of emergent wetland vegetation. The shoreline, once over 80% in herbaceous cover, is now about 90% wooded. 26


PRE-FLOOD AND POST-FLOOD BIRD POPULATIONS COMPARED: Considering these major changes in habitat, it is interesting to note that 23 of the 41 species listed as present during the 1964-1966 nesting seasons were still present in 1997. Ofthe 18 species present in 1964-66 but missing in the 1997 survey, 8 species are considered meadow or cropland birds, some requiring large expanses ofgrasslands. Today there is no true meadowland adjacent to the pond. In addition, no true woodcock or field sparrow habitat remains. Despite the fact that there is suitable cover today for the remaining 9 species missing in 1997 but present in 1964, no adults ofthese species were seen or heard in the study area. Apparently the most important factor in these population shifts was the disappearance of meadow habitat. Only four species appear in the 1997 study which did not appear in the earlier surveys. Three of these are aquatic or wet meadow dwellers. The swamp sparrow will occasionally nest in small wet pockets adjacent to streams, but it is more often found nesting in more extensive fens or wet meadows, where it may form small informal colonies. It is unlikely that the pre-flood stream provided enough suitable cover. Both Canada goose and green-winged teal choose nest sites at the edges ofponds or on wetlands with a good deal ofopen land. The black-billed cuckoo could have found suitable nesting cover in the pre-flood shrub clumps, but it was the yellow-billed cuckoo which was found in the area in 1966. The most unusual record in the 1997 nesting season was the green-winged teal. It was recorded in only 32 ofthe 5300 5 k2 blocks surveyed for the NYS Breeding Bird Census during the 1980's (Andrle and Carroll 1988). It should be noted that week old teal are capable of flight and could not be counted as confirmed products of Rice Pond nesting. Broods ofdowny chicks have been identified in Rice Pond in recent years. Despite expectations, there was no sign ofmarsh wrens in 1997. In field surveys, completed in 1985 in connection with the development of a management plan, a small colony of marsh wrens was located at the northwest comer ofthe study area. Two nests were collected by the author at the end of the nesting season and added to the Field Station nest collection. More catbird territories were located than had been predicted. These, ofcourse, were found in the 50 foot wide upland fringe surveyed along the margin ofthe pond. Analysis of the changes in this habitat since 1966 helps to explain the abundance ofcatbirds. In 1966, less than 500 feet ofthe 6100 feet of shoreline was suitable for catbird nesting. Today over 3600 feet of shoreline is covered with scattered young trees which admit enough light for the dense shrubs which the catbird prefers for nesting. The population average ofone nest for every 276 feet is above the minimum distance between nests observed in 1997, so the population might actually have been larger than that actually observed. Some ofthe shoreline trees are becoming mature enough to begin to reduce the number of suitably thick shrubs due to shading. It is predictable that cat-bird populations within the study area will be greatly reduced in future years. Within a decade the only suitable shrubs will be right along the shoreline where adequate light can reach them. INTRA-AND INTER-SPECIES DYNAMICS: We desired to determine the extent of cowbird parasitism in the study area. Since cowbirds do not normally lay their eggs in the nests of host species until one to several eggs ofthe host species are laid (Bent 1958; Stokes and Stokes 1983), it was necessary to observe some nests until the full clutch ofeggs was laid and incubation begun. The cowbird egg usually hatches


from 1 to 3 days earlier than the eggs of the host species, therefore cowbirds may successfully parasitize a species even after incubation has begun. This is believed to be rare, but even should the cowbird hatch a day later than its much smaller hosts, it has a good chance ofsucceeding. Harrison (Harrison 1975) reports that over half of 214 species hosting cowbird eggs raised the young cowbirds successfully. This is about normal for songbird survival in local studies completed by the author. Only one case of cowbird parasitism was discovered during the 1997 survey. That was a yellow warbler's nest (nest 31). In this case the single cowbird's egg was laid 3 or 4 days after incubation was started. Although the cowbird egg remained in the nest throughout the nesting period, it did not hatch and was still in the nest after the young warblers had left. Although Bent (Bent 1958) cites reports ofgray catbirds incubating cowbird eggs. there are many records in the literature ofcatbirds throwing cowbird's eggs out oftheir nests, and this appears to be a common practice (Harrison 1975). Red-winged blackbirds are known to be parasitized by cowbirds (Friedmann 1929). Since the red-wing incubation period is identical to that ofthe cowbird. and the nestlings appear to be as large and as strong as the cowbirds. the hatchling cowbirds do not have the same advantage that they do with smaller hosts such as song sparrows or warblers. In addition. the author has more than once observed both male and female red-wings harassing female cowbirds which have entered their territories. giving them no rest until they left (Johnson-Marsh Oswego 1963; Channels Marsh, Sherburne 1968). The unusual non-uniform nesting ofred-wings also invited follow-up. Map #3 shows that 10 red-wing nests were concentrated in the territories of two of the six males. These two territories were the first occupied by females in late April. The largest territory extended over 400 feet along the cat-tail stand on the west side ofthe pond. Included were nests 3. 4. 16. 17.30.34 and 35. There appear to have been four separate females within this territory in 1997. Nests 16 and 30 seem to have been renests following the destruction of nests 5 and 17. Nests 34 and 35 were second nests following the fledgling of young from earlier nests. Nest 35 was destroyed before it was completed. Its location is noted on the map. but it was not tagged. since no nests were tagged and logged until the basic structure was completed (not including lining). The second most productive territory was on the east shoreline. directly across the pond from the previously mentioned territory. Three nests (numbers 25. 27 and 40) were located in this territory (2 females). Nests 25 and 27 produced fledgling young. Nest 40 was a second brood attempt by the nest 25 female. Nest 38 appears to have been the progeny of a different male whose territory was directly north of nests 25. 27 and 40. However. this male abandoned its territory before the young were completely fledged. While the male from the adjacent territory remained and protested approach to the nest. it did not attack. CHOICE OF NEST SITES AND NESTHEIGHTS The red-winged blackbirds in this study clearly preferred dead cat-tails to live cat-tails (Fig. 3). In other studies completed by the author. (Johnson Marsh 1966-1968; Channels Marsh 1968 1970). dead cat-tails were the early season choice. but nesting switched to live cat-tails when they reached proper height. Average height above the water increased as the cat-tails grew. 28


9 8 7 .. iii 6 Q) z '0 5 4 E 3 2 o FIG 3: Nest Plant Selection by Catbirds & Red-lMnged Blackbirds DGRCA -RVoAlL nn o W ...J Ww> w ...J u. & o g '" w..i w 8 (/)Plant Where both live and dead cat-tails were used together in the Johnson and Channels Marshes, the nests normally tipped as the live cat-tails grew, often leaving the young perching on the lower rim ofthe nest during the last days before they left the nest. In this study, nests 16 and 24 were lashed to both live and dead cat-tails, but tipping was less than 16 -20% from the horizontal. This would seem to indicate slow cat-tail growth. Slow growth might also account for the small number of nests sited in live cat-tails, even in late season. Nests 25 and 27 were built in live cat-tails. Dead stalks in that area were flattened and battered and the nests were located nearer the water level than the average shown in figure 2. Nest 40 in the same territory was in dead cat-tails 12 inches above the water. Gray cat-birds showed a wide acceptance of shrub species as nest sites (Fig. 3). They require dense cover for nest sites and it seems likely that light intensity and suitable support, rather than shrub species, were critical factors in nest site selection. Light intensity may also have been a factor in the selection ofnest height. Nest 19 (gray catbird) and nest 31 (yellow warbler) were at the lowest height noted for the species by Harrison (Harrison 1975). In both cases the shrubs chosen were low with dense foliage and the nests were very close to the top ofthe shrubs. LITERATURE CITED: Andrle, R. F. and J. R. Carroll (1988). The Atlas ofBreeding Birds in New York State. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N. Y. Bent, A. C. (1958). Life Histories ofNorth American Birds. Dover Publications, New York, N.Y. Fosdick, C. R. (1996). The Birds ofOswego County: An Annotated Checklist. Rice Creek Field Station, Bulletin No.7. Oswego, N.Y. Friedmann, H. (1929). The Cowbirds, A study in the Biology ofa Social Parasite. Charles C. Thomas, Springfield, Ill." Harrison, H. H. (1975). A Field Guide to Birds' Nests. Houghton, Mifflin, Boston Mass. Smith, G. A. and J. M. Ryan (1978). Annotated Checklist ofthe Birds ofOswego County and Northern Cayuga County, New York. Rice Creek Biological Field Station, Bulletin No. 5. Oswego, N.Y. Stokes, D. W. and L. Q. Stokes (1983). A Guide to Bird Behavior. Little, Brown, Boston. Weeks, J. A. (1988). Guidelines for Environmental management. Rice Creek Field Station, Bulletin No.6. Oswego, N.Y.


A Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station (Year 2)1 B. Diane Chepko-Sade2 ,Visiting Assistant Professor ofBiology Oswego State University In 1996, I initiated a survey of small mammals at Rice Creek field Station (Chepko-Sade, 1997). The intention is to see what small mammals are present, to measure population densities, and to compare these populations with others from similar environments mentioned in the literature. Comparisons will also be made with populations at two other locations in northern New York, Fort Drum and Cranberry Lake Biological Station, where similar annual surveys are in progress. The survey involves repeated captures ofmarked animals over a five month period in order to follow individuals through at least one breeding season and to begin to develop an estimate of age structure, reproductive rates, mortality, and turnover rates ofthe populations of different species. Such basic background information can be used in the design of future research projects and field exercises for undergraduate courses. The study was continued during the spring, summer and fall of 1997, and will enter its third year in the 1998 season. This interim report summarizes findings to date. Trapping at Rice Creek Field Station prior to 1996 had indicated the presence ofEastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus), Red Squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), and Northern short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda). However, there was no information on abundance or population structure for these species. A report prepared by John Weeks (Weeks 1988) indicated dramatic changes in the vegetation cover and land use at the station between 1962 and 1986. These changes continue, 12 years since the last cover map ofthe station was made, with many areas undergoing succession, and reverting to mixed deciduous woodland. As the vegetation matures, we expect to see different species of small mammals in the different habitats present at the station. The major vegetation types indicated on the land use map for the station drawn up in 1986 (Weeks, 1988) are grassland, mature woodland, scrubland and conifer plantation. A part of the grassland area has been maintained by mowing, but much of the scrubland has grown up into young deciduous woodland. The changes in land use patterns at Rice Creek Field Station mirror those seen in much of Oswego County, and in much of the Northeastern United States, as small farms have been abandoned and allowed to undergo succession back to deciduous woodland. Bird species once common in rural farmlands, such as bobolinks, bluebirds and meadowlarks, are becoming rarer. The grasslands maintained by farmers to grow hay for farm animals are reverting to woodlands, providing more habitat for woodland birds, but less for birds ofopen meadows. These changes can also be expected to affect small mammal species. Open grasslands favor meadow voles, white-footed mice, and meadow jumping mice, but as grasslands give way to woodlands, the cooler moister environment will favor red-backed voles, deer mice, and woodland jumping mice. It will be interesting to monitor the small mammal population from year to year as these changes 1 Financial support provided by Rice Creek Associates and Oswego State University's Division of Continuing Education and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. 2 Dr. Chepko-Sade was assisted in the field by Julie Mikalajyzck and Adam Howard. Chaula Anjaria assisted in database development. 30


take place and to track succession in the small mammal population as a function of vegetational succession. Having a small mammal survey in progress has also been beneficial in teaching students about some ofthe methods used in field research. Biology student volunteers recruited from the Biology Club and from my Fall semester classes helped with trapping during September of 1996 and 1997, and were enthusiastic about the opportunity for hands-on experience in biological field research. Methods: Trapping grids were set up in four areas: 1) mature forest, 2) open field and adjacent scrubland/pioneer woodland, 3) conifer (Scots Pine) plantation, and 4) large open field. Grids are 70 meters by 70 meters, each set with 64 traps placed 10 meters apart. The traps used were medium sized Sherman live traps (3"x3"x9") baited with sunflower seeds. The traps were to be set for approximately one night trapping and one day trapping each week between May and October of 1996. In 1996, time spent in the initial set up of the grids, a severe case ofpoison ivy contracted by the field assistant, and time required to fulfill other commitments resulted in delay and interruption of the trapping schedule. Nevertheless, all ofthe grids were surveyed and marked, and trapping was carried out at each site for part ofthe summer and fall. A total often trapping sessions was completed in 1996. The 1996 data are less complete than planned, but do serve as a starting point for further systematic survey in the same sites. Trapping commenced earlier in the 1997 season, and a total of twenty trapping sessions was completed. There was a modest increase in the number ofspecies observed in 1997 (11 in 1997 compared to 7 in 1996) and a nearly five fold increase in the number ofindividuals trapped (cf. Tables 1 and 2). These increases almost certainly reflect the increase in trapping activity rather than any significant changes in animal populations. Small mammals trapped were weighed and measured, age was estimated (adult or juvenile, based on weight and reproductive condition), and reproductive condition was recorded (Larson and Taber, 1980). Where possible, animals were marked with aluminum ear tags and released. Species found at Rice Creek Field Station in the course ofthis survey to date include: Northern short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) Masked shrew (Sorex cinereus) Star-nosed mole (Condylura cristata) Meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius) Meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) White-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) Southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) Red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Short-tailed weasel (Mustela erminea) 11


Results: 1996 Survey: A total of 131 small mammals were trapped between 3 June and 29 September 1996. The distribution of these captures in the four trapping habitats is reviewed in Table 1. 1997 Survey: TABLE 1. Small Mammals Trapped in Four Habitat Areas at Rice Creek Field Station June through September 1996 Forest Field/Shrubland Pine Wood Open Field Totals Blarina brevicauda 25 6 11 26 68 Peromyscusleucopus 1 1 2 0 4 Sciurus carolinensis 0 0 3 0 3 Sorex cinereus 0 0 1 0 1 Tamias striatus 29 3 5 2 39 Tamiasciurus hudsonicus 1 1 0 0 2 Zaous hudsonius 0 5 1 8 14 TOTALS 56 16 23 36 131 Trapping results for the 1997 season are summarized in Table 2. A total of eleven species representing three orders were represented. TABLE 2. Small Mammals Trapped in Four Habitat Areas at Rice Creek Field Station May through September, 1997 Forest Field/Shrubland Pine Wood Open Field Totals Insectivora Condylura cristata 0 0 I 0 I Sorex cinereus 0 0 I I 2 Blarina brevi cauda 47 30 50 62 189 Rodentia Microtus pennsylvanicus 0 34 0 65 99 Peromyscus leocopus 8 22 39 0 69 Zapus hudsonius 0 12 I 25 38 Sciurus carolinensis 2 0 I 0 3 Tamiasciurus hudsonicus 2 2 2 0 6 Glaucomys volans I 0 1 0 2 Tamias striatus 91 33 53 17 194 Carnivora Mustela erminea 0 0 0 2 2 TOTALS 151 133 149 172 605 Table 3 shows the percentage of animals of each species trapped on each grid and percentage of the total number of animals trapped that each species represents. By far the most commonly captured animals were the Short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda) and the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus ), which together make up over 64% of all animals captured. Blarina brevicauda were captured on every grid. They were more frequent on the open field than in other habitats, and least frequent in the fieldlshrubland area. Blarina brevicauda is considered to be perhaps the most abundant and widespread ofNorth American small mammals, both geographically and in terms ofhabitat occupied. The Eastern chipmunk is also widespread and occurs in a wide variety of habitats, though it clearly prefers wooded areas to open fields and when found in fields is rarely far from wooded areas. Peromyscus leucopus was found only in wooded areas. The fieldlshrubland grid has three transects that occur in early succession n0rthern hardwoods, and the Peromyscus trapped on this grid were found in the wooded area. Other species trapped only in the woods were Condylura cristata and Glaucomys volans though 32 :.


Condylura can also be found in wet fields. Microtus pennsylvanicus and Mustela erminea were only found in open fields. Microtus pennsylvanicus is usually found in open fields, though on islands it may be found in wooded areas when not displaced by Clethrionomys gapperi, a vole of northern forests. Mustela erminea occurs in wooded areas as well as open areas. Individuals tend to have large ranges but are sparsely distributed, as indicated by the low number trapped at Rice Creek. TABLE 3. Percentage of Small Mammals Trapped in Four Habitat Areas at Rice Creek Field Station Mav through September 1997 Forest Field/Shrubland Pine Wood Open Field Totals Insectivora: Condylura cristata 0% 0% 100% 0% 0.17% Sorex cinereus 0% 0% 50% 50% 0.33% Blarina brevicauda 25% 16% 26% 33% 31.24% Rodentia: Microtus pennsylvanicus 0% 34% 0% 66% 16.36% Peromyscusleocopus 12% 32% 57% 0% 11.40% Zapus hudsonius 0% 32% 3% 66% 6.28% Sciurus carolinensis 67% 0% 33% 0% 0.50% Tamiasciurus hudsonicus 33% 33% 33% 0% 0.99% Glaucomys volans 50% 0% 50% 0% 0.33% Tamias striatus 47% 17% 27% 9% 32.07% Carnivora: Mustela erminea 0% 0% 0% 100% 0.33% TOTALS 25% 22% 25% 28% 100.00% Blarina brevicauda and Tamias striatus were the dominant small mammals in the mature deciduous woods, as well as the pine woods, though a significant number ofPeromyscus leucopus were also seen in the pine woods. Microtus pennsylvanicus and Zapus hudsonicus were more prominent in the two field sites. Tamias striatus, though present in the open fields, is represented by reduced numbers of individuals. The fieldlshrubland site is a problematic area, being about half open field and half early successional deciduous woods. A data base designed for the project in the fall of 1997 will facilitate separating the data from the two habitats included in this grid. Discussion: The 1996 and 1997 data give some information regarding the species present and their relative abundance in different environments. This is a necessary starting point. We are now in a position to begin to ask population level questions for different species at Rice Creek. Another season's trapping data will allow us to begin to examine population fluctuations and their relationship to yearly weather fluctuations. Many populations of small mammals undergo cycles of abundance and scarcity which are due to severity of the winter as well as to density dependent population parameters. With the mark and recapture technique, we are beginning to collect data on longevity, number of reproductive cycles per year, and other life history parameters. It will soon be possible to make comparisons between populations at Rice Creek and those in other areas where similar long-term longitudinal studies have been carried out. In particular, Tomias striatus, the eastern chipmunk, has been studied in the Adirondacks, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. It will be interesting to compare the longevity and reproductive potential of Rice Creek animals with that of individuals in other Northeastern populations. The success of the 1979 small mammal survey was due in large part to the work of my two field assistants. We found that having three people available resulted in a significant increase in the


number oftrapping sessions we were able to complete. We also appreciate very much the assistance of student volunteers at the beginning ofthe Fall semester. Many of these volunteers received their first introduction to Rice Creek Field Station and field research in the form ofpre dawn trap checks. They found it very rewarding to see animals that they were never aware of before taken out ofthe traps for examination and measurement. For a few, there was the added bonus ofseeing a flying squirrel or a weasel. Literature Cited: Chepko-Sade, B. D., 1997. Survey of Small Mammal Populations at Rice Creek Field Station., In Rice Creek Research Reports 1996. Ed. A. P. Nelson, pp. 11-14. Rice Creek Field Station, Oswego, NY Davis, D. E. and R. L. Winstead, 1980. Estimating the Numbers of Wildlife Populations, In Wildlife Management Techniques Manual, Ed. S. D. Schemnitz, The Wildlife Society, Washington, D. C. Larson, 1. S. and R. D. Taber, 1980. Criteria of Sex and Age, In Wildlife Management Techniques Manual, Ed. S. D. Schemnitz, The Wildlife Society, Washington, D. C. Tyron, C. A. and D. P. Snyder, 1973. Biology ofthe Eastern Chipmunk, Tamias striatus: Life Tables, Age Distributions, and Trends in Population Numbers, Journal ofMammalogy, Vol. 54, No, 1. Weeks, J. A., 1988. Guidelines for Environmental Management at Rice Creek Field Station, Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.6, Oswego, N. Y. 34


Research Related Publications from Rice Creek Field Station Bulletins: Shearer, R. I. (ed.) 1974 Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin. Vol 1. No.1. SUNY Oswego. Contents: Limnological Data Collected From Little Sodus Bay -------------------------------------------------------------4 Kundell, J. E. A Chemical and Physical Comparison ofLittle Sodus Bay, Port Bay, Sodus Bay, and Irolzdequoit Bay ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7 Spafford, R. A. The Distribution ofMicrocrustaceans at the MudWater Interface ofLittle Sodus Bay -32 Del Prete, K. Phosphate and Nitrate Study ofLittle Sodus Bay During Winter Ice Cover and Early Spring, 1972 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------45 Tritman, N. D. Chlorophyll and Phaeophytin Determination ofa Phytoplankton Community During and After Ice Cover ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------52 Shearer, R. I. An Investigation ofthe Vertical Distribution ofthe Meiiobenthos ofLittle Sodus Bay -----59 Bocsor, J. G. Seasonal and Vertical Distribution ofZooplankton in Little Sodus Bay---------------------66 Hickey, John T. 1971. The Flora ofthe Vascular Plants ofthe Rice Creek Biological Field Station. IN: Shearer, Robert I. (ed.) 1974. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 1 No.2. SUNY Oswego. Maxwell, George R., Gerald A. Smith, Patricia A. Ruta, and Thomas L. Carrolan. 1976. Preliminary Bird and Associated Vegatational Studies for Navigation Season Extension on the St. La}1lrence River. IN: Shearer, Robert I. (ed.) 1974. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 3. SUNY Oswego. Smith, Gerald S., Andrew Bieber, Michael K. Bollenbacher, Joseph D. Brown, Theresa A. Dillon, Deborah Dosch, Carol 1. Elliott, Angelo Giordano, and Paul T. Meier. 1977. Habitat and Wildlife Inventory: Guide to Coastal Zone Lands, Oswego County, New York. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin Vol. 4. SUNY Oswego. Smith, Gerald A. and James M. Ryan. 1978. Annotated Checklist ofthe Birds ofOswego County and Northern Cayuga County, New York. Rice Creek Biological Field Station Bulletin No.5. SUNY Oswego. Weeks, John r\. 1988 Guidelines to Environmental Management at Rice Creek Field Station. Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.6. SUNY Oswego Fosdick, Craig. R. 1995. The Birds ofOswego County: An Annotated Checklist. Rice Creek Field Station Bulletin No.7. SUNY Oswego Check Lists.(Pocket Format): Maxwell, George C. (undated), Birds ofCentral New York, Daily Field Check-List. Rice Creek Biological Field Station. SUNY Oswego. Weber, Nicholas. 1997. Field Check List ofButterflies. Rice Creek Field Station, SUNY Oswego. Research Reports: Nelson, Andrew P. (ed). 1997. Rice Creek Research Reports: 1996. Rice Creek Field Station. SUNY Oswego. Publication is out ofprint. Photocopies may be available on request. A fee will be charged. 35