OPDF Forest Ecosystem Classification Report
Completed as part of our Woodlot Management Plan in 2011, the FEC report describes the vegetation types, soil types and ecotypes present at Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest.
2015 Nature Day Biota Survey Species List
On 27 June 27th, 2015, Otter Ponds held its first public biota survey. The field day was somewhat styled after the popular ‘BioBlitz’ format being used increasingly in other provinces. The goal of the event was to get people out for a day in the woods while also collecting some baseline flora and fauna population data at Otter Ponds. Naturalists, ecologists, woodlot owners, families and anyone interested were invited for a full day at Otter Ponds with a barbeque lunch. Four main survey areas were targeted: the Northern Boundary Line (mature red spruce, Otter Ponds brook, open wetlands); German Lake Hill (hardwood drumlin, Tangier River, mixedwood, softwood); Hawboldt’s Farm Hill (hardwood drumlin); and an area east of the established section of Powder Horn Hill Road (climax softwood forest, open wetlands).
2016 Spring Bird Count Species List
The presence and absence of birds can inform us about changing ecosystems. Birds are especially good indicators of habitat quality – both the number of birds present, and the assemblage of bird species in an area. When forest habitat changes, often the types of birds present will change in predictable ways. In the wee hours of June 4th, 2016, a small group of bird enthusiasts set out to better understand the avian species at OPDF to help inform our forest management goals. The bird count revealed that OPDF is home to many North American migrant songbirds – even a couple of species at risk: the endangered Canada warbler and the threatened Olive-sided flycatcher.
2018 Mushroom Foray Species List
On October 13th, 2018 Otter Ponds hosted the Nova Scotia Mycological Society’s annual fall Mushroom Foray with over 80 people in attendance. Four mushroom experts were available on site to help people identify specimens and answer questions. The foray started with a morning classroom session at the Mooseland Community Centre then continued to Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest for foraging and collection. The day wrapped up back at the Centre where all the specimens were identified and catalogued.
Land Birds at Risk in Working Forests
As part of a project led by Dalhousie University researcher Dr. Cindy Staicer, a small group of volunteers visited OPDF on July 10th, 2021. Dr. Staicer is conducting research on at-risk land birds in working forests in Nova Scotia, and was looking for places to monitor key species. On this trip we were specifically looking for two at-risk species: Olive-sided Flycatcher and Canada Warbler.
Thanks to GPS data from our 2016 bird count during which Olive-sided Flycatcher and Canada Warbler calls were heard, we were able to hear and see both species this visit and estimate the area where there nests are likely to be. We also identified more than 20 other bird species in those areas. To collect more data, Dr. Staicer installed two ARUs (autonomous recordings units) to capture audio recordings at key times of day. The ARUs should collect and store data for about 2 months until they are retrieved.