Saturday, June 7, 2014

It wasn't entirely a failure....

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. After the beaver dam was washed away by the flood, I thought it might be fun to see if I could capture activity in the bluebird boxes.

Several dedicated volunteers in the park have maintained a trail of 27 boxes starting in 1994. For a variety of reasons, mostly habitat loss and pressure from invasive species, Eastern bluebird populations have plummeted. From this trail alone, though, over 1000 bluebirds have been fledged.

Huzzah for volunteers!

So, I found a tree close enough to a box that I thought I might see some fun bird activity. After two weeks, and fiddling with the location--no luck. I think this is because the birds are too small to activate the motion sensor on the camera. But I did find another fox.

Cromwell Valley Park is apparently fox heaven.

The second location
Then I thought that maybe I could find some bird activity with another strategy. I placed the camera overlooking Minebank Run. In the background, barely visible is a Belted kingfisher nest. I later learned that that nest was destroyed by a flood, and that the eggs in it are dead. Didn't know that at the time, though. The camera is set on time lapse. That is to say, it takes a photograph every five minutes all day.

I found a place with remarkably few animals. But I did find an interesting rain event.

On the 27th of May, at 5:42 pm and 5:54 pm there were two thunderstorms recorded, followed by rain at 0.05 inches of rain at 6:33 pm. Some more rain fell that evening, for a daily total of 0.30 inches. That is a trifle less than a third of one inch of rain.
 (See httttp://

This video shows what that amount of rain looks like in Minebank Run.

You'll notice the rain in the first pictures. These small puddles correspond with the thunderstorms. Then, at 6:25 pm, about 30 minutes after the second thunderstorm...the water rises dramatically, and carries trash downstream. (See 7:05 pm.)

This rush of storm water, going too fast, carrying too many pollutants, and washing away the stream bottom, is one of the main causes of urban stream syndrome. (

This is not a problem without solutions. A section of Minebank Run itself has just been restored by Baltimore County  The city of Baltimore is making significant strides to reduce the amount of impervious surface in the city limits. What are you doing to help?

Go outside and play.