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Hidden in the Shade at Shady Oaks Park

There’s something tussling through the shadows at San Jose’s Shady Oaks Park.

This past Saturday morning on September 11th, KCCB became friendly guests to nearly 200

species of living creatures during their BioBlitz event.

Lizard sunbathing. PC: Merav Vonshak

Some critters seen include black and red beetles, lizards, grasshoppers, jumping spiders, and acorn woodpeckers!

How does one find such minuscule creatures you may ask?

“It gets really easy when you settle down. Let your eyes relax and you’ll start to see sudden movements,” one BioBlitz participant said.

J.K., a San Jose State University student who attended the event, said that it took them 10-15 minutes to make more than five observations.

Just from discovering a tiny part of the park, many people were able to see some sort of wildlife that they found endearing. Many of the participants during this event expressed their love for birds.

I think the highlight was… seeing a woodpecker for the first time, which was pretty cool...” said SD, a college undergrad participant.

Junior BioBlitz participant snapping a shot of a bird's nest. PC: Shanon Jurado

“My favorite part was the bird’s nest,” said a junior participant. “I love vultures.”

Speaking of vultures, above Shady Oaks Park was a turkey vulture soaring through the sky! Did you know that turkey vultures can have up to a 6-foot wingspan? That’s taller than the average human male!

Galls have gained popularity from the participants.

Galls are big tumor-like looking additions to trees. Galls form from abnormal cell growth within the plant, caused by various reasons such as parasitic wildlife digging into the trees, overgrowth stimulation, or when a parasitic wasp plants an egg in a branch.

BioBlitz participants showing off their admiration for galls! PC: Colter Cook

“The most interesting thing that I observed and didn’t even know existed were the gall wasps,” J.K. said. “They are really small and stick to leaves which I thought was interesting.

Who knew what you could see in a major city park! Photo by Colter Cook.

It’s crazy to think about it! Out of this entire world, KCCB observed one section of the park and was able to find a myriad of interesting living and nonliving things.

To see what participants found at this event, see the iNaturalist project Shady Oaks Fall 2021 BioBlitz.

Would you like to participate in the next BioBlitz? Stay updated with KCCB by checking out their events tab at .

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