Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lupine Season And More Fire Trash

The Scrub Lupine seedling population remains small so far. I've located only a handful so far. Last year at this time I had located about 80 plants, so I don't know what's happening.
The plants began emerging in late December, but whether their further emergence was  affected by a couple of cold snaps is something I don't know.

I flagged a couple of them today to provide me with some perspective if any more pop up.
I'm wondering whether any will emerge from the path just north of the planting area this year.
That path was heavily impacted by fire vehicles in recent months during the first-ever  prescribed fire for that portion of the preserve.
While I was checking today, I discovered some patches of household garbage I knew existed, but can see better thanks to the fire.
I hauled out a couple of bags and two buckets full of debris.
I also recorded some wildlife while I was there.

I saw an American Robin trailing a small flock of Cedar Waxwings. The two species sometimes flock together while feeding in the winter.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Merry Christmas & 2017 hit and misses

The scrub holly berries are finally red enough for  Christmas, so I feel in the holiday spirt
This has been a mixed year.
Despite a pretty good crop of seedlings last winter, none survived the spring drought.
The good news is that it appears some seedlings are emerging already, about a month ahead of when I expect to find them.
More good news is that FWC is burning some areas that have never been burned since the state purchased the property and even reburned a previously burned area.
Judging by the proliferation of cuts across the landscape, more burning will occur as soon as staff and authorizations are available.
I'm still finding a new pieces of debris exposed by the burn, but believe I have removed the bulk of them.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Still cleaning up following prescribed fire

I went out today and brought back 4 five-gallon buckets of garbage exposed by the recent prescribed burns on the north side of the preserve.

The bulk of the trash was household garbage and the largest number of items were baby food jars.
I also disturbed a Southern  Toad that was hiding inside the containers.
Habeneria floribunda (nee odentopetala) is beginning to emerge in the bayhead on the southwest corner of the north tract.
Some vegetation is beginning to resprout, but it will take time to appreciate the full impact of the fire.
I'm also beginning to see more mushrooms.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fire continues on north side

FWC's fire crew, with assistance of Auburndale Fire Department, continued burning the northern sandhill habitat areas today.
I spent part of the morning collecting debris the fire on Thursday had uncovered.
Most of it consisted of bottles and cans, but I found an abandoned TV, the bottom drawer of a stove and an  old tire.
I found a Black Racer and a Ringneck Snake taking refuge under some debris and saw a Glass Snake Lizard in the open and one that wasn't quick enough for the fire.
I'll check back over the weekend or more debris.
Also, some FWC folks reported seeing a coyote, which is a first for the property.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fire returns to the preserve

FWC fire crew was at the preserve this morning for a first-ever burn in the northwestern section.
This is a series of small, relatively cool burn to clear underbrush.
I was told a crew will come in later with chainsaws to clear some of the oaks to open the area to longleaf pine, which should be the dominant large tree in this part of the property.
On my way to take a look at the fire, I flushed three Wilson's snipes, which sometimes stop here during migration.
I got pictures of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and Northern Mockingbird, but couldn't get a shot of Blue Jays to expand the iNaturalist list for this site.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Post-Irma Report From Preserve

I'm still finding some effects from Hurricane Irma, though there was no serious damage.
I found a couple of downed pine trees in the north tract.
The disturbance of the vegetation also exposed a tire lodged in some palmettos that I had never found before. I removed it.
I have made a few checks of the south tract and have found no damage so far.
I also saw some flagged areas that may indicate the boundaries of the next burn units.
Another observation is that for some reason fall wildflowers are only slowly appearing.
One plant that is notable by its absence is Scrub Blazing Star, which is usually common along the north-south path in the middle of the preserve. This year I have seen only two.
The only thing that has changed is that there was some bush-hogging that may have been preparation for a future burn by preparing a wider gap in the vegetation. The effect, as usual with this kind of mechanical work, has been to encourage the proliferation of Natal grass.
It is possible the Natal grass has outcompeted the Liatris.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Herbiciding The Fenceline

I had reported a patch of Cogon Grass in the northwest corner of the site and a Chinese
Tallow Tree along the west fenceline

The reaction appears to have been to spray herbicide along the entire fenceline, browning a bunch of native species ranging from dog fennel and winged sumac to scrub bay and sand pine.

I guess there was a special at Nozzles R Us last week.