Saturday, January 14, 2017

How does my rosemary measure up?

One of the things I've noticed over the year is the height of the Rosemary plants in
some spots, which I attribute to lack of fire perhaps.
I have seen plants noticeably taller than me, which isn't that tall in real terms, but seems tall for Rosemary.
All of the Rosemary is in the south tract in discrete sections.
Today I wandered around for a couple of hours looking for plants and measuring their heights.
The tallest plant I found was 76 inches ( 30 cm) tall. Several others were  between 65 and 71 inches tall.
Inevitably my meanderings involved the discovery of small trash caches, some of which I was able to toss into the fire lane for later pickup. The rest I left in small piles to make them more noticeable during future forays.
I encountered a small flock of Pine Warblers, which I find here sometimes in winter, and one Barred Sulfur butterfly. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Getting rid of the concrete pile

I have finished removing the pile of carpet and concrete that was uncovered in the fire lane during the recent bush hog operations that was a prelude to fire lane mowing, which will happen sometime in the future.

I'm still busting up the larger, harder-to-move pieces so I can use them elsewhere, which is either to line an entrance or make an entrance road elsewhere more accessible to two-wheel drive vehicles.

I also rounded up the Corona bottles and returned them to their rightful owner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New moth light, work days

It has been a busy week at the preserve.
I have finished removing the dumped concrete debris from the fire lane. It has been used for the main entrance and for bolstering the entrance road at another preserve that has some issues from truck traffic.
Meanwhile, the First Street gate was the first test for my new moth light set up. I added some new species for the county as well as some new species for the site.
I was able to deal with some of the larger concrete pieces--pieces I could not lift into my truck--by breaking them up with a sledge hammer.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Duke Energy proposes power line through preserve

I just learned today that Duke Energy wants to get approval to construct a 230 kilovolt power line whose route would include sections of the north and south tracts of Lake Blue Scrub.
The map I saw today depicts a route along the southern fire lane of the north tract and the northern fire lane of the south tract. The latter runs through the largest patch of Polygonella basiramia, an endangered species, that I know of at the site.
The concern is that this will set a precedent for similar facilities in other conservation lands and could be a slippery slope for further encroachments.
For Duke, it looks as though this an easy out. The other clear corridor would run through CSX property. CSX is known to be a tough negotiator on any property deal.
This proposal is still in the preliminary stages and I expect there will be public meetings.
At one time these facilities received planning review, but no longer.
Once word gets out about this proposal, expect a fight.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Concrete & Glass

I went to the preserve over the weekend with a goal of culling some of the Ceasarweed, but got distracted with the work next to the fire lane near the First Avenue gate.
I ended up digging up a large amount of concrete debris as well as some carpet and other household trash and related debris.
I did pile up some Ceasarweed and found another batch of Corona beer bottles.
While I was tossing the bottles into the edge of the fire lane I was approached by one of the neighbors.
He told me the bottles were coming from weekend parties held by his neighbors.
Meanwhile, while I was excavating the debris I encountered another Eastern Glass
Snake Lizard, minus part of its tail tip, which will generate. It stayed for a few moments before disappearing into the surrounding habitat.  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bad grass among the good grass

I began tackling a patch of cogon grass that I reported a couple of years ago but was apparently never treated.
I flagged the area so long ago that my original flag has faded from sunlight exposure.
Another flag at the former edge of the fire lane was recently mowed after a member in good standing of the Confederate Bushhog Operators Association.
The only plants that have died appear to have died of old age rather than herbicide.
The grass has been spreading slowly among the wiregrass and other native grasses, saw palmetto and sand pine.
The  walk into the cogon grass area began auspiciously.
A great purple hairstreak alit on a saw palmetto leaf. This was the first one I've seen here and one of the few I've seen in Polk. Despite the fact that its host plant is mistletoe, which is common, these butterflies are not that common.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Bushhogging, trashing and questions

The fire lane was recently widened for some reason, but the old fire lane was left partially unmowed for some reason.
The bushhogging exposed some additional trash, with which I filled my truck bed today.

I found the bushhogging had been more extensive than in the past, including some of the internal trails. Fortunately it occurred after the flowering season, so none of the endangered species were affected.

The mowing took out a good chunk of palmettos in the northwest corner, but fortunately missed a patch of Nolina brittonia that grows there that I didn't discover until a few years after I did the original plant survey.

What's a little mysterious is why a strip of tall grass was left in the middle of parts of the fire lane. seemingly defeating the purpose of the buffer.

I'll have to inquire with FWC to see what's planned.