Friday, June 29, 2007

Wanted: a wider fire lane

One of my goals this year is to widen some sections of the fire lane. It was widened when the land was fenced five years ago, but plant succession, growing seasons and incomplete grubbing being what they are, the trees are marching back to where they came from. I may some volunteer help this fall. If I don't, I'll do it myself. I need the exercise to work off the weight I gained recently. Besides, it will make it easier to get to some of the trash piles. The only problem is I don't have anyplace to put the plant debris, which will be considerable. I'll get back to the terraforming, too, when things cool down.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Musta been a helluva party

After I finished retrieving the last of the Sand Skink boards on Sunday, I turned my attention to a pile of litter that I had encountered when I was setting up my transects. I took out eight bags of rusty cans--looked like large juice cans or some such--and an equally large cache of what appeared to be gin bottles, with a few beer bottles mixed in. I'll go back for the rest this week. It was impressive.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My companion, the fox

There are a few dependable species of wildlife I find in the preserve. Most of them are birds. There's a family of Eastern towhees, some mockingbirds, a brown thrasher and some Carolina wrens here in summer. The rest of the time it's whatever the migration winds bring, from cedar waxwings and pine warblers to a whip-poor-will or bald eagle. Last night I saw chimney swifts.

There is also a grey fox. It is half -hidden by the palmettos in the image above. I think there is only one, but I can't be sure. I see it usually in the same area of the south tract. When I was cutting a trail it barked at me. Yesterday when I was picking up Sand Skink cover boards I flushed it from wherever it was resting in the palmettos. It stood about 50 feet away and looked at me warily. I said hello and moved on. Maybe we undersand each other and will continue to keep our distance.

I wonder if the fox is responsible for all of the holes I see in that section. They aren't hog rooting disturbances, they are intentional digging at scattered locations. It is very odd. I wonder if the drought has made it harder to find food and something is desperate. I wonder if that's the reason some of the boards were overturned. It's a mystery.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer has arrived

The summer equinox is upon us. Thunderheads are forming on the horizon, water streams down my back, Bonamia is blooming and Liatris will be blooming soon. I need to retrieve the Sand Skink cover boards, which I will give to Polk County Environmental Lands for their surveys.

I need to resume trash pickup in the windrows. There are several bagfuls awaiting my attention. At some point I need to resume my terraforming project, which will bury the emerging Momordica that is taking over one my creations.

I'll get some much-neeed exercise and perhaps lose some weight.

Removing the boards

I've been hampered by afternoon showers in retrieving the last of the Sand Skink cover boards from this year's survey. Maybe this afternoon will be better.

They will be put to a good use. I'm turning them over to the Polk County Environmental Lands Program.

IDing moths, one at a time

I posted a photo of one of my moths and got a response from Bug Guide. It is a common scrub species, I was told. The one I couldn't photograph, which was striking, has been ID'd, too. Don Stillwaugh said it is a White-tipped Black Moth. I need to post more.

Summer camp's over

The tent is gone. So are the people who lived in it. All that was left was a very wet blanket. No one was arrested. I haven't seen them lately. I now have a tent. Maybe I'll take it with me to the Suwanee this fall. It may come in handy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dead gopher tortoise

Today while I was picking up my Sand Skink cover boards, I found the remains of a Gopher Tortoise in the northwest corner of the South Tract. Hard to figure out what happened. The shell wasn't hacked through, it still had all of its fingers and toes and its head. There was a burrow nearby in the fence line that could have been dug by a small tortoise. This is very mysterious. After not having seen live tortoises here during the first four years, I have seen one live tortoise and one dead tortoise, all within about 100 meters of each other. The only other sighting was a tortoise that had been killed and the carcass dumped on the property. The only other Chelonian was a young snapping turtle. This is very odd.