Thursday, September 30, 2010

Good and bad in the pines

I was checking one of the longleaf pine areas and discovered we still have a small area where cogon grass persists. I've been pulling it, but proably not getting the entire root. I also haven't visited recently. There were 15 or 20 plants. I bagged them and carried it home.

However, the check also led me to the discovery of an owl pellet at the base of one of the pines. It's probably from the Great Horned Owl I see hunting occasionally at dusk.

I recently saw a spot in the sand where some raptor had come down on something.

The place still has fun things to see. I'm happy.


I received news this week that a landscape and pile burn will be permitted by our friends at the Florida Division of Forestry. I guess the prep work paid off.

I was rereading parts of the paper Eric Menges and Doria Gordon wrote on fire management and its various artificial substitutes today. I think the evidence is clear fire has no real substitute in the long run.

The gyrotracking probably had to happen because of the thickness of the forest and the proximity of the residences, though I might have suggested a little more restraint to leave habitat islands and snags for local wildlife.

Anyway, the burn is tentatively scheduled sometime in October, depending on weather. The wind has to be right to keep the smoke away from the neighbors as much as possible.

The residents will receive letters, but I'm trying to make personal contact to make sure everyone knows about it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cleaning and clearing habitat

We had a good work day Saturday. A handful of Ridge Rangers were reinforced by a group of Girl Scouts. the area around the lupine patches were cleared of trees, shrubs and weeds.

We also continued with the removal of sandspurs and Natal grass.

Later in the day I came back to attack the buried trash that's becoming visible along the north fire lane. I hauled out two bags of trash and a couple of buckets of recyclables.

I went out again Sunday. I'll have more on that visit later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dulling the sandspurs

I don't like sandspurs, even though they're a beach sedge that you'd expect here. Today I went ona my annual eradication campaign along the main path between the gate and the first lupine patch.

We've got a work day Saturday and it seemed an opportune time to do something about them so noone else had to deal with them, either. I filled three bags.

Yesterday I did some spot trash pickup in some old piles I found around the lupine patch and in the fire lane.

There are a number of small piles of garbage, much of it composed of broken glass and various household debris that I know about but never dealt with because they were a minor problem compared to the larger piles. Now I can work on them as I get to them.

It's nice to walk through a natural area without having to see the glint of pieces of broken beer bottles, I think.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The fire some time

I received a call today about a meeting this week between FWC and DOF folks about a possible landscape burn in parts of the north tract.

The wet late summer is a plus. We have a La Nina system building, I've heard, which could mean a dryer-than-normal winter and spring. Snoooze and you lose. It would be instructive to see the result and get rid of the piles, too.

It may requre some PR with the neighbors to keep them informed and to make sure no one has any respiratory problems.

Nevertheless, it will be exciting to see if any dormant seed banks are revived. It might help the beetle survey next year or in some future year.

Finally, I wonder if there's really much undiscovered trash out there.