Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another Debris Pile

I was scouting for birds for next weekend's Christmas Bird Count--not much there at the moment--when I encountered an old collection of trash that's probably a relic of a homeless camp in the south tract.

I piled everthing together for later collection when I remember to bring  a couple of buckets (bags are impractical in thick woods).

For some reason, various species of sandspurs have become rife in all of the fire lanes. I have to  scrape them from my pants and shoes after each visit. The good news is that Caesar weed is less evident.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Moving The Dumped Trash Anyway

I changed my mind and went out today and retrieved all of the dumped bags I found recently in the fire lane as well as some other material that had been dumped earlier.

The bags appear to contain some old blue tarps, perhaps dumped by a roofing contractor.

This section of the fire lane opposite an empty lot remains the main problem. I also found a tire that was freshly dumped. I put it against the fence in a less visible section. I'll have to wait for an opportunity to dispose of it for free.

In an unrelated note, this has been a good season for sandspurs. I need to clear the main entry path in case I get hikers from Trek Ten or someone else.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dumping Problems Resume

I checked a problem area along the north fire lane and found relatively fresh (I had last checked the location a couple of weeks ago) instance of illegal dumping. It consisted of some plastic bags full of sonme light material, perhaps more plastic.
I didn't disturb them because I don't have any way to legally dispose of that much trash.

The trash appears to coming from over the fence of a vacant lot at 4711 !st Ave (shaded on aerial above) There's a pile of tires in one corner of the lot next to the fence and some of them have been through over the fence and kindly returned. That's a code enforcement violation, but I try not to concern myself with what the neighbors are doing as long as they don't do it to the preserve.

This also the lot where there was a series of fence cuts a while ago.

Oh, yeah, the fire lane needs maintenance.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

More Ridge Color

Thle Garberia, which also has a whitish form, is a lovely flower even when nothing's nectaring on it.

As Garberia blossom,  the sumac is fruiting and its leaves are changing color.

And, of course the Blue Curls are as lovely and delicate as ever.  

Fall Color On My Ridge

It takes a month or so into fall before the colors really become brilliant here.
In addition to the colors, the flowering grasses are striking against the sun.

There are colorful insects to match the foliage, like the Scarlet Skimmer dragonfly.

Meanwhile, Garberia is starting to bloom and attracting insects because little else is bloming.

 The violet flowers contrast with a orange Gulf Fritillary. It also attracted Ocola, Fiery and Long-tailed Skippers.

 Enjoy the photos. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Path Is Clear

I finally made a clear path through the north-south path by clearing a way through the Natal grass.
I will return to widen the path once the winds subside.
I also carried out a load of trash.
In addition, I noticed that the north fire lane is solid Natal grass instead of Guinea grass.
I will investigate the rest of the fire lane later. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Killy Hawk Above The Grass

I've been clearing Natal grass from the north-south trail after work when I had time in recent weeks.
It has been pretty uneventful work, but it's necessary.
I'm usually serenaded by an Eastern towhee or a Northern mockingbird during part of my work, but at dusk tonight I had another voice on the sound track.
I heard an American kestrel's "killy, killy" call and looked up to see its silhouette in the westering sky as it hovered over the scrub.
It then headed to its evening roost.
It occurred to me about whether it would be worth the effort to build  a nesting box and find a place to mount it.
Yay! Another project.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pigment Of Nature's Imagination

I was looking for butterflies and was checking nectar plants and made an interesting discovery.
The flowers on one Blazing Star plant had no pigment, which was rather striking.
I've seen this occasionally, which are known as "sporting plants" as recounted in Darwin's writings on evolution.
I also checked to see whether the Giant Orchids had emerged this year. They have not. I haven't seen them in a few years. Maybe next year.

The Natal grass continues to be rife and once weather cools down, I'll clear it from the main path.

I've found some new trash piles and will deal with them as I have time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cogon Grass On The Fringe

There has been a recurring problem with cogon grass, particularly on the west side of the preserve.
It is likely there will be more problems until something is done to treat the increasingly large area between the CSX tracks and Recker Highway.
It's fairly rife in a growing part of that property.
Meanwhile, I checked on any wind damage. There were a couple of sand pines down, one of which had fallen before the storm.
I chopped them in half to clear the main path.
Sandspurs are becoming common again. I plan to remove them from the main paths.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Blues Have It

Ceraunus Blue butterflies have always been fairly common here.
After the habitat in the north tract was opened with mechanical clearing and prescribed fire, they became  abundant. for a time, but declined following a couple of severe winters.
They're back.
Today I counted 141.
It will be interesting to see if that number grows by fall.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Keeping the path clear

I've been working steadily when I have time to remove Natal grass from the north-south path through the heart of the scrub area.

This corridor is a main route for getting around and is also at the center of the main population of Scrub blazing star.

Meanwhile, I also made a temporary fix to the fence that was cut adjacent to the TECO property.

Busting the monoliths

I have known for several years that there were concrete pieces in the pile where the railroad ties had been dumped on the north fire lane by the tracks.

Recently I decided to explore what to do about removing them.
It was obvious that these concrete monoliths were much too heavy to move singlehandedly.
So, what to do?

I'm thinking this calls for a sledge hammer and perhaps some other tools to bust these pieces into smaller, but usable pieces.
It occurs to me the smaller pieces might be ideal for boundaries for a driveway.

It took some time, but several hours and one sledge hammer handle later, the work is done.
Now I have to haul out the debris.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring in the Scrub

I went out today looking for color and was not disappointed.

The most obvious was the pawpaws, which have been out for a few weeks, but dayflower, alicia, roseling and scrub lupine are adding to the show.

I'm sure other habitats offer similar delights.

Get outdoors.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Blooms and butterflies

Spring may be arriving a bit early at the preserve.
Today I saw the first Scrub Lupine flowers of the year and saw the promise of future blooms in the buds of other plants, including the young volunteer plant, I saw a bloom today on Britton's beargrass,which seems a bit early.

Meanwhile, I was curious whether it was an early spring for butterflies, too. Most of the sightings today were Little Yellows and Common Buckeyes,but I did find a couple of Northern Cloudywings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fence vandalism continues

I stopped by yesterday afternoon to do a quck check on things.

The lumber brought in for the "fort" had been removed.

Some of the fence repairs I had made last week had been undone. The top barbed wire strand had been cut and the hog wire wsa bent over to allow access. I'm out of barbed wire, but still have some of the other fence available.I may use it.

Some kids stopped by to say the guy across the street was responsible, but I haven't seen anyone personally.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fence cuts and firewood

Things have gotten strange again.

I talked to a kid who wanted some wood for a back yard fire. so I said OK. That was yesterday, But today when I checked back I discovered there had been some wholesale wood removal next to the northern fire lane and there was fence damage from people climbing the fence at another location across a vacant lot where some other problems had occurred.

This may require some law enforcement intervention is this continues.

On the plus side, the wood gathering did reveal some trash piles. I removed three bags of trash and some other debris.

Also, yesterday I found some 4x4s that some of the neighborhood kids had brought in to make a fort. I told one of the other kids that this was not allowed,

I'll need to keep an eye on things.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Quiet winter so far

I went out today looking for the typical post-holiday mischief.

I didn't see any problems today, but didn't check everywhere.

I spent most of the time attacking one small, I think, trash pile. I'll have to come back with a pick.