It already seems like a distant memory, those humid bug-ruled days of (very) late summer that ended so abruptly. I was in the jewelweed patch that last miserable day, but from what I could see it was a good day for the orthopteran inhabitants. One last chance to live and eat before the cold set in.
If you’re a migrating hummer looking for a place to refuel, the value of good habitat is immeasurable. Hummingbirds can travel about 20 miles a day, so our little forest is a haven in the midst of urban sprawl. An abundance of Spotted Jewelweed is the main draw during fall migration – hummers can both nectar and forage for insects before moving on. Read More
It’s been rough the past few weeks. Unlike the creatures that live in this forest, I’m not well adapted to coping with the three H’s – Heat, Humidity, and Hordes of mosquitos. But after my first trail building adventure, I felt empowered to take on another much needed reroute. This one turned out to be considerably more of a challenge. Steep terrain, invasive plants, drainage problems, and miserable working conditions all conspired to make it harder than expected. And as more and more soil was gouged out of the trailbed by heavy rains, it was apparent the trail needed to be moved soon. Read More
…To take a hike with oneforestfragment this Saturday.
Habitat Restoration in an Urban Forest Fragment Saturday 9/15 1:00 – 2:30
What’s it like to be a hummer in a Jewelweed patch? Buzzing-twittering through a jungle of bright orange nectar horns big as your head… whizzing in pursuit of companions… hanging in space as your tongue curls around sweetness….
Lately, some images have been jiggling around in my mind, trying to make a connection. It started last week when I looked into the red eyes of the male Box turtle in the pic above, and was reminded of something…. As a visual artist, I never stop marveling at the Box turtle’s immensely varied, seemingly random patterns. But male turtles alone have bright red eyes and the deepest orange pigments (usually). There’s only one other class of land animals that regularly sports such brilliant pigments, red eyes, and sexual dichromatism. Read More
Last year I would have said this was one of the luckiest Box turtles around. He’s large, bright colored and outgoing. And though he lives in a small nature preserve in the city, he has an excellent territory with many female turtles around. In my post from 10/16, “Tale of Two Turtles”, I contrasted him with a poor captive boxie that appeared to have been dumped at the LNC. But life has no guarantees, and wild animals have no health care. This past spring, I happened to spot him just emerging from his winter sleep – and it was obvious that something was not right. Read More
One of the biggest impacts we make on a forest for the sake of enjoying it, is to build a trail through it. Of course other animals make trails too, but they’re intentional, utilitarian. Deer trails gently meander the contours of the landscape, to accomodate much stopping to browse along the way. Recreational trails, on the other hand, are like freeways through the forest, encouraging the hiker or biker to keep moving and effectively notice nothing but the trail itself. Unlike freeways or animal trails, recreational trails often don’t go anywhere in particular (except maybe to a waterfall or a view). Worse, they can damage the very landscape they allow us to appreciate.
Just another little neighborhood in Portland OR, where residents have happily given up their lawnmowers. I recently survived a family trip to the Northwest with teens, and despite the incredible natural beauty we hiked through, Portland sticks in my mind. This post may seem like a digression from my usual subjects, but there’s a connection. Every little front and back yard is a fragment too, much like our forest on a tiny scale. It’s potential habitat for butterflies, bees, birds, snakes, lizards, box turtles… or it can just be lawn. Read More
Walking down the trail on one of those dreadfully humid days last week, I was lucky enough to spot this bird. Truthfully, he would have been hard to miss; his attitude of unconcern was striking. I’m pretty sure this is the same Pileated Woodpecker featured in my post from 4/9, “Big Woodpecker” – the one that persuaded me to get a better camera. Read More