Saturday, June 14, 2008

I have done a spectacular job over the last two nights, if I do say so myself:

(That's a mountain of garlic mustard from the once-mighty patch at the north end. It may not take me all summer after all.) This gets me out of pollinator monitoring for the rest of the season, okay?
This spider is guarding its egg sac in the equipment box:

To round out my evening, I scored a beaver near Pottery Road. It swam around a bit, got out and explored the bank, then checked out that little inlet just north of the bridge. It didn't like what it found, and swam off downriver again.

Some day I'll bag a beaver when there's enough light for a picture.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A lovely feather.

I was complaining the other night that I hadn't seen a rabbit yet this year. Naturally, I saw one on my way home, and now they're everywhere I look. No sign of a muskrat at the pond yet, but there are ducks and frogs, and the blue flags are always worth a look:
Tonight I made a start on a giant patch of garlic mustard near the north end of the site. Wow, there's my summer's work cut out for me right there. It certainly likes that location! Some of the plants are more like shrubs. At least they're easy to pull when they're that size, and you quickly have a good pile to show for your efforts.
For a while I couldn't figure out what all the rustling was nearby as I worked. Then a tiny baby bunny appeared (sorry, much too small and cute to be called a rabbit), and then another and another until there was a whole flock of them bouncing around. They were very small and not too skilled at jumping yet, but they dashed back and forth and hid under burdock leaves while I tried not to think about hawks, foxes and snapping turtles. Eventually Mama Rabbit showed herself. It's nice when the birds and animals get used to you and just go about their business while you work. I sang Tools Was a Baby Rabbit for them. Everybody likes John Denver.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I was out of town last Wednesday but I managed to make it to Beechwood a couple of times later in the week. I do try to put in my hours somehow! The group removed some honeysuckle and Japanese knotweed while I was away, I believe, and I continued the assault on garlic mustard. It's started to go to seed, so it's crunch time. (By the way, I can report that garlic mustard is spreading through the Owen Sound area as well. It's everywhere.)

During one of my wetland visits there was a turkey vulture circling over the valley; I tried to look alive at all times. I also saw one of our most elegant birds, a cedar waxwing:

Before reaching the wetland I set down my bag to pull out my camera and happened to witness a violent struggle taking place nearby. A daring jumping spider (that's really its name!) had seized a caterpillar. The victim flailed around desperately but it was no match for the spider, which gave a couple of mighty tugs and dragged it off for dinner. By the time my camera was operational this was all I could capture:

Scene from the mulch pile:

Meanwhile, back at the equipment box, that yellow jacket/wasp is still hard at work, but it doesn't seem to be making much progress. I also surprised a whole mess of flying ants. They didn't appreciate the light of day, and soon disappeared.