Don’t forget to mark your calendars for Saturday, May 9th for our Open House. We’ll open the gates at 9:00 AM and there will be plenty of parking at the turnout just south of
We’ve been guaranteed by Mother Nature that the weather will be perfect for Open House. We sure have been on a weather roller coaster for this past week. It was blowing fifty knots and cold on Sunday; a record high of 80 degrees on Tuesday; and this afternoon is foggy and 57 degrees. The barn swallows are a little confused, but they are nesting just the same. It’s a little difficult to find the bugs in the fog, but all of the swallow pairs have settled on which nests they’ll call home for the next five months. We hope they have better luck this season than last, when the fires interrupted their second set of babies.
We’ve been noticing other impacts from the fires, such as the disappearance of our little buck and our foxes (Mark says he still has foxes at his house…but he has chickens too!) Our theory is that the mountain lion population increased when their habitat burned in the wilderness. Since last fall, we haven’t seen the usual number of smaller animals, such as foxes, skunks and deer. Then, Mark found several mountain lion scat piles near the confluence of Big Creek and Devil’s Creek (see his blog at http://bigcreekblog.ucnrs.org). All together, they contained nine claws and a tooth of a 1-2 year old mountain lion, leading us to believe that a large mountain lion had digested a smaller one. A large male will stalk a smaller male to preserve its territory, but the big cats will also start to eat each other if they run out of the smaller food. We have seen several bobcats – alive, though, and hope that the cats work it out so that there is a rebalancing of the animal populations on the Reserve.
We also recently went up on the bulldozer line on Dolan Ridge to revisit that habitat. It provides a wonderful comparison of burned vs. unburned vegetation. The poppies and lupine in the burned areas are magnificent! At the end of the day, almost 100 species were identified, including 15 new species for the Reserve, with five of those 15 identified as fire followers. Now, the botanists are working on their theories of how these species got to that area; whether they were germinated through fire activity, bull dozer activity, or by some other means. Nevertheless, it is very exciting to find them and to be able to add to the diversity of the Reserve. You can look forward to seeing pictures of the recovering vegetation during our Open House, or hike up there and see it with your own eyes.
We’re looking forward to sharing all of this with you….and more. And yes, the tree frog is still in the toilet. In fact, another male tried to challenge our little guy for this prized location. Our guy won, and the other fellow had to move back out front to the pond. They are still out there singing, so we’re sure to have lots of tadpoles soon!
See you at the Open House!
Terry Hallock and Feynner Arias