Sunday, August 6, 2017

Status report: early August #phenology

This weekend has been a flurry of buckthorn pulling, focusing on the female plants with the rapidly ripening purple berries. We'll get to the male plants after there are no longer berries visible in the area we're clearing. The tractor and a brush grubber chain have been working well on plants up to an inch or more in diameter. We've only stripped off of one fairly small bush so far. I want to limit herbicide use to the poison ivy vines as much as possible, since I haven't figured out a better, safer way of removing that. Then again, I've only just started to read Beyond the War on Invasive Species, A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration. It may offer some more creative solutions for the poison ivy. (I know poison ivy isn't invasive, but it is noxious and I'm looking for techniques that minimize or eliminate exposure to the oils and smoke, or the guilt that would accompany hauling it to the local compost pile.)

Early goldenrod
Early goldenrod
Photo by J. Harrington

On the feeder front,

  • A downy woodpecker has been visiting the oriole/hummingbird feeder
  • Bluebirds are still feeding nestlings, which are now feather covered.
  • Male and female hummingbirds are visiting the nectar feeders
  • Goldfinches must be having a field day with the thistle seeds along road sides

bluebird nestlings hiding from intruder
bluebird nestlings hiding from intruder
Photo by J. Harrington

On the flower front,
  • A few monarch and swallowtail butterflies visit from time to time
  • Bees, multiple species from small to large, are on the bergamot and other flowers
  • Goldenrod, and ragweed, have come into bloom and pollen time. It's the ragweed that makes us sneeze and our noses run.

Elsewhere,
  • The Better Half reports having seen some goose flock training flights
  • I've seen several sandhill crane families in local fields
  • More and more leaves are starting to show colors
  • Sumac seed pods are maroon and ripening or ripened.
  • The first ripe, local, apples should be available by now or within the next few days
The transition from the peak of Summer to the beginning of Autumn seems to have arrived.


August


Silence again. The glorious symphony
Hath need of pause and interval of peace.
Some subtle signal bids all sweet sounds cease,
Save hum of insects’ aimless industry.
Pathetic summer seeks by blazonry
Of color to conceal her swift decrease.
Weak subterfuge! Each mocking day doth fleece
A blossom, and lay bare her poverty.
Poor middle-agèd summer! Vain this show!
Whole fields of golden-rod cannot offset
One meadow with a single violet;
And well the singing thrush and lily know,
Spite of all artifice which her regret
Can deck in splendid guise, their time to go!


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