Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Field Visit to a Small and Fragmented Nature Preserve

Bloodroot after last night's tomato seedling destroying hail storm.
All the other wildflowers on the preserve looked great. Could it have been the storm or a careless raccoon on her way to the brook that bent these petals? Don't know, but this photo gives me the chance to complain about my decapitated tomato seedlings (would've been worse if I hadn't run out in my pajamas to grab the neglected seedling tray). Even better, this photo gives me the chance to celebrate the wildflowers of a very small nature preserve that needs alot of tender attention.

Wednesday Morning Field Work:
I spooked a pair of wood ducks out of a gnarly bend in a tributary to Stony Brook. I found two bloodroots in a patch of toothwort, mayapple, and trout lily. In fact, the trail was nearly obscured by wildflowers. I heard a pileated woodpecker and nuthatches; field sparrows and a mockingbird.

These are some of the joys of being a land steward doing field work--out of a morass of multiflora rose arise two spectacular ducks that I have driven miles to peer at through binoculars. Wow, here they are, 20 feet away. There they go.

I think I blacked out with excitement. Not even sure how far away they flew.

Tuesday Field Work:
Tuesday morning a volunteer said, "Good luck, guys." I opened my mouth and was about to thank her. I realized she was addressing the wildflowers we had just rescued from a recently built trail on one of our nature preserves. The wildflowers were bound for a nature preserve bereft of an herb layer.

Tuesday afternoon a volunteer said, "I'm an optimistic person." I agreed that I too was a an optimist. "Have to be, doing working like this."

Wood ducks, wildflowers, good people who are good company to fellow man & woman & flora... they are all right with me. They make optimism the only path. See you on the trail.

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