Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Scrape

In spite of the heat and humidity (less smog though) I have finally managed to get out into the fields a couple of times over the last 48 hours. Fledgling activity is high. I saw a family of brown thrashers wandering up the lane at the north end of the scrape. I listened for many minutes to a plaintive cry until I was finally able to identify it as that of a fledgling rose-breasted grosbeak. The oriole family at the near edge of the field was out and feeding and the wrens were scolding everywhere. I've never seen so many wrens here before!

Here is one of the many wrens who scolded me just for being alive this morning.

The other notable observation I made was that the scrapers are back scraping the scrape again this year. Every year they take some topsoil out, and pile up more to sift and remove the next year. All they've done so far is move a pile or two and start a couple of new ones.

The scrapers' scraper, sitting in the fields just north of the original scrape.

The topsoil harvest makes this part of the walk more interesting in a number of ways. The two most obvious are the opportunity it creates for the observation of colonizing plant species, i.e, answering the question (differently every year) of which plants will turn up first to cover the newly bared (and rather impoverished) landscape, and the surface it leaves for tracks.

Deer track

We had rain two days ago--fierce downpour, but not enough to make a real difference. The fields were as dry as dust this morning, but there must have been enough dampness when this deer came through to make this nice clear track.

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