Friday, December 18, 2009

Barred Owls and Boardwalks

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Construction of the new boardwalk got underway this week just in time for all the stormy weather. Posts from the previous boardwalk had to be removed before construction of the new walk could begin. The crew from Golf Construction seem to be having plenty of fun slogging about in the thick of it to get the job done.

DSCN0801 Rumbling through the Back Woods on the GATOR utility vehicle is not always the best way to catch sight of wildlife. Unless you are satisfied with glimpse of their rear ends dashing away from the awful rattle the gator makes. I startled this beautiful Barred Owl out of a tree as I rumbled under its perch along the trail. Fortunately for me, after swooping right over my head, this owl took a moment to catch a glimpse of me before silently flying off to some other spot in the canopy. What a cutie!! The Barred Owl should be right at home in our little forest, preferring a mature canopy and tolerant of urban areas. The habitat improvements we are making, including opening up the understory, should improve the habitat even more for the  Barred Owls.

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Oh boy, this Saturday December 19th is going to be some down and dirty fun. About a dozen intrepid volunteers have signed up to help us pull up the old plastic Geoblock underlayment from the nature trail. Fortunately for us, it looks like the rain will let up just in time for the work to start tomorrow morning. The chilly temperatures expected might just be perfect for the heavy load of the day, pulling up nearly a 1/3 mile of plastic panels all screwed together and full of  rock.   I am excited to see the trail with out the Geoblock which has been exposed and damaged for a number of years. The short experimental stretch that volunteer Shayna and I pulled up yesterday looks really good. If you are free we could always use a couple of extra hands. Volunteers are meeting in the far southeast parking lot of the museum at 7:45 am, see ya there!! :-)

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