Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Four days after the burn. 1/10" rain on the evening of the second day.

Becker, Blue and I just got back from our morning walk. Now that some of the ash overlay has blown off or been watered in, I can see many more vole trails. I can even see our mowed paths from two years ago! It's almost a bit frightening how long and how easily the prairie remembers our influence....

I'm already seeing a few spikes of green grass pushing up. While it stirs my winter-tired, spring-hungry heart to see them, I'm trying to keep my joy within bounds - it's probably brome, a cool season, non-native grass, that I'm seeing!

The burn seems to have attracted two species of birds to it, in particular. I saw 5 or 6 flickers foraging, as well as several killdeer. Found a couple flicker breast feathers on the ground, too. I'm not sure what that was all about, as I saw no signs of a body nearby. Maybe a squabble over some particularly tasty tidbit two birds had found at the same time.

Mama bluebird had a beak-full of dried grasses, perched in the top of an osage orange, so they've found some sort of nesting site already. Which reminds me that I need to get the new nesting boxes up.

On a related note, as I walked through the draw with the boys, I saw both hawks sitting side by side in the big cottonwood in our neighbor's pasture. One is much spookier than the other and flew off almost as soon as I saw them, but the other stayed put through our entire walk. I think that may be the female, as it seems a little larger than the other one. I hope so. Any day now, I hope to see her sitting solidly in the nest, keeping eggs warm!


Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What a variety of birds you've seen already. I love how killdeer run. They're so cute with those long legs. As a kid I got really good a locating their nests so I could check on the progress of the eggs. No touching! The "chicks" (don't know what a baby killdeer is called) are even cuter. No killdeer in town though. They are made for the open prairie.

Gaia Gardener: said...

The last time we burned out back, we had a killdeer nest in the newly burned area. I find I'm keeping my fingers crossed that another one will settle in this year!