05-08-13 Field Note

Lorinda Hunt shares images of spring research activity, avian arrivals and painted turtles

Posted on 5/8/2013 by Lorinda Bullington

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Last year’s cattail seed crop disperses and makes way for new flowers.
Red-winged blackbirds use the fluffy cattail seeds to build their nests. They construct up to three nests per season, often at ground level amongst the cattails. Below, Gray Comma Butterfly
This week we treated experimental plots with phosphorus fertilizer. This study supplements an ongoing greenhouse experiment and will help us determine the best treatment to help native forbs and grasses compete against invasive oxeye daisy. Native legumes like lupin (pictured), can use the added phosphorus to extract nitrogen from the environment when it is otherwise limited. This gives it a competitive advantage over many other species.
Last week we removed piles of old flagging from birch and alder trees throughout the property. I counted up to twelve painted turtles on the Home Pond log this week. Despite the many predated nests we found last year (see field note from 10/06/12), their population continues to thrive.
We spotted another new species of waterfowl at MPGN; the second so far this spring. This American wigeon (Anas americana) pair frequented home pond twice in the last week.
Pileated woodpeckers (above), Northern flickers (below), and red-naped sapsuckers (not shown) dominated the skies this week. They drilled holes into trees throughout the property