Sunday, April 25, 2010

Predators and a visit to Ben Franklin Wood

Yesterday while inspecting the West Side planting area I saw a couple of rabbits scuttle into the thicket. They must have heard something besides myself because I had been standing still at the time. Moments later another rabbit bounded past at a full gallop through the trees into the thicket. Hot on his tail there was a crash and a crack and a big red dog jumped out of the forest. He was suprised to see me as he had evidently been focused on rabbits. His master called and he bounded back into the wood having evidently forgotten about the rabbits. The dog got me thinking about the predators on the berm. Obviously the dog was a predator although he might not be too successful with rabbits. What other predators were there?

In the insect world there were loads of unidentified spiders crawling through the grass. I had also seen many 12 spotted lady bugs and one spiny soldier bug but what potential large wild predators were there? I have seen scat of a medium sized carnivores but haven't actually seen anything. It would be very exciting to see a coyote, fox, weasel, or shrew as there is evidently a plentiful supply of meadow voles around. I have no doubt that there are red tailed hawks that visit the area but I haven't actually seen them.

After inspecting how the trees are doing (everything is leafing out quickly now) I continued on to Ben Franklin park to see if the Trilliums and Dog Tooth Violets were out yet(they were). Along the way I noticed the evidence that some predator had caught a bird. By the amount of feathers and the size of feathers it was quite a large bird, perhaps a sea gull or a pidgeon. Further on, as I entered the woods I found some more evidence of a successful predator. A squirrel tail was lying on the path, either someone has a full stomach or there is a very sorry looking squirrel running around in Ben Franklin Wood.

In bloom:
common speedwell
shepherd's purse (under oak)
yellow rocket
garlic mustard
forget me not
elderberry (north corner 1995 planting)
cherry ( escapee by north corner)
crabapples (just about to start)
daffodil (escapee by north fence)

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