It was a beautiful day for planting on Saturday, almost shorts weather. There was a good turnout with about a hundred volunteers coming out to help including our local MPP Lisa McLeod. The soil was very wet because of the large amount of rain we have had over the past few weeks. One of the city trucks got stuck in the mud trying to drive over the grass. This year the city provided mulch for around the base of the trees so we will see how that helps them with the rodent problem.
The 440 trees and bushes were in the ground by lunch time. As before it is a real mix of deciduous and conifers. New for this year are Burr Oaks; we received about a dozen of them. I am not entirely sure they were Burr Oaks. The trees are about 6 feet tall and have only a few thick twigs. The twigs are thick with a corky ridged bark. There are few signs of them budding yet so they are a couple of weeks at least behind the maples.
Yesterday afternoon while walking along the top of the berm I noticed a loud rustling among the dead leaves of the 1995 planting. When I got closer I spied a large brown bird with a long tail and its mate close by. It seemed to be deliberately moving the leaf litter about in order to find bugs under the leaves. There were also grackles and robins about but the noise was mostly coming from the brown birds. The other birds had a quieter feeding strategy. After consulting my bird book I believe they were brown thrashers. The pair were quite timid and I couldn't get near them for a good look but they were about the size of a grackle, with a brown back and lighter front.
scilla (escapee by north fence)