Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oct 19, 2014: Erv's Field Notes #73

Mallards fly over the central wetlands. 10/19/14 (Kevin Kane)

Sunday, October 19, 2014. 1:00-2:00 PM. Partly cloudy. Gentle wind from southeast. Temperature 65 degrees F.

I parked in the southwest lot off Harrison Road and walked east and then north on the paved trail leading to the bluff area. About 25 American Coots were feeding in the wetland we refer to as Pond J. Looking the other direction across the west arm of the south lake I spotted a white bird along the shore next to the bluff. With binoculars I could easily see that it was a White Pelican. Flocks of White Pelicans occasionally land in the park, either in the wetlands or the lake. Seeing a long pelican is unusual. Further east along the far eastern shore of the south lake another white bird turned out to be a Great Egret. On the south shore was a much smaller bird; a Belted Kingfisher.

The sandbar willows along the lake shore and around the wetlands are turning a bright yellow and contributing to the fall colors. Further along, I could hear goose music coming from Pond F. This shallow wetland is the last in the north complex that drains into the lake. I estimated about 200 Canada Geese, 25 Mallards, and six Wood Ducks were using the pond. An immature Bald Eagle was perched in a dead tree on the east side of the wetland. As I walked the trail to the bluff area, I counted six Cedar Waxwings in the tall cottonwood trees along the trail. It was great to be out this afternoon.

All along this walk, I noticed Siberian elm saplings invading the prairie. They were especially prevalent along the trail leading up to the bluff. Another invasive plant, wild parsnip is spreading along the west and north shore of the south lake. I and Jim Pease have drafted a vegetation management plan for the park, it includes detailed recommendations for control of invasive plants. The final draft will go to the Parks and Recreation Director in a few days and hopefully will be presented to the Parks Commission in November.

Erv Klaas

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