Friday, June 27, 2014

On a quest to find the Urban Bobolink (Ottawa)

As mentioned in a previous post, I had read about sightings of bobolinks by Dave Collyer from an online post of Manor Park News in 2006 and I was wondering if it was still around.  Pretty amazing sighting of this grassland bird in a more urban setting if it is still here!

I thought I heard it on Monday in the field between the Rockcliffe Parkway and Sandridge Road (there's a path down the middle of the field for dogwalkers).  Using my binoculars I spotted a black bird with unusual markings in the top of a dead tree on the edge of the field close to Sandridge and Placel but it was a faint shadowed view through my binocular lens. I had no camera that day to take a picture and confirm the sighting.  

I went out with my camera today and couldn't find it in that field.  Was wondering if it was in another field close by (or perhaps up at the old Rockcliffe Base?) so I went to the Airport-Marina Road and I ended up finding it in a narrow strip between the Aviation Pathway and the Rockcliffe Airport fence line.



Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wildflower Median conversions (California)

Here's a median conversion at University of California (Davis).  The lawn was converted first to wildflowers but then converted again to a more landscaped native perennial garden.  Or perhaps different parts of the median conversion were done with different plants?  From the Public Gardens Blog:
The first project is the conversion of the La Rue road median strip from turf to mulch and shrubs.  The turf represents a 1950’s-era aesthetic, and requires a high frequency of maintenance (see photo above).  The safety of the workers maintaining a turf area in the middle of a busy road is also a concern.  The redesigned median will be designed and built by the Campus Planning and Community Resources team, leveraging the strengths of the Arboretum, Putah Creek Riparian Reserve, Grounds, Agricultural Services, and Landscape Services. 
The Arboretum will be working with Skip Mezger, Campus Landscape Architect, to design the median using drought-tolerant shrubs and grasses.  These plants require lower water use, are more aesthetic than turf, and require less frequency of maintenance.  Mulch for the project will be developed by chipping tree branches gathered during routine maintenance on campus, and through removal of eucalyptus trees from along Putah Creek, as part of habitat restoration efforts. 
Weed abatement at this site began yesterday and will occur again in 3-4 weeks.   So now, when you see brown patches here, you’ll know that’s a good thing!  The UC Davis Public Garden team is preparing to convert this site!

Read about the entire project here.

Issues with visibility can be a problem with wildflowers in medians as explained in this post by Dry Stone Garden Blog.