Thursday, May 9, 2013

A bit of history

The sign at RPE Wetland. It explains what took place here and it should probably be updated but at least we know it started in 2002.  Before that, it was just mown grass like the rest of the park.

This was the first planting that took place then with the Task Force to Bring Back the Don.  Unfortunately, the task force is no longer in function but this wetland is one of its legacies.
This is pretty much the same area as it looks like now. I found this website which gives a good account of the history including when the new wetland was inaugurated.

One of the newest invasives we've had to deal with the last couple of years is galium aparine, commonly known as bedstraw because in bygone days they were dried and used as straw for stuffing mattresses. They are covered with small hairs that hook and cling like velcro. Unfortunately, it can be extremely invasive, take over a whole area and it's like walking on a carpet. When we first encountered this last year, we were literally tripping over it everywhere and it was hard to walk around the site to do our work. We ended up rolling it away as you would roll a carpet.

 These pictures are from last year, so this year we decided to tackle it early to prevent it to spread like this.

There is not a lot of garlic mustard on the site itself but the area outside the fence has a lot of it so we worked on removing those in order to prevent it from coming into the site.
Meanwhile, another group was removing stinging nettle on the area we call the island on the site. 
We discovered a bird's nest with 4 eggs in it among the stinging nettle, so we tried to hide it again with leaves and branches to protect it from predators like a raccoon we saw nearby.
Next week, we're supposed to start water monitoring. I'm hoping the water level will be sufficient in the pond as it dries up very quickly.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Back for a new season

Well, it's May 2013 and I'm starting a new season of Stewardship at Riverdale Park East.  Lots of new faces this year and quite a few returning stewards from past years. We started promptly on May 1st this year and the site is still pretty bare.
Riverdale Park East Wetland looking East
Quite a good turnout

 There are a few patches of garlic mustard but not much compared to previous years, so I'm hoping it won't be a big issue this season.
Just a few patches here and there. Last year was pretty bad as you can see here. The picture was taken on May 8, just a week later than this year and the site was literally covered.
However, the stinging nettle is thriving again and I haven't noticed any change from previous years, even though we've been tackling it diligently every year.
Some of the shrubs are in bloom, another advantage of starting so early. I usually don't see the first early flowering.

One of the new stewards almost stepped on this little guy.

For the first time ever, there are ducks in the pond. I have to explain that it's such a small body of water that usually gets dried up by the middle of summer, so I never expect to see any wildlife in it.

 Another cute pic from a previous year. This guy was hanging out on our green box.