Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Invasives old and new

After the bedstraw last year, we now have a new invasive. It's called Avens (could be Yellow Avens or Wood Avens we're not sure).  Nevertheless, the site is now covered with it.  In addition, it's quite hard to pull by hand, so we are using trowels.  It grows in shady places, so the back of the site is certainly ideal for it unfortunately.

We also had to start digging out some Dog Strangling Vine (DSV) that starts to appear in small patches. The site is usually almost clear of it and we want to keep it that way.

 There has been a bit of vandalism as well last week, somebody thought it would be fun to break a post of the fence and throw it on the site. Or maybe there was a fight or something. Who knows what goes on in the wood behind the site.

We can now do water monitoring on a regular basis, there's plenty of water in the pond. We'll see how things are when we get to July.

Blue Flag Iris

 And just when we thought we got rid of garlic mustard, there's some new shoots coming out that will keep us busy next season.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Back to my old site

This week, we visited Riverdale Farm Ponds which was my own site from 2006 to 2009.  I had only been back here very occasionally in the past few years. The vegetation has grown tremendously since then but I can see that the work we did back then on garlic mustard has paid off. It's still around but much less so than before. I find it quite amazing since there hasn't been a regular stewardship team here for at least two years.

 However, there is a lot of stinging nettle especially on the paths where visitors walk along on the site.  We removed a lot of it last night.

The picture is a bit out of focus but it shows the extent of the stinging nettle on the site.  Plus there was quite a bit of garlic mustard right in the middle of it, but I had to clear the nettle before getting to it.

Some of the new stewards doing a great job at clearing the path.
Last week, the Don got flooded overnight after a torrential rainfall and the water level in the ponds is significantly higher. It could also be that there is a drainage problem and that the drain is plugged up.  Nevertheless, areas that are usually pretty dry are now covered in water.

One of the observation decks is completely covered in water.

I also noticed the blue-flag irises that we planted a few years ago and they are doing really well. This planting was one of my favorite activities.
The team of stewards after removing a lot of the invasives.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Four weeks already

A couple of weeks ago, we started doing water monitoring of the pond.  We tested dissolved oxygen, phosphate and PH levels. We'll try to keep on doing it every two weeks on average throughout the summer.
The water level is fine now but usually by mid-July, the pond is pretty much dried up.
New stewards working on Garlic Mustard. They alternate between Riverdale Park East and the Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat (HBBH) site every couple of weeks. It's a nice way to get involved with the stewardship program.
Like everywhere else in the Don, Garlic Mustard is thriving in Riverdale Park.  Luckily, we didn't have much on the site itself this year, this patch is in the woods outside of the site.  
 On our visit last week, we saw a Northern Oriole. It's a bit far on this picture but we can see it's bright yellow colour.
The stewards have been doing a great job on the bedstraw and we pretty much got rid of most of it.