Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Walk in the Woods, part two

Diane and a 200-year-old oak.

Spicer Creek's water levels are very low.

Bird motel.

Another display of the low water levels of Spicer Creek.
Yesterday, Diane, Roy, Ron, and I went for another walk along Spicer Creek. This time, the weather was cooperative. It was warm and sunny. Last week, it rained so I couldn't take any photographs. Yesterday, I carried a small notebook and a pencil and a camera. 

It is fun to explore with Diane, Roy, and Ron. Each one of them has a different expertise. Roy knows a lot about trees. Ron knows a lot about fish and animals. Diane just finished a class in ornithology, and it was delightful to have her share her new found knowledge of birds.

Here are a few things that we discovered:

  • You can find phragmite in and around the creek. Phragmite is an invasive species and it crowds out native species, such as cat tails. It is a grass species, and it is not native to Western New York. Phragmite will actually grow through blacktop. It is hard to get rid of phragmite.
  • The water level in Spicer Creek is dangerously low. We have not had enough rainfall here lately.
  • The types of fish that can be found in Grand Island's creeks include emerald shiners (generally a small, silvery fish), chubs (freshwater fish of the carp family), and northern pike. Also crawfish can be found in the creeks. It appears that these crawfish may not be such an awesome delicacy, even if they are related to lobsters. I was told that eating these little crawfish was "way too much work." Since I believe that eating should be pleasure and not work, I would be unlikely to do a taste test on the crawfish.
  • Trees that we found near the creek included wild cherry, crab apple, beech, shagbark hickory, white oak, pin oak, ash, and black cherry. We found one elm tree which had, unfortunately, passed away. We found one very majestic oak tree that Roy guessed was about two hundred years old. 
  •  Ron pointed out evidence of animals in the area: deer, coyotes, and raccoons. We found a deceased deer while we were walking. Ron figured, from looking at the animal's skeleton, that it was a female under three years of age. It was killed, either by humans or by a coyote.
  • Common birds include mallard ducks, song sparrows, green herons, night herons. Diane commented on the songs that the birds were producing. She also pointed out the footprints that the birds made in the mud along the very low creek.
  • Last but not least. Foreign objects near the creek... I found 42 golf balls. Apparently, people are having fun practicing their golf shots. Since golf balls are ending up in the woods, it appears that the golfers need more practice.

trout lilies, a common wild flower near the creek.
More later...


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