23 September 2014

Plantings Failure at Saddle Creek CSO! Project

There has been an entire growing season associated with the numerous plantings at the CSO! project site on the east side of Westlawn Cemetery.

Because of the importance of an effective growth of the numerous trees and shrubs to replace the vegetation removed for the project, this area was visited to evaluate the status of the plantings.

An informal evaluation was done 22 September of 100 plantings. There was nothing scientific in this evaluation, but it was done strictly for comparative and informational purposes.

The contents were noted for the randomly selected plantings on the upland portion of the project site, east of the former creek. A number was marked on the wooden lathe of the planting, to make certain a feature was not noted twice. None were checked on the lowland, in order to not disturb the Wood Ducks present in the water of the stormwater overflow sites.

A majority of the plantings did not contain any suitable plant growth, as intended. The contents observed were grouped into four basic categories:

  • Weeds of various sorts (39 of 100, so 39%)
  • Empty, including cobwebs and barren twigs (36%)
  • Oak sapling, most of which were less than 6 inches in height (24%); there was only one sapling with any ample growth and it seemed to be only about one foot in height
  • Miscellaneous, which was one tube that contained an active wasp hive (1%)

A lot of Omaha money and time was spent on getting these plantings in place. Funding was also provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Obviously the effort was not a success, based upon this brief evaluation.

Planting Contents

This is a list of the results:

Planting Number: Details
1: empty
2: weeds
3: weeds - clover
4: empty
5: tiny oak
6: empty - cobwebs
7: tiny oak
8: weeds
9: empty
10: weeds - grass
11: weeds - grass
12: weeds, cobwebs
13: weeds - grass
14: empty
15: weeds, cobwebs
16: tiny oak
17: weeds - grass
18: empty - cobwebs
19: tiny oak
20: weeds - grass
21: weed - podweed
22: wasp hive with the insects present
23: tiny oak
24: tiny oak
25: empty
26: empty (barren twig)
27: tiny oak
28: tiny oak
29: empty
30: weed
31: oak, about 1 foot height
32: empty
33: weed - podweed
34: empty (barren twig)
35: weed
36: tiny oak
37: weeds
38: empty
39: empty
40: empty
41: empty
42: weeds
43: empty
44: weeds
45: empty
46: tiny oak
47: empty
48: empty
49: tiny oak
50: tiny oak

51: tiny oak
52: empty
53: tiny oak
54: empty
55: weeds
56: weeds - grass
57: empty
58: empty
59: empty
60: weeds - grass
61: weeds
62: weeds
63: small oak
64: empty
65: small oak
66: small oak
67: empty
68: empty
69: weeds - grass
70: tiny oak
71: weeds - grass
72: weeds - grass
73: weeds - grass
74: weeds - grass
75: weeds - grass
76: weeds - grass
77: weeds - grass
78: weeds - miscellaneous
79: weeds
80: weeds
81: weeds
82: weeds
83: small oak
84: empty
85: empty
86: tiny oak
87: weeds
88: empty
89: empty
90: small oak
91: empty
92: weeds
93: empty
94: tiny oak
95: tiny oak
96: empty
97: weed - ragweed
98: weeds - grass
99: empty
100: empty

Larger trees are doing well at the north end of this portion of the Saddle Creek project site.

Examples of vegetative conditions at the project site, especially indicating instances of weeds growing where they should be other plants sprouting.

Bird Variety

While working, a list of the birds seen and heard was also kept, and along the drainage way, on the east side if the cemetery, were these nineteen species: Wood Duck, Mallard, Cooper's Hawk, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Least Flycatcher, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Marsh Wren, Eastern Bluebird, American Robin, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch.

18 September 2014

Birdly Migration Wonders About Omaha

Autumn continues its progression and new wonders of Missouri Valley migration are now occurring.

The evenings of 16-17 September have been especially enjoyable for the number of chimney swifts and common nighthawks seen.

On both of the last two evenings, two huge roosts of swifts have been visited. There were about 1500 swifts the first night in the west Mercer Park area. These birds have previously used this structure, but the number observed is the single greatest count for birds at an autumn roost for Omaha.

On Wednesday evening, a different structure in the Blackstone district once again had about 1400 swifts, a number similar to the same date in 2013.

A few nighthawks were seen Tuesday, but on Wednesday were constantly overhead from Dundee to Cathedral, and the Joslyn and Blackstone neighborhoods. There were hundreds of birds kettling and silently bugging overhead.

There was an ample supply of bugs available. One large swarm in the neighborhood was obvious earlier in the neighborhood, and lesser bunches could be seen elsewhere during my bicycling about looking for chimneys being used by roosting swifts.

It's a fine evening when the antics of a multitude of swifts can be found and observed as they gather, circle about and then dart into their overnight shelter!