The volunteers of the Jarvis Migratory Bird Sanctuary in Chicago's Lincoln Park are dedicated to maintaining, improving and creating a nature area on Chicago's lakefront. We hope to enhance this Sanctuary so that it can be home to many native species of plants and animals that would otherwise be missing from this urban environment. We also want to provide essential habitat for migrating birds to rest and feed in during their journeys. We look to diverse natural areas for our inspiration, and try to bring some of that diversity to this microcosm of nature in Chicago.
|This project is sponsored by the Lake View Citizens Council in cooperation with the Chicago Park District.|
Chicago Park District site stewards received a document that is to be the standard format for all natural area plans. In fact, on Friday Februaty 3rd 2012, Charlotte and I attended a meeting with Zhanna Yermakov and Jason Steger of the CPD regarding setting a timetable for the completion of this document. If you read on, you'll see that it's rather large, based on the Table of Contents. In fact, we covered everything except for Chapter 8, the management chapter, which we'll go through at another meeting within the next two weeks.
First, the field trip planned for May 6th was postponed. Perhaps we can try again on May 20th to get to Warren Woods and Sarrett Nature Center.
Next, our schedule has changed again, this time because of plant availability. We thought the trees and shrubs weren't going to be available until June and July, but it turns out the forbs aren't going to be available until June, and the trees are ready now, so that means we get to start planting trees first. Actually, that makes sense for our planting plans; we were going to hold off on planting the understory in the areas where we're putting the trees until late June or July; now we can do that sooner.
Three separate items:
First, how about a field trip Sunday May 6th? I'm not certain with the our unusual weather that we'll catch all the ephemerals that should normally be blooming this time of year, but it will undoubtedly be interesting in any case. Our destination will be Berrien county in southeast Michigan. Specifically, a site along the lakefront, and also Warren Woods, which is inland.
Phil King has been birding at Jarvis for 12 years. Here are all his sightings: R=rare
HERONS, ETC. Great Blue, Green, Black-Crowned Night, Bittern.
GULLS. Ring-Billed, Herring.
DUCKS. Mallard, Wood, Gadwall, Blue-Winged Teal.
SHOREBIRDS. Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Woodcock.
RAILS, ETC. Virginia, Sora.
RAPTORS. Turkey Vulture, Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Kestrel.
OWLS. Great-Horned, Long-Eared.
We may be seeing some heavy equipment working inside the fenced area at the Sanctuary soon. I met with 2 of the District's plumbers today, to discuss fixing some of the "lawn hydrants" inside, so that we'll have a source of water for the trees that we'll be planting this summer in the northeast corner. It turns out that to either install new ones, or maybe to repair existing ones, they'll need to do some excavation with heavy equipment. And they'll also need to have the areas accessible for this equipment.
I'm just jotting a brief note to mention some unusual sightings made by myself and others recently. Aside from the fact that people have been seeing a Cooper's hawk this winter, there's also been a peregrine falcon around, both of which have been more than a bit disturbed by the presence of a great horned owl. Along with the crows, they've been pretty vocal about it. So keep your eyes and ears open for them if you visit Jarvis this winter.
At our workday last Saturday (Jan 28th) we noticed that snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) were up already and in bud, and scilla AKA Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) leaves were also appearing. Both of these species are common ornamentals and very early bloomers, but are really "pretty weeds" in a natural area like the Sanctuary. What is unusual is that this is at least a month before we usually see them appear.
I didn't think about it at the time, because we were mostly working in a different area, but there is one native plant that isn't far behind these two in making it's first appearance each spring and that's skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus).
The seed we ordered through the CPD has arrived, so it's time to start preparing and seeding Barry Burton's Grove and the new fenced off area at the northwest corner. At the Saturday March 12th workday, assuming we're relatively snow-free, we'll start by preparing these areas. While the west side doesn't need much prep work, that's not the case with the Grove. The turf grass there was herbicided last fall. The thatch that remains needs to be removed so that the seed we sow can come in contact with the soil.
As I just took my tests for renewing my applicator licenses yesterday, I thought I'd write a few notes that might be useful to any readers who might be planning to take herbicide license tests at the Illinois Department of Agriculture on Bethany Road. They say DeKalb, but Google says Sycamore. No matter, it's not hard to find either way. There is a sign on Bethany Road just east of Route 23 pointing you to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, and a sign in the parking lot.
We met the truck from Spence Restoration Nursery at Jarvis today and unloaded over 1700 plants. Most of them are destined for the marsh, a few for the ponds, and a few others for other locations. A Peoples Energy grant through the Nature Conservancy paid for most of them, with the Chicago Park District picking up the tab for the rest. So bring your trowels and tall rubber boots (or even waders) if you have them, and let's get these guys planted. This is the beginning of a whole new marsh...
We had a meeting today about future work at Barry Burton's Grove. As you may or may not know, this area, between the north fence and Addison Drive is now being managed as part of the nature area. Charlotte, Cathey and I met with Zhanna Yermikov (Natural Areas Manager) and Becky Schillo (Volunteer Coordinator) of the CPD along with David Wachtel and Jason from Aramark.