My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Sunday, July 17, 2016

On the Hunt for Hidden Culverts

July 11, 2016

One of my assignments at Moosehorn NWR was to survey the trails in the Wilderness Area for places that needed work to make it easier to travel across them. I was looking for trees that had fallen and blocked the trail or for vegetation that had overgrown the trail. Then, after I was already almost finishing marking the coordinates of the problem places, I got the added assignment of finding and marking the culverts, and also measuring the diameter and length of them. (I think this is because, we are trying to remove the signs of man from the areas now designated as wilderness.) So, while, not as efficient in data gathering as I could have been, I DO get to go hike again on the company dollar.

I loved the tree with theses seed pods - but I couldn't make the camera separate a group of them from their background and had to focus on just one

I hoped to get off to an early start, but, after a few days of rain, the vegetation was dripping, so I waited to leave until around 8:00 AM. This was later than most wildlife would be out so, I didn't see much. But the hermit thrushes were still singing their hauntingly beautiful songs as were the oven birds and white throated sparrows. As I walked down the road to the beginning of Headquarter's Trail, I heard begging babies and watched a female yellow-bellied sapsucker fly across the street. I looked for the nest and saw several holes in a birch tree. This was the first day of sun after several cloudy and often rainy days so everything looked brand new.

I found, way-pointed, and measured 5 culverts. I also found a place where water was coming out of what seemed to be a cement culvert – I couldn't actually see it, but when I stuck a stick behind the water flow, the area resonated as though it was a culvert. And even stranger, there was a metal culvert only a few feet further down the trail.

Yes, there is a culvert running just under the white card and my GPS which is average the way points - it will be tough to get it out from under several trees. 

This culvert was much easier to find

Another lagniappe - pink mushrooms growing on a fallen birch tree 

I was completely enthralled by a rosy maple moth I found.  It was sleeping in a little evening primrose. I took it's picture, then pulled it out and photographed it on my finger, then tucked it back to continue sleeping.  What a cooperative subject. 

Primrose moth (Schinia florida) - must be closely associated with primroses

Moth posing on my thumb - love it's "do"

I decided to come back by refuge roads, a most serendipitous choice, because when I investigated movement in the ditch, I found a porcupine which eventually climbed a tree. Unfortunately, this was around eleven o'clock and the light was very contrasty so he was either in too dark or too bright a place.  I also scared a sunning garter snake who leaped up to crawl away, they just stopped to see if I would come after  it. 

Garter snake

The only fireweed I'd seen -but now there are fields of it

Porcupine climbing tree

And then sitting on a branch

I need help identifying this flower.  It is just now coming into bloom - it is under a foot high and grows in the ditches under the shade of trees

A most impressive evergreen

I came back tired and hungry, having worked over ten miles. Now I only have one more trail over which to hunt for culverts. But I'm diverted from that job by my milkweed which are now ready to transplant. So I've been working eleven to thirteen hours a day for the last five days, to get them in pots. That is going well. BUT the bad news is that I have 35 dishpans full of seedlings and only have the planting mix and pots to transplant about eight of those bins.

And that's my excuse as to why I didn't get my Wednesday blog up.

I'm putting the finishing touches on this blog from the town of Eastport, Maine, where I went to visit a farmer's market.  I have free range eggs, lettuce, beet greens, kale, Swiss chard, and service berries. I planted another six flats of milkweed, leaving only the last four flats to finish this evening.

And tomorrow I plan to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, which is three and a half hours south of me.