Tuesday, January 25, 2011

invasives: AYW Removes Ligustrum and Chinaberry

Austin Youth Works was out yesterday at the Reach helping to further an invasive plant removal project that we began in December at our workday. They cut down a number of ligustrum trees and seedlines, some chinaberry and others, including pyracantha (I think).

We will always be dealing with these non-native invasive species, but removing them now provides a good opportunity to replace them with similar natives. Cherry laurel, for example, is a good native alternative to ligustrum, since it provides winter berries for birds and its evergreen nature is good habitat.

So, you'll see some piles of plants that were cut down until they are removed by the City, and perhaps that the Reach looks a bit different without those evergreens dotting the banks...for now, that is...

Monday, January 3, 2011

birds: We Have an Owl!

The past couple of days, an Eastern Screech Owl has been calling our new owl box home! Check him out:

Look for him poking his head out of the box during the day, and listen for his call at night. It sounds a lot like a horse whinnying. Here's a great recording of their calls.

The box is in a high traffic area, so it's possible the owl might not make this a permanent home and raise a brood with a female, but we can cross our fingers!

Installing more owl boxes around the Reach might be a project to consider in the future. And if you've got the perfect tree, definitely think about installing an owl box at your own home. Here's an article about building and placing nest boxes.