Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Landfill Habitat

There is a tremendous amount of habitat at the landfill most would not associate with such a place. There are large tracts of woodlands and swamp most likely totaling over 200 acres. The landfill was built on wetlands much like airports because historically it was the cheapest land to purchase in such large chunks. Most of it was drained but the areas that remain natural still have the tendency to hold water long after the rain has stopped.

Most of the mature woodlands consist of oaks and the typical mix you would expect to find in this part of the country. There are also fragments that consist almost entirely of ash and willows grow thick around the wet edges of roads and canals. The mitigated wetlands along the Outer Loop contain Bald Cypress and Sycamore trees that are starting to grow in size.

Dogwood trees, grapevine, various thistles, and the large Common Sunflower seem to be the plants providing the most food in the fall for the birds. The dogwood trees were denuded of their berries rather quickly and seemed to be the first thing to be eaten by the birds. All summer the goldfinches would fly from thistle to thistle, their undulating flight making them appear like sparks shooting away from a welder at work. Chickadees dangle from sunflower seed heads as they go about searching for food in their noisy manner.

Rustling in the trees overhead can all too quickly be dismissed as the fall foraging or nest building of a squirrel. If we take the time to look however, we may discover something a little less expected.


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