NASA Plumbrook Fieldtrip July 9, 2011
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society
Field trip to NASA Plum Brook
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Leader: John Blakeman
On a 90-degree day 21 birders stepped into prairie restored to pre-European conditions at NASA Plum Brook. John Blakeman, our trip leader, described how Native Americans created prairie habitat with fire. Plum Brook prairies are burned every few years to preserve native species such as Michigan Lily, whorled rosinweed, and many more. The Plum Brook acreage was acquired by the War Department in 1941 for an ordinance works, before farmers regularly used herbicides. The result is a rich seed bank of native plants in the soil. The arsenalís 99 magazines formerly used to house explosives now preserve prairie plant seeds as well as NASA documents. Bird highlights were an Eastern Kingbird harassing a Red-tailed Hawk, many singing Field Sparrows, and a family of Orchard Orioles. We also saw traps for Brown-headed Cowbirds, and learned how cowbirds trapped at Plum Brook helped to preserve Kirtlandís Warbler.
Bird list, 40 species
Red-tailed Hawk being chased by smaller birds
Eastern Wood Pewee
Great Crested Flycatcher
Orchard Oriole with young
NASA Plumbrook birders © Mary Anne Romito
The very rare Michigan Lily. © Marian Kraus
So just how do you keep deer from eating them.
You hang up sacks filled with Coyote fur around the area.
The deer smell the fur and keep on walking
© Mary Anne Romito
John shows us a Red-tailed Hawk feather that just fell off
the bird.© Mary Anne Romito
Deptford Pink © Mary Anne Romito
Tall Green Milkweed © Marian Kraus
Common Milkweed © Mary Anne Romito