The holidays are over but The Buckthorn Man, heedless of the wind and weather, is still celebrating before the blazing buckthorn yule with his friends. Fa la la la la, la la la la his chainsaw sings in merry measure, as the buckthorn falls fast as the year passes. Hail the new, ye lads and lasses!
It’s been a great winter season so far for cutting and burning buckthorn, with just enough snow cover and moderate temperatures. I’ve been busy at the Scuppernong Springs Nature Trail and the Ottawa Lake Fen SNA and, thanks to a lot of help from my friends, we’ve freed some oaks from their buckthorn chains and opened up some exciting new vistas. It’s buckthorn cutting season, my favorite time of the year!
On Thursday, January 14, Andy Buchta and I worked at The Springs in the area marked in yellow on the map below.
On Saturday, January 16, we returned to the north side of the Ottawa Lake Fen SNA to work on the south side of the SkyDance Pet Lodge property. Thanks again to Dennis Lutynski for agreeing to let us clear the buckthorn on his land and integrate the open space with the state natural area. Our goal is to open the views into Ottawa Lake from Hwy 67 to show off this beautiful landscape; hopefully, this won’t cause any accidents by drivers rubbernecking to take in the scenery.
I was joined by Andy Buchta, Lindsay Knudsvig, Ben Johnson, Chris Mann and Steve Brasch; Thanks Guys!
On Friday, January 22, Dr. Dan Carter, Senior Biologist with the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, led a field trip at The Springs to teach us how to differentiate between exotic and native phragmites. Dan organized his analysis into an excellent post on his Prairie Botanist blog.
I captured his work in the field in a series of videos, which are concatenated below. The exotic identification comes first and then we visited two sites to see all of the characteristics of the native species.
Almost all of the phragmites in the valley encompassing the headwater springs of the Scuppernong River is of the exotic variety, while the huge expanse of phragmites in the Scuppernong River Habitat Area, that is visible from the marl pit bridge or the Indian campground, is native. The later information was a revelation, as we had always assumed that it was exotic phragmites, and had considered it as such in the NAWCA grant proposal.
I really need to get more science in my life; that was fun!
Finally, on Saturday, January 23, I was joined by Andy Buchta and Ben Johnson at The Springs. We worked in the area marked in red on the map above, near signpost #1. Anne Korman, the new Superintendent Kettle Moraine State Forest – Southern Unit, Lapham Peak Unit and Glacial Drumlin Trail – East, stopped out to visit and thank us for all of our hard work. You’re welcome Anne!
Well, it’s time to don my gay apparel and cut some buckthorn, Fa la la la la la la la.
See you at the Ottawa Lake Fen SNA.