Weeding for wildlife with EALT

I had another field day with the Edmonton Area Land Trust (EALT) this weekend. This time, we headed to Golden Ranches. It started of as a bit of a chilly day with thick clouds overhead, but once we got working, we warmed up and eventually the sun came out in full force (luckily, it came with a stiff, cool breeze to keep us from getting too hot).

We started in a location that I thought looked familiar, but it took me a few minutes to remember where we were. We were in the same location that I helped weed late last summer. At the time, I had estimated that the tansy patch was about half the size of my apartment. That’s a lot of tansy! And, what a difference! There was still lots of tansy, but much less then there was last year. And, the parts that we cleared (we only got about half of it done last year) had much smaller and younger patches of tansy. It was really gratifying to see the improvement we made.

Tansy, in case I haven’t told you a million times, is an invasive species and one of the main weeding targets at the EALT sites I’ve worked on so far. Tansy is also smelly and a pain in the neck to weed. This early in the season, we only have to worry about pulling the plants as the seed heads haven’t even started to form, yet. After a day of pulling tansy by hand, my hands are red and sore (despite wearing good protective gloves), the muscles in my forearms and shoulders are sore, and I look like I got in a fight with a kitten.

I was wearing long sleeves, but in the warm sun, I pulled my sleeves back. The stalks of tansy are tough and dried out after the winter. When weeding the plants, they tend to get tangled in your hair and poke you in the eye if you don’t break them off. But, then you get your arms scratched up like I did.

Ah, well. It was worth it. We got a lot of work done.

We also saw a lot of cool things, including a cluster of the same mystery red insects I saw at another site last week. The insects, for the record, look to be nymphs of a the stink bug (identification provided by a member of the Albertabugs listserv). Someone also found a deer skull. It was larger than the one I found at the other site last week and there was some discussion regarding whether or not this might be a moose skull, but after a bit of searching and using this skull supplier’s webpage as a reference, I’m fairly confident that this is a deer.

(Click each picture for a much bigger and better copy on Flickr. It’s worth it, especially for the damselfly picture.)

Damselfly, possibly Taiga Bluet

Possible nymphs of a hemipteran (see description)

Silverweed

Wild vetch

Pond

Canada anemone

Cocoon, species unknown

Large deer skull

Peavine

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