I realized recently that it has been a while (10 months) since I have written in this chronicle. I have no excuses, but I do have some reasons. When you are writing about the growth of vegetation and the development of a wildlife habitat, these things don’t happen quickly. Consequently, there is a certain time span that is necessary for the collection of interesting information. Maybe not 10 months, but certainly longer than one or two months.
That being said, here are some up-dates and some interesting statistics.
I have been tracking and documenting our rainfall for two years. I started in August of 2017. Today I went through the totals that I have recorded, and was amazed at some of the amounts and comparisons that I discovered.
Here is the most amazing comparison. Between August of 2017 and July of 2018 we received 24 7/8 inches. Between August of 2018 and July of 2019 we received 66 1/2 inches, almost three times as much. It probably is even closer to three times, due to the fact that my rain gauge only holds 5 inches of rain, and on September 21, 2018 the gauge overflowed, so I am not sure how much more rain we receive on that day.
In October of 2018, we got 17 inches of rain in one month. We usually think of April and May as our most rainy months. For those two months in 2017 we received only 2 3/4 inches, whereas in 2018 the total for those two months was 17 3/8 inches. You can begin to see why the total was so much higher this year.
It was so wet this year that a marsh developed in the south-east pasture. It was soggy enough for Regina to get the Gator stuck as she tried to make her way to the back of the pasture.
Butterflies and Birds
In the last post, I reported the number of birds and butterflies that we had spotted. As of this date the number of butterflies has increased from 17 species to 35. The number of bird species has increased from 25 to 49. These numbers are based on those species that have been photographed by Regina, and verified through the iNat website.
There are several explanations for the increase in numbers. There may not actually be that many more, but we are becoming more aware of what is in our environment. Also, Regina has become increasingly prolific and skilled with her photography, and probably spends more time hunting and photographing as time goes on. The other possibility is that we are actually seeing an increase because of the environment we are creating.
There was a time when baby ducks born by the lake would be killed rather quickly by the turtle population in the lake. For some unknown reason, that changed this year, as we have had three different groups of babies which have survived. They all come up in the afternoon at feeding time, and have learned to come through the fence in order to get away from the larger Canada Geese. Regina gives them their special spread of food. The babies even have their own Canada Geese escorts that guard them on their trip from and back to the lake at feeding time.
Most of the native trees we planted in the south-east pasture have thrived. I think only one of them has died. We also planted a Maple between our house and the arena. It seems to be doing fine, except that it is now looking stressed by the summer heat. Hopefully we can help it along with extra watering.
Due to the abundant rain this year, vegetation in all the pastures has flourished. Now that summer is here, and the rain has lessened, growth has slowed accordingly.
Activity and Education
Regina has gone through training and has become certified through the Texas Stream Team to perform water monitoring on one of our ponds. Her monitoring is performed and reported monthly. She is also volunteering for Benthic (invertebrate) monitoring with the Texas Master Naturalist Elm Fork Chapter. Later this month she will begin her training to become a Texas Master Naturalist. She is very excited about this organization and about her training.
I am trying to hone my birding skills, and have begun to use the eBird app, which was developed and is monitored through Cornell University Ornithology. This app allows you to report all your bird sightings through a world-wide network of birders. The information is collected, analyzed, and made available for observation and conservation purposes.
Life is good!