SJFNHS: Slipping into December
December 9, 2015 at 7:01 am (birds, history (human), mammals)
Tags: Aegopodium podagraria, goutweed, St. James Farm, swamp sparrow, whitetail deer
by Carl Strang
St. James Farm Forest Preserve has become quieter in recent weeks.
Most migrants, including this swamp sparrow, have moved on south.
The frantic rutting season is winding down as does begin to gestate their new embryo fawns.
This young buck has lost any neck swelling he may have had when pumped up by hormones.
Grazing has his full attention now, though I see that he is about to bite off something with a broader leaf, so “forbsing” would be a more correct term here.
Visibility has increased greatly in the forest after a four-day period in which the honeysuckles and buckthorns dropped nearly all their leaves at the end of November. I have begun to take advantage of this and explore the areas between the trails.
One discovery was this old concrete foundation of a small building close to the preserve’s Winfield Road boundary.
Adjacent to that foundation is an unnaturally steep, eroding slope. It probably was created during the construction or widening of Winfield Road, cutting into the morainal hill.
As is the case around most former building sites on the preserve, this one is surrounded by a patch of goutweed, an undesirable invasive plant.
I am looking forward to further off-trail exploration as my natural history survey of this preserve continues.