Date: 5/3/19 6:36 am From: Gail Mackiernan <katahdinss...> Subject: Re: [MDBirding] Mount Pleasant Farm/What The—
While control of invasives is important, removal is just 50% of the job. Natives must be restored, and this is where virtually every invasive removal action fails. Right now migratory birds rely heavily on invasives in autumn, because of lack of native fruit-bearing bushes and vines. We have all seen hordes of birds gobbling porcelain berry and mile-a-minute fruit in fall. I am sure they would prefer native fruit and undoubtedly it would be better for them, but in most places it is gone. This issue is often exacerbated by the inability of park maintenance crews to identify native plants, leading to their removal as well. In Rock Creek Park, at the Ridge, the maintenance guys cut and removed a number of old, productive native grapes - this without consulting the park naturalists - which had been great in autumn for migrants. The same thing has happened in Montgomery County parks, in fact, at Wheaton Regional the staff cut several native grape vines along one trail but left the Asian bittersweet! The mind boggles...
I recognize that restoring natives is difficult, since they are targeted by deer which is another issue where the parks let things go too long before acting.
Sent from my iPad
> On May 2, 2019, at 11:54 PM, 'Russ Ruffing' via Maryland & DC Birding <mdbirding...> wrote:
> I spoke to the land manager on Tuesday about this. They did it to control invasives. Personally, I think it was a huge mistake for two reasons. First, it is not possible to successfully control the countless invasives that we now have in this state on such a large parcel without dramatically affecting habitat the way they have. Face it, multiflora rose, tear thumb, stiltgrass and all the rest are here to stay. Second, they did this literally right before the arrival of breeders. This is one of the few places in Howard County that still has nesting Prairie Warblers and Blue Grosbeaks and may be the only place left with nesting Chats. I’ve noticed much lower numbers of Prairies there thus far and to my knowledge no Chats have yet returned. When and if they do, will they find it suitable for breeding? Time will tell. To me, it was done with no thought as to timing or the specialized habitat needs of these important breeders. I’m all for controlling invasives where and when possible but not so dramatically that you basically leave a moonscape right before spring breeding season.
> I might add that the grasslands to the west (which are managed by Rec and Parks I believe) are also mowed with little to no thought given to the habitat needs of Meadowlarks and Grasshopper Sparrows, both of which have dropped dramatically there in recent years.
> Finally as an FYI, the county executives approved the development of the major parcel (the Murtew farm) that abuts the Conservancy to the north. This tract of land made a continuous wonderful grassland/field habitat that connected the Conservancy lands to the Patapsco State Park. Now it will have 23 homesites on it that will encroach right up to the Conservancy’s northern border, further fragmenting the habitat. They are turning dirt already. And get this - the development is named “The Preserve”! Yeah, the only thing being preserved is the wealth of the developers when they ramrodded approvals for this blight through the county planning commission.
> Russ Ruffing
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On May 2, 2019, at 3:52 PM, Chas Argent <chas.argent...> wrote:
>> Is anyone aware of why the understory/brush and and all the fields have been essentially striped bare at Mount Pleasant Farm this spring? I was there in early February and the place was basically unchanged from previous years.
>> I went there today for the first time this Spring and was shocked to see it all gone, and in many cases down to exposed dirt and nothing more. It seems odd to me to do this in Springtime but maybe there's some consideration of which I am unaware.
>> Chas Argent
>> Catonsville, MD
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