Sunday, May 21, 2017

The lupines are coming, the lupines are comng!

Lupines are one of my favorite native plants. The blossoms are a delicate purple color. And they attract many butterflies, bees and other pollinators.

I'm delighted that lupines are blooming in two places in Buhr park. One is the sand prairie in the upper (north) basin of WM II, on the west side of the park behind the swimming pool.




The other is in the original Wet Meadow, at the base of the sledding hill, on the east side of the park.


Here are a few shots of pollinators in action!









Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tickle Bees at Buhr - April 2017

This was a good year for tickle bees at Buhr. These bees nest in the ground, in the upper basin behind the swimming pool. We call them tickle bees because they are harmless to humans. The ones we see on sunny days in April are males, cruising at about 12 inches above the ground, looking for partners.Fun fact: male bees have no stingers.

Here's some info from a school in Oregon:
     http://www.sabinpta.com/tickle-bee

Our tickle bees are probably in the genus, Colletes.They are also called, "cellophane bees" since they line their nests with a cellophane-like substance.


Monday, April 10, 2017

2017 prescribed burn excites children and adults

The prescribed ecological burn on April 10, 2017 was an exciting event for children and adults. Trained staff and volunteer from City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation explained the purpose of the burn and described safety eqiptment and procedures. Since the wind was coming from the south, they started the burn at the northern edge. Here's what it looked like when the flames were closer to the viewers.


A few moments after this picture, we started to feel raindrops! So this is the first burn on record where it rained at the end of the burn. Kids and parents went home, so we'll plant seeds sometime later this week.


Monday, April 3, 2017

2017 Prescribed Burn -- re-scheduled for Monday April 10

Our annual prescribed burn has been postponed until Monday, April 10, 2017.

To achieve the desired results, plant materials must be dry and humidity low. Wind speed and direction are important for smoke control. Based on the updated weather forecast, prospects for Monday look good.

As originally planned, we will collect seeds starting at 4:00 PM. About 4:30, trained staff from Natural Area Preservation (City of Ann Arbor) will explain their equipment and safety precautions. Then everyone will watch from a safe distance.This year's burn will be held at the north-west quadrant of the park, north of the ice rink, near the east end of Essex Street.



This is a family-oriented event and we emphasize safety. Children of all ages enjoy watching with their parents. Everything is explained in simple language. Kids can see protective clothing and special tools, including the world's largest squirt guns (water-carrying backpacks with spray nozzles, used to control the fire.)

In case of adverse weather, we will re-schedule on a day-by-day basis.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lupines in Bloom

An early morning walk revealed beautiful lupines in bloom. The sandy area at the north end of Wet Meadow 2.





Friday, April 15, 2016

Tickle bees at Buhr - April 2016

Tickle bees are emerging at Buhr Park thgis weekend. Look in sandy places for holes (about pencil-diameter) and mounds of soil. The stingless male bees may be buzzing around about 8 -12 inches above the ground.
  These are ground-nesting bees of genus Andrena or genus Colletes. The eggs hatch in early Spring, and the new adults dig their way to the surface. The males fly around looking for partners. They eat nectar from violets and other plants that bloom very early. They are a sure sign that Spring is here.

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Burn was successful on Tuesday, April 5

Due to weather conditions, the was re-scheduled to Tuesday, April 5.The weather was sunny and cool. A breeze helped the smoke lift and disperse.

Many children, parents and neighbors helped with seed collection and dispersal. All watched the burn from a safe distance.

As usual, we spent time explaining why the wet meadows are important and why controlled burning helps the native plants.