Friday, July 17, 2015

The Neighborhood Buck ~~ new nature links

I'm sure I've seen this same buck up on Vantage Point Road a couple of times. Yesterday, I was walking through this nearby natural area, trying to find butterflies for the county survey. This time, I spotted more deer than butterflies. I spooked two fawns hiding in the grass, then as I walked up and down the area, I spotted their daddy spotting me.

This and my other recent photos of deer speak to local ecological issues: All my photos of the deer also show at least one invasive plant species, sometimes surrounding the subject. In this photo, I see the triangular leaves of mile-a-minute vine in the foreground shadow. Some of the grass might be either wavyleaf basketgrass or stilt grass or both. The deer can't eat the invasive plants, which take up space normally occupied by native plants. What small pockets of native plants remain are more quickly decimated by foraging deer. Too many deer in a small area like this leads to other problems, such as inbreeding within the local deer population and the resultant health problems.

I only touch on the issues here, as they are more complicated and there are other issues. There's hope, however. More people have become interested in nature and are more aware of the problems. Howard County is home to several organizations that monitor and help to preserve local wildlife. They sponsor events: Some are purely for spotting and learning about various species, such as the free dragonfly and damselfly walk being led by two expert members of the Howard County Bird Club this Saturday morning (July 18, 10:00am) at the new Belmont area of the Howard County Conservancy. Other events involve active participation in countering the ill effects of some of these issues, such as pulling up invasive plants in the new Emy's Meadow at Centennial Park, organized by the county's natural resources technician.

(I joined a group of volunteers to do some weeding in the meadow one morning this week, but it is an ongoing effort. The idea is to create a preserve of native wildflowers to attract pollinators and to try to control the non-native weeds there without the use of chemicals.)

While this blog has been mainly a photography blog with links to music and arts, I have added a block for nature and wildlife links in one of the sidebars to the right. I will be adding to it as I find more relevant websites.