Sunday, March 30, 2014

Visiting Northern Florida--Forest Walk at Birdsong

 In February, 2014, I was in northern Florida and visited Birdsong Nature Center, just north of Tallahassee at the southern edge of Georgia.
the forest 
the forest
The pine forests of north Florida and south Georgia were once part of a broad belt of forest across the southern U.S. Much of that area belonged to plantations that after the Civil War became hunting reserves for very rich northerners. That preserved them into the middle of the 20th century. Much of the southern pine forest has been lost to development but some remains as private and public reserves. 


Birdsong Nature Center is largely forest, a longleaf pine forest with a mixture of hardwoods and diverse collection of shrubs, herbs and grasses below the trees. My late winter pictures conceal the great diversity of plants since the forest was largely dormant.

Current management recommends controlled burns in the winter every few years. The controlled fires open the understory, increase animal diversity and, critically, reduce the fuel for much more serious wildfires.
burned log indicates past fire
burned log indicates past fire
Ed, Betty and Roy Komarek, early leaders in good forest management for the region, turned an old plantation into Birdsong Nature Center, a reserved dedicated to preserving the forest and its diversity and sharing it with others.

The Komareks loved the colorful birds of the area and the house at Birdsong has a bird window, where there is always interesting activity at the feeders. I saw bright red male cardinals--exotic to me because they don't occur in Colorado where I live--but also fat happy squirrels.  (photo and video below)
Bird window at Birdsong Nature Center
Bird window at Birdsong Nature Center
red dot is a male cardinal


video



Spanish moss on a leafless tree
Spanish moss on a leafless tree

The trails were easy to follow and I hiked through a very quiet forest. It was clearly still winter: the trees were leafless, and very little of the forest floor was green. 

And yet, here and there, a flower:
tiny flowers in the pine litter
tiny flowers in the pine litter


early violet
early violet

flowering vine
and one vine in flower
In the low spots, it was greener: 
forest, Birdsong Nature Center
down under the plants, a tiny creek


This little video gives you more of an idea what it was like.  The crinkly sound is my feet in the leaf litter as I turned with the camera. The bird calls were too distant for the camera to pick up. In fact, the silence was very noticeable.


video






Comments and corrections welcome.

Kathy Keeler

No comments:

Post a Comment