e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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80 Acres: After More Rain, Water Quality Checks

The sooner you get into the field after a large rain event the better, especially here.   This involves rubber boots (mine leaked today...I bought women's boots last time.  Just sayin'.)   What you want to see is how the water's moving on the land, if any checkdams or gabions have been damaged, where erosion is active (you hope for nowhere, but there's usually some if there's been hard heavy rain),  how the creek is doing, etc.  Coming down the near meadow, this is what I saw:

Water is flowing right to left. 

When I got close enough, I could see a pale "cloud" of sediment in the near end of the broad shallow stream.

"Darker" water closer and farther away is clearer.  This sediment washes down from
construction yard upslope to the right, and is not caught by a gabion.  Grass
and other plants filter most of it out by the low end of the meadow.

Headng for the creek, I walked up to the dry woods, to look at runoff on that slope; all the water was very clear, no visible sediment, and moving slowly; the existing grass & forbs appeared to be doing their job.  The dry woods swale does not fill from runoff, but is a seep, and if there's enough rain, it will begin to fill tomorrow.  Plants have filled in most of the bottom of the swale, after the last period of seepage.  They must tolerate alkaline water, as the seepage comes through limestone; there's an outcrop forming the hump where the dry woods are.

At the corner of the dry woods, I flushed a small covey of bobwhite quail; they flew down the west grass slope and dropped into the grass near the creek woods.  The west grass bluebonnets are still in full bloom.
Near here, I flushed a grasshopper sparrow, first of the day.
Not the only one; I flushed another one later..

Walking on down to the creek, I notes the quality of runoff from the slope, judging by where it was pooled up against one of the old terrace berms: good and clear, and no signs of scouring on the upslope side of the water.

Creek is about 10-12 inches above level last week, and turbid
Debris in caught in bush suggests it was a foot higher earlier.

On the way back from the creek, I went up the north fenceline and found a native, white limestone honeysuckle, in full bloom, with butterflies and bees arriving as the sun strengthened.

Red Admiral nectaring on honeysuckle.  Gray Hairstreak,
and Paintied Lady butterflies, and bees, were also busy on this bush.

At the top of the slope, near the dry woods, I found a Green Antelope Horns milkweed in flower.  We used to have Antelope Horns (whiter) first, and then the Green Antelope horns, but I had not seen any for several years; the drought got them.
This one has a large milkweed bug on it (orange and black) and behing the floret
the bug is on, is a little crab spider, visible when I enlarged the image.

Stiff-stem Prairie Flax grows mostly south of the dry woods, on the upper part of that slope.

On the way in, I checked water quality at the low end of the near meadow.    And then, later, we had soup leftover from the big pot I made Saturday.


Beef, the nub end of a summer sausage diced up, two strips of bacon, onion, celery, carrot, mushrooms, corn, black beans, tomatoes, green chilis, various herbs and stuff.   Livened up today with a diced green Bell pepper for crispness.
Tags: 80 acres, soup, water quality, wildflowers, wildlife
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