Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Raptors Three

Monday I continued my survey of the vegetation around an abandoned quarry in the rural lands of northwestern Alachua County. The large tract will be developed into a cluster subdivision (=conservation subdivision in some places). The quarry bottom with its 2 fish- and turtle-filled lakes (lovely blue windows into the Floridan Aquifer) will be preserved as conservation land. The uplands outside of the required buffer (50-feet from cliff edges) are available for lots, stormwater retention, roadways, and common areas.

I saw 3 different raptors there: Mississippi Kite, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk. I heard Summer Tanagers in the woods.

Sugarberry (hackberry), southern red cedar, and boxelder maple were over represented in the tree component of the vegetation owing to their weedy nature and tolerance/preference for limey/rocky soils. Walter's viburnum, buckthorn, and wax myrtle were the dominant shrub/small tree representatives.

It sure didn't feel like Florida. There is more sudden topography there than you see anywhere in the state.

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