Tuesday, June 2, 2009

View from The Hill

Within the boundaries of Blue Jay Barrens there are very few named locations. The most well known location is The Hill that is found a few hundred feet behind the house. If you tell someone you are going “Up The Hill” it means your destination is that shown in the photo above. The short grassy area in the foreground is the top of The Hill.
The Hill affords some nice views of the surrounding area. This field was used to raise grain crops until it was planted to a solid stand of Orchardgrass in 1985. Since then, the field has done a good job of reverting to native prairie vegetation from seed sources naturally occurring on the property. The dead stalks are primarily Indiangrass. You can see one of seven boxes in this field that are used by Bluebirds and Tree Swallows. This field also hosts Henslow’s and Field Sparrows.
In the far distance is the Ohio Brush Creek Valley. Amongst the nearby Eastern Red Cedars are openings full of native prairie flora and fauna. The Tulip Poplar on the right took advantage of the moisture from a wet weather seep to establish itself on this dry hillside.
This section of The Hill is a good example of a Xeric Limestone Prairie (XLP). XLP’s are characterized by prairie and other specialized vegetation growing on dry shallow soil supported by limestone bedrock. These areas go by a number of names, usually including the term prairie, barren or glade.

The wooded area on the ridge top in the background is the site of the Potato Dandelion. The slope below the woods is primarily large Red Cedar with a few openings for prairie plants. Ice storms rip the tops out of cedars and create openings for deciduous trees to grow. Tuplip Poplar are taking advantage of these holes and are giving the cedars some strong competition. A Chuck-Will’s-Widow has been calling from this area for the past couple of weeks.

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