Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Getting ready for fall banding

You may recall when I first started writing this blog a year ago, some of my first posts were on the work involved getting the net lanes ready for the banding season. These past couple of weeks, we've been doing some work that will hopefully make the annual prep less of a chore.

On 1 July, I had a team of volunteers out to lay down weed barrier in the net lanes, after my co-worker Rick Simek had so kindly killed the earliest growth of vegetation and most recently mowed what re-sprouted. These people made fast work of this job! It took less than half a day to cut, lay down, and anchor about a thousand feet of landscape cloth!

Andy Dettling, Darrin O'Brien, Sheri Smith, Linda Patterson,
and Jerry Mitchell after a job well done!

Here's what the project looked like as we worked (from front
to back, Linda, me bustling around, and Andy).

On 6 July came the task of spreading a layer of wood chips on the cloth. The cloth is slightly translucent, and without some cover, weeds could still grow underneath. This is a HUGE job, but the soonest we could get a large group of volunteers was early August. So, a handful of people also turned up to at least get a layer spread. The wood chips were generously donated and delivered by the City of Dearborn's Scott Racer, in a very large truck.

No messing with dump trucks. Most of the loads came directly from the big chipper.

The City of Dearborn has a gem in Scott Racer, who delivered at least 10
loads of wood chips. Thanks also to his boss Bruce Yinger.

Darrin O'Brien, Jerry Mitchell, Mike Lapko, Karen Gref, Linda Patterson,
and Mike O'Leary still smiling after hauling at least 10 yards of wood chips.

In late July and early August, two more groups of students spread still more chips. This resulted in a shallow layer over all of the landscape cloth. Finally, on 3 August, an energetic and enthusiastic group of Ford Motor Co. volunteers finished up the job.

Part of the Ford crew. These guys were amazing! In this photo Noori
Bob Sawyer, Anatoli Dubovitskiy, Mario Iaquinta, Franco
Ragazzi and Joe Mantle. Photo by Steve Lake, who I appointed leader
because he and Noori showed up first!

This was an enormous undertaking, with about 170 hours of volunteer work contributed; I lost track of how many giant loads of chips were donated. All of this represents a donation of at least $3000 of time and materials. This is how the Rouge River Bird Observatory thrives, so to all who helped, my heartfelt appreciation!

In the next week, I'll be doing some pruning, checking and repairing the fencing that excludes the deer, and putting up the nets. Fall 2009 banding -- our 18th fall season -- begins on 17 August.

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