Saturday, September 3, 2016

Kah Tai in September, 2016

Kah Tai has its share of challenges, most arising from human misbehavior. Of course, Kah Tai exists because of human misbehavior - the blocking of a tidally flushed estuary with 231,000 cubic yards of sandy dredge spoil wasn't an accident. And yet those spoils have managed, with time and succession and a little help, to develop a healthy ecosystem that has hosted 152 species of birds at last count.

Occasionally humans can be found camping in the woodland, especially problematic during the dry summer months. But here at the beginning of September, the park received the gift of an early autumn rain, and the occasional smoker in the trees is less likely to burn the whole place down. The birds can flee now as the fledglings are all flight-worthy in September, but in the early summer, the young are always most at risk.

Trees can't flee. They endure or die and when we are fortunate, they thrive. Madrone, maple, willow, poplar, bitter cherry, all maturing in the park. The native madrone is mostly faring well at Kah Tai. The samsaras of vine maple declare another successful year. Willows of indeterminate species cluster along the banks and the stately but non-native poplars line the park's southern boundary and still populate the lagoon edge. Who knew that willows intermingled so readily that even the botanical experts have a time of it trying to sort out their species?

No problem figuring out native bitter cherry, though. The bark is distinctive and the bitter fruit is popular with the feathered crowd.

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