Potential Pre-Colonial Tree Relicts

Measuring potential champion black oak after some banter about where the tape should go 

We learned about Matthew “Twig” Largess and Nathan Cornell in the Warwick Beacon where they were featured as seekers of old-growth forests. The woodland at Salter Grove is relatively young, but there are some unexpectedly large trees in the park so we invited this arboreal dynamic duo to assess them on Saturday, March 27.

They were joined by FoSG coordinator Peter Becker and nature trail volunteers, Carolyn Hardie, Nick Pasterino, Billy McGovern, Nancy Sumrall, and Marina Wong. Twig and Nathan examined and measure the suspected old-growth trees and provided a great deal of information in two short hours. 

We may have a champion black oak north of the parking lot. Our visitors were quite impressed by the very large black gums surrounded by numerous smaller individuals along the pond trail. 

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Nature Red in Tooth and Claw

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk with freshly-captured squirrel 

While working on the nature trails on Tuesday, November 17th, a hawk flew right toward us, struggling to keep hold of a squirrel in its talons. It graciously posed for some photos, and then flew to a limb tangle where it was better able to pin the squirrel down for a feast. It must have been very hungry because it even stripped the fur off the squirrel’s tail, presumably to access the tidbits there.

An hour later, a large raccoon was spotted sleeping 35 feet up on a black oak bough, not far from the hawk’s feeding perch.

Then an immature bald eagle soared by over South Cove.

Finally, the same hawk was seen close up, feeding on another bird, but unfortunately the camera battery had died.

Salter Grove—who needs a documentary when you can see it live? 

Smartphone-Enhanced Outdoor Classroom

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Multigenerational scout outing to identify plants and botanize on the causeway

Now that the new playground and causeway repair are nearly completed, FoSG will focus on conservation of Salter Grove by increasing its educational value.

After hundreds of hours of fieldwork and data analysis, we are well along with the identification of birds (116 species) and flowering plants (114 species), and know when and where they appear in the park. We have also mapped out several nature trails to showcase the variety of habitats at Salter Grove.

People who visit the park regularly are excited about the labeled plants resulting from the fieldwork and are amazed when shown how to use their smartphones on site to get images and songs of breeding birds. Continue reading