The excitement of the total solar eclipse on August 21st did not pass us by at the Humboldt Hedgerow. Lots of neighbors came out to the south field to spread a blanket and try out their special eclipse galsses.
We took photos of this special event by projecting the the sun onto paper through a telescope and here is one snap.
Nature groups including Portland Audubon asked for notes on bird and other wildlife responses to the eclipse and that gave us a special opportunity to participate in citizen science at the Hedgerow.
Birds seemed especially active right before the eclipse began and totally quiet during the process. Bees were quietly resting on flowers as the temperature cooled.
Above is the 7am crash of another limb falling onto Humboldt street from the Siberian Elm volunteer tree. This tree lost a huge limb during last winter’s extreme ice storm and continues to have problems.
No one was injured, but small trees in the corner house were damaged and all the neighbors are grateful it was not worse. Elm limbs are densely heavy.
Urban Forestry has this tree listed as a street tree, which leaves the maintenance of the tree to the property owner, Portland Public Schools.
Urban Forestry quickly came out to remove the downed limb but will rely on the school district to determine if this much loved tree should be removed for safety reasons. As a habitat creators we know the value of standing dead and hollowmtrees as wildlife support. Old hollow trees can be structurally very strong as they are empty cylinders like a water glass. They are less likely to drop limbs than living trees! So the HH will be working to keep the tree in some form if safety allows it.
Ecosystems change. This can be a real opportunity to observe with students the kinds of decisions and support we can offer the natural habitat as it grows or as it decays. The extra light getting through to the conifer trees of the Learning Arboretum, a Ponderosa Pine and a Grand Fir, will help these trees that struggled under the dense shade of the elm.
Though hot dry summers make a crackly brown seed filled habitat, there are some blooming plants that continue to feed pollinators including butterflies and bees.
Here is a California Poppy with a native Bumble Bee rolling around the stamen collecting pollen the easy way and a native Pearly Everlasting that will dry on the stem providing fading white blooms for months.
These plants need no extra water and really prefer our dry summers that they are adapted for.
Happy new school year to Jefferson and Humboldt students!