“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”~Margaret Mead
The Saskatoon Nature Society Past-President, Marten Stoffel, who is familiar with the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation area, along with Sara Byrson who has a background in forestry will lead a field trip to the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area on the evening of June 14, as follows. For several years Marten Stoffel has been banding birds at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.
|Wednesday June 14, 2017
7:00 pm – 9:00 pmRichard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.
|“We will walk through this afforestation area next to
Chappell Marsh to search for native plants and songbirds.
Meet by the Grain Elevator at the Western Development
Museum parking lot on Lorne Avenue. Bus: Route 1
Exhibition departs downtown terminal at 6:31 p.m. and
arrives on Lorne Avenue adjacent to museum about 6:50 p.m.
Leaders Sara Bryson (306 261 6156) and Marten Stoffel
(306 230 9291)
Guide to Nature Viewing Sites Page 122.”
Everyone is welcome to participate in any Saskatoon Nature Society field trip. Bring your friends. Carpooling for out-of- town trips is arranged at the meeting place; there is no charge other than to share gasoline costs. Phone the trip leader if you have any questions (as above). Participants are free to depart early if they wish. Saskatoon Nature Society Members with FRS radios should bring them on out of town trips. Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie-talkie radio system. Check the website at Saskatoon Nature Society for last minute changes or cancellations and to download checklists. Bus Information: 306-975-3100.
It is with grateful appreciation that the Stewards of the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area acknowledge this wonderful program acknowledging the semi-wilderness wildlife habitat of the West Swale, and associated woodlands. Though this two hour walk through will not be as extensive as a two day bio-blitz, it will be intriguing to discover what native plants are discovered at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and which song bird species come to roost for the evening.
As Saskatchewan Tourism says; “With over 350 species to be observed, birdwatching in Saskatchewan is a year-round activity. However, the fall and spring migration seasons present fantastic opportunities for viewing as species both rare and plentiful cross the Land of Living Skies.”
The Prairie Birder, Charlotte Wasylik, has listed the arrival dates for spring migratory birds in Alberta, to check how these dates correspond to Saskatchewan Species, compare to E-Bird historic sightings. The prairie provinces are vast land areas, and she mentions, that “with a variety of habitats and species arrival dates will vary based on your location in the province”, the typical dates of spring migration are March through May.
What are some of Saskatchewan’s prairie songbirds? Sibley and Alquist divided songbirds into two “parvorders”, Corvida and Passerida which include shrikes, vireos, crows, magpies, jays, waxwings, chickadees, larks, swallows, martins, warblers, wrens, nuthatches, thrushes, true sparrows, finches, pipits, buntings, American sparrows, longspurs, buntings for example. Will it be possible from the above family listing to perhaps sight any of the species of these families on the Saskatoon Nature Society Check List which may offer a spotting of the following example species; Sprague’s pipit, Chestnut-collared longspur, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brown Thrasher, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, McCown’s Longspur, Bobolink, and Purple Martin.
“Grassland songbirds evolved with specific needs that restrict where and how they can obtain food and build nests. Most of them can only nest in certain types of grass and will not tolerate trees in the landscape….The Baird’s Sparrow is one of the least flexible grassland songbirds…they’re really fussy about how tall and sparse the vegetation is. They have to have finely stemmed grasses to nest in. So the heavy, thick stems and leaf blades of invasive and non-natives like smooth brome are a problem for them.Hanson
The former natural area screening study conducted surveys in native grassland, modified grasslands and wetlands plant communities throughout the west/southwest sector of Saskatoon. Locating native grassland communities in and around trembling aspen bluffs. Mixed grasslands, however will show examples of smooth brome, alfalfa, and sweet clover. “Grasslands have undergone habitat conversion including cultivation, grazing, suburbanization, and industrialization. Murphy A listing of native plant species is included at the end of this article or click here [pdf].
The south west sector afforestation areas were started as tree nurseries in 1972, and when the trees matured, this use as a tree nursery is not longer viable. So the grasslands have had years to recover, and begin the conversion back to their natural state. However, “in addition to the threat of development, native grasslands are being degraded due to weed invasionWilliams. So it will be intriguing to see the level of native plants left intact at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area.
Looking back now, to the afforestation methods employed in 1972, “The following tree species were used: American and Siberian Elm, Manitoba Maple, Green Ash, Poplar, Willow, Colorado Spruce, Scotch Pine, and Caragana. Rows weaving in and out as much as forty feet from the centre line was used. This produces a natural forest effect. The proposed planting area consisted of four and one-half adjacent quarter sections. We divided this two and one-half mile long area into five planting areas, with strips of fifty to sixty feet left bare, as fire guards between each planting area.”Ligtermoet So these means that there are areas which have been native prarie biome for 57 years since the land was purchased by the City of Saskatoon in 1960 without development of any form at all, so it may, indeed be promising to find belts of native grassland, and associated songbirds during this Saskatoon Nature Society nature field trip.
Whereas the West Swale has numerous small scattered wetland areas, the focus of this nature study walk, will be not the aquatic vegetation, nor waterfowl, but the belts of native plants, and any associated songbirds.
Louie Schwartzberg states that “Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude.” Thank you to the Saskatoon Nature Society to help all the field trip participants become aware of nature’s beauty which abounds at the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area. Your planning of this nature field trip on June 14, 2017 is gratefully appreciated! Words cannot express our feelings, nor the thanks for all your help.
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly”~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
BIBLIOGRAPHY and FURTHER INFORMATION:
A Land Manager’s guide to Grassland Birds of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan Watershed Authority.
Clarke, Jared B. Bird Banding in Saskatchewan
Birds Protected in Canada Under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 Environment and Climate Change Canada. Nature. Government of Canada.
Hanson, Kim. Fire is for the Birds in Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie. Fire Science. he information for this Manager’s Viewpoint is based on JFSP Project 01-3-2-09, Prescribed Fire for Fuel Reduction in Northern Mixed-Grass Prairie: Influence on Habitat and Populations of Indigenous Wildlife and Future Forest Flammability; Principal Investigators: Robert K. Murphy, Todd A. Grant, and Elizabeth M. Madden.
Best Beautiful Bird Songs – Saskatoon Saskatchewan You Tube.
City of Saskatoon West/Southwest Sector Natural Area Screening Study. Report 12-1361-0028. Golder Associates. September 2012
Davis, S.K., D.C. Duncan, and M. Skeel. Distribution and Habitat Associations of Three Endemic Grassland Songbirds in Southern Saskatchewan. The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 111, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 389-396 Published by: Wilson Ornithological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164104 Page Count: 8
Davis, Stephen K. Nesting Ecology of Mixed-Grass Prairie Songbirds in Southern Saskatchewan. The Wilson Bulletin Vol. 115, No. 2 (Jun., 2003), pp. 119-130 Wilson Ornithological Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4164538 Page Count: 12
Ligtermoet, A.L. Assistant Parks Superintendent City of Saskatoon. Afforestation – Man Made Forest on the Prairies. January 4, 1974.
Ludlow, Sarah M., R. Mark Brigham, and Stephen K. Davis. Nesting Ecology of Grassland Songbirds, Effects of Predation, Parasitism and Weather. The Wilson Jornail of Ornithology 126(4):686-699, 2014
Herriot, Trevor. Mapping our birds – the Saskatchewan Breeding Bird Atlas kicks off in 2017 Feb. 2, 2017
Higgs, Matt. Songbirds in decline across Canada. Greenup Column. Peterborough Examiner.
Kishkinev. Dmitry, et al Experienced migratory songbirds do not display goal-ward orientation after release following a cross-continental displacement: an automated telemetry study Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37326 (2016)
Martinez, Victoria. Student, ranchers protect prairie songbirds. Allison Henderson. Allison Henderson SCOTT Bell/university of Saskatchewan U of S graduate student Allison Henderson is studying connections between prairie grasslands and songbirds. University of Saskatchewan. Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan.
Murphy, Dennis D. and Pual R. Ehrlich. Conservation Biology of California’s Remnant Native Grasslands.
Robinson, Ashley. Grassland birds in Saskatchewan under threat: reort. Regina Leader Post.
Species Detection Survey Protocols. Grassland Birds Surveys. Fish and Wildlife Branch Technical Report No. 201 4-9.0 December 2014. Government of Saskatchewan.
Tremont, Anna Marie. Canada’s grasslands most endangered least protected ecosystems. CNC. February 21, 2017
U of S Research takes flight in songbird SOS documentary. The Sheaf. University of Saskatchewan.
Wildlife 911: Baby Birds on Ground. Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan
Williams, Nicholas S.G., Mark I. McDonnell, Emma J. Seager. Factors influencing the loss of an endangered ecosystem in an urbanising landscape: a case study of native grasslands from Melbourne, Australia Landscape and Urban Planning 71 (2005) 35–49 April 9, 2003.
What are Native Prairie Grasslands Worth? Why it pays to Conserve this Endangered Ecosystem. Ranchers Stewardship Alliance Inc. Chris Nykoluk Consulting. 2013
Wolsfield, MIke. Ecoregions in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan EcoNetwork
“We feel that our greatest victory remains to be won when man will realize his oneness with the trees, the creatures and with all living things, not ours to destroy, but to be handed on for the enjoyment of future generations”. – Richard St. Barbe Baker.
“Healing the broken bond between children and nature may seem to be an overwhelming, even impossible task. But we must hold the conviction that the direction of this trend can be changed, or at least slowed. The alternative to holding and acting on that belief is unthinkable for human health and for the natural environment. The environmental attachment theory is a good guiding principle: attachment to land is good for child and land.” `Richard Louv
For more information:
You Tube Video Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, SK, CA north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city.
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
If you wish to support the afforestation area with your donation, write a cheque please to the “Meewasin Valley Authority Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area trust fund” (MVA RSBBAA trust fund) and mail it to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area c/o Meewasin Valley Authority, 402 Third Ave S, Saskatoon SK S7K 3G5. Thank you kindly!
Twitter: St Barbe Baker
It is not a farce.…”To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.” ~Terry Tempest Williams