Planting Party

(Burrowing Owl Update Below)

Planting Party Participants: Karen Brusin, Kyle Crosswhite, Carol Denney, Bob Huttar, Nancy Nash, Lee Tempkikn, Carlene Chang, Helen Canin, Jutta Burger

After many days of planning and preparation, the Native Pollinator Habitat Planting Party launched on Saturday morning, Nov. 19 in the Native Plant Area of the park. An experienced volunteer work crew got busy. Many had worked in this area previously, pulling weeds, trimming deadwood, clearing trash, planting a set of pilot plants, and watering, watering, watering.

Project leaders Jutta Burger and Bob Huttar at the start of the day, Pink flags mark the spots where plants will go.

Project leaders Bob Huttar and Jutta Burger arrived early and put the final touches of preparation in place. They had previously mapped out the four different areas where new plants would go, and had planted pink flags with plant name codes on them. Bob had picked up 120 plant seedlings from the Watershed Nursery in Richmond the previous day and had stored them overnight in a City of Berkeley Parks Division yard, thanks to Parks staff.

When the volunteers arrived, Bob and Jutta gathered them around and taught a brief lesson in planting. The seedlings came in cone-shaped plastic tubes of different sizes. Bob explained how to get the plant out of the tube and gently loosen the roots a bit. Then the plant had to be set into the previously drilled hole with loose soil packed around them. A white round plastic cage to protect the plant babies from Ground Squirrels came next, supported by a bamboo rod attached with zip ties. Then each plant had to be thoroughly watered. The planting crew broke up into teams of two to establish the new botanical habitat.

Bob Huttar leading class in how to plant

At noon the party broke for a pizza lunch at the nearby picnic area. The day had started brisk, almost chilly, but soon warmed up, and with the sunshine and the work, no one was cold. With the glorious scenery and a perfect day, who could ask for better?

After some additional work and tidying up, the party recessed for the day with the volunteer portion of the project more than half completed.

White plastic cages mark established plantings in one of four target areas

The remaining sets of small plants will go in on Sunday. On Monday, a professional crew from CiviCorps will arrive to tackle the harder work of planting five-gallon containers of native trees. The City has donated fourteen native trees for the project.

Burrowing Owl Update

After yesterday’s absence, the Burrowing Owl returned to its Perch B, meaning the spot on the rocks below the big fennel bush, where the top of the owl’s head can be seen from the paved pathway outside the fence. In the short time that I observed it this morning, the owl seemed relaxed, and nothing happened to jar it out of its apparent calm. The photo shows the bird looking in the direction of the camera, but this image captures only a few moments of the bird’s attention, which was mainly directed to its left and right.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Nov. 20 2022

Thanks to Jutta Burger and Carol Denney for photos.

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