Feb 19, 2013

Green Connections propose waxwings and quail for the Panhandle

What do these two gorgeous birds have to do with the Panhandle?
Cedar waxwing
Cedar Waxwings are often observed in flocks, feeding on berries and insects. They may be hard to see up high in the tall trees, but with binoculars you'll be able to spot the black mask and red "wax" droplets on the wing feathers. (I really have seen excited birdwatchers in the Panhandle identifying Cedar Waxwings). This bird is the emblem of a proposed route in the Green Connections network. The Route, #4, would be called the Bay to Beach route and would travel directly west from Market and VanNess to Ocean Beach. 

A grab of the bigger draft network
The Green Connections draft network has not just one, but two routes overlapping in (or next to) the Panhandle. Fell Street along the Panhandle would be a segment of the Ridge Trail (Route 23) between Twin Peaks and Tennessee Hollow. The Ridge Trail's emblematic species would be the California Quail (our state bird). Sadly, that species is not currently seen in the Panhandle. In fact, I'm not sure Quail have survived anywhere in San Francisco. The last place I saw a family of California Quail was on Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands. 

California Quail by davidyuweb @ Flickr
The Green Connections project has the full map and more information available online. You will find a survey to give your comments on the draft network. The survey is up now through the end of February. 

Posted by Picasa

Panhandle tree plantings begin

An article last week by Mike Billings in the San Francisco Examiner provided details about progress by the city in removing dying, hazardous trees from Golden Gate Park and planting young trees. The overall project, which includes the Panhandle, moves into a "second phase" later this month that will include removal of about 155 trees and pruning of another 44.  As I've traveled about Golden Gate Park, I've seen new removal notices on trees, some of which were in prominent places, such as by the front gate of the botanical garden. Some other trees to be removed are as close by the Panhandle as the Oak Woodlands. However, city staff have told me that no additional trees in the Panhandle are slated for removal (several were removed last year, mostly eucalyptus). 

Instead, the new year's tree plantings (about which I wrote in December) have already begun in the Panhandle. Below are two species planted west of Clayton Street. Send me a tip if you see a new tree planting, and include the nearest cross-street and any information about the number and type or types of trees. 

The top of a young Queensland Kauri, one of two that were planted close to a more mature specimen. Check near the base of these trees for the unusual crooked branches they sometimes drop.
Still working on identifying these young trees near Cole
Posted by Picasa

Feb 13, 2013

Meadow work continues with lawn aerator

A Rec and Park truck with a large lawn aerator hitched to the back was driven by a Rec and Park crewmember in the Panhandle this afternoon. Guillermo was on hand to help guide the work to the areas that need help. This work follows up Saturday's work spreading compost fines in the meadow near Lyon. Now we would also like to see a bit of rain in the forecast.
Posted by Picasa

Feb 12, 2013

February Workday Re-cap

At the community workday in the Panhandle on Saturday, we gathered inside the work site of our capital project to coordinate our projects and get a close look at the work. The two re-graded and re-seeded mounds within the fence are quickly sprouting grass, but the third area, the planned rain garden, is experiencing slow drainage, causing a postponement of the expected planting. City staff told us that they would seek a remedy for the problem starting this week. The rainfall Thursday might have actually prevented a bigger blunder, since the pond arising from the moderate rainfall was large enough to have drowned some of the plants that we plan for the site. 

One aspect of the capital project, new bike racks, 
served several of the volunteers Saturday

Instead of planting the rain garden, we instead turned our attention to an area next to our gardener's shack on the way to the playground, and after sheet mulching, planted 20 other plants - manzanitas, ceanothus, dune sagewort, and salvia - provided through the Golden Gate Park Nursery. Around the back of the shack, we also dug out clumps of invasive grasses.

A larger group of volunteers was dispatched to Lyon Street, where we spread two truckloads of compost fines in the meadow, followed by mixing and scattering grass seed. This new approach to caring for the turf in the Panhandle will hopefully help make a thicker grass cover. The meadows may look pretty green when seen from a distance, but they're pretty bare when you're out in them. Thanks to SF Day School first graders, and other students, and their families for joining us for this important work. 

Feb 5, 2013

Still looking for planting help this weekend

Here's a snapshot taken yesterday showing work on the Ashbury cross-over path. 

If you can help out as a planting leader, please email me : dale987 (at) gmail.com. We still need more people who we can count on from 9am - 11am.