I have been away from Ivy Creek for a few weeks. It was so nice to slip back onto the trails on Friday just at the edge of afternoon/evening. There is a special quiet to that time of day and I sat on a bench to take it in. I was lured off my bench by the sound of a pileated woodpecker who I found on this downed tree.
I am happy to be able to share with you that River View Farm has been formally recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The land was purchased by Hugh Carr in 1870 and remained in his family through 1970. The Carrs and Greers were successful farmers, educators and leaders in their community. Surviving structures such as this barn and the original farmhouse continue to mark the farm's presence. The Ivy Creek Foundation has, since it's beginning, recognized that the story of River View Farm and the people who made it possible is a significant one for our community and have tried to highlight their stories through our educational programming, including school tours, barn openings and Ivy Talks. We are thrilled that this recognition is now also happening at a national level. For more information about River View Farm, please visit our website, our kiosk or take one of the audio tours available that highlight this story.
To those who have been wondering about our resident barred owl, here is an update from Bob Gore. Many thanks, as always, to Bob for letting us share in his glimpses of Ivy Creek.
here she is, popping in....
It was an active day on the Green trail today. On my way to check on a downed tree, I happened upon a flock of robins in a little grove of holly trees making much hustle and bustle. Then, a little further on I could hear a woodpecker hard at work on a tree nearby. I searched out this one. I am never completely sure of whether I have found a downy or a hairy woodpecker so I welcome those birders who can be definitive. I saw no markings on the white strip of the tail feathers so think it is a hairy. She was making her way around the tree, stopped at the hole and then popped halfway in.
ICNA has a dedicated community and so we are lucky to have many sets of eyes out there on the trails, looking out for interesting and unusual happenings. Two such friends of Ivy Creek alerted Bob Gore to some unusual ducks on the reservoir and he went searching. Here is a photo of the (likely) domesticated ducks who have been visiting the Natural Area.
I know I am not alone in being grateful for all the little moments of beauty that nature provides us on a daily basis. I have always felt that the transitions of autumn are particularly beautiful and so am taking this moment to share one more picture from the Native Plant Society plant walk. I imagine these milkweed seeds flying off into the field to find a space to settle down in the soil, wait out the winter and return to bloom next year.
There are many reasons you should take this month's virtual plant walk sponsored by the Jefferson Chapter of the Native Plant Society. Not the least of which is the opportunity to see the sunlight hit a patch of Little Bluestem grass at the top of the North Field. It is a truly beautiful view this time of year between the grasses and the blackberrry vines and the various seedheads of past blooms. You can access the walk on your home computer here. But do consider coming to ICNA and walking the North Field trail. You can download the free IZI. travel app on your phone and have Ruth Douglas be your virtual guide. Or download the plant list from our website and come with just your binoculars and guide book.
I was out with Ruth Douglas and Dede Smith recording the latest Virginia Native Plant Society walk yesterday and while we walked we found many examples of "tree rubbings", indicating the likely presence of male deer (bucks) who often rub their antlers on young trees this time of year. This happens more during the fall and winter as the bucks' antlers harden and they rub off the velvet covering that has been there all spring and summer. This rubbing is also a way that bucks will leave pheromone traces and fall/winter is rutting season.
As we walked the trail to the east side, near Earlysville Road, we stopped to admire a beech tree still laden with beautiful rust colored leaves and saw this buck through the trees. He minded us not at all, continued his foraging and eventually headed north up the trail as we made our way back to the barn.
Thank you to Bob Gore for another beautiful photograph.