Commons Ford Committee field trip to Spicewood Ranch (Jan. 26, 2020)

The Travis Audubon Commons Ford Committee visited Spicewood Ranch on January 26, 2020 to talk about land management and prairie restoration on the ranch. We were fortunate to be there on a day when conditions were favorable for prescribed burns to restore and maintain prairie habitat.

Chris Harte, the ranch owner, was there to welcome us on this fine day. Chris has been managing the prairie and savannah habitat on Spicewood Ranch for more than 30 years. He's a past board member of the National Audubon Society, state Audubon Boards in Texas and Maine, and state Boards of the Nature Conservancy in Texas, Florida, and Maine. Because of his lifelong conservation actions, Chris was honored by Travis Audubon with the Victor Emanuel award in October 2019.

Chris and his brother convinced their father and uncle to buy 286 acres just north of the old town of Spicewood in 1972. Since then he has purchased additional parcels to create a 1,300-acre restoration project. Spicewood Ranch received the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s 2018 Lone Star Land Steward award for the Edwards Plateau.

Many thanks to David Mahler for leading the trip. David's company, Environmental Survey Consulting, is one of the best ecological restoration and native landscaping companies in the southwest. Big thanks also to Terri Siegenthaler, also an expert land manager, for organizing the trip.

Commons Ford Committee members on the trip were Shelia Hargis and Ellen Filtness (Committee Co-Chairs), Andy Filtness, Michael Sims, Janice Sturrock, Cecilia Green, and Terri Siegenthaler. More info on the Commons Ford Committee is on the Travis Audubon web page: https://travisaudubon.org/conservation/commons-ford

Other Travis Audubon members on the trip were Eric Stager, Mark Wilson, Brenda Ladd, and Clif Ladd.

Here's a link to the eBird checklist compiled by Shelia Hargis: https://ebird.org/checklist/S64181644


Prescribed fire on Spicewood Ranch, part of the ongoing prairie management efforts.

Posted by cliftonladd cliftonladd, February 05, 2020 13:38

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Narrow-leaf Gayfeather (Liatris punctata var. mucronata)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 10:18 AM CST

Description

The multiple flower stalks indicates this was browsed earlier in season, probably by while-tailed deer.

Photos / Sounds

What

Texas Prairie Parsley (Polytaenia texana)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 10:36 AM CST

Description

David Mahler explaining; plant was found inside deer exclosure.

Photos / Sounds

What

Globular Drop Snail (Helicina orbiculata)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 10:55 AM CST

Photos / Sounds

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 10:59 AM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Prickly Pears (Genus Opuntia)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 11:10 AM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 12:45 PM CST

Description

This was 5 minutes after a prescribed fire.

Photos / Sounds

What

Honey Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 12:57 PM CST

Description

Prescribed fire.

Photos / Sounds

What

Thistles (Genus Cirsium)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 12:59 PM CST

Description

This looks like it survived a prescribed fire that burned through here about 5 minutes earlier.

Photos / Sounds

What

Spanish Dagger (Yucca treculeana)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:20 PM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Texas Stork's Bill (Erodium texanum)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:24 PM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Marsh Ramshorn (Planorbella trivolvis)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:33 PM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Ovate-leaf Cliffbrake (Pellaea ovata)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:40 PM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Powdery Cloakfern (Argyrochosma dealbata)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:41 PM CST

Photos / Sounds

What

Flatcoils (Genus Polygyra)

Observer

cliftonladd

Date

January 26, 2020 01:50 PM CST

Comments

What an interesting field trip! Does this mean there will be prescribed burns at Commons Ford?

Posted by mikaelb almost 2 years ago (Flag)

I don't know. That might be hard to do.

I'm working on another post now about the tiger cat I told you about. Thanks for the idea!

Posted by cliftonladd almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Can't wait!

Posted by mikaelb almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Terri tells me they are planning to do a burn this year, which will be the 3rd or 4th burn in the last 10 years.

Posted by cliftonladd almost 2 years ago (Flag)

Add a Comment

Sign In or Sign Up to add comments