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  • Writer's pictureGloria Putnam

Bobcat Fire Burn Scar Update: 393 Days Post Fire

On a walk this week I noticed this scrub oak, from which Christian harvested a couple of horizontal branches for firewood recently. Those two branches are enough to heat our house for several cold nights.

On closer inspection, I noticed this perfectly circular opening about 6 feet up on the main trunk. It was one of the first ecology lessons I learned after the fire: that snags provided perch and homes for birds. Important, of course, because those birds will do the work of planting the new forest.

The hole was too far up for me to look into it directly, so I put my phone up against it and tried to get a photo of the inside. This is the best I could do. Looking inside you can see what must have been a time consuming project for a little bird, to hollow out this space one bit at a time with their beak.

I don't know who is living here, but now that I've noticed their house, I'll check back and see if I can catch them flying in or out. If any readers know whose house this might be, please comment on this post!

The shoulder seasons here are short. As fall quickly turns to winter, there isn't much happening in the burn scar. It's resting. Even the resprouting oaks are taking a break from regeneration. As such, the goats are staying in and eating alfalfa, so as to not forage on plants with no energy left to respond with new growth this year. We'll let them out again once the leaves fall from the cottonwoods and willows, which will distract them from disturbing the burn scar and provide a last snack before it's really winter.

Surprisingly, there are still tiny buckwheats blooming in the burn scar. I'm always trying to capture up close, detailed pictures of their blooms in hopes I can find the time to research how to ID them. Yesterday I captured the photo below, a failure of my mission due to poor focus, but it actually turned out to be a kind of magical image.

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