Took a long walk around the area we’re having cut today. So far, the Hot Saw operator is primarily laying out his trails and there was not a safe way to get a video of the saw in action. I’ll try to do that in the next couple of days. We got a couple more inches of snow and a little rain this morning as temperatures went above freezing again. This is keeping the ground up on the hill behind the house rather soft. It’s supposed to be below zero Thursday night which should help get the skidder roads that have been cut pretty well frozen before the skidders come in and start bringing the logs to the landing for processing. There are already lots of bunches of trees laying on the ground and there will be lots more to come. Although logging can not help but disrupt the ground some, there is a side benefit in that the woodcock will use spots where the topsoil has been churned up by the equipment as areas to feed. Our wet hillside used to hold a number of native woodcock each summer, in addition to improving the grouse habitat, we should get some woodcock back. I didn’t flush any grouse walking around today but I did cross one track in the fresh snow.
In one area that has already been cut you can see a bunch of white birch trees that have been left. The hope is that these trees will get a growth spurt from the removal of the softwood competition and act as sources of seeds for new growth. Patches of new growth will create the stem density we need to hold broods through out the summer. It will also let the sun in to the soft mast food sources that are present but fighting for sunlight. There are many apple trees in the cut area as well as native grouse food sources like high-bush cranberries, viburnum, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and others. The grouse also feed on the catkins of the various members of the birch family and the buds of poplar trees in the winter. Hopefully all those will thrive in the cut area.