Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Eagle Scout Project (Chimney Swift Tower)

Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica) are a threatened species of birds that spend summers in the Midwest and winter in South America. They are unable to perch like song birds so they must spiral into their nesting and roosting sites. 

Before European settlement in North America, Chimney Swifts would nest in caves and hollowed out trees. In the last couple of centuries, they have adapted to using house chimneys for nesting. As more energy efficient furnaces become widespread in households, chimneys are being capped and are sometimes are even being eliminated in new construction. Although worldwide population is estimated at 15 million, just a few years ago the population was much higher. In order to keep the Chimney Swift common, various agencies have begun constructing purpose built towers that the swifts can use as nesting and roosting sites. You can find out more by clicking on or Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania

In the spring of 2013, I was approached by a young man who wanted to come up with a project for completion of his Eagle Scout rank. This rank is supposed to include an extensive service project that the scout plans, organizes, leads and manages. I consulted with the City of Ann Arbor's ornithologist and she suggested the Chimney Swift tower. The golf course supplied the construction materials and a site for the tower (to the left of #14 tee). The labor was all organized by the prospective Eagle Scout.

The base of the tower.

The base is about to be set in concrete. 

After the concrete is cured, the rest of the construction is completed.

You can see the completed tower from the clubhouse.  It is the white line in the upper center of the picture.

The completed tower as seen from #14 tee. It is about 14 feet tall and 18 inches on a side.

The sign on the tower explains about chimney swifts and what the tower does.

A closer view of the sign.

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Patio

We contracted an outside firm to improve the patio at Leslie Park. We flattened an area behind #3 green this spring and built a retaining wall using some of the rocks found during the excavation of Traver Creek. This area worked well as a patio but it needed something to formalize it and finish it off. We decided that brick pavers would be an elegant look and improve the aesthetics of the patio.

The area before the pavers are installed. The orange line indicates the border of the bricks.

Another view before the pavers were put down.

Pallets of bricks staged for use.

The guys in the foreground are laying bricks while the guys in the background are compacting the sub-surface.

The border is called a "soldier" course because it keeps the rest of the patio in line. Bricks will be cut into triangles to fill in the gaps. The herringbone pattern prevents water from flowing between the bricks as it drains off the parking lot.

The finished patio.

Looking from the clubhouse. It will look much nicer with tables and chairs up there.

Friday, November 1, 2013

October 2013 Weather Summary

The high temperature at Leslie Park for the month of October was just short of 80 degrees, 79.9 degrees on the second day of the month to be specific.  On October 23rd, we recorded our lowest temperature for the month at just 30.2 degrees. We had four days with low temperatures below the freezing point of 32 degrees.

We saw 4.13 inches of rain for the month. The highest amount recorded on a single day was 1.39 on Halloween.  That rain event started the day before and went into the following day. It dumped 1.63 inches of rain on the golf course. This would be a lot of rain for the summer, when the grass would use the water up in respiration, but during the cool, fall temperatures we are seeing now, it will take a while for the ground to dry out. October had two days with over an inch of rain, the other day was the 5th (1.21 inches.) Seven days had over a tenth of an inch and 11 saw some rain.  The total for the year up until now is 27.08 inches of rain.

The highest sustained wind speed was 28 miles per hour  (Oct 6th) and the average windspeed for the month is 2.2 mph. As I write this, on November 1st,  the highest sustained windspeed for the month of November is 34 mph.

This picture has nothing to do with the weather. This large buck was between #11 fairway and #13 tee the other day and I was able to get a picture of him.