Seeing the Hand of God in the Red Sandy Country

I am continually amazed and humbled to see the effects of rainfall on the red sandy country south of San Antonio. Just weeks ago, I was resigned to yet another bad year for Bobwhite quail, perhaps spectacularly bad. Yet, unexpected rains over much of the Rio Grande Plain have brought to fruition our meager efforts at “quail management”. Disking in Dec. brought forth native sunflower, stunted at three inches until now, when it is bursting with flower and six feet tall.

Native Sunflower Response to Disking

Disking in March was bare dirt until the rain. Now, it is rows of croton wherever the disk went.

Croton Response to Disking

I have been at this for 50 years now and I should know better than to assume what I do has any chance of working without God’s help. All we as wildlife managers can do is plan for “normal” rain, but humbly accept what rain we get.

As followers of my blog, you know I have spent a lot of other people’s money on sprinklers, hoping to “money-whip” the lack of rain. With enough cash I can make green spots as lush as those pictured above, but I have, after 50 years, come to the conclusion that no matter how many artificial micro habitats you create, nothing can replace a general two inch rain. Compare the green spot below with the pictures above and below it and imagine you are a quail chick trying to avoid predation!

Green Spot at Sprinkler in Drought
Rocky Ranch after Recent Rains, 2021

Another major plus is the “Hail Mary” planting of Browntop we did near Artesia Wells is up and going gangbusters; hope it makes it to seed.

Here’s hoping for rain on your place, lots of bugs for the chicks, and a great year!

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