Category Archives: Journal

Journal for June 7, 2020

It’s real summer weather now – the mornings are still cool, but the afternoon temperatures are mostly in the 80s and 90s (F).

Everything is so green these days – the early, fresh green of brand new leaves.

 

Early summer flowers are blooming.  The planted prairies are full of Golden Alexanders, and this part of the Narrows Prairie also has some of our largest patches of Lupine.

 

Marsh Marigolds in the wetland

 

I finally keyed out the Hawthorn we have here – Fireberry Hawthorn.

 

Jacob’s Ladder blooming in the woods

 

Yellow Star-grass – not really a grass, but the leaves are narrow so they look like grass leaves

 

Harebells are just starting to bloom in the bluff prairies.

 

Spiderwort just starting to bloom in the planted prairies.

 

Our biggest clump of Lady’s Slippers has 5 blossoms this year.

 

Walking thorough one of our bluff prairies I spotted a Wood Lily from one of the plants our friend Dean grew from seed.  The next day I found a second blossom – the first time I’ve seen more than one in the same prairie.

 

Wild Geraniums lining one of our trails through the woods

 

Hoary Puccoon next to the bench on Indian Grass Point

 

Last week I came across a muddy spot on the bank above the creek bed in Center Valley.

 

It’s small – about 2 feet by 3 feet, marked by many animal footprints, and slightly smelly as though something may have died there.  And it was full of buzzing, fluttering, moving insects – flies and beetles and moths and butterflies.  Here are a few of the creatures I saw.

Silver-spotted Skipper, Northern Crescent, Hobomok Skipper

 

Northern Crescent, Hobomok Skipper

 

Nessus Sphinx – there were 3 or 4 of these sphinx moths, all moving too fast to get good photos.

 

Homomok Skippers, Silver-spotted Skipper

 

Gorgone Checkerspot

 

Mike has been watching the fish in the creek as he walks by in the mornings.  They are native Brook Trout.

 

The creek with early summer green

 

I’m keeping my jars with developing caterpillars on the kitchen counter – it’s easier to keep track of what’s going on inside them.

 

I’m rearing caterpillars that I don’t recognize, to see if I can figure out what species they are and document stages of their lifecycles.  This one is eating White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima).  Its skin is completely clear, so you can see all the things going on inside.

 

This is a caterpillar that I reared last year.  It ate Common Knotweed – a weedy plant that grows down the middle of our driveway.

 

I kept the pupa in the refrigerator over the winter, brought it out this spring, and the adult just emerged.  It’s called a Zebra Caterpillar Moth.

 

This caterpillar was eating Giant St. John’s Wort leaves.

 

It made a thin cocoon with the pupa inside, squeezed between the side of the jar and a piece of paper towel.  A few days ago when I checked on it, I realized that the pupa had pushed its way up out of the cocoon, toward the top of the jar – I had no idea pupae could move themselves.  This photo shows the cocoon below, with the pupa above.

 

I looked away for about a minute, and when I looked back the pupa had pushed its way up to the top of the paper towel, and the adult had emerged.

It’s a Dusky Leafroller Moth

 

We’re enjoying the June driveway butterflies.  This is a Gorgone Checkerspot  – a prairie species.

 

Black Swallowtail

 

Big sections of our planted prairies are dominated by Canada Goldenrod – a weedy native.   Wood Betony is a native flower that’s partly parasitic.  It uses Canada Goldenrod and some of the weedy grasses as host plants.   So having Wood Betony in a prairie seems to help reduce the amount of goldenrod.  In 2016 we mowed a path through this goldenrod patch, and threw out seeds of Wood Betony.

 

Here’s the way that field looks this year so far.  The Wood Betony is flowering, and so far it looks like there’s less goldenrod – at least along the line of that old mowed path.

 

Field Sparrow nest – on the ground under a Hoary Puccoon plant on Hidden Oaks Point

 

Black Bear

 

Columbine and spider’s web on a misty morning

 

 

Another misty morning

 

Journal for May 18, 2020

We finally got rain after weeks of sunny dry weather – at least 2 inches so far.  Yesterday, the heavy rain day, we had Grosbeaks, Orioles, Indigo Buntings and many others vying for places at the feeders.  I counted 25 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks on and around the feeders at one time.  It’s not raining as hard today, so there aren’t as many, but here are two in the nearby tree, waiting their turns.

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