Journal for May 3, 2012

There are so many ‘firsts’ this week – most of them ‘first of the year’ sightings.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks came back on Monday, Hummingbirds, Giant Swallowtails, and Monarch Butterflies arrived today.  Northern Orioles should be here any day – I’ve got oranges and grape jelly waiting for them.  This is the first Monarch – a female who was nectaring on dandelion flowers.

And I saw a ‘first for the farm’ this week too.  A Northern Waterthrush has been hanging out in the willows near the old driveway – I’d never seen one here before.

There are still Red Admirals flying everywhere – more than any other kind of butterfly.  And they’re laying lots of eggs.  Every nettle plant I’ve checked has at least one egg.

Red Admiral

The eggs are bluish green, so even thought they’re tiny, they show up against the darker green nettle leaves.


I’ve also been seeing American Ladies.  They’re some of the earliest migrants – they lay their eggs on Pussytoes in the early spring.


Our friends Adam and Renee came to visit last week.  We hurried them through a quick 3 bench tour of the farm before the rain started.  Here’s a photo on the Knife Edge bench – with the sun still shining.


The rain this week has brought out all the flowers.

Yellow Star-grass


Wild Geranium


Prairie Violet


Marsh Marigold


Hoary Puccoon


Blue-eyed Grass


Most of the trees are completely leafed out, but the oak trees are slower.  This one is just beginning to get its leaves – I think it’s a Black Oak.


I was taking pictures of Wild Geraniums when I noticed this tiny moth nectaring on one of the flowers.  It’s a day flying moth, slightly smaller than a house fly, called a Spotted Thyris Moth.


This is what the woodchucks have been doing outside my window lately.  I didn’t realize before that they could climb trees.