Bats and Mowed Prairies – August 27, 2004

Just before dawn we heard what sounded like claws scrabbling on the siding outside our bedroom.
After searching for a while, we finally realized that the noise came from some bats which were flying around the open windows upstairs. Mike thinks they had decided there was a cave inside, and were trying to get in to spend the winter.

The screech owls are still calling down the valley.

There aren’t nearly as many birds these days – I think most of the Grosbeaks and Orioles have left for the winter. My weekly bird list is getting shorter every week. But there are more Goldfinches, and big flocks of sparrows in the fields.

Mike mowed the last of the prairies – now all the planted prairies are mowed. Hopefully that will discourage the goldenrod and the queen anne’s lace. Next year we won’t mow – we visited Carl Kurtz in Iowa this week and he thinks we should stop mowing and give the prairie a chance to crowd out the weeds.

The new prairie, the one we’re going to plant this year, has been mowed for the last time, and Clif will spray it in mid to late September. It doesn’t have many perennial weeds, so it should be nice and weed-free next year. I’m going to try planting mostly short grasses, and as many forbs as I can. It’s been inspiring to see so many of other people’s planted prairies this summer – I’ve gotten some good ideas.