Journal for May 31, 2014

As usual, the spring has run away with me – there’s so much to do and photograph, and no time to write blog posts.

The most exciting event at the farm is that Mike bought a drone.  He’s been wanting one for a while, and he’s especially excited about taking movies and aerial photos of the farm.  He’s spent the last few weeks learning to fly it – it turns out that there’s some skill involved, so it takes practice.

Here’s his first video – taken the very first day.  A spring view of Center Valley.


Since then he’s crashed into a tree once (the drone survived), and taken a lot of video from high above the farm and some from the gator riding along our walking trails.  It’s wonderful to see the farm from different perspectives.  I’ll link to his new videos as soon as they’re ready.

Spring and early summer flowers are blooming and we’re seeing lots of summer butterflies.

The Monarch population has been in trouble, so we were excited to see our first Monarch on May 25.

first monarch 5-25-14


And a pair of mated Monarchs on May 28.

mated monarchs 5-28-14


Our first Giant Swallowtail arrived yesterday.

Giant Swallowtail


Eastern Tailed Blue

Eastern Tailed Blue


Gorgone Checkerspot – a prairie butterfly

Gorgone Checkerspot 5-28-14 1


And I’m starting to see Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillars along the driveway.

Baltimore Checkerspot caterpillar


Cedar Waxwings – we saw a large flock checking out one of our blossoming apple trees

Cedar Waxwings 5-25-14


Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager


Our friends Bruce and Sarah visited from Iowa, and we took the traditional bench photo.

bruce and sarah on the bench


More flowers….

Bishop’s Cap

bishops cap 2


Indian Paintbrush

Indian paintbrush



jack in the pulpit


Jacob’s Ladder

jacobs ladder


Starry False Solomon’s Seal

Maianthemum stellatum


Rue Anemone

rue anemone 5-22-14 1


Marsh Marigold

marsh marigolds 5-22-14 1


Wild Geranium

wild geranium


Wood Anemone

wood anemone


Wild Plum



Prairie Smoke

prairie smoke


Lupine and Wood Betony in one of our planted prairies



I think we have at least two different species of morels.  This one grows under dead elms.  The other kind, which comes out a few weeks earlier, doesn’t grow under elms, and has a grayer color.  I’ve seen quite a few of this kind this week.

morel 5-30-14


Maple Ridge woods

maple hill 2


This is one of the savanna areas that Mike mowed out early this spring.  I’ve never seen any savanna flowers in here before, but already there are Golden Alexanders blooming.

Golden alexanders in knife edge


Wild Columbine



I’ve been getting dozens of moths at my lights for the last few nights – lots of the summer moths are out. Here are a few of my favorites.  (There are so many good ones that it’s hard to choose!)

White Furcula

White Furcula


Straight-lined Plagodis

Plagodis phlogosaria


Pale-veined Isturgia

Isturgia dislocaria


One-eyed Sphinx

Smerinthus cerisyi


White-dotted Prominent

Nadata gibbosa


White-lined Sphinx

Hyles lineata


Horrid Zale – a new species for the farm

Zale horrida


Doubleday’s Baileya

Baileya doubledayi


Arched Hooktip

Drepana arcuata


Baltimore Snout

Hypena baltimoralis