It’s been a spectacular fall – wonderful colors and beautiful weather.
This is Hidden Oaks Point – part of the remnant savanna that we started clearing about 10 years ago.
Looking south along the path
Oaks along the edge of Buffalo Ridge Prairie
A view of the wetland and Maple Ridge – the newest part of our property – looking down from Sumac Prairie.
Our friends Jon and Susan came for a beautiful fall walk in the prairies.
Mike and I have been working on a couple of big clearing projects this fall. One is enlarging the cleared savanna area on Indian Grass Point. Last year we cleared the area to the left of the path – now we’re working on the area on the right.
Here’s what it looked like when we started.
And this is about half done – still with brush piles to move.
The other clearing project is to join Hidden Oaks Meadow – a mesic prairie remnant – with part of the Narrows Prairie – one of our planted prairies. Right now they’re separated by a thin line of shrubs and small trees. This is the ‘before’ photo – we’ve started cutting, but don’t have any good ‘after’ photos yet.
There are still a few late flowers blooming.
New England Aster
And a few late butterflies
This Gray Comma sat on our driveway for 3 days. We finally moved it to the grass at the edge of the driveway, and it wriggled itself down between the grass stems – maybe finding a place to spend the winter.
I’m not seeing many moths these days, except one species – Linden Loopers. Female Linden Loopers are wingless and I’ve never seen one. But males are common and come to my lights – a few nights ago I counted 150 individuals on my sheet and the surrounding walls of the garage. Here are a few of them – showing some of the variation in coloring.
I’ve been checking on my little colony of Northern Flower Moths – the rare moths I found last month on Sumac Prairie. Here’s one of the moths I saw then – on Sept 18th.
I’ve been back twice since then, looking for their caterpillars.
Here’s a tiny caterpillar – it was inside the flower, down where the seeds were developing. 9/29/2014
On 10/9/2014 I found a larger caterpillar in the same part of the flower – eating the mature seeds. As soon as I pulled the flower apart, the caterpillar crawled away down the stem.
Here’s a close-up of that caterpillar.
I don’t want to disturb the caterpillars too much – I’m not sure how many there are, and I want the colony to survive. So I’ll leave them alone until next year. They should pupate before winter, and then emerge as adults in late summer – they only have one generation a year.
We’ve been enjoying the Sugar Maples across the road – now our Sugar Maples!
Hidden Oaks Savanna
Sumac Prairie – the two parts of the prairie are slowly becoming one as I clear brush and kill the invading birches.
Evening view from the Knife Edge