Journal March 31, 2009

Walking down the driveway a few days ago, I counted more than 30 Infant moths.  They were mostly sitting on the gravel, and they were quite friendly.  I sat down and watched them, and was able to entice one onto my finger.


It was colder yesterday – too cold for moths to be flying – but I found a couple of Infant Moths hiding out on birch branches.


It’s the first time I’ve ever found them anywhere other than flying around the driveway.  Their caterpillars eat birch, so I have hopes that someday I’ll be able to find a caterpillar, or see a female laying eggs on a birch tree.

I found some caddisfly larvae in the stream that runs from our biggest spring into the creek.  They’re odd creatures – they live underwater and build cases for themselves out of sand or plant pieces.  When they’re threatened they retreat back inside their case.  This one’s case was built of pieces of sand – it crawled around on my knee while I tried to get a good picture.


Adult Caddisflies look a bit like moths, but with very long thin antennae.  I’ll look for them along the stream later in the summer.

There are starting to be a few plants poking up through the old leaves and grass stems.  No flowers yet, but at least the plants are growing. This is Silky Aster (Aster sericeus) on Sumac Prairie.  Sumac Prairie is our steepest south-facing prairie, so I always go there to look for the first flowers.


There are patches of Common Juniper – Juniperus communis – on some of our steep prairie remnants.


This little Burr Oak tree is also growing on Sumac Prairie.  It’s only about a foot tall.  Oaks get nibbled on by deer and other animals, so they’re often stubby and gnarled, and it’s difficult to tell their age.


This one has been there long enough that lichens are growing on its bark.


A few more plants growing in the woods

Shining Club Moss – Huperzia lucidula (The latin names of these plants keep changing – it’s very confusing.)


A patch of Rattlesnake Plantain – a woodland orchid – Goodyera pubescens


It still has last year’s flower stalk.


Unidentified moss


Dissected Grape Fern – Botrychium dissectum.  It has a leaf blade that persists over the winter.


The willows in the wetland are blooming – they’re the first flowers of the spring.


After several days of clouds and rain, the sun came out for a few minutes this afternoon.