Journal for June 20, 2015

As usual at this time of year, I’m way behind on all indoor projects including blog posts.  It’s been a warm rainy time – 3 inches of rain in a week – we’ve been feeling like we’re living in a rain forest.  Everything is incredibly lush and green.

Misty rain in Center Valley

misty rain


Cabin Road – one of our trails through the woods

Cabin road


Wet woods with Ostrich Fern and Wild Geranium

woods with geranium


This is Cabin Creek – the small stream that runs away from the spring near the cabin.

Cabin Creek 1


An Ovenbird taking a bath in Cabin Creek
Cabin Creek Ovenbird


One day the end of the rainbow was right here in Center Valley

end of the rainbow


We’re seeing lots of early summer flowers

Swamp Rose

Rosa palustris 6-12-15 1


Rainy day Spiderwort



Low Bindweed


Prairie Cinquefoil

Potentilla arguta


My friend MJ came to visit, and we spent the whole day looking for bugs – a wonderful time.



It’s a time for animal babies – we see a lot of them on the trail cameras.

The fawns are very playful – skipping around while their moms keep watch.

6-15-15 doe and fawn 1


Doe with twins

6-15-15 doe and fawns 2


6-16-15 doe and fawn 4


Turkey leading her babies across the creek

6-18-15 turkeys


Wood Ducks – Mom and babies – heading to the beaver dam


5-29-15 2 wood ducks


And crossing the beaver dam

5-29-15 wood ducks


We have more Silvery Checkerspot butterflies than I’ve ever seen before.  A few weeks ago, I found their caterpillars on every Sunflower and Oxeye plant.

silvery checkerspot caterpillar 6-7-15 1


Now they’re starting to hatch, and they come up in clouds when we walk on the driveway.

Mated Silvery Checkerspots

Silvery Checkerspots


It’s been a good year for Skipper butterflies too – this is a Hobomok Skipper – a common one in early summer.

Hobomok skipper 5-28-15 1


And a Northern Cloudywing – not very common in Wisconsin.

Northern Cloudywing 5-28-15 1


I’m so pleased with the upper part of East Center Valley.  It was an old hay field, and it’s been hard to figure out how to get it back to native prairie.  We’ve seeded and sprayed and mowed for 5 years.   This year it’s definitely looking good – with big patches of Indian Paintbrush and Wood Betony.

East Center Valley 2


Early summer flowers in Western Prairie – Northern Bedstraw, Spiderwort, Indian Paintbrush

western prairie


Spiderwort and White Wild Indigo in the Narrows Prairie

Narrows Prairie


A road caterpillar – the first monarch caterpillar I’ve found this year.

monarch caterpillar - 7-19-15 1


Our friend Bruce came for a visit, and a long prairie walk.

mike and bruce on bench

We set up the moth lights the night that Bruce was here.  He was curious how many moths I normally see in a night.  I counted the species that night – June 7 – and there were 82.

Here are a few of my favorites from the last few weeks.


Antherea polyphemus 6-5-15 2



Antherea polyphemus 6-5-15 1


Orange-barred Carpet

Dysstroma hersiliata 6-5-15 1


Melsheimer’s Sack-bearer (Frederick Valentine Melsheimer was an early American entomologist ;  maybe the ‘Sack-bearer’ has something to do with the caterpillar)

Cicinnus melsheimeri 6-16-15 1


Twin-spotted Sphinx

Smerinthus jamaicensis 6-7-15 1



Sideridis rosea 6-10-15 1


Black-dotted Maliattha

Maliattha synochitis 6-2-15 1