Journal for May 28, 2016

We’re still seeing some brown in the trees from the late frost we had in mid-May.  Burr Oak, Black Walnut and Sumac seem to have been damaged most.  Otherwise, the leaves are green and lush and it looks and feels like summer.



All the early summer flowers are blooming

Cream Wild Indigo with Indian Paintbrush and Lupine



This is the hill behind the house – one of the prairie/savanna points that we worked on clearing last fall.  It’s looking much less ragged now that the plants are up and growing.

Indian Grass Point


I’ve been finding patches of blooming savanna plants all over the places where we’ve cleared.

Violet Wood Sorrel

Oxalis violacea 5-23-16


An odd colored Wood Betony –  normally their flowers are all yellow.

Pedicularis canadensis 5-19-16 1


Blue-eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium campestre 5-16-16


Robin’s Plantain – a savanna plant that attracts small bees

Robins Plantain with bee 5-23-16


It also attracts other small creatures, including this day-flying moth – a Spotted Thyris.

Thyris maculata 5-23-16 1


Spotted Thyris moths are tiny – smaller than house flies.   They also sip up salts from the gravel in the driveway.

Thyris maculata 5-26-16 1


This is another tiny day-flying moth – an Orange Mint Moth.  Its caterpillars eat the leaves of plants in the Mint family.

Pyrausta orphisalis 5-26-16 1


Mountain Honeysuckle is a twining shrub that grows along the woods edge at the bottom of Maple Ridge.  I walked through the woods one day and found the flowers still closed.

Lonicera dioica 5-17-16


A few days later they had opened.

Lonicera dioica 5-20-16


Woods on Maple Ridge

maple ridge 1


Bent Trillium on Maple Ridge



The summer butterflies are back too.

Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger Swallowtail 5-17-16 1


Gorgone Checkerspot – a prairie dependent butterfly

Gorgone Checkerspot 5-19-16


Underside of the wings of a Gorgone Checkerspot

Gorgone Checkerspot 5-18-16 1


Tricolored Bumblebee on Hoary Puccoon

Bombus ternarius 5-19-16 1


This is the time of year when I have to be careful not to step on birds’ nests.  When a bird takes off in a flurry of wings from under my feet,  I stop moving until I locate the nest.   I stay just long enough to take  a photo.  This is a Ruffed Grouse nest.

Ruffed Grouse nest 5-20-16 1


A Woodcock chick.

American Woodcock


Several times now Sandhill Cranes have wandered up our driveway.    We’re hoping they’re scouting for a place to nest next year.

5-28-16 cranes 1


We had a few weeks of brilliant sunny weather – good for getting outside work done, and for making electricity, but very dry.  Finally, the rains came.  In the last few days we’ve had clouds and storms and more than 2 inches of rain.



The landscape has the deep emerald green of a warm, wet summer.

Praag Valley 2


And at night, mist fills the valley



misty 2


For about a month, the evenings were too cool for good mothing.  But now they’re warming up, and the moths are coming to my lights.

Lemon Plagodis – a new one for the farm

Plagodis serinaria 5-27-16 1


Laurel Sphinx

Sphinx kalmiae 5-27-16 1



Actias luna 5-20-16 1


Green Marvel

Agriopodes fallax 5-27-16 1



Antheraea polyphemus 5-25-16 1


Two-lined Hooktip

Drepana bilineata 5-21-16 1