Journal for June 19, 2016

Summer has arrived, with full, lush leaves and green everywhere.  It’s been a warm and humid few weeks.

Mike did a new drone video of the farm – early summer views.  Watch it at the highest resolution and full screen, if you can.


I’ve been pulling Wild Parsnip in a part of the wetland that has thickets of spindly willows.  It’s nice to work under them because it’s shady, but it’s still very hot and humid.  It feels like working in a tropical jungle.



A few weeks ago we visited a woods near here where Jeweled Shooting Star grows.  This species is much brighter pink than the more common Eastern Shooting Star, and in Wisconsin, it’s only found on moist, wooded, north-facing slopes in the western-most Driftless Area counties.  It’s not common, and I had never seen it before.

Shooting Star


Another adventure was visiting a spectacular piece of land on the other side of the county which has scattered spots of sand prairie, savanna, and some large goat prairies which have been maintained with burning.

This is one of the sand prairie areas mixed in with planted pines.

sand prairie 6


A sandy spot with Prairie Phlox, Carolina Puccoon, and Wild Lupine.

sand prairie 3


American Copper Butterfly

American Copper


This is one of the goat prairies – with blooming Downy Paintbrush and a spectacular view down the valley.

bluff prairies 1


More goat prairie with savanna at the top.

bluff prairies 4



savanna 5


Our prairies here – at the farm – are looking beautiful too.

This is Western Prairie with Golden Alexanders and Spiderwort

western prairie 2


Another spot in Western Prairie with Golden Alexanders, Spiderwort, Indian Paintbrush and White Wild Indigo

western prairie


White Wild Indigo in Pat’s Prairie

White Wild Indigo


Wild Iris in the wetland (with a fly)

Iris - with fly


Spiderwort and Prairie Phlox next to the house

morning flowers


This is Indian Grass Savanna – a remnant that we started clearing in the fall of 2013.  It looks better every year.

Indian Grass Savanna


Wild Rose with a bee

Rose with bee


This is the time of the year for butterflies.  Our driveway is alive with them, and we also see butterflies on flowers and in the air and flying through the woods.

Red-spotted Purple

Red Spotted Purple 6-15-16 1


Baltimore Checkerspot

Baltimore Checkerspot 6-9-16 2


This is an Arctic Skipper.  I usually find a few each year in wet places along our roadsides.   They’re very skittish – I always have to follow them around for a while to get a photo.

Arctic skipper 5-30-16 1


Top view of an Arctic Skipper – this one was more cooperative

Arctic skipper 6-2-16 1


Mated pair of Baltimore Checkerspots

mated Baltimore Checkerspots 6-15-16 1


A very early Common Checkered Skipper.  In spite of its name, this species isn’t very common here.  It migrates up from the south some summers.  If I see any here, it’s not usually until August.    This one was from June 10.

Common Checkered Skipper 6-10-16 1


We’ve been seeing fawns everywhere – following their moms through the woods and between the tall plants in the prairies.  One of the favorite places for does and fawns to play is Cabin Creek, so we get lots of trail camera photos from there.

6-2-16 1 deer



6-8-16 1 deer



6-15-16 1 deer


This is the time of year for babies, so we’re seeing other babies too.


6-14-16 1 woodcocks


Wild Turkeys

6-13-16 1 turkeys


I’ve been seeing some beautiful and interesting moths.

Two Virginia Creeper Sphinx posing together on my sheet

Darapsa myron 6-10-16 1


Orange-barred Carpet

Dysstroma hersiliata 6-10-16 1


Anna Tiger Moth – a new one for me.  The bubbles it’s blowing are probably for defense – I was irritating it by trying to convince it to open its wings.

Grammia anna 6-8-16 1


Green Leuconycta – I don’t usually get to see these with their beautiful brown hind wings open.

Leuconycta diphteroides 6-10-16 2


This is a tiny, very odd moth that I’d never seen before.  It’s called a Bagworm Moth.

Psyche casta 6-15-16 4

Its larvae make shelters for themselves out of pieces of grass and sticks, and attach themselves to whatever is handy.  I see them on the walls of our house and garage, and I’ve even found them inside the house.

Psyche casta 6-18-16 1

They’re not native to North America – they came from Europe and were first discovered in Boston in 1931.  Since then they’ve expanded their range to most of the eastern  part of the country.


We had a big group of birders visiting yesterday.  We took them on a long tour through the prairies and savannas.  The highlight was seeing and hearing at least 3 Henslow’s Sparrows in Buffalo Ridge Prairie.



St. Croix Valley Bird Club

2016 St. Croix Valley Bird Club


Since we’ve been having such warm and humid weather, we’ve also had some big storms.  No destructive ones, but spectacular clouds and plenty of rain.  This is a fiery sunset after one of the storms.

sunset after the storm