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.
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.
A sandy spot with Prairie Phlox, Carolina Puccoon, and Wild Lupine.
American Copper Butterfly
This is one of the goat prairies – with blooming Downy Paintbrush and a spectacular view down the valley.
More goat prairie with savanna at the top.
Our prairies here – at the farm – are looking beautiful too.
This is Western Prairie with Golden Alexanders and Spiderwort
Another spot in Western Prairie with Golden Alexanders, Spiderwort, Indian Paintbrush and White Wild Indigo
White Wild Indigo in Pat’s Prairie
Wild Iris in the wetland (with a fly)
Spiderwort and Prairie Phlox next to the house
This is Indian Grass Savanna – a remnant that we started clearing in the fall of 2013. It looks better every year.
Wild Rose with a 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.
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.
Top view of an Arctic Skipper – this one was more cooperative
Mated pair of Baltimore Checkerspots
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.
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.
This is the time of year for babies, so we’re seeing other babies too.
I’ve been seeing some beautiful and interesting moths.
Two Virginia Creeper Sphinx posing together on my sheet
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.
Green Leuconycta – I don’t usually get to see these with their beautiful brown hind wings open.
This is a tiny, very odd moth that I’d never seen before. It’s called a Bagworm Moth.
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.
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
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.