Journal for February 22, 2017

This week we’ve had a pause in the winter weather.  It’s been very warm,  the snow is melting, and there have been moths on my bait for the last few days.  But snow is forecast by the end of the week, so we’ll be back to winter.

The most exciting thing that’s happened in the last few weeks is some work we had done on Hidden Oaks Point.  For the first time we hired some folks to clear some of the trees, and turn it back into a prairie/savanna point.

This is one of our early photos of Hidden Oaks Point – taken in 2002, when it was still completely wooded.


This is after Mike and I worked on it quite a lot – killing and removing aspens and clearing brush and smaller trees.  But it still had too many trees.


Here’s a picture from a few days ago after most of the trees had been cut – we had them leave only a few of the largest oaks.


Here’s a photo looking down from the top of the point before they did any cutting


And the same view after they finished.  Now Mike and I need to get busy and haul away all the slash.


Here’s the cutting crew – Kyle, Beth and Erik from ‘Ku-le Region Forestry.  (Bill was part of the crew too, but I missed getting him in the photo.)


Here’s a more complete story of this project – with of pictures  from 2001 until now.


Over the last 10 days, the prairies have gone from having lots of snow, to almost none.

Buffalo Ridge Prairie


Hidden Oaks Point


Sumac Prairie has now completely lost its snow cover.


Buffalo Ridge Prairie – the only snow is right at the north end, shaded by the trees.


Indian Grass Point is bare, but Center Valley and Maple Ridge still have snow in the woods.


Indian Grass Savanna


Here are two moths that I found on my bait.  Both species spend the winter as adults, so as soon as the air temperatures warm up, they come out from their hiding places.  Sometimes their wings look worn after being around for a whole winter, but these two looked pretty good.

Lost Sallow


Morrison’s Sallow


This Sharp-shinned Hawk came back several days in a row to check out our bird feeders.  It’s a tiny one – probably a male – about the size of a Blue Jay.


We’re starting to see a larger variety of creatures on our trail cameras.  During the cold weather, we saw lots of deer and not much else.  Now that it’s warming up we’re seeing raccoons, more coyotes, and owls.

These two owl photos were taken by the Cabin Creek camera.  I’m pretty sure they’re Barred Owls, and possibly the same owls that we saw there last spring.