Journal for August 27, 2018

This is Blazing Star season.

Rough Blazingstar – Liatris aspera – is blooming in several of our remnant prairies, and all of our planted prairies.  It’s a spectacular plant, and a favorite of migrating Monarchs.  This is our largest patch of it- in the Knife Edge Prairie.








Hidden Oaks Meadow – our other mesic remnant – also has a large area of Rough Blazing Star.  This morning I saw at least 16 Monarchs nectaring there.


My main project right now is cutting and treating aspen and gray dogwood sprouts in the Knife Edge Prairie.  It’s fun to be so close to all the Blazingstar – I can check on pollinators whenever I look up.  This shows one of the areas with brushy sprouts before I started work


The same area after about 4 days of cutting.  The plants get flattened because I’m crawling around in it, but it should look much better next year.


It’s fun driving up to the top of the ridge early in the mornings – it’s often misty, with dew showing up the spider webs.

Path between Buffalo Ridge Prairie and Western Prairie


Mist over Buffalo Ridge


Hidden Oaks Hillside is the prairie/savanna area that  Ku-le Region Forestry cleared for us in January of 2017.  Last week Mike mowed up as far as he could go – it gets very steep toward the top.  Now I need to clip and treat all the woody sprouts above the mowing – that’s my next project.


Another view of the mowing.  Mike went back the next day and mowed a little higher, so I’m hopeful that my part of the project won’t take too long.


We went on a field trip to visit an nearby remnant bluff prairie on private land.   It’s a beautiful spot, with lots of potential and a great view.


And on the way home, there was mist in all the valleys.  These are photos of our wetland at sunset, with mist rising from the creek.






Here’s a daytime view of the flowering wetland – Tall Sunflowers are starting to come into bloom


Since it’s migration time again, we’ve been counting Monarchs on our afternoon walks.  Our high count so far is 151!  (Last year the high count, at the peak of the migration, was 39.)  Our friend Doug came along a few days ago and we counted from the EV, but it was a cooler day and we only saw 11.  Last year the peak of the migration here was in mid-September.  This is only our second year counting, so it will be interesting to see how much the date of the peak varies, and how many we see at the peak.

Here are a few of the creatures we’ve seen recently.

Banded Argiope spider


The Penitant – I don’t know why it has that name.  Many of the underwings have common names that have to do with marriage or courtship.


Except this one which is a Yellow-banded Underwing.


Small Mossy Lithacodia – I love green moths.


The bear is back.


Interesting size difference in these deer – the smaller one looks very small to have such big antlers.


Mike’s photo of the rainbow after the storm this evening.