Journal for June 2003

6/7, 6/8, 6/9/03
New flowers blooming: Anemone cylindrical, False Solomon’s Seal, White Camas (almost blooming), and in Sumac Prairie: Spiked Lobelia, Fleabane (?) and 2 small purple flowers.  Krigia biflora (Starflower Opening).

We saw an Orchard Oriole on some willows near 88 – a beautiful adult male.

There was a Giant Swallowtail on the path to Sumac Prairie – a female laying eggs.  I collected one of the eggs, so I can try raising the caterpillar.

The Red Spotted Purples must have hatched today – they’re all over the driveway.

6/14, 6/15, 6/16/03
Two new plants – one new for the farm as well as for me:  Silene antirrhina, Sleepy Catchfly – I found it on one of the rock ledges behind the house.  And Yellow Pimpernel – Taenidia integerrima – I saw it along 88, on the north side, in the ditches.

There are lots of Red Spotted Purples on the driveway these days – with a few White Striped ones (White Admirals), and a few Viceroys.  I saw several Giant Swallowtails – one a female laying eggs.  The egg I collected last week hasn’t hatched yet.

One new plant that’s coming up on the ledges behind the house – Purple Prairie Clover.  And Spiderwort is blooming there – I haven’t seen it blooming in any of the other planted prairies.

I found Yellow Pimpernel growing along Willow Road – so I can list it in the Inventory.  Also Lathyrus venosus, also along Willow Road.  Another new plant is Calystegia spithamaea – Upright (or Low) Bindweed – a beautiful big white “morning glory” flower on the Knife Edge Prairie.

6/21, 6/22, 6/23/03
The Spiked Lobelia and White Camas are blooming.  I found a (leaf only) plant of Prairie Ragwort along the path below Indian Grass Prairie.

The bluebird babies are almost ready to leave the nest.  We watched the strategy – the parents stopped feeding them for a little while.  Then they flew in large circles, all around the nest, stopping periodically to give a very rattly call.  They tried for about half an hour – calling and waiting.  The babies would poke their heads out of the house, but weren’t ready to come all the way out.  So the parents went back to feeding them.

I saw a pair of Scarlet Tanagers in the Box Elders across from the house.

6/28, 6/29, 6/30/03
The bluebirds are gone – I cleaned out the house and the parents have been back to check things out – maybe we’ll get another batch this year.  A wren has finally managed to build a nest in the farthest house – he sings constantly, but no eggs yet.  The first house by the garage has a tree swallow nest carefully lined with beautiful curved white feathers.  The swallow sits in it, but there are no eggs.  And the second house by the garage has a wren nest – no eggs.  The house out at the front by Pine Point Prairie has a family of tree swallows.

Phil and Virginia came this weekend and stayed one night – nice to inaugurate the guest room.  We had a great time – lots of music, and some long walks.

There are hundreds of butterflies on the driveway – more than I’ve ever seen.  They fly up as you walk through them, and some of them hit you with their wings – an odd feeling.

The ones on the driveway are:
Red Admirals
Baltimore Checkerspots
Silver Spotted Skippers
Red Spotted Purples
Spring Azures
Comptons Tortoiseshells
Milberts Tortoiseshells
American Painted Ladies
Great Spangled Fritillaries
Pearl Crescents
Tawny Emperors
Cabbage Whites
Giant Swallowtails

Others that we’re seeing in the fields are:
Tiger Swallowtails
Black Swallowtails
Meadow Fritillaries

Mike mowed the septic system field – it looks like a lawn – and the bottom of Pine Point Field, and the wetland in front of that – to try to get rid of some Wild Parsnip.

I found a great plant growing in both East Center Valley Prairie and Pine Point Prairie – Penstemon digitalis.  I didn’t plant it – so it came hidden in some of the seeds I bought.

Jackie and I walked on her prairie hill and found loads of Polygala polygama growing in the sun, right on top.

We saw several deer families – does with one or two fawns.  The fawns chase each other across the mowed grass.