Spring is here….we’ve had a few snowy storms, but this month has brought mostly warm sunny days.
Buffalo Ridge with lingering snow
Spring snow along the creek
Twisted Oak Savanna
Round-headed Bush Clover in Buffalo Ridge Prairie
Here’s Mike’s latest mini-movie with sounds of spring. (You can see more of his work at EarsInTheDriftless.com.)
At the end of the winter, when it felt like spring would never come, I cut a few branches from a Wild Plum that stretched out over the driveway. They bloomed inside for several weeks – with beautiful flowers and tantalizing scents of spring.
But now it feels like spring even outside. Migrating birds are coming back – we’ve seen Robins, Blackbirds, Bluebirds and Vultures in the last few days.
Infant Moths have been fluttering around the tops of the birch trees and resting on our driveway.
This was our first butterfly of the season – a Mourning Cloak on March 22.
New leaves are just starting to poke above the ground – this is Wild Columbine. Early spring leaves are often reddish or purple.
The only plants that are really green at this time of year are mosses. I’ve been experimenting with photographing them with various cameras and my new microscope.
This is a Polytrichum species – a Haircap Moss – taken with my regular outside camera – a Lumix.
The same Polytrichum taken with the Olympus – the camera I usually use to take macro shots of insects.
Kilt Fern Moss taken with my microscope/camera
Biocrusts are communities of mosses, liverworts, bacteria and algae living on the surface of the soil. They’re common in desert areas of the southwest U.S., but they’re also found in many other places, especially dry ground where plants grow far apart enough to leave bare soil. I see them on our rocky, sandy south-facing points. This is one from the Knife Edge Point.
This is a close up view – taken through the microscope. There are tiny mosses, grains of sand, and black bumps which are probably cyanobacteria.
Here’s another one – this one also has what looks like liverworts along the bottom edge of the photo.
I’ve put out moth bait a few times and had good luck attracting several different species.
These two are Bethune’s Pinions.
It’s been fun to get back to outside projects. I’ve been cutting and treating brush and small trees below one of our bluff prairies – hoping the prairie will spread down the hill into the savanna. It looks pretty messy right now, but there are prairie plants growing here.
Another project is cleaning out bluebird nest boxes for the season. We’ve seen a few bluebirds, and now the boxes are nearly ready.
The bears are back.
The best of the trail camera photos from March…
Usually we do a spring cleanup day, where we drive around all the trails and cut up and remove all the trees that have fallen across them. There don’t seem to be as many this year – this one broke, but hasn’t actually fallen down. We can still walk under it.
These will be more work – two giant trees fallen across Cabin Road.