Journal for September 3, 2021

It’s been a gorgeous month – enough rain to keep plants green and growing and flowers blooming, but plenty of sunshine too.

Looking across the wetland and into our Center Valley on a warm windy day.


Wetland sunflowers, Swamp Thistle and Joe-Pye Weed


The creek


Sedge Meadow with Joe-pye Weed


Joe-pye Weed


Another wetland flower – Ironweed


Here’s Mike’s August mini-video – with wetland views and migrating Monarchs.

If the video doesn’t work well (lots of delays, pauses, etc.) click here to try a smaller version that may work better.

The rain has brought more humidity and misty mornings.

Indian Grass Point


Twisted Oak Savanna


Common Milkweed and native thistles have been blooming this month.  They all have beautiful flowers that are very attractive to butterflies.

Viceroy on Field Thistle.


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on Common Milkweed


Red-Admiral on Field Thistle


Peck’s Skipper on Field Thistle


Giant Swallowtail on Common Milkweed


Monarch on Common Milkweed

We started our annual Monarch counting in mid-August.  We count all the adult Monarchs we see on our afternoon walk.  Since we do the same walk every day, we can see when the migration is peaking, and how the numbers vary in different years.  Here’s the link to the chart of all the counts we’ve done.


Black Swallowtail on Field Thistle


This butterfly is on a leaf of Field Thistle, but it was resting there, not nectaring.  It’s a Common Checkered Skipper – actually not at all a common butterfly in Wisconsin.   This one probably flew up from farther south where they’re more common.


Aphrodite Fritillary on Rough Blazing Star


A very freshly emerged Eastern Comma, not on a flower.  These butterflies aren’t as interested in flower nectar.  The adults fly at the beginning and ends of the year when there are fewer flowers blooming so they more often sip on tree sap or juice from rotting fruit.


This tiny green caterpillar was eating on a leaf of Willow Dock.  The photo was taken through my microscope – the caterpillar is about 3mm long.


I reared it in a jar until it emerged as an adult Bronze Copper butterfly and then released it back into the wetland.


We’ve been working on odds and ends of projects.

I’ve been pulling Queen Anne’s Lace from favorite remnants like Hidden Oaks Meadow,


and removing Common Burdock from Big View Savanna.


Here’s the end of one of the trips back to the compost pile with cut burdock – the most I’ve ever carried in one load.


I found a Northern Walking Stick on one of the burdock leaves in my pile.


Mike has been doing some mowing – including mowing this field which we hope to get sprayed this fall in preparation for planting with prairie seeds.  Here the edges are mowed, but he hasn’t finished mowing the center.


One day, just after a rainstorm, we saw a crayfish crawling across our driveway where it goes through the wetland – the first time we’ve seen a crayfish here.  It may be a Devil’s Crawfish (Cambarus diogenes).  (Thanks Laura Hughes for help with the ID.)


The wet edges of our driveway are very showy right now with Common False Foxglove,


Great Blue Lobelia, Boneset, Swamp Betony and Jewelweed.


Great Blue Lobelia


Woolly Alder Aphids on an Alder branch.  These are one of several similar species of aphids.  They don’t look like insects from a distance, but if you could look closely the tufts of fuzz have legs and the adults have wings.


One of my favorite spiders – a Black and Yellow Argiope.  It’s easy to identify because it’s so large, and it makes that distinctive zig-zag on its web.  This one is protecting an insect that it has caught and wrapped up in a silk packet.


This is my favorite of the moths I’ve seen recently – a Pink-washed Aristotelia.  It’s tiny – only 6 – 7 mm long.


I took a picture of the path through Twisted Oak Savanna, and realized that I had an old photo of the same spot before we did any clearing there.  Here’s the comparison – be sure to move the slider to see both photos.



And here are a few late summer prairie photos.

Hidden Oaks Point with Rough Blazing Star


Buffalo Ridge Prairie


Indian Grass Point – a remnant opening and adjacent savanna area where we’ve done a lot of clearing work.


Early morning sun lighting up Indian Grass Savanna