Journal for April 27, 2010

Things have been happening so fast that all I do is take more pictures.  Finally, this weekend, we had a few days of rain and I’ve been able to get caught up a little on computer work.  But it does seem like all the flowers are blooming at the same time.  The early flowers – Mustards and Violets – are still blooming, and the later ones – Plum, Cherry, Jacob’s Ladder and even Apple blossoms – are blooming too.

So this post is mostly flower pictures, and a few insects.

We have Bloodroot growing in the sun next to the road – it used to be a wooded, north-facing slope, and some plants from that time still survive there.

Rue Anemone

Rue Anemones are the most common spring flower in our woods.

Wood Betony

Hoary Puccoon – most plants have golden-yellow flowers

but sometimes I find lighter, lemon-yellow ones.

Blue-eyed Grass is just beginning to bloom

Wild Strawberry

Birds Foot Violets on Sumac Prairie

Spring Azures

I’ve been seeing two different Duskywing species on the driveway.  This photo shows them both.  You can see how similar they are, although the one on the left is quite a bit larger – hard to see from the photo.  On the left is a Juvenal’s Duskywing, and on the right is a Dreamy Duskywing.

This is a better picture of the Dreamy Duskywing.

Fire Cherry

Wild Plum


Prairie Smoke – not quite in bloom

The ferns are all coming up in the woods.  I love the way they look before they uncurl.

This is a small day-flying moth that flies in the early spring.  I always think its wings look like stained glass.  It’s called a Grapevine Epimenis, and it’s caterpillars eat grape leaves.

This is my first Red Admiral of the year.  These butterflies don’t survive the winter in Wisconsin; they repopulate from farther south.  This one looks pretty tattered – like he’s made a long journey to get here.

This is a not very good photo of a Meadow Fritillary.  I found dozens of these butterflies fluttering just above the grass in one of our wetland meadows.  I’ve never seen so many, and never so early in the year.  I also found one Meadow Fritillary in St. Paul today – I’ve never seen one here at all.  It may be a big year for these butterflies.

This is a Sweat Bee – one of a group of small, brilliantly metallic colored bees.

Ctenucha Moth caterpillar – I’m raising several of these to get life cycle photos.  This one is upside down and you can just see its red feet clinging to the grass blade.

Indian Paintbrush started blooming about a week ago – it seems very early.

Jacob’s Ladder

One day I went down to Willow Bend – where the creek runs under some old willow trees.  It was very quiet, and I could hear fish jumping, and see tiny gnat-like insects skimming along the top of the water.

The tent caterpillars have hatched, and have made small tents in many of our cherry and plum trees.  The caterpillars don’t seem to hurt the trees, and they’re a favorite food of Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, so I like having them.  Here’s one of the tents.

And here’s one of the young caterpillars on the outside of the tent.

The leaves on the trees are still in their very spring-green stage.  Each tree has a slightly different color of green.

These are birches and oaks along the edge of Hidden Oaks Prairie.