Journal for May 31, 2023

Even with the cool weather and what has seemed like a slow spring, May has brought dramatic changes to our landscape.   At the beginning of the month everything was brown – trees, bushes, and last year’s grasses.


Now everything is green.  This picture is of nearly the same place, taken a few days ago.


Flowers are blooming everywhere.



Dutchman’s Breeches is a lovely, early blooming flower in woodlands.  I’ve never found it growing naturally here, but it does grow in nearby woods, so I planted some on one of our cool shaded hillsides.  This year 3 plants came up and two of them bloomed.  Not many other flowers bloom that early, so the flowers were full of insect activity.  The larger bee is a Mining Bee (Andrena); there’s also a crab spider that has just caught a smaller bee.


One of my late spring discoveries was this leaf sticking out of last year’s dry leaves on a wooded hillside.  It’s the leaf of a native orchid called Adam-and-Eve, or sometimes Putty-root because the roots were once used to repair pottery.  Only the leaf is out during the winter.  By the time it blooms, in May or June, the leaf will be gone.  I checked on this one a few days ago, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to bloom this year – but I’ll keep watching.


Yellow Lady’s Slipper


Most Blue-eyed Grass is blue, but some plants have white flowers.


Violet Wood-sorrel


Golden Alexanders and Lupine


Bumblebees are busy gathering nectar and pollen.

Bumblebee on Hoary Puccoon


Bumblebee on Lupine


Mountain Honeysuckle – a native honeysuckle vine






This Ruffed Grouse led me up the trail through Western Valley.  I was driving my EV to get to a project, but she wasn’t in a hurry – she marched ahead of me, right in the middle of the path, so I putted slowly along behind her.


This year, for the first time, we have Tufted Titmice here – visiting the feeders and, I think, nesting.


Scarlet Tanagers are some of the last of the migrants to arrive – we saw our first ones on May 13.  We’ve been seeing this one – and his mate – bathing in the stream in the Glen.


Hidden Oaks point with Hoary Puccoon


Ten Luna Moths visited my moth lights one night!  This is the time of year when the adults emerge from their overwintering cocoons.  They head out to mate and lay eggs for a new generation of caterpillars.


Here’s a strange little creature Mike found on his shirt after we’d taken a walk in the woods. It’s the nymph of a tree hopper – I think Smilia camelus – Camel Treehopper.  It’s less than half an inch long and eats oak leaves.


Grapevine Epimenis – a tiny day-flying moth on our gravel driveway.


We’re starting to see fawns now – on the trail cameras and sometimes when they jump up from their hiding places as we walk by.  This is from one of the trail cameras – it looks very new and wobbly.


My big spring project is working to control Garlic Mustard.  It means I spend a lot of time in the woods, in places I normally don’t visit much.  This is the rocky ravine at the bottom of Western Valley.


One of the deer paths down into the ravine


The newly opened savanna on Pine Point


This is the woods in Western Valley – the way it looked by the end of the Garlic Mustard project.  After a day of working in here, I gave it up – it was just too hard to walk around, and too hard to see the Garlic Mustard.   So that project is finished for the season – I’ll pick it up again next spring.


A few butterflies….

Black Swallowtail


Gorgone Checkerspot


Giant Swallowtail


Sunrise in a sky that’s smoky from the Canadian wildfires.


Savanna on Indian Grass Point


Lupine in the Narrows Prairie


Along Cabin Road – Ostrich Ferns and Black Walnut trees with Wild Geranium


This is one of my favorite scenes – looking from the Cabin Road through the trees into 3 Finger Valley.  We see it at the end of our afternoon walk with the setting sun shining through the trees.


Sunrise view from our bedroom window