Journal for May 11, 2007

This entry is mostly pictures – there are so many flowers blooming right now and I can’t resist taking pictures of all of them.

The weather has been so warm that the season seems to be on fast forward. The apple trees just started blooming last week, and this week they’re nearly done.

Apple blossom

Wild Plum

Arlene came to visit overnight, and she helped me girdle aspen on Sumac Bluff and Goldenrod Valley. We got a lot done – it’s wonderful to have help with some of these big projects.

I found an orchid blooming under the aspens below Sumac Corner Prairie. It’s a Frog Orchid or Long-bracted Orchid (Coeloglossum viride). I’ve only found it on our land once before – it’s a new plant record for Buffalo County.

Here’s a closeup of the flowers.

The path that Martha and I made up to Stargrass Opening is very useful – nice and wide, and it avoids all the nicest plants so I don’t have to step on them any more. This is looking along the path, down the hill, past our brush pile.

Yellow Stargrass (Hypoxis hirsuta) has just started blooming in some of the areas where I’ve been clearing brush.

And there’s lots of Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis).

This is the time to see Juvenal’s Duskywings. They’re along the paths in all the sunny places. They’re dull colored, brownish skippers, but if you can see them closely, the color patterns on their wings are beautiful.

There are lots also lots of Meadow Fritillaries. From the top they look like other fritillaries except that they’re much smaller. Underneath they have a soft brownish-gold lacework of lines and spots. Here’s one through some blades of grass.

And the same one sheltering from a shower.

Mike and I walked to the Bowl to see what it looked like after our mowing last summer. It’s pretty overgrown, but there are big areas of Bastard Toadflax and some other prairie plants. The main problem plant there is Gray Dogwood – there are huge thickets of it and when it’s mowed, it comes right back. I’d like to try clipping it and treating the cut stems to see if I can get rid of it. This is one of the Dogwood thickets.

The Marsh Marigolds (Caltha palustris) are blooming in the wetland.

I found Violet Wood Sorrel (Oxalis violacea) growing on the path through Goldenrod Valley – in the area we cleared a few years ago so it looks like some prairie plants are coming back.

The bluff prairies are full of flowers.

Here’s some Fringed Puccoon (Lithospermum incisum)

And Prairie Blue Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre)

This Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) is some that I planted in the Narrows Prairie. This is the first year it’s bloomed.

There was a haze of smoke in the air today – we haven’t figured out where it was coming from. (Susan Marie wrote to tell me that the radio is saying the wind is carrying smoke from the Ham Lake fire in the boundary waters to Western Wisconsin. What a long way for all that smoke to come!) It was a clear day, but by noon it was difficult to see down the valley. This is the view from Sumac Prairie.

I just returned from an evening walk out to the wetland. I often walk there after sunset to listen to the sounds and see which animals are out. Tonight there were Spring Peepers and American Toads calling, and American Woodcocks doing their mating dance.