Journal for April 3, 2011

Spring has come and gone a few times in the last few weeks.  Friday we woke up to an inch of heavy wet snow covering everything and sticking to all the branches.  Yesterday it was sunny and warm – in the mid-50s – so nearly all the snow has melted.

This is a frame from Mike’s video of the Friday morning scene.

This is Saturday’s view from Big View Prairie – back to spring.

I’m still looking for the first native flowers – something more than pussy willows.  Sumac Prairie is usually the best place to look, but as of yesterday, there were buds, but no blossoms.

This is the closest I could find – Sand Cress, a tiny mustard, in the hottest, sandiest place on the south-facing slope – with flower stalks just beginning in the center of the circles of leaves.


And Pussytoes – those fuzzy white rosettes will be flower stalks someday soon.


I actually saw this about a week ago in one of the planted prairies – Wood Betony poking up through the frozen ground.  The leaves are pink at first, but turn green once they’ve expanded a little.


This one hasn’t actually started growing yet this spring.  It’s Rattlesnake Plantain – a small woodland orchid.  It’s leaves are evergreen….


…and this its stalk of seed pods left over from last fall.


There are still a few crocuses left near the old farmhouse, but their season is nearly over.


The woodchucks came out of hibernation a few weeks ago – they always look a little ragged first thing in the spring – and not quite awake.


Unfortunately, Garlic Mustard is back.  I discovered a lot of new infestations last spring, and now that the snow is mostly gone, I can start to deal with them again.  I’m spraying them with glyphosate right now – it’s faster than pulling, and I don’t have to figure out how to dispose of the plants.   And at this time of year, there isn’t much else that the spray can damage.


While I was working on Garlic Mustard, two crows chased a Barred Owl through the woods.  The owl landed on a tree near where I was working.  I finished the job, and then very quietly tiptoed away so I wouldn’t disturb it.  It kept an eye on me the whole time.


We’ve been smelling (but not seeing) skunks in the last few days – quite strong near the house and on Sumac Prairie.


One of our weather stations hasn’t been working all winter, and now that the snow is gone, we can finally get to it to fix it.  We tried yesterday, but need to go back to the manual for more consultation.


The first Infant moths of the year appeared yesterday on the driveway – beautiful little day-flying moths that always mean “spring is here”.


And I got moths at my window light last night, for the first time.  When I’m not sure if it’s worth putting up my whole sheet/light set-up, I just shine one of my desk lamps out the window to see if anything shows up.  Last night I got 5 moths.  Thanks to Patrick Coin for pointing me to the right IDs.  I think there were two species.

I think this is a White-spotted Cankerworm Moth

Another view with hind wings showing


And this, very similar moth but without the white spot is, I think, a Spring Cankerworm Moth


Another view