Arlene Koziol tells a story in pictures and words on Monarchs and the other Milkweed connoisseur, the large Milkweed bug, featured in our previous Blog. You can enjoy Arlene's photos of these insects, observed at various locations in 3 counties, on her Flickr site. Here is a sampling on Monarchs. A special treat is the photo of Monarchs roosting on their migration south, captured both in a superb photograph and in the exquisite painting of Arlene's Friend at the Chicago Field Museum, Peggy MacNamara.
In early October, MJ & and Tom Morgan were walking from Steenbock Library to the entrance to Picnic Point along the Lakeshore Path & Tom stopped to look at milkweed bugs. Tom sends us this report and photo of the milkweed bugs that appear when milkweed seeds are ready to burst open their prickly enclosures.
While walking along the Lakeshore Path on October 4th, listening to the cadence of the university’s marching band rehearsing for tomorrow’s game, I saw a seed pod with juvenile nymphs and adults of the large milkweed bug with bright, reddish orange coloration amidst a few, small, yellowish orange aphids. The bugs were feeding on nutritious milkweed seed, storing energy to last through the winter. I marveled at the relentless beauty of this chilly day along University Bay. The progression of life preparing for winter, shared a cadence, albeit on a different time scale, with the choreography of the marching band.
Adam Gundlach, who coordinates land management activities in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve, started this week "tinkering" with iNaturalist. One of his first posts is this spectacular image of a Cecropia moth, munching its way along a young black walnut (Juglans nigra) stalk and leaves. The larvae of the moth, shown here, typically go through five larval stages (instars). This one on the photos is likely in its 4th or 5th instar. All the black hair of the first stage has disappeared, and the larva is adorned with striking blue, yellow and orange tubercles. It will soon reach maturity and spin a large brown cocoon in which it will overwinter. The giant silk moth, the Cecropia moth, will emerge next year in the early summer. See more information at Wikipedia. Thank you, Adam, for sharing these photos.
On June 17, 2019, Arlene and Jeff Koziol reported the first blue-green algae blooms of the year. The lake temperature was 69°F. The photos of near shore blooms shown here were taken at Raymer's Cove in the Preserve. The bloom extended from Marshall Park boat ramp to Raymer’s cove. Spring Harbor Beach was closed.
This year's first cyanobacteria bloom is late compared to last year. It will be of interest to compare dates of lake stratification for these two years. After the winter of uniform water temperatures of 4°C below the ice cover, surface water warms up in spring, and the colder water begins to sink, the spring turnover. Eventually, summer stratification sets in with three layers: the upper, well-mixed warmer water, a middle transitional zone with rapidly decreasing temperatures, the thermocline, and the lowest cold and dark layer, undisturbed and extending to the lake bottom.
Last year, the Koziols observed the first bloom at their monitoring site a month earlier, on May 16! Arlene reports, "Our big blooms last year were June 7, 8, 27 and Sept 7th and 15th, 2018. We were late getting out for our measurements of the Mendota Central Deep Hole this year because of bad weather and boat issues. Our first readings at the Deep Hole was June 12th and the lake had already stratified. Last year I was told that the data from the Mendota buoy is not available.
Here is a question, yesterday when I looked at the bloom early in the day, the algae seemed to be floating up from a lower level. Below is a little video clip from my phone. Can one tell if it is cyanobacteria?"
See more of Arlene's photos on her Flickr Site.
The Northern Yellow Lady's-slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum var. makasin) is a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, according to the DNR. It blooms late in May into late June, and likes to grow in fens and swales and "rich springy forest edges". David Liebl, on his frequent strolls in the Preserve, found this beauty, soon ready to open and reveal its slipper, the inflated lower petal. The lateral petals will be narrow, up to 2 inches long, typically spirally twisted. We are fortunate to such a wide variety of flowering plants in the Preserve. David, thank you for sharing this photo.
The Barred owl family that claims Bill's Woods as its home has endeared itself to many Preserve visitors. Glenda Denniston, who spends a lot of time in these woods, reported today: "This Barred owl was just sitting quietly on the ground in Bills Woods two days ago. The Wood thrushes were protesting noisily, which is what called it to my attention. After a while it flew up to the top of a nearby tree. I presume the two baby owlets were nearby, but I didn’t see them."
Many visitors to the Preserve have enjoyed the Barred owl family near the entrance at Picnic Point, along the service road. This owlet has been growing steadily and now, as a juvenile, is surveying the territory from the safety of its large nest cavity. David Liebl sent us this photo. Thank you!
Folks were out in the Preserve by the hundreds this weekend, be it for the perfect walk with family, for a family picnic at one of the fireplaces, or birding during spring migration. Many marveled at the sights of wonders of nature in spring. My grandchildren were looking for ducks and were surprised by the loud chorus of big frogs in the Picnic Point Pond marsh, who stared at the with many beady eyes barely above the the water surface. Others talked about a muskrat along the shore, and red-tailed hawks circling above. Brandon Corder was capturing the beauty of the first wildflowers in spring on his walk, and shared them on iNaturalists and with us here: the delicate lavender-purple wide-open blossoms of the early Hepatica flowers, and the white trout or fawn lilies covering wide stretches of ground along the path. He also spotted Dutchman's breeches, Fawn lilies, also called trout lilies because of the brown-speckled leaves, and even the big snow trillium with its three leaves and big bud. Spring has come with a mighty force and and all of nature seems to rejoice.
At this time of year, when you take a walk in the Preserve, you are bound to meet birders, checking out their favorite places. Mike Bailey took this photo of a Ruby-crowned kinglet, "near Frautschi Point, as it was flitting around at its usual high speed in a brush pile and chatting up a storm. Quite a few others were well overhead singing and foraging in the treetops, too, but hardly close enough for a decent photo. This one obliged nicely."
David Liebl can be spotted in Bill's Woods and the Biocore Prairie doing his rounds almost every day. He Is is interested in recording the changes in the bird population in one area over several weeks. He posts his observations on e-Bird's Bill's Woods hotspot. He keeps track of the Bluebirds – three pairs are claiming nest boxes around the Biocore Prairie at this time – and he is sharing with us his photos of Barred Owl, a Wood duck sitting von a branch, and a Yellow-bellied sapsucker. Chuck Henrikson also fills his little note book with pages of birds he observes on his rounds at Picnic Point.
Please share your sighting with us by contacting preserveFriends@gmail.com.preserveFriends@gmail.com
I'm passionate about the Preserve. Gisela Kutzbach and contributors