Bumble bees are currently feasting on the nectar found in prolific bloomers such as Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulas), commonly known as bee balm. Wild bergamot is one of the best forage plants for bumble bees. As older flowers are depleted, they are replaced by newly opened ones, providing an ongoing source of nectar throughout the day. The bumble bee on the left photo, Bombus impatiens, stays below the flower anthers and stigma, to access the nectar. In the right photo, the bumble bee hovers in front of the anthers and brushes them with its mid and hind legs in order to collect pollen. The practical bees then package the pollen in baskets on their hind legs, but first they mix it with nectar to make a sticky mixture. Visit the Biocore Prairie and watch the busy bees buzzing on the flowering bergamot. Photos A. Koziol. For more fascinating information on bees and butterflies, see Heather Holm, Pollinators of Native Plants. For more photos, see the the summary of the July Pollinator field trip with Susan Carpenter as guide.
If it hadn’t been for his beady eyes, we wouldn’t have spotted this little America Leopard frog, less than two inches long and sitting motionless on a dead branch which barely stuck out of a healthy colony of the common duckweed. This floating aquatic plant, each with one, two or three lentil-shaped bright green leaves – a favorite of ducks – has a single sticky root hanging in the water. When the little frog emerged from the water to bask in the sun and wait for prey, these roots adhered to the rough frog skin to make an almost perfect camouflage. The frog’s speckled appearance made it difficult to detect him, both for his predators and his prey.
Northern Leopard frogs reach lengths of up to 5 inches. Once the most abundant frog species in North America, their numbers have significantly declined. They are sensitive to pollution and water acidity. Photo G. Kutzbach, from bridge at southern end of Class of 1918 Marsh
A number of Madison Bird City partner group initiatives coordinated with support from Madison Audubon volunteers, Nelson Institute students, UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve and the Friends of the UW Lakeshore Preserve are underway on the Preserve and UW Campus, With a bit of help from Laura Wyatt and Paul Noeldner, arborist Sean Gere successfully reinstalled student Hannah DePorter's Willow Creek Owl Cam on Thursday July 9.
The camera was oriented it to pick up activity further out on the Great Horned Owl owlet's favorite roost limb and Sean took the selfie test picture to make sure it was installed and working correctly. The picture was transmitted wirelessly from the Birdcam to a laptop below. This works only when the Birdcam has recently taken a picture so it is not quite a 'live' cam but a very handy capability. We will leave it in place for a few weeks more since the owlets are still being seen in the area learning to forage on their own.
Sean then proceeded to help trim Willows at the Preserve, and the trimmed stems were used for the Lake Monona Water Walk Native American sweat lodge at Frostwoods Beach this past weekend. Paul Noeldner initated contact with the Speech and Hearing Clinic next to Willow Creek about a potential opportunity to set up a live Owl Cam of the Great Horned Owl nest box or another nest site if visible from that location next winter, and also met with staff at the Bork Research lab building about a similar opportunity for a potential Red-tailed Hawk nest cam if they re-nest again on that building next year. Both have asked for further information and follow up.
In other urban wildlife bird Accommodation Architecture habitat news, Cliff Swallows have started nesting under the eves of the DeJope 'Green Dorm' next to the Preserve near Willow Creek, and requests have been received to help add two more Nature Nooks with bird houses and bird feeders on UW Campus, one by the Horticulture Building and one by Liz Waters. Attempts are made with all of these projects to engage UW Nelson Institute students and local UW faculty and staff and we are seeing lots of enthusiasm. More news as these initiatives progress! - reported by Paul Noeldner
Glenda Denniston spent 4 hours in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve on July 5, in search of all those pretty things with wings, especially butterflies. She "visited the rain garden across from Raymer's Cove; Frautschi Point from parking lot garden along Big Oak Trail, around 2nd Oak near Field Edge, then Field Edge and Gully and into a few trails in lower unit of Biocore Prairie and back to parking lot along Field Edge; then Picnic Point including rain gardens and main trail to tip and back via Picnic Pt Marsh Trail; then "East Savanna (old orchard) including two small planting areas (prairie/savanna) and across to top of Biocore Prairie; back via fields to site of old Picnic Pt Farmhouse and from there to Heritage Oak, Upper Bill's Woods and Bill's Woods soils trail to bottom along University Bay Drive. Brief look at berm and marsh edge of 1918 Marsh. Stopped again at Raymer's Cove on way back home."
It will be feat for most of us to merely repeat Glenda's surveying walk through the Preserve, let alone spot, identify, and photograph this impressive list butterflies. Please check for more details on our butterfly page, and also, come and enjoy the Friends butterfly field trip with Ed Spalding, this Saturday July 11, 10-noon, meeting at Picnic Point entrance
Hackberry Emperor 4
Banded Hairstreak 3
Summer Azure. 2
Cabbage White 11 (no doubt would have been higher had I surveyed the gardens)
Clouded Sulphur 1
Red Admiral 4
Great-spangled Fritillary 4
Question Mark 1
Monarch 6 (5 adults and one caterpillar)
Black Swallowtail. 1
Mourning Cloak 3
Clouded Sulphur 1
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors