In 2020, Glenda Denniston of the Friends began volunteering for the Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade. This project allows volunteers from the public and professionals to report observations of bumble bees seen in Wisconsin. This information is used by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its partners to study, manage, and conserve Wisconsin's bumble bee.
In 2012, Glenda observed her first rare Rusty-patched bumble bee in the Preserve. Over the next few years, she and Susan Carpenter recorded several sightings of individual Rusty-patched bumble bees. and Susan started her Bee field trips for the Friends in the Preserve. Then, in 2020, Glenda snapped photos of the rare Rusty-patched bumble bee in the strip of savanna she created between the Biocore Prairie and Frautschi Woods over a period of two decades. Click here.
This year she reports:
"I’m finding quite a number of Rusty patched bumble bees in the Preserve now. Got another near Second Oak, Frautschi and this one was on a Rattlesnake master in the little prairie at Raymer’s Cove. A neighbor in Shorewood even found one in her Shorewood yard.
"I did manage to locate my first photos of this species, despite my dying computer. I photographed it in East Savanna (old orchard) on a Monarda in a little patch of prairie/savanna ...... around a Bur oak sapling that I had roped off to keep it from being mowed down every year. At the time I sent the photos and documentation to the Xerces Society.
This is a female Rusty patched bumble bee (Bombus affinis) on Woodland Joe-Pye Weed in the savanna restoration area around Second Oak, Frautschi. I took the photo on July 13.
I went there at the request of the DNR person who oversees Bumble Bee Brigade, as a follow up to a photo I submitted to them last year. They’re asking this of all people who had recorded Rusty patched bumble bees last year, to see if they were still present at these documented sites.
A Willow Flycatcher is bringing food to its nest with four young, photographed by David Liebl near the entrance to Picnic Point. During season of rearing their young, birds in the Preserve waste little time for singing and concentrate on bringing food to their always hungry nestlings. Feeding mainly insects, both parent flycatchers bring food to their young. The nestlings grow quickly and are ready for their first flight in 12-14 days after hatching.
Glenda Denniston has been pulling and bagging Garlic mustard and other invasives pretty much daily all season and in many areas. One of the perks of her labors, she says, "is seeing critters that otherwise would have escaped my notice." Here are a few of them.
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors