Emily Steinwehe, master naturalist and of Emily Plants, led a group of four interested and motivated attendees into the Preserve on a hot (95F- and all-time record for this day in Madison) Sunday afternoon. The walk took us from the Picnic Point entrance to Frautschi Point along the Lake Mendota shore and back along BioCore Prairie and Bill’s Woods. The ten-year old boy with us noticed the earth trembling with the work of ground squirrel/gopher and found at least 3 American Toads (were we being followed?). Emily pointed out many mushrooms that had sprouted following the heavy rains last week (including showy Dryad’s Saddle (Polyporus squamosus)), but refused to recommend any of them for eating despite the request of the Chinese physician on our tour. We saw one young Barred Owl in Caretaker’s Woods, and many trees and plants in bloom including black cherry (Prunus serotina), wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) sweet cicely (Ozmorhiza), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and Great Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum appendiculatum). We all enjoyed Emily’s tour, her sense of fun, and her willingness to follow our interests. Thanks, Emily! Friends host and photos - Doris Dubielzig
Planting pollinator patches of flowering forbs and grasses along the path to Picnic Point and at the entrance kiosk was quite an honor and much fun. Planters were a group of Friends, including Doris Dubielzig and her house guest, Paul Quinlan and his daughter, Steve Sentoff, Marj Rhine, Gisela Kutzbach, Glenda Denniston, and Gretel Dentine, as well as five cheerful volunteers from Memorial HS school's youth volunteer club, Bryn Scriver, Preserve volunteer coordinator, and her neighbor and son, and Laura Wyatt, Program manager. The group at the Preserve entrance planted good-sized flowers adding color and beauty to this area, purchased with funds provided by the Friends. Just past the giant cone effigy mound, we planted hyssop, columbines, bottlebrush grass, Short's aster, Black-eyed susan, Beak grass and others flowers, most from the 6 flats of greenhouse seedlings that Glenda Denniston had patiently raised all spring in the greenhouse. At the Isthmus, the planters took great care to space the plants evenly on the steep slope toward the bay. Further up the path, past fire circle #4, another group planted a larger area with flowers where once buckthorn dominated. The day was rather cloudy, and at night a good rain gave the new plantings a head start. After the work was done, the planters relaxed at circle #2 with cake and fruit. The next day after the rain, Marj observed a duck settling down in one of the new planting areas. A great thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the Preserve more beautiful. Photos provided by Glenda Denniston, Gisela Kutzbach and Laura Wyatt.
provided Over 20 people joined bird and warbler expert Roma Lenehan for a two mile, early morning birding hike to Frautschi Point, the Biocore Prairie and the Picnic Point Marsh. On this beautiful morning, even the Gray-crested flycatcher looked brilliant in the golden sunlight. The air was filled with urgent bird calls and joyous songs, and the group was rewarded with spotting a total of 60 different species. The warblers were still hanging out in the tops of the tall blooming oaks, feasting on plentiful food, along with emerging critters and bugs, while toxic oak chemicals were still absent. On a short side trip toward Raymer's Cove, the group flushed a male Wood duck that flew toward the lake. But the female Wood duck, silhouetted against the blue sky, flew into a hole of an oak tree trunk about 10 feet above the ground.
At the Biocore Prairie, we surprised some Swainson's thrushes, now ten times more common than the Gray--cheeked thrushes. Indigo buntings were in the pine trees along the old field. They will soon be feasting on the dandelion seeds maturing in the meadow. At the Picnic Point marsh the birders were rewarded with sights of the Green heron, Sora rail, and Sandhill cranes.
This was a most fascinating field trip, not only because of the many birds present, but also because Roma shared her vast knowledge with regards to location, habitat, food, migration, and individual bird calls and songs and identification of many birds. Experienced birders like Marty Evanson, Susan Slapnick and others also helped inform the group. Susan Slapnick also provided the list of birds, in the order they were seen. Friends hosts: Galen Hasler, Gisela Kutzbach, Peter Fisher. Bird photos were taken by Marj Rhine
Along with the Biocore program’s 50th anniversary, the Biocore Prairie turned 20 this year! On May 14, a grand birthday celebration marked the anniversary on site at the prairie. Visitors were greeted with celebratory soft music and root beer floats. The community of students, alumni, faculty, administrators, and friends enjoyed walking tours with the knowledgeable team of Biocore Prairie interns. There were informal presentations by current Biocore director Janet Batzli, former director Ann Burgess, who in 1997 first envisioned the transformation from abandoned agricultural, weedy field to prairie, Curt Caslavska who tireless worked at this amazing restoration project with scores of students, paid workers, and volunteers, and Seth McGee, current Lab manager of the Biocore program and supervisor the Biocore summer interns.
Today, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Biology Core Curriculum is an award-winning intercollege honors program and the Biocore Prairie is a central field site for two Biocore lab courses and for summer independent research projects, service learning, and collaborative research and teaching efforts with many other UW-Madison programs.
There were six exhibits along the birthday celebration path, including two exhibits by the Biocore courses 382 and 486 students, the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve with Bryn Scriver, Laura Wyatt and Adam Gundlach the Biocore Bird Observatory with Jackie Sandberg and volunteers, the Citizen Science projects of the Biocore Purple Martin house and Bluebird trail sponsored by the Friends of the Preserve, with Gisela Kutzbach, Paul Noeldner, and Janis Cooper, and the undergraduate Bat research project with Thomas Guerin, sponsored by the Friends and supervised by Seth McGee. Visitors included one of the earliest graduates of the program, Bob Majeska who graduated in 1971, scores of enthusiastic students and visitors of the Madison community. With the late spring this year, visitors could still enjoy Shooting Stars in bloom and budding Golden Alexanders. Plan to visit this special place this summer or with Friends field trips on July 14 and 29, and August 4 and 11.
On May 12 Steve Sentoff led a group of five members from the Friends of the Lakeshore Nature Preserve on a walk as a training session for the use of the iNaturalist smartphone app to collect data as a citizen science project. We began our session at the Memorial Union to take advantage of the Wi-Fi there and did a demonstration of the features and capabilities of the web site, www.inaturalist.org. Then we walked to Muir Woods to practice making observations. The team collected 37 observations representing 20+ species of plants, all of which have been uploaded and are available for public viewing. In addition to learning the application, this field trip was also an introduction to many of these spring ephemerals to the group. Favorites included Cut-leaved Toothwort, Twinleaf, Dutchmen's Breeches and Bloodroot. The group felt that they were now prepared to use the tool and more confident of their ability to collect data on their own. Photos Gisela Kutzbach
Roma Lenehan reports that 16 people pulled about 18 bags – probably less than 1/3 of the Garlic Mustard in the west side of the “Endless Block” – along the Big Oak Trail and in the cut which connected the Big Oak to the Lake (area cleared by the Arboretum in the mid to late 1990s). The Preserve student technicians will continue work on the area and try to complete it. Roma thanks everyone for their help. The Garlic Mustard Pull of the Friends was a strenuous but fun-filled time on a warm summer day, as we were pulling side by side and chatting back and forth. The plants were no more than a foot high and were easy to pull because the ground was still wet from earlier rains. This was an "on" year in the two year cycle of Garlic Mustard, one reason why the willing pullers couldn't finish the job. Volunteers were: Pat Becker, Ann Burgess, Glenda Denniston, Doris Dubielzig, Sarah Goldenberg, Galen Hasler, Grace Hasler, Gisela Kutzbach, Roma Lenehan, Karen Nakasone, Marcia Schmidt, Monica Sentoff, Steve Sentoff, and Lillian Tong. Preserve staff volunteer coordinator Bryn Scriver and Program Manager Laura Wyatt also pulled and filled bags.
Jackie Sandberg, long-time bird bander with Mara McDonald, officially opened the 2018 banding season of the Bird Observatory on the first warm Saturday of spring–May 5. A great group of volunteers came out for the morning. Although it was super windy, 5 different species of song birds were caught: Field Sparrow, American Goldfinch, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow, and White-breasted Nuthatch. Two of the birds were mark-recaptures, and Jackie hopes to figure out if they were banded at the prairie or by someone different. The Bird Observatory is scheduled for most Saturday mornings in summer. Friends are especially invited for the Bird Observatory field trip day on August 4
After a week of solid clouds, it was a treat to have a cloudless night for stargazing at the Preserve. About 20 of us showed up for a tour of the sky. Jim Lattis, director of the UW Space Place, was a superb trip guide, showing us Venus, the first “star” to appear. This was followed by a quick tour of the stars in the Zodiac, making our way across the sky to Jupiter. When Jupiter was high enough, he introduced us to its belts and moons. We also gazed at binary stars and a wispy star cluster. Linda Deith, who was the Friends host for this field trip, provided the report and stunning photos.