On a sunny Saturday morning at Frautschi Point, twenty students, community members, and long-time Friends stared intently at a basswood tree about fifteen feet off the trail. The basswood, though a remarkable species in its own right, was not the subject of this intense scrutiny for its own merit alone. This was no tree walk; our leafy friend was abuzz with fluttering warblers. As accomplished birders Jill Feldkamp and Roma Lenehan led us around the forested trails of Frautschi Point, we saw a number of woodpeckers, thrushes, and of course, the sought-after migrating warblers. Just before emerging out into the Biocore Prairie, some of us in the far back even saw a bald eagle!
While many of those in attendance did not have binoculars, we were granted an incredible opportunity to see otherwise distant warblers up close at the Biocore Prairie Bird Banding Station. There we observed the work of the banding team, who graciously allowed us all to crowd around in wonder.
The birds kept on accumulating as we walked down the prairie’s northern forest edge, bathed in warm September sunlight. Jill had warned us before the start of the trip that the bird forecast was poor for today, but as two rose-breasted grosbeaks flew over us as we returned to the parking lot, it confirmed our trip was anything but.
Roma documented that we encountered 32 different species! A sizeable flock, that.
Photos and report by Will Vuyk. Bird list provided by Roma Lenehan.
On August 21st, Dr. Marjorie Rhine, a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, led a wonderful and enlightening hike called Insect Superpowers in Japanese Culture and Ecological Systems. With 8 attendees present we walked around the Lakeshore Nature Preserve to the Biocore Prairie and ended our hike at the Eagle Heights Community Garden. We started by looking at the rain garden near the Picnic Point entrance. Dr. Rhine, pointed out our first insect, a cicada on a leaf. She then followed up by showing us a haiku by Matsuo Basho “Stillness-the cicada’s cry drills into the rocks." Along the way, we discovered several fascinating superpowers that insects possess. Did you know that dragonflies experience time differently than us!! They can observe and process information more quickly than we can!
We ended our hike at the Eagle Heights Community Garden, where Dr. Rhine, showed us the best spot to find butterflies. We spotted a few monarch butterflies! Report and photo by Diana Tapia Ramon.