Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UW-Madison Campus

Once again, I complain that "in the land of Leopold," there are so many landscaping cultivars. Japanese lilac trees and Newport plums grow along the sidewalks, while ornamental hydrangeas decorate the sides of my building. At least the dogwoods are native.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Neighborhood

It's once again the midsummer lull, the time where I start inspecting the things right in front of me a little more closely. The green ash trees have galls, and the Bumalda spirea is mostly done flowering. There's one big American elm that must have survived the Dutch elm disease back in the 1920s.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Next to the rec fields, it looks like some wetlands have been restored or managed, because there's a nice variety of plants growing in the ditches. Today, I found common bur-reed because the drainage was dry enough to walk in!

Monday, July 14, 2014

UW-Madison Lakeshore Nature Preserve

Today, I found Culver's-root blooming in the wet area along the edge of the path near the entrance to picnic point.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Creeping Vervain

I  walked along the path today, and as usual, noticed several new things in bloom. While many were invasive, I was happy to find creeping vervain in the little disturbed site next to the pavement!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dawley Conservancy

I visited Dawley conservancy again this morning, and noticed northern rough-winged swallow juveniles and adults. I need to get a better look next time to verify if this is actually what I saw, but it looked as if the adults were feeding fledglings in flight. Also, there were barn swallows bringing food to perched young.

As always, bird communities have staggered timing and different breeding strategies per species. Often, common yellowthroats only raise a single brood, and some might even have eggs right now. Yellow warblers may also be on a similar schedule. Goldfinches are comparatively late, and likely have eggs right now! Kingbirds, waxwings and red-tailed hawks are probably close to fledging their first brood. Wood-pewees are likely somewhere in the "nest" stage. Hummingbirds are close to that timing, and probably have recently fledged. Chickadees, flickers, downy woodpeckers and grackles only typically give it one shot, and operate on a more "typical" timeline, so there are fledglings to be found by a keen observer. Indigo buntings have a range of nesting behavior, and may even lay first nests late in the season.

Cardinals, depending on the fate of early nests, may be working on raising brood #2. Catbirds and gnatcatchers are probably tending nestlings of brood #2 about this time. Robins only typically attempt a 3rd clutch if one of the 2 failed. Song sparrows could well be attempting clutch #3 by this point in the summer, if they're so inclined.

I've been curious what red-winged blackbirds are doing right now, because they're particularly aggressive. My guess would be fledglings, because why else would they defend an area so vigorously away from the actual nest, unless they are just "that" defensive? Yet, it's possible that they have nestlings right now.