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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Dunn's Marsh

I visited an interesting natural area today,  that has perhaps an even more interesting history. It was apparently the impetus for a neighborhood association that bears its name:
"The environmental quality of Dunn's Marsh, located on the southern boundary of the neighborhood, was the driving force to start up the neighborhood association in 1973. Dunn's Marsh is surrounded by high quality wetlands and a proposed development along the shores of the wetland threatened the future of this water body. DMNA was instrumental in having much of the shoreland placed into public ownership. Residents of Dunn's March neighborhood were true pioneers of the environmental movement in Madison."
These earliest efforts centered around erosion control, and led into a marsh preservation committee. Non-voting members of the DMNA can include those who live in the watershed or who have in the past, and/or have demonstrated support for protection of the marsh. They do earth day cleanups and stay informed about "the gem" of their neighborhood. In fact, I'll leave the rest to them because they have their own blog. Needless to say, I'm incredibly impressed that this community has so vigorously rallied around their natural area, and much good has come of it.

They describe the marsh as a 21-acre deep-water marsh, and indeed it looks like a big lake in the center. It has unfortunately fallen to a peril of an emergent wetland, which is the invasion of narrow-leaved cattail. Next to the marsh, there is a beautiful restored tall-grass prairie. I didn't walk over to the retention pond at the intersection of Seminole and the Cannonball Trail, but I'll have to check that out next time. There is apparently 5 acres of woods adjacent to the marsh that I walked through briefly, but didn't examine too much on this visit.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

UW-Madison Lakeshore

I walked down by the rec fields today, and found blue vervain growing in the marshy area that I think is part of a restoration. I continued onto biocore, and my new flower of the day was great St. John's wort, again likely planted.