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Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 23, 10:45 AM (Note: Time Change!): Prairie Walk at Bobwhite State Park, Wayne County –Led by Wayne Co. Conservation Naturalist Hannah Wiltamuth. Walk the Prairie Trail at the state park and learn about prairie plants and birds and restoration work done in the area. Hosted by SIOSA and Wayne Co. Conservation.

Sunday, July 22, 10:30 AM – 12 noon at Slip Bluff County Park, Decatur County — Monarch and Milkweed Monitoring. Monitoring for Monarchs, milkweeds and nectar plants was done at Slip Bluff County Park at three areas of the park in 2016 and one area of the park in 2017. In 2018, monitoring using the Monarch Larval Monitoring Project protocol will continue with a field day for the public to learn about the monitoring and participate. Monarch density and milkweed density studies will be done on the east side of the lake and possibly in the East Oak Savanna area. A list of flowering plants will also be made. Educational materials will be provided. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Email if you plan to participate.

Next SIOSA board meeting

The next regular SIOSA meeting is Wednesday, April 4 at 1:00 pm.  We will be meeting at the Clarke County Conservation Board headquarters at East Lake Park.  The park is located just east of Osceola on Hwy 34.

Field Journal 2018: April 8-21

Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 01:04 PM
posted by veronica

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

According to one old wives tale if it rains on Easter Sunday it will rain the seven Sundays after.  At Timberhill it snowed on Easter Sunday and the next two Sundays.  I hoped that doesn’t mean we’ll have snow into May.  Winter weather was certainly having a hard time letting go. Despite the unseasonably cold weather, the early wildflowers Spring Beauty, Bloodroot, Rue Anemone, Nodding Trout Lily, False Rue Anemone and Dutchman’s Britches are all blooming.  On April 21 there was even some Bluebell bloom on our south facing slopes.

Great Blue Herons are a common sight on the pond west of my house.  I usually observe these long-legged waders standing silently or walking slowly through shallow water hunting for small fish.  After feeding they return to their nesting colony.  They never stay on the pond for more than a few hours.  So last week I was surprised to see two herons remain here for two days and nights before taking flight. Were they taking a break from their migration north?

Great Egret


Bill and I observed two more migrating shore birds this month.  On April 16 we were surprised to see what looked like a white heron on the pond.  It was actually a Great Egret which we easily identified by its long yellow beak and black legs.  That same day an Osprey hovered over the water, descended feet-first to the water, then nabbed a fish in his claws before settling on the branch of a nearby oak tree to feast on his prey.   

I’ve only seen a few Eastern Comma butterflies on wing but we did have some good moth nights during a warm spell April 11-13.  On the morning of April 13 the moth trap was filled with specimens, mostly sallow moths which are active in late fall, winter and early spring.  There was also a Phoberia atomaris,  Common Oak Moth, specimen in the mix.  Caterpillars of this species feed on newly opened oak leaves. Localized outbreaks of Common Oak Moth caterpillars defoliating large numbers of oak trees have been well documented in Missouri.  It is not known what causes Phoberia atomaris caterpillar outbreaks but warm early spring temperatures which stimulate earlier spring moth flight periods may be responsible.

Common Oak Moth, Phoberia atomaris


Spring-like weather finally arrived on April 20.  The strong late-April sun was a welcome relief after the long winter of 2017-2018. 


Coyle et al.Dynamics of an Unprecedented Outbreak of Two Native Moth Species, Cissusa spadix and Phoberia atomaris on Oak trees in the Southeastern United States.” American Entomologist.  Summer 2013.

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