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Upcoming Events

NOTICE of rescheduled workshop:

In place of the workshop that was cancelled on July 23, SIOSA will sponsor a Monarch Bioblitz this Saturday, Aug. 4 to coincide with the 2nd international Monarch Blitz described in the email below. 

The event will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Slip Bluff County Park, northeast of Lamoni. Veronica Mecko will lead the group in counting milkweeds and Monarch adults, eggs and larvae.

If you are interested in participating, please email and more information will be provided. 

If you can’t attend this event consider monitoring on your property or a native wildflower area near you. Go to, Monarch Larval Monitoring Project, to get all the information you will need.

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: October 1-15

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 @ 04:10 PM
posted by veronica

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

Several white oaks along the driveway have died this year.  With the recent publicity about oak wilt and oak tatters diseases in Iowa I wanted to know if we had a problem. So I consulted Randy, our district forester. Bill and I toured the oak woodlands with him on October 3. Besides oak wilt and oak tatters Randy told us that two-lined chestnut borer may have killed our trees.  It attacks oak trees weakened by drought.  It begins with dieback of the upper crown branches followed by dying and red-brown leaves in the middle crown while the lower leaves remain green.  But then he added, “Nobody knows for sure what is responsible for oak decline. Trees just up and die.”

Meadow Mushroom, Agaricus campestris

Earth Puffball, Scleroderma sp.


Our three month drought finally ended the first week of October. By October 8 over two inches of rain had fallen.  That stimulated fruiting of Meadow Mushrooms, Agaricus campestris, the first summer mushrooms of the season. Since then we have been harvesting clumps of this choice edible from the south meadow. Closely connected to the common commercially grown mushrooms it is very similar in appearance. Also fruiting are two puffball species:  small white Lycoperdon and the larger Scleroderma puffballs with tough outer rinds.  More rain and continued unseasonably mild weather may stimulate fruiting of other choice edibles next week.

Darling Underwing, Catocala cara


Besides a lighted sheet strung between two poles in the East Savanna we have been using a 15-watt black light tube over a homemade funnel trap to attract moths. This month we decided to add a bucket trap set-up to our moth collecting equipment.  Rather than build it ourselves we purchased one from Bioquip, a company that specializes in entomology equipment.  On October 13, the first night we used it we collected eight Underwing specimens, seven black and white and one beautiful Catocala cara, Darling Underwing.  That’s the most specimens we have ever collected this late in the season.  Was it because of the unusually warm night with a last quarter moon or the new trap? In any case more warm nights and a waxing crescent moon are predicted beginning October 18-21 when we will set up again.

Catocala moths, particularly the black and white species can be difficult to identify.  However, I have found two very helpful internet sites. Theodore Sargent’s Legion of Night is available at  It includes a complete survey of eastern underwing moths with full descriptions and photographs.  Bill Oehlke’s North American Catocala website has very useful identification keys and species groups listed by hindwing color.  You can even send him images for identification.  It is available at

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