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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 October 16-31

Friday, November 3, 2017 @ 05:11 PM
posted by veronica

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

Although the Checkered White, Pontia protodice, butterfly is a breeding resident I’ve never seen one at Timberhill until this year.  Most common in western and east-central Iowa, the first specimen I’ve seen at Timberhill was nectaring on marigolds blooming in the terrace border west of the house on October 17.  Because of the summer drought, butterfly bush and marigolds in the terrace border and roses east of the house which I kept watered are the only plants still blooming.  Everything else has dried up. Interesting that this checkered white managed to find the last blossoms of summer.

Checkered White Butterfly

The drought ended after almost six inches of rain this month. But it didn’t rain soon enough to stimulate abundant mushroom fruiting.   The only terrestrial fungi we found were two waxcap species, Hygrocybe conica and Hygrophorus sordidus.  Sometimes called “the witch’s hat” Hygrocybe conica is one of the small red waxy caps.  It is easily identified because virtually all parts of this species bruise and discolor black.  Usually associated with oaks, we found several clusters of H. conica fruiting under clumps of little blue stem grass on the East Savanna ridgetop. 

Hygrocybe conica


Hygrophorus sordidus


The slimy feel and thick waxy gills that run down the stalk make Hygrophorus sordidus easy to identify.  Medium sized white with a yellowish center it was the only Hygrophorus species we collected this year. This species was named sordidus because of the dirt that usually adheres to it.  At Timberhill we have identified ten species of Hygrophorus.  I usually expect to collect several species each fall. It is unusual to collect only one.  If it doesn’t get too cold there may be more fruting.  I have collected Hygrophorus specimens as late in the season as November 25. 

We also discovered a fairy ring of Giant puffballs, Calvatia gigantea, fruiting in the woodland east of the house.  Known for its large size the round fruiting bodies of this species are about the size of a soccer ball. Immature specimens which are still completely white inside are edible.  Unfortunately ours were too mature – the center had already begun to turn yellow.  (It will turn brown when completely mature.)

Another edible mushroom, Flammulina velutipes (Velvet stem), is fruiting abundantly on downed Hackberry along Brush Creek.  This species is considered a winter mushroom and may be found when nothing else is available.  It is the same species as enoki sold in grocery produce sections but the orangish brown cap and velvety stem are completely different in appearance from that cultivated species. 

(Caveat:  do not consume any wild mushroom unless it has been positively identified by a local expert, amateur or professional.)

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