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Upcoming Events

For Lands Sake! and Winterset Library One Earth Book Club:

Tuesday, Jan. 23: “Sylven T. Runkel: Citizen of the Natural World” — Stone and Stravers

Meet at 7:00 PM at Winterset Library

 

Decatur County Christmas Bird Count: Saturday, Dec. 16. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Kum and Go near the Iowa visitor center.

 

Next SIOSA board meeting

Thursday, December 14, 1:00 PM at Decatur County Conservation Board office west of Leon, 20401 River Road.

Field Journal September 1-15

Monday, September 18, 2017 @ 02:09 PM
posted by veronica

Field Journal:  September 1-15, 2017

By Sibylla Brown, Timberhill Oak Savanna

Bill and I began this month at Timberhill with a family gathering to celebrate our 55th wedding anniversary.  Chris, his wife Agustina, Alex, grandson Hugo and his friend Ajin spent the entire weekend with us.  The warm sunny days were perfect for long walks and butterfly forays. 

Bill, Hugo and Ajin netting a butterfly

 

On Labor Day Bill photographed this Dion Skipper nectaring on Rough Blazing Star in the prairie remnant above the West Creek bottom field.  An infrequent breeding resident in Iowa, the Dion Skipper is uncommon almost everywhere.  In Iowa it is restricted to wetlands in the northern half of the state and has never been recorded at any other Decatur County site.  Its larvae feed on Tussock Sedge.  It has been observed at Timberhill (12 miles north of the Iowa-Missouri border) every year since July 2009, four years after we began restoring the West Creek sedge meadow. When we purchased this unit the sedge meadow was overgrown with elm and red cedar.  A raw ditch separated the north and south portions of this unit.  Now a sward of Tussock Sedge fills that space. To the south is the restored sedge meadow. Perfect Dion Skipper habitat.  But how this skipper survived the years of habitat degradation is a puzzle.

Dion Skipper on Rough Blazing Star

 

I finally collected an underwing moth on September 15.  In a normal year underwing moths come to our lights between mid-June and mid-October.  So far we have identified 15 species at Timberhill. The Obscure Underwing, Catocala obscura, on September 15 was the first of the season. Hopefully there will be more before the winter sets in.

The abundant bloom on Rough Blazing Star and goldenrod is attracting lots of butterflies.  Besides the resident species, southern migrants including Sachem and Fiery Skippers and a Variegated Fritillary were on wing the first two weeks of September. Hundreds of Painted Ladies migrated through here as well.  We continue to see several Monarchs daily.  

Yellow Patches, Amanita flavoconia

 

Despite the continuing drought I found a few ectomycorrhizal mushrooms. Two clumps of poisonous Yellow Patches, Amanita flavoconia, were fruiting on the trail through our West 40 on September 4.  The Brittle Cap Russula tenuiceps was abundant on the same trail.  Another puzzle since we have had so little precipitation.  It finally began raining here on September 15.  Hopefully that was just a prelude.   

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