Spotted a Small-mouthed Salamander at the meadow run trail on 2/17. The DNR lists this as an endangered species in Michigan: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12145_12201-61174--,00.html
Beautiful day out in the Arb as winter has blanketed the entire property in a beautiful, clean, white, snow covering. Trails seem to be heavily used for winter use as they are clearly defined by an easily navigable path. This morning's walk discovered coyote tracks following the already cleared paths near the entrance.
In junction with the Fetzer Center, on October 30th, 2010, The Oprah network and The duchess of York did some low impact filming out in the arb. We are now famous!!!!
John, Ty, Amanda, and Yvonne spent a great morning removing the old dumping trash from the back valley to the front parking lot. It is out plan to get it to the recycling facility as soon as possible. Many thanks to all the department who loaned us needed equipment in order to tackle this project, specifically, Joel Sportel, Rob Townsend, Scott Michel, and the rest of FacMan and Athletics.
Some bird observations from mid-May. Thanks Paul:
I spent about 3 hours at the arboretum one morning the second week of May. The wind was excessive for most of the time. The warbler traffic was low. I saw and/or heard turkey vulture, mallard duck, red-tailed hawk, mourning dove, downy woodpecker, great crested flycatcher, white-eyed vireo, blue jay, American crow, tree swallow, black-eyed chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, blue-grey gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, American robin, blue-winged warbler, yellow warbler, black-throated green warbler, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, scarlet tanager, eastern towhee, chipping sparrow, field sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, northern cardinal, indigo bunting, red-winged blackbird, Baltimore oriole, and American goldfinch.
The Arb didn't really wake up until the end of March this year. On the 29th Bonnycastle Lake was still 80% ice covered although geese and swans were paddling around in the open water and a few red-winged blackbirds had grabbed the best spots in the marsh. Batts Pond was completely frozen over. By the next weekend it was spring. Wood frogs and spring peepers were sounding off in the marsh near the junction of the Bernie's Landing and Marsh-Woods Trails and Batts Pond was ice-free. On the 12th a swan was sitting on a nest near the edge of the marsh where it meets the now open water of the lake. She could be seen from the Marsh-Woods Trail. By the 14th, mourning cloak and comma butterflies were plentiful in the woods and a sandhill crane was rattling on the far side of the lake. Keep an eye out for woodcocks.
Russ Schipper visited the Arb during the Migratory Bird Count in Mid-May and observed the following birds. He reports that he made the visit during the middle of the day when bird activity was fairly low.
Turkey Vulture 1, Cooper's Hawk 1, Red-bellied Woodpecker 1, Great Crested Flycatcher 1, Yellow-throated Vireo 1, Blue Jay 1, American Crow 1, Black-capped Chickadee 2, Tufted Titmouse 2, American Robin 2, Tennessee Warbler 2, Yellow Warbler 5, Ovenbird 1, Common Yellowthroat 6, Scarlet Tanager 2, Eastern Towhee 1, Chipping Sparrow 1, Field Sparrow 2, Northern Cardinal 4, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 2, Indigo Bunting 1, Red-winged Blackbird 45, Brown-headed Cowbird 1, Ammerican Goldfinch 1,
Becky Csia reports that on June 27th she and Kalman observed white wild indigo in bloom near the intersection of the Powerline and Chestnut Pointe trails. Pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellate) was in bloom along the Marsh-Wood Trail.
On the Gathje Hill Trail, at a lowspot near several fallen logs, they saw a Downy Woodpecker delivering food to a nest at the top of a snag. Other birds they observed included: gray catbird, eastern towhee, blue-winged warbler, wood thrush, common yellowthroat and an American redstart.
Richard Brewer and Katy Takahashi report that on May 13 between 11:00 AM and noon they saw the following birds: Song sparrow 3, Gray Catbird 4, Field Sparrow 1, Am. Robin 1, Ovenbird 3, Red-bellied Woodpecker 2, Canada Goose 6, Mute Swan 1, Red-winged Blackbird 20, Common Yellowthroat 6, Barn Swallow 10, Tree Swallow 6, Pileated Woodpecker 1, Eastern Towhee 2, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1, Blue-winged Warbler 1, Yellow Warbler 3, Mallard 2, Am. Crow 3, Blue Jay 4, Tufted Titmouse 3, Great-crested Flycatcher 1, Am. Goldfinch 7, Swamp Sparrow 1
Reports of foxes and coyotes. Spring azures and mourning cloak butterflies and lots of dragonflys. A beautiful bloodroot beside the meadow Run trail. If there's pollen on offer there must be pollinators and the bloodroot blossoms were swarming with bees.
A woodcock was seen during the day on the Old Field trail. Mating flights have been heard in the evening over the Old Field and over the small meadow just off the Meadow Run trail. Other bird sightings include wood ducks on Batts Pond, blue-grey gnatcatcher and eastern towhee in the old apple trees just south of the Gathje Hill trail. A painted turtle was spotted at the high point of the Powerline trail - a long way from the nearest water, but he/she looked determined.
Peepers, wood frogs and American toads blazing away in Batts Pond. Eastern garter snake and northern ribbon snake seen on the Power Line Trail.
On August 10th, the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy easement monitoring team (Russ Schipper and Becky Csia) reported hearing and/or seeing the following birds:
Old Field Trail: Eastern Towhee 2, Am. Goldfinch 2, Yellow-billed Cuckoo1, Gray Catbird 1.
Alumni Bridge: Eastern Wood Pewee 2, Blue Jay 1, Northern Cardinal 1.
Magnificent Pines Trail: White-breasted Nuthatch 1.
Meadow Run Trail: Black-capped Chickadee 3, Northern Cardinal 2, Robin 1, Blue Jay 2, Downy Woodpecker 1, Am. Goldfinch 1, House Finch 2, Gray Catbird 1, Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1, Scarlet Tanager 1, Blue-winged Warbler 1, Tennessee Warbler 1, Tufted Titmouse 1, Cedar Waxwing 2.
Not-So-Magnificent Pines Trail: Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Eastern Wood Pewee 1, Blue Jay 1.
Fern-Oak Trail: Yellow-billed Cuckoo 1, Indigo Bunting 1.
The dwarf (winged) sumacs along the Powerline Trail are in full blossom and covered with bees big and small. The honey bees' pollen sacs are so large it's surprising they can even fly.
The bridge builders at Batts Pond report visits from yellow-billed cuckoos, scarlet tanagers, peewees, towhees and great blue herons, among other birds and the round, white blossoms of the buttonbush growing in the pond are magnets for black and tiger swallowtails, monarchs, great spangled fritillaries and a variety of skippers.
Wildflowers growing in all the open fields. Some of them are introduced species but butterfly weed is a native beauty. A few minutes walk from the parking lot and the traffic noise disappears. Gathje Hill and Batts Pond trails are especially cool, quiet and inviting.
Summer! Hot and humid over the weekend - but the Arboretum trails are cool and shady. Yellow iris growing in the marsh. Escapees from cultivation - but beautiful all the same.
The warm, sunny weather is bringing out dragonflies and damselflies on the Powerline trail. Many of them have bright, shiny teneral wings - indicating they have just emerged from the larval form. Big darners can be seen chasing other insects. Skimmers, like the one in the link to the right, can be seen resting on vegetation, drying their wings. The damselflies are much smaller and carry their wings folded over their backs. Sunny woodland trails feature bright, emerald tiger beetles.
Paul Ross reports that on the second week of May he saw and/or heard turkey vulture, mallard duck, red-tailed hawk, mourning dove, downy woodpecker, great crested flycatcher, white-eyed vireo, blue jay, American crow, tree swallow, black-eyed chickadee, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, blue-grey gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, American robin, blue-winged warbler, yellow warbler, black-throated green warbler, ovenbird, common yellowthroat, scarlet tanager, eastern towhee, chipping sparrow, field sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, northern cardinal, indigo bunting, red-winged blackbird, Baltimore oriole, and American goldfinch.
Professor Paul Sotherland led an early-morning bird-watching trip on Saturday. Students from his Vertebrate Biology class and other interested observers saw or heard: blue-winged warbler, indigo bunting, red-eyed vireo, yellowthroat, wood thrush, ovenbird, catbird, song sparrow, great crested flycatcher, eastern wood peewee, ruffed grouse, scarlet tanager, red-bellied woodpecker and wild turkeys.
Masses of golden ragwort along the Fern-Oak Trail. A towhee and a catbird singing loudly from uncharacteristically high perches along the Powerline Trail.
Seen Sunday 4/17/05: The first Lycaenid butterflies - tiny Spring Azures. Bright blue when the sun catches them in flight, they seem to disappear when they land and fold their wings, showing only the grey underside. Tent caterpillars are starting to appear. Will this be another heavy infestation like 2003?
Seen Saturday 4/10/05: mourning cloak butterfly, American toad (for calls of frogs and toads check our Database page). Painted turtles basking on logs in Batts Pond
Action picking up on the marsh. Red-winged blackbirds displaying. A great egret and several sandhill cranes as well as swans, geese and mallards.
Posted: 04/04/05: Lots of stuff happening!
Last Thursday (3/31), Paul Sotherland and a group of K students saw a pair of sandhill cranes in Bonnycastle Marsh. They were close to the Marsh Woods trail, just before the Leopold bench. Cranes have been nesting in the marsh for at least the last 5 years.
This Saturday, April 2, Richard Koenig observed a woodcock courtship flight in the meadow just off the Meadow Run trail. This spectacular performance, which Aldo Leopold called a sky dance, occurs just at twilight. It was a bit too dark for Richard (an excellent photographer) to get good pictures, but he was able to make a sound recording.
On Sunday the frogs were blazing away in Bonnycastle Marsh and Batts Pond. Peepers predominated in the former and wood frogs in the latter. Possible American toad calls in both places.
A pretty, medium-sized, orange butterfly (Polygonia comma) was observed on several trails. The commas over-winter as adults so they can get a head-start on the mating season. The individuals I saw spent most of their time warming up in sunny, open spots before engaging in brief courting flights. (Link to photograph on right)
An eastern hog-nosed snake was seen (and photographed) on the Meadow Run Trail.
Eastern towhee on the Chestnut Pointe trail.
Lots of garlic mustard already! A not-so-pleasant sign of spring. This is an invasive that is taking over our forests. We'll set up an eradication day later in the spring.