Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Putting the Spring in Bluff Spring Fen

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

It's marsh marigold time at the Fen. In a good year, the watercourses are all lined with vivid yellow. This is proving to be a good year, and the effects are spectacular.

Saturday was a Fen workday. While most of the crew was pulling garlic mustard, Kevin and I continued an experiment that has been going on for a few years. We are trying to re-vegetate the bare peat soil of a badly degraded seep by transplanting native sedges that have grown up onto a gravel spit that was bulldozed out into one corner of the Fen. I blogged about it last year. Our results are being very successful. The transplants settle in for the first year, then begin to spread rapidly through vegetative growth. This success is motivating us to continue the experiment.

Carex trichocarpa
Two years ago, this seepage slope was mostly bare peat soil

Spring is in evidence all around the Fen. I am pleased that some of our trout lilies have become sufficiently established to begin blooming.

Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

Migrant birds are returning.

Red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus)

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

I mentioned recently that the 12-spotted tiger beetles are out now. I keep trying for a better photo. I'm making incremental progress, but I'm not yet where I want to be with that species.

Twelve-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela duodecimguttata)

While tiger hunting, I ran into the Fen's other common species. It was a bit earlier than I was expecting.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)

Overall, it's shaping up as a fine spring at the Fen.

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At 09:57, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've gotten close enough to Cicindela duodecimguttata - now if you can just get a shot without them trying to run away from you. Good luck!

At 14:11, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Sparkling clear shots Doug!

At 21:01, Blogger Randy Emmitt said...

That Marsh marigold is really something. Good work you are doing with that sedge.

At 05:27, Blogger Lemuel said...

The bird pics are outstanding!

At 16:37, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

So glad to hear that the fen is doing well.

At 21:53, Blogger Ur-spo said...

ah spring!

At 08:39, Blogger BentonQuest said...

From camp counselor days, the six-spotted tiger beetle will always be a "Fred Bug!"


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