Some of the most elegant floral forms have opened in Wisconsin’s deciduous forests.
Orchids, including yellow lady’s-slipper, are providing a buttery-yellow challenging any autumn, carotenoid-colored paint.
Moccasin-shaped pouches add to their beauty.
Jack- and Jill-in-the-pulpit plants, an occasional prairie trillium, and bird’s foot violets add purples, reds and blues. Prairies are coming alive, too, with shooting stars and floral buds on pale purple coneflowers.
Everything, including observing flora, finding fawns, and viewing birds’ nests has been cautioned by the omnipresent gnats, tiny, black flying insects. Hikers, campers, walkers and outdoors workers have thrown everything at these miniature fliers, including turkey hunting masks, Stetson “no fly zone” hats with imbedded insecticide, and standby sprays, wipes and other recipes to keep them away.
Gardens have been booming and blooming with the warmer weather, but wetness is still a concern for some spring planting. Soil moisture has hampered ideal hay-drying days and lawn mowing opportunities. Corn can now be “rowed” in many fields, attracting cranes and turkeys.
White-tailed deer continue to change their appearance, give birth to fawns, and put on antler growth. The inevitable farm machinery and fawn destruction continues when cutting first crop alfalfa.
Fawn finding, collaring and relocation surveys have gone well with the DNR deer predatory study crews.
While one might contemplate warning farmers who have collared fawns in hayfields where the animal is, that could mess with the science and skew the results.
Several forest and pasture trees are flowering. Both the white-flowered black locust and black cherry, while sporting tiny flowers have obvious inflorescences where dozens of blooms are clustered. Many of these flowers will become pods (locust) and berries (cherries) as summer rolls in.
An interesting coming together of birds and insects has begun with yellow-bellied sapsuckers drilling into white birch trunks, creating rows of holes where sap pools. These small wells of nutrients then attract an array of flying insects and the tiny, ruby-throated hummingbird. Both bird species are likely nesting nearby, the woodpecker in a cavity and the hummingbird in an almost impossible-to-find nest atop a small limb and covered with camouflaging lichens.
Fledging birds, mammal births, hatching ground nesters and more patient large-nesters continue to balloon animal and insect populations, while plant flowers have begun developing fruit.
Bringing modern day people together with past outdoors activities can be experienced at the free Hyde Territory Family Day in Iowa County, June 8, beginning at 10 a.m. Rope-making, snakes alive, horse-drawn carriage rides, blacksmithing, old-time camping, food, books and visiting nearby Hyde Store and Hyde Chapel. A close by bald eagle nest has on eaglet this year.
While hunting seasons have quieted, fishing, wildlife/bird watching, food growing and gathering have taken stage.