New Birds!

Yellow-breasted Chat

We saw 5 new birds on our walk this morning:
Summer Tanager
Worm-eating Warbler
Henslow’s Sparrow
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-throated Warbler

On the 4-mile hike we were impressed that the oak buds have opened giving a green-haze appearance to the woods. Under the oaks are hundreds of flowering dogwoods in full bloom.

During the 3-hour hike we identified 50 different birds.

It was a great day for a hike. I encourage you to come out and explore. It’s a lot of fun!

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Spring Planting

Plants from Missouri Wildflower Nursery

We got a bunch of new native plants from Merv Wallace at Missouri Wildflowers Nursery yesterday. Neil and Matt are going to plant these wildflowers and grasses around the PGT Center and along the sidewalks.
We’ve been getting plants from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery since Merv opened it 3 decades ago. I can’t say enough good things about him and his business.

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Green Heron

Green Heron

We just returned from a 5-mile walk here at the Prairie Garden Trust. With the perfect Spring weather there are many wildflowers and birds to see.

We counted 48 different types of birds this morning including our first Green Heron of the year.

Here is a list of what we saw today:
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Northern Bobwhite
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot (Red-shielded)
Mourning Dove
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Pileated Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Louisiana Waterthrush
Black-and-white Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow (Red)
Dark-eyed Junco
Eastern Towhee
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

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More Invasive Exotics

Bush Honeysuckle

Despite years of working hard to find and destroy invasive exotic plants at the PGT, their variety and numbers are increasing.

An ideal time to find exotics is now; before native plants green up. For the past month I’ve been spending 2-3 hours every day hiking over our 600-acres looking for these intrusive plants.

It’s clear that the influx of invasive exotics is increasing.

Here is a list of some of the species we killed today:
1. Bush Honeysuckle – rapidly increasing
2. Autumn Olive
3. Multiflora Rose
4. Callery Pear
5. Japanese Honeysuckle vine
6. Wintercreeper vine
7. Privet

The PGT spends about $40,000/year to control invasive exotics. It looks like we will have to increase our spending if we are going to keep up.

The attached picture is a Bush Honeysuckle. They have me more concerned than anything else.

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Bluebells Along Spring Streams

Bluebells bloom today along the stream flowing with recent rains. It’s so welcome to see their color against the fresh April green suddenly emerging everywhere.

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New Display Helps You Explore

We just put up the new map display on the porch at the PGT Center, along with the map brochures. In a few weeks we hope to install the new wayfinding signs along the trails, too. Then it should be even easier to explore the great diversity of places here.

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Spring Wildflowers

Bird’s-foot Violet, Viola pedata

We found Bird’s-foot violets blooming along the ridge trail above Hillers Creek this morning. Many other kinds of wildflowers can be found in the woods now. Once the trees leaf out in early May the place to find wildflowers shifts from the woods to the prairies, lakes and ponds.

The Bird’s-foot violet (aka Viola pedata) gets it’s name from the bird foot-like appearance of it’s leaves. It’s very different than that typical heart-shaped leaves of other violets.

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American Woodcock on nest

American Woodcock on nest

Matt and I were killing invasive-exotic plants this morning around the old Calwell Pottery. The underground kilns of the pottery were very active in the 1830s but it has long been abandoned and is now overgrown with brush.

This brush is where I found the nest and eggs of a Woodcock yesterday. Matt wanted to see the nest so I approached very slowly. I could see the bird on the nest. Kneeling I carefully nudged forward and was able to get this snap of the bird on the nest with my iPhone; I was about a foot away from the bird.

After I got the picture I backed away and the bird stayed on the nest. I’ll leave it alone now.

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American Woodcock nest with eggs

Scolopax minor

American Woodcock Nest & Eggs

I startled a woodcock this afternoon as I was taking a walk with Lorna. As I stepped off the path to mark a multiflora rose a woodcock catapulted up into the air right in front of me. That alerted me about the possibility of a nest so I looked carefully and found the camouflaged nest with 4 eggs; each about 1.5-inches long. The nest was just a shallow depression in the brush.

I backed out carefully after taking this snapshot with my iPhone

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New PGT Map


Lorna and Dale have just put up a new interactive map on the PGT Website.

They’s also created a handout with the map on it. It’s at the printers now and should be ready in a few weeks.

With the new map and soon to be added metal signs it should be easier to find your way around the Prairie Garden Trust.

Please come out and enjoy a walk on the property.

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