Contributed by Ellie Hill & Margaret Graham with photos by Adele Stapleton and plant identification by Jesse Ritcey
Cooler weather prevailed as our Naturalist Club group ventured forth on Sunday, June 3 to explore the grasslands of Lac Du Bois, hoping for a day of glorious scenery, vibrant wildflowers, and cooperative birds. As always, the area did not disappoint and as we stopped at roadside ponds and lakes we saw a variety of birds, including common loon, red-necked grebe, lesser scaup, ruddy duck, northern shoveler, American wigeon, gadwall, bufflehead, Barrow’s goldeneye, ring-necked duck, mallard, American coot, spotted sandpiper, willow flycatcher, common raven, tree swallow, marsh wren, Swainson’s thrush, American robin, common yellowthroat, chipping sparrow, western meadowlark, red-winged blackbird, yellow-headed blackbird, and Brewer’s blackbird.
Wildflowers in the woods and meadows included death camas, upland larkspur, yellow salsify, yellow hedysarum, heart-leaved arnica, orange arnica, yellow salsify, American vetch, bunchberry, parsnip-flowered buckwheat, and many others. We saw a couple of deer crossing the road and a muskrat at Isobel Lake.
Our biggest negative was a group at Lac Du Bois who were shooting clay pigeons, which needless to say disturbed the usual peace and quiet of the area. At Isobel Lake the mosquitos were especially hungry, causing our group to quick-step around the lake. Fortunately, Margaret had prepared us in advance and we reeked of Combat, Deet, and other various deterrents. A picnic lunch was appreciated at the end of the trek. It was a good day, as it always is when you spend it with nature.