by Greg Mayer
While Jerry journeys to the Great White South, Matthew and I will be helping to fill in as best we can, so I thought I’d begin with some of my wildlife photos. First up is a young Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) in my backyard in Racine, Wisconsin. This is one of at least two rabbits that were born this year, probably in the yard, and which spent much of their time this summer in the yard.
Typical litter sizes are 3-6, so there may have been others living in my yard; I had thought there was only one, until I saw two at the same time. These rabbits are young, but by the time of these photos in late July, they would be weaned and on their own. Here’s one of them engaging in jumping around, in a manner the significance of which I am unaware.
They were usually seen in the early evening, while it was still light. They usually sat or moved slowly, feeding on grass and other green plants, including plants that I was encouraging! I’ve tried to plant my yard to a considerable extent in native species, and in a way that encourages wildlife. In the far right of the video you can see the hanging leaves of some Giant Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) that I planted in a more shady planting for woodland plants; it also has Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) and May-apple (Podophyllum peltatum). Below is a modestly successful tiny prairie with Prairie Cord Grass (Spartina pectinata) to the left and Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) to the right; there is an Aster flowering (white) to the left, with Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba), not yet flowering, just behind.
My other prairie planting, which I call “the prairie”, is much less successful. This is mostly Cord Grass in front, but the rest is largely Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea; with ‘foxtail’ seed heads), an invasive that I’ve not been able to control very well. It’s in this area, however, that I believe the mother nests.