A Walk in the Woods, Wisconsin Nature

A Long Hike on the Summer Solstice

walk in the woods summer solstice spring azure

On the longest day of the year, the summer solstice, I decided to take a hike on one of our longest loops at Schlitz Audubon. I headed out from the building to Teal Pond, and then out into the West Meadows. If you’re looking for solitude, and the feeling of truly being in the woods–muddy trails, secluded paths–the West Meadows is a great place to explore. Bird activity was high on this hike-I found at least four examples of breeding behavior. There were birds gathering nesting material, birds defending territory, parents feeding their young, and even some recently hatched Northern Cardinal nestlings. And our woods are suddenly abuzz with pollinator and insect activity.

Not pictured, but worth mentioning: A Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling, and multiple male American Redstart defending their territories through song. And a moment in which I was one click too late on the shutter…a BRILLIANT male Ruby-throated Hummingbird checking out some Foxglove Beardtongue. Maybe next time!

The weather looks lovely for a weekend hike, so stop by and explore!

Song Sparrow on the summer solstice

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) at Schlitz Audubon bringing food to its young. I love how the Song Sparrow’s scientific name contains “melodia.” They have a beautiful song.


Song Sparrow Schlitz AUdubon

Another Song Sparrow  (Melospiza melodia) parent standing guard.


summer solstice schlitz audubon

Teal Pond is hidden behind a wall of green.


Summer Solstice Schlitz Audubon West Meadows REd-winged Blackbird

Female Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) gathering nesting material in the West Meadows.


Recently hatched Northern Cardinal nestlings.

Recently hatched Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) nestlings. They are an example of an altricial species–they are born  without feathers, rely on their parents for their food, and will take some time to fledge.


Wild Rose, or Wood Rose.

Woods Rose (Rosa woodsii)


Baptisia on the first day of summer. Summer Solstice
Baptisia on the trail to Teal Pond.
Golden-backed Snipe Fly SChlitz Audubon
Golden-backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus)
Spittlebug Schlitz Audubon Summer Solstice
Spittlebug. You may see this "spittle" on a variety of plants. The spittlebug "hides" its larvae within.
Spiderwort at Schlitz Audubon Summer Solstice
Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana) with a multi bloom!
least skipper schlitz audubon summer solstice
Least Skipper