Prairie Sands chapter is pleased to offer two guided field trips June 4 in the Central Sands region of Marquette County. Spend the morning at Page Creek and the afternoon climbing Observatory Hill.
Page Creek is a large wetland surrounded by diverse uplands that provide habitat for a wide variety of plants, birds and insects. The creek winds through farmland enhanced by remnants of native prairie and oak savanna. Restoration of the oak uplands and planted prairies has been a multi-year collaboration between the Prairie Sands chapter of TPE and The Nature Conservancy, which began purchasing land at the preserve in 1986. Evidence of that work will be part of the tour.
Page Creek, because of its 652-acre size and habitat diversity, has been a reliable butterfly site, and we are pleased to have chapter member Dan Sonnenberg join us to help identify the first summer fliers. In early June, it is not uncommon to see 8-10 species on a short hike.
Lupine should be in bloom as well as puccoon, penstemons, and bird’s foot violet. We may catch a glimpse of Red-headed Woodpeckers, a species that is making a slow, but steady comeback. Hiking is on old logging roads and intermittent, unmarked trails, and through tall grass fields. Ticks are abundant, so wear long pants that can be tucked into socks. Bring binoculars and water. No facilities on site.
Bring your lunch to eat at nearby John Muir Memorial Park where there are tables and facilities, and then join us at Observatory Hill State Natural Area, another unique site, which is in the process of extensive DNR oak savanna restoration. Charlie Church will lead this moderately challenging trip up Observatory Hill, so be prepared for some steep portions and rock outcroppings. The view from the top was John Muir’s favorite.
Page Creek walk begins at 10:00 AM at the preserve gate which is 5.5 miles west from the intersection of Hwy 22 and County K on the south side of Montello or 0.9 miles north from the intersection of County D and County K east of Packwaukee. This entrance is NOT the entrance with a TNC kiosk. Look for TPE signs marking the correct entrance.
John Muir Memorial Park is located on County F south of Montello. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=96
Observatory Hill walk begins at 1:30PM at the DNR parking lot on the south side of the hill off Gillette Ave. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/naturalareas/index.asp?SNA=223
Page Creek Marsh, Bright Lake photo by Ray Goehring
Photo By Joshua Mayer