I was really surprised to find this butterfly out and about last Saturday. When I got home I looked it up in Butterflies of the North Woods and learned it is a Milbert's Tortoiseshell. They overwinter as adults, hibernating in hollow logs, and under bark or old out buildings. The author Larry Weber says they emerge from hibernation during the first warm sunny days of spring. I wonder what these early butterflies eat as there are no plants yet blooming.
Update- In an email from Sparky Stensaas, editor of Butterflies of the North Woods: "The butterflies that hibernate as adults feed on sap from trees...mainly oozing maple sap."
Here's a cool bracket fungus. It looks like it's slicing right through this little tree.
We sat down at the picnic table for a snack and a drink and before long were surrounded by a flock of chickadees. This one checked out one of the feeders. I'm sure the feeders have been empty since we filled them last in October. Do you think the chickadees associate us with the feeders? I am reluctant to leave seed in the feeders when we're not there. Last summer a bear bent the black iron shepherd's hook over to the ground to get at the seed. The wire mesh bag has big tooth puncture holes in it from being mauled. I really enjoy feeding the birds up there but I don't want to attract bears into our campsite. I need some good advice on that issue.