A trip today to Oakfield Ledge State Natural Area in Fond du Lac County led to a walk through the rich woodland at the top of "the ledge" - the long outcropping of dolomite that is called the Niagara Escarpment, and which stretches from southeastern Wisconsin, up along the Door peninsula, and ultimately all the way to Niagara Falls. The cliff of dolomite that forms "the ledge" in Dodge, Fond du Lac, Calumet, Brown, and Door counties harbors a wonderful plant community in some places, especially as in this state natural area. The last photo above shows the purple-stemmed cliff-brake Pellaea atropurpurea - a small cliff-dwelling fern that is a species of special concern, growing amid moss and just below an overhanging red-cedar.
The birdlife in the surrounding woodland includes Great Crested Flycatcher, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Am. Robin, Northern Flicker, House Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Baltimore Oriole, and Blue Jay - all common species, but in a decidedly "uncommon" place. For more about this state natural area, see: