Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A Love for Monarchs

The start of  a weekends hike begins with an orientation on Monarch Butterfly tagging. This is a program out  of the University of Kansas studying population and migration of this species.In the last twenty years their population has greatly decreased almost 90% due to agricultural and logging practices in the tiny area they migrate to in Mexico.The good part is it has increased slightly in the last two years.I have been trying to boost their numbers and habitat around me for a few decades. It has became a part of my life to join as many tagging groups that I can become part of, teaching youngsters a purpose to carry on long after I am gone.This  group will work over 3000 acres  at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

A short skit allows all to increase their interests with what we will be doing.

Not only did this young man hike into tall prairie blooms looking for butterflies, he also volunteered in the gift shop afterwards. Here he is the flower one must wait for the butterfly to land on before the taggers capture and tag it.Patience can be hard for young and old alike.

I sighted more butterflies after the tagging party, but still had a good time making some new friends.

Wait come back, I just want a picture. This adolescent was uncaring for my wishes, but fun to watch as he wandered. When a male reaches about three, they either stay with the herd, or wander on their own. He has found a niche he enjoys rather than competing with the other bulls.

Peek a boo
A huge Cottonwood out on the prairie.

This appeared like a sanctuary to me.
I laughed when I found this huge vine. I had a vine start growing in a flower bed outside of my bedroom window.I thought it was either  a cucumber or gourd a bird had planted.It has grow wildly, but without blooms.I have placed string for it to follow a number of times and rerouted the vines back toward their beginning, only to have it keep growing the other direction. It attached to the brick and my screen, and is charming to listen to the rustle of leaves in the breeze. It has yet to bloom. Then I found this giant vine growing up a tall tree, with the same leaves.I have a lot of driftwood in  the garden and feel the seed may have came with it, since it was all newly placed this year.I guess I won't be getting any fruits, but need to identify this specimen because that is how I work.Meanwhile I still love to listen to it in the evenings and when I wake in the morning, blowing on a prairie breeze.

Still some new blooms tantalizing me with their beauty.
Fall colors prevail

Monday, September 26, 2016

You Can Feel The Fall

A silvery plume of a milkweed seed shared the wind out on the prairie. It floated along with many others as the dried seed pods opened to share their seeds with the land around.I like watching these and day dreaming while they float and charm in the bright sunlight.Fall has arrived and soon summer clothes and dreams will be put away. Summer always brings a succession of blooms that reminds me of the return of old friends.Fall allows you time to sit and recreate these moments, but also enjoy the new vivid colors as the land slowly goes to rest.

Common Checkered Skipper
 You can see the tiny scent gland on the lower wing that identifies this as a male Monarch.Just a tiny spot it has a faithful attraction for females to be attracted to.I think of this sometimes when I throw on a splash of cologne, but it never seems to work that way. LOL
Yes, he does untangle his tiny horned head from the fence.

Common Wood Nymph
Goldenrod always announces the arrival of fall soon.

More colors of fall sneaking in.

This Lobelia was so beautiful I brought a bouquet home and admired it next to my computer.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Stroll And Lunch

A bench set in memory of a life long conservationist and teacher. It is always a nice place to rest during hiking or skiing in this park
A marker for research
I had to laugh how many times I had used this cottonwood as a location marker to return back toward my vehicle, only to find that it actually is two trees Having dropped many leaves it is easier to see.Many Native American cultures shared the belief that ones spirit returned to these huge trees.
A bluebird house waits for another season next year.

I always am amazed how much pollen some bees carry on their hind legs.

As a good way to finish a nice hike I made Eggs Benedict for a late Sunday lunch.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Smiling Piggies

A content mother nursing month old piglets with a smile. Walter the dog watches closely since he has a special interest with these pigs ever since they came to the farm.These are Berkshire hogs.

Prairie Gentian
Fall is officially here
Blue Lobelia
I knew I should have kept that old motorcycle
I always like unusual stickers for families
I need this badly
Pretty day meeting a new friend with a new camera. After talking she exchanged it for bigger and better.
New England Aster

A tiny Blue butterfly

Deep woods