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