Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ending June at Spring Green Preserve

Prickly Pear Cactus

Today was a perfect day to visit Spring Green Preserve and a great way to finish June. Otherwise known as the Wisconsin Desert, the preserve is a sand prairie and I've written about it here many times before. It seems like every time I visit this unique state natural area I find something I've never seen before. But there are also specific things I count on seeing depending on the time of year. Today I found a Punctured Tiger Beetle, which is the sixth tiger beetle species I've observed at the preserve.

The most exciting find was a Fame Flower, but it wasn't in bloom. Another interesting insect was a Feather-legged Fly, another first for me. I wish I could have gotten a better angle on it so you could see the feathery structure on its back legs, but it didn't stick around for long.

Giant Robber Flies were scouring the sandy trails looking for small insects to eat. Tiger Beetles are pretty tough to photograph, but robber flies are even more difficult; your approach has to be slow with no sudden movements. But watch your step! There are Dung Beetles rolling ... dung!

The usual variety of grassland birds were present, including Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Dickcissel, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Meadowlark, and more. In the wooded area on the east side of the property there was a Blue-winged Warbler, Eastern Towhee, Wood Thrush, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

It was a beautiful day with great sights and sounds!

Prickly Pear Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

Goat's Rue

Lead Plant

Clay-colored Leaf Beetle

Clay-colored Leaf Beetle

Feather-legged Fly

Lark Sparrow

Grasshopper Sparrow

Robber Fly

Robber Fly

Punctured Tiger Beetle

Dung Beetles

Hoary Vervain

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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