Sunday, August 04, 2013

Early August at Spring Green Preserve

Clustered Poppy-mallow

I spent Sunday morning at Spring Green Preserve with Mark and Dottie Johnson on a macro photography excursion. The skies were clear and the temperature was comfortable, but it's always a little warmer at Wisconsin's desert prairie. Insects weren't quite as abundant as we were hoping for, but we did find a really cool jumping spider near the end of our hike (see below). It was neat to see a Giant Swallowtail, but it perched off the trail behind a thick line of Poison Ivy. Eventually, insects became more active as it warmed up. Until that time, I was content with photographing some of the prairie's unique wildflowers.

Blazing Star beginning to bloom

Dotted Horsemint


Hummingbird Moth

Mark got a much nicer photograph of this Hummingbird Moth, which I'll post a link to later.

Mating Punctured Tiger Beetles

Like my last visit, the only tiger beetles we found were Punctured Tiger Beetle (Cicindela punctulata). Hmm. I wonder what happened to the other seven species. Perhaps it's seasonal, but last year around this time there were at least four or five tiger beetle species present along the sandy trail.

Phidippus Jumping Spider, perhaps P. whitmani

This jumping spider was the definitive highlight of our morning. I think it's Phidippus whitmani, but I'm not absolutely sure. I checked and Jumping Spiders of Wisconsin and it was the closest match I could find. Some P. whitmani have abdominal markings, but not nearly as prominent as our spider. Any thoughts?

Prairie Racerunner

I finally captured a photograph of a Prairie Racerunner, though I didn't have an unobstructed angle on it. As we were walking toward the parking lot, the lizard quickly scampered off the trail and hid beneath the vegetation. I was ready with my digiscoping gear and got a few shots off before it disappeared deeper into the dense prairie plants. Eventually, I'm going to find one of these guys out in the open!

Lunch at Spring Green General Store

After a morning of earnest nature photography at the desert prairie, there's nothing like a refreshing lunch at Spring Green General Store. They have delicious soups and sandwiches, but the greek salad with lemon tahini dressing is my favorite.

All images © 2013 Mike McDowell

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