"Rest, nature, books, music ... such is my idea of happiness."
― Leo Tolstoy
Pheasant Branch Conservancy
No matter the season, the prairie is always a beautiful place to visit, even during winter. But with June the prairie retains a freshness while reaching for an apex of living things, rendering some of the conservancy's finest scenes of natural beauty.
And so I show you a rabbit!
Dickcissels and Sedge Wrens have yet to arrive, but there are plenty of Common Yellowthroats, Yellow Warblers, Field Sparrows, Orchard Orioles, and many other grassland birds. It looks like this may be the second year in a row without Yellow-breasted Chats, though the habitat appears to be perfect for them. The Sedge Wrens of Pheasant Branch possess one of my favorite bird mysteries: why do they suddenly appear in July ... and where do they spend May and June?
A beautiful day at the prairie.
While overall birdsong begins to diminish around this time of year, the Common Yellowthroat's voice is as big and bold as ever and will continue to be so through much of July. The summer solstice is only a week away and some birds far to our north will soon begin their southward journey. The prairie matures as we roll into summer and the asters will put on the final floral act ... but there is a whole half of June left! I'm getting ahead of myself.
Here's wildflower I don't see very often at the conservancy. Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria) isn't native to North America, but it isn't a dominant plant like the scourge of Leafy Spurge. The flower is so small they're pretty easy to miss. Though I tend not to photograph non-native plants, I will make a few exceptions here and there. They sort of remind me of Fame Flower.
Long-legged flies are one of my favorite insect subjects. These tiny flies are another example of a small organism that's very easy to miss while being ubiquitous at the conservancy. Only through macro photography can these beautiful little insects be fully appreciated. There are over 7,000 described species of long-legged flies in the world. Most of the ones I see are chrome-green in color, but there are shiny yellow, orange, red, and blue ones, too.
Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jun 11, 2016 7:00 AM - 9:20 AM
Great Blue Heron
All images © 2016 Mike McDowell