Sunday, June 12, 2016

Just ... June!

"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.

Eastern Cottontail

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?

Common Yellowthroat

Field Sparrow

A beautiful day at the prairie.

Eastern Kingbird

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.

Common Yellowthroat

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.

Deptford Pink

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.

Long-legged Fly

Long-legged Fly

Pheasant Branch, Dane, Wisconsin, US
Jun 11, 2016 7:00 AM - 9:20 AM
39 species

Ring-necked Pheasant
Great Blue Heron
Sandhill Crane
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
American Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2016 Mike McDowell

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