Today was supposed to be a beautiful sunny autumn day. I was excited because I was to visit the Hennepin Wetlands today. Hennepin is river bottomland along the Illinois River. It's formerly agricultural land that has been re-created as wetland.
I'm usually a bit disappointed when confronted with such a project. Not today. My guides from The Wetlands Initiative showed me around a huge (more than 2,000 acres) site that is becoming a rather impressive wetland dominated by native species. The purpose of my visit was to evaluate the site's potential for butterfly introductions. The answer is a qualified yes, and I suspect that we'll try to add something in the next couple of years.
In addition to a variety of native habitats (wet prairies, sand prairies, oak woodlands), I got to see some nice bird life. Northern Harriers and Shoveler Ducks were new species for me. I even got to see white pelicans (too far away for a photo). We got a bit wet (OK, a lot wet) while out evaluating the site. It's always good when the only thing disappointing about this sort of visit is the weather.