Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Skywatch - Prairie Thunderstorm with Butterflies

My field season began yesterday- on the hottest day of the year so far. The goal was to collect breeding stock for this year's conservation activities. Vincent, Robin, Jay and I headed out to Grundy County. As we left town, we drove beneath some cumulus clouds that had a strong vertical aspect. By the time we got out to Gardner Prairie, they had grown to an impressive thunderstorm that soaked the city. In contrast, we had sun the entire time.

Gardner Prairie

Gardner Prairie is where we got our gorgone checkerspots for breeding last year. It's also reputed to be home to a population of leadplant flower moths. We found neither this time around. We will keep trying!

Commonwealth Edison Prairie

If Gardner Prairie was a bust, Commonwealth Edison Prairie was a near bust. We went there seeking Silver-bordered Fritillaries. We got three ragged females. Apparently we're at the very end of this year's first brood and the second has not yet begun. We saw lots of other butterflies, however, and I got a few photos in.

Two-spot Dkipper (Euphyes bimacula) -

Crossline Skipper (Polites origines) - An uncommon priaire species

Peck's Skipper - A common species that I didn't have a good digital image of.
I still don't.

See more Skywatch here.

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At 08:14, Blogger Kirk said...

It's frustrating going out in a place you know something should be and coming up empty handed. How much of a window do you have for your species?

At 13:32, Anonymous Mark H said...

I ALWAYS truly love this "end" of the green season....we ALL know, the hot dry browning season is just ahead.... LOVELy meadows.

At 21:10, Blogger cedrorum said...

Even on a day like this I would still rather be out in the field than behind my desk. You are having weird luck with rain this year.

At 06:35, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

Nice work out there. I'm going to be doing some plant surveys next month myself. I don't mind the heat/humidity if we get an occasional break.

At 17:35, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Kirk- The good news is that we are at the beginning of the window for all of the species in question. We will have at least 3 more weeks.

Mark- I think that it stays greener in the summer here than out by you.

cedrorum- Without question. The field time is the best.

Dave- Sounds like fun.

At 15:25, Blogger Kathie Brown said...

That first shot gives me that lonesome prairie feel. Love the thunderheads.

At 15:16, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos!
We have yellow skippers here(probably related?)
I am not sure of their "real name"..but they are very attracted to the brighter flowers in our garden, especially the Martha Washingtons!


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