Gossamer Tapestry

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Misty Savanna

Black Oak Sand Savanna with Showy Goldenrod

Last week, Vincent and I had to go up to the conference center at Illinois Beach State Park to make a presentation to the board of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. We were (successfully) seeking approval for a permit to release Silver-bordered Fritillaries onto the nature preserve at Gensburg-Markham Prairie (something that is now done). I have made presentations to this board before, and in common with my previous experiences I found something that sounds very bureaucratic is actually a reasonably pleasant process.

Ecotone between the Oak Savanna and a Swale

After our presentation at the meeting, Vincent and I went off for a walk into the park. Illinois Beach is a very large (4,160 acres) remnant of native Lake Michigan shoreline. Vincent had never been to this park before, and I enjoyed introducing him to this amazing spot. The day was cloudy and misty, and had a decidedly melancholic autumnal feel to it.

The Dead River

The park is a dune and swale complex. The Dead River occupies one of the swales. It gets its name because it is usually separated from Lake Michigan by a sand bar. Periodically, pressure in the river builds up, and the water overflows the sand bar and empties into the lake.

Sky Blue Aster

We were treated to an array of autumn wildflowers as we walked. Illinois Beach State Park is in my top five natural areas in Illinois that I recommend visiting.

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At 12:32, Anonymous Mark H said...

WOW....I guess I should have "KNOWN" there would be LOTS of wetlands near Lake M.....and as always, your pictures prove that. I love the Asters blooming now......one of those last beauties of summer. Maybe you'll take us on a nature trip when we finally get to Chicago sometime soon...............

At 00:19, Blogger Ur-spo said...

That does some lovely. I have always been fond of Lake Michigan.

At 13:46, Blogger Dave Coulter said...

IBSP is a great spot!

At 16:10, Blogger Texas Travelers said...

Sounds like a great place and one that I would like to visit sometimes.
Congratulations on the butterfly release.
Nice photos.
Martha and I are doing an all-day Prairie hike Saturday. Post to follow next week.


At 16:31, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Wonderful post Doug! Lovely photos. You make me want to visit!


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