Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tallgrass Summer

"Dawn in the Valley"
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

I've been spending these days exploring new remnants, but still along the little creek that flows past our home in the valley.  The tallgrass is entering summer now and there is no holding it back!

One pleasant personal observation this year has been the larger than remembered vocal presence of Dickcissels.  They are even calling from the fences bordering our own yard!  Now this is likely a good opportunity to get more photos of this grassland favorite...but Murphy's Law steps in with cases like this.  If you go out and dig thistle or mow, or pull brome - they sing praises to you!  If you even carry something "looking like" a camera - they leave for the neighbor's pasture!  Little buggers!  But it's nice to hear and see so many here this summer; would be nice if they were actually rebounding a little.  

I'm embedding a very short video here of a male Dickcissel singing from a pasture fence post...many people don't realize what a pretty little bird this is (or don't even recognize what kind of bird it is!)...although the video isn't a "close-up" of the bird, it will give you an idea of how it looks. For a better look at a Dickcissel, you can view a closer shot in a past post in my Prairie Hill farm blog - Here.  If you subscribe to this blog via e-mail the link for the video feed is -  (That link would also allow full screen viewing.)

See ya on the tallgrass...enjoy the birds on the prairie this summer!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Spring (Summer!) In The Valley

Scibner's Panic Grass (Panicum oligosanthes) -left
and Porcupine Grass (Stipa spartea) -right
(click on image for a larger view)

It's Spring in the valley here for sure fact summer is more the feel.  On the tallgrass there is still some catch up in forbs but they're catching up fast.  I was just on an area prairie yesterday morning and the Prairie Phlox, Purple American Vetch, Canada Anemones and Hoary Puccoon were all hitting stride.  I'm seeing the Scribner's Panic Grass and the Porcupine Grass setting fruit here on our remnant pasture now also.

Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre) from the
remnant pasture here.

I usually am able to gauge everything here by the Fringed Puccoon and the Blue-eyed Grasses, but they were both later than I've ever recorded them this year (about 12 days late), but they are in record number here - very fun to see!  I'm not sure what causes the different variations in the Blue-eyed Grass but they are generally almost white to very pale blue here, yet this year I had 40-50% blue to dark blue...interesting!

I recorded some of the noise in the neighborhood here a couple weeks back, and although they're still singing, aside from the neighborhood Coyotes - some of the frog voices have changed; the Toads and Leopard and Chorus Frogs have finally finished and the Cricket and Copes Gray Tree Frogs are taking over!  I'm trying to find a good time to record them as well but here is our "Spring in the Valley" chorus for you to listen to!

If you subscribe via e-mail, you may have to click back to the actual blog to play this audio - 

Stay busy and hope to see you in the tallgrass!