New Photos
October 9, 2005

This view looking up the secondary drainage from the near meadow to the east grass and the line of trees at the highway shows what the land looks like in early October. Years back, we'd have seen drifts of monarchs flying past on a day like this, with a nice little north wind helping them along. The grass with "stripes" from mowing in the foreground is filling in what used to be bare dirt with only ragweed and purple gerardia on it. Most of it is prairie dropseed, we think.

photo One of these tadpoles already has hind legs. For some reason (keeping watch, maybe?) the tadpoles in the lily pond like to hang out together. Sometimes they line up side by side and sometimes--as here--they don't. I don't know enough about frogs and toads to know which kind of tadpoles these are, but we have lots of plains leopard frogs.
Peekaboo! This grasshopper, busily eating away an iris leaf leaning over the pond, wanted to keep an eye on me, so all I could photograph was its underneath. I believe this is a "differential" grasshopper, Melanoplus differentialis, but we have many different kinds of grasshoppers on the place. photo
photo This one, for instance, is very well camouflaged on the ground--if I hadn't seen it land, I wouldn't have spotted it just walking past. The markings combine elegant geometric forms on the head and thorax with leopard-like spots on the hind legs and upper wings. The under-wings have orange on them.
Here's another insect that I would not have noticed if it hadn't flown across the north maintenance path in front of me, and then landed not twelve feet away, just above eye level...where it disappeared into the leaves. Katydids have very long antennae--in another picture (not as good of the whole insect) one antenna looks like a fly-fisherman's cast as it waves in the breeze. photo
photo Liatris, or gayfeather, is one of our prettiest fall flowers. Butterflies are fond of it, as are bees. It's spreading here, out into the native grass parts of the pasture; when little bluestem, gayfeather, and Maxilimilian sunflower are together, the colors shout at each other. I spent so much time trying (unsucessfully) to photograph a particular spider in a particular Maximilian clump that I didn't get a picture of the flowers this week....
But here is a substitute. This smaller, more delicate relative was growing in the shade of an osage orange by the north end of the creek, and just as I walked by, a shaft of sunlight lit it up. It's the same yellow, but the leaves are more delicate, and a bluer green, and there was only the single flower on top. I don't know which of the many yellow-flowered Compositae it is (though I know a dozen or so it's not...) but it was a grace note to a walk on the land. photo

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MoonScape80 Acres