Variations

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Seeing variations on a theme along the trails we hike. Similar shapes yet different colors on fully display in white, yellow and purple. Each color selected over time to keep the wildflowers flowing, bees buzzing and the forest just that much more beautiful.

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Nature in action.

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Upland Sandpiper

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It’s hard to believe but the  Upland Sandpiper will begin its journey south less than a month from now. Upland Sandpipers breed in the northern prairies yet spend most of the year (8 months or so) in Central and South America. Standing about a foot tall with that big eye and relatively short bill these birds forage on foot through short grass habitats looking for insects.

“Upland Sandpiper’s association with native prairie is so strong that scientists consider it to be an “indicator species,” along with Sprague’s Pipit and Baird’s Sparrow, that can indicate the quality a habitat. Thus, the absence of these three birds in a patch of prairie would indicate to biologists that there is likely a problem with the habitat.1

We were thrilled to be able to watch this bird foraging for several minutes before they moved into the tall grass a short distance away and disappeared from sight. Now you see them now you don’t.

Reference:
1. All About Birds: Upland Sandpiper.

Red-naped Sapsucker

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A Red-naped Sapsucker appeared out of the aspen forest to perch on the shrubs for just a moment before flying off into the forest.

“Red-naped Sapsucker nest holes make good homes for other species. Many species that nest in holes don’t have a specialized bill needed to carve out their own home, including Mountain Bluebirds, nuthatches, and chickadees. The small holes excavated by sapsuckers provide safe places for smaller hole-nesting birds to nest.1

Reference:

  1. All about birds: Red-naped Sapsucker.

Wild Iris

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In fields wet with moisture the wild iris are blooming like crazy this year. It is amazing how some years there are so few but when it rains more than usual they explode. They bloom for a few days then dry up and quickly disappear. Nature playing hide and seek.

Remembering Bunnyville

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For each of the last several years there has been a place in a field close to home that we dubbed Bunnyville. Home to a family, or perhaps families, of Mountain Cottontail rabbits.

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Each spring and summer a new batch of bunnies would appear like clockwork and inhabit the flower filled field and forest edges nearby.

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However this year we are Bunnyless! Predation by a cast of characters which include the Ermine, Golden Eagles, Bobcat, Coyote, and Foxes over the previous winter appear to decimated the Rabbit population in our area.

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It is a strange thing to experience a summer without out the rabbits although the Penstemon in are garden are relived. Yet a summer without baby bunnies of groups of teenage rabbits frolicking in the fields is a stage thing indeed.

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The grasses a growing longer without the natural lawnmowers….

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They always put a smile on our face and it is sad to realize the sun may have set on Bunnyville.  There is always hope the rabbits will return after all it only takes a couple.

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Wishing you a wonderful weekend and here’s to remembering Bunnyville.

The Assassin

While checking out the Coneflowers the other day we came across this really cool insect called an Assassin bug.


At one point we found them stalking prey in their world of flowers. The other insect noticed the Assassin on their trail and quickly hopped away avoiding becoming a meal.

Assassin Bugs are ambush hunters that use their long rostrum to inject digestive enzymes into their prey. Their bite is said to be quite painful yet without long term consequences.

So from now on I will be keeping my eyes open and hands a safe distance from this guys home in the coneflowers as summer carries on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduviidae