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.

Triteleia Grandiflora

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One of the more unusual wildflowers we see each summer is Triteleia Grandiflora.

The tall slender stalk with only one or two basal leaves spring up out of grassy areas and are capped with a cluster of delicate yet hardy and unusual looking purple-blue flowers.

A native to the pacific northwest east of the cascade mountains from Oregon into Montana, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. We have see it growing in open Prairies and up into mountain foothills. Usually it seems that each plant is widely spaced from it’s neighbors or many times we see a single plant spring up far from others of its own species.

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It’s always fun to photograph these each spring and this years we have noticed greater numbers of Triteleia Grandiflora blooming than in the previous years.

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Wake up call

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Looks like somebody got a wake up call and right on time as well. With little holes poking through the still snow covered fields all through the valley the Prairie Dogs are definitely wake up. One big stretch, a quick look around and it time to go on this fine spring morning.

Sunrise on the Grasslands

It is easy to feel the connectedness when the sun rises over the vast expanse of grasslands. Getting the opportunity to experience the prairie sunrise is a wonderful opportunity and this project to provide a hut-to-hut experience out in the grasslands is worth supporting.

https://www.americanprairie.org/project/hut-to-hut-system

https://www.americanprairie.org

http://www.explorebigsky.com/infinite-landscape-exhibit-benefits-american-prairie-reserve