Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prairie Dawn

The dew and clouds in the western sky made this a magical moment, almost too nice to think about all the possible images in the area around me.  An old fashion 2 stop ND graduated filter was used to balance the sky. Photographed on Schaefer Prairie.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Morning Dew

I went out before sunrise yesterday for the first time in a few months and was rewarded with more images than I could edit in a day.  This was the start of the day.  I'll be busy for awhile.  Taken at Schaefer Prairie, MN.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Swamp Milkweed

I am fascinated by the varieties of milkweed and the number of insects that can be seen feeding on it.  Photographed at Tauer Prairie SNA, Brown County, MN.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Rattlesnake Master

This uncommon flower on southern Minnesota prairies has leaves that look like the yucca plant of the western prairies.  The name implies treatment of rattlesnake bites and apparently it worked about 75% of the time.  However, I've been told only 25% of their bites inject venom.  The flowers are covered with insects during August.  Photographed on Tauer Prairie SNA, Brown Co., MN

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pitcher Plant and Ferns

I spent some time at Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, Sarona, WI, earlier this month.  Pitcher plants were everywhere and the first couple times there was a temporary boardwalk into the bog.  Hunt Hill has a diverse range of habitat in a relatively small area.  I'm looking forward to returning throughout the seasons.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fame Flower

This is a species of special concern in Wisconsin due to habitat restriction.  The leaves are tubular, similar to succulent plants.  It lives in the dry, sandy soil of oak barrens.  Photographed on Sterling Barrens, Polk Co.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Bee Balm


This common prairie plant has been used as a tea and for a variety of ailments over the centuries.  As a member of the mint family it has a distinctive aroma.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grama Grass

Side Oats Grama

Hairy Grama
Not much to look at but impressive when you consider they were an important source of food for bison.  I'm always interested in how a plant was named.  These were named by two Spanish botanists, grama is a derivation of the Spanish word for grass. Photographed at Sheep Berry Fen, Pope Co., managed by the TNC of Minnesota.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Silver Scurf Pea

These silver plants stand out in the prairie green.  Taken as a whole they seem chaotic but on closer inspection are elegant in their flowing lines.  Another name is Psoralea (think psoriasis, a scaly skin disease).  I have never seen the blue flower entirely open, maybe next year.  Taken at Kasota Prairie SNA, Nicollet County, MN.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Prairie Blazing Star

Blazing stars seem early this year although I have been away from the tall grass prairie for a few summers and this may not be the case.  Taken at Schaefer Prairie, McLeod County, managed by the Nature Conservancy of Minnesota.