Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Safari

In southwestern Missouri a herd of over 180 Bison graze peacefully.
Around 1540, millions of Bison roamed this area.
By 1889, fewer than 600 were left in all of North America.

In 1982, nine Bison were brought to Prairie State Park.
The Bison roam free on this native prairie habitat.

Since the soil in this area was too rocky to plow much of the land is virgin prairie.
Once tallgrass prairies covered over 13 million acres in Missouri alone.

I walked the prairie and felt the magic of the grasses.
I watched Spicebush Swallowtails nectar in the Bull Thistles and

Hummingbirds nectar in wild Cardinal flower.

When I return from the Prairie I surround myself with field guides.
I long to know the names of all the wild flowers and all the insects.

I recognized the Pearl Crescents

the female

and the male Eastern Tailed Blue when I saw them puddling together.

I knew the Orange Sulphur butterfly
but the wildflower White Heath Aster

and Purple Prairie Aster are new to me.

I have looked for this moth in my
"Butterflies and Moths of Missouri" filed guide
but I still do not know its name.

This is an Eastern Comma.
I know them from my backyard.
The wildflower appears to be White Snakeroot.

Katydids and grasshoppers jumped about as we hiked.

Prairie State Park is a collaboration of many different organizations.

After we left the Prairie I noticed many areas that once were plowed fields planted in native grasses and wild flowers.
More land stewards are going native.
The Viceroy Butterfly flew between the barb wires.

I shall continue to walk the prairie. It changes with the seasons.
Happy Autumn.
Happy Sunday Safari.


Dimple said...

I learn so much from the blogs I read! Thank you for helping me learn!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Aren't those bison just magnificent?! Your photos are remarkable. I love the one with the folded-wing skipper and the caterpillar. I wish I could help with id questions but unfortunately I don't know the answers. There are so many moths it is unbelieveable. Happy Sunday Safari.

I wonder if Cheryl is being rained on in FL? Will you go meet with her??

Anonymous said...

I hope to see the bison roaming wild once again. A dream that will probably never be realized, but a nice one, nonetheless.

Cathy said...

Beautiful photos, don't have prairies here. Just lots of trees with a few deer thrown in.

marmee said...

even though i don't have any praries near me i so enjoy going for walks on yours.

i know what you mean about field guides...they are a nature girls best friend.

the bison love so big and happy they are able to roam free.

happy fall days in september.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Beautiful, as always! Not to mention, always educational. Thanks for the Zebra Swallowtail/Paw Paw tip. Interesting! Hubby says we have paw paws on our farm but I have searched and found nada. Whatever the Viceroy is nectaring on (last photo), we have TONS of it surrounding our yard! Thanks so much for always brightening my Sunday with your Sunday Safaris. -Tammy

sweetbay said...

Thank you for sharing this part of the world with us. It's amazing to think of the vast prairies with all of those bison. They are very impressive animals, and you got great photos. I always love all of your photos, but my very favorite this time is the aster. So lovely!

Anonymous said...

You are living proof that one can never be bored with the world if you walk with your eyes wide open.

Rose said...

Sherry, I feel as if I have taken this walk with you--thank you for such a lovely tour! I love the last photo of the Viceroy, but the Eastern Comma against the white flowers really makes a dramatic contrast. I am learning more, too, about wildflowers, and yes, about butterflies. I think being in awe of the world around you and continuing to learn more about it is very healthy--it keeps you young!

Jayne said...

What a gorgeous safari you had Sherry!

ShySongbird said...

Another lovely safari Sherry with beautiful photos. My goodness, those Bison are some hefty creatures, you wouldn't want one of those treading on your foot!

I loved all the butterflies, they are so beautiful, I am not seeing quite so many here as Autumn approaches although they were out in force yesterday in the warm sunshine which we were blessed with.

Have a wonderful week :)

Deb said...

Such a lovely spot to roam ... the Bison are just amazing ~ as are your photographs! Beautiful Sunday Safari at the Prairie State Park.

Marimoy said...

great safari. I want to come visit!

Chrissie said...

The bison are magnificent, Sherry. Is it safe to walk near them? I don't think I would want to upset them! Will they have an effect on the other praire wildlife? I love to see you butterflies, they are beautiful. Happy autumn, Sherry

Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to hear that you are out exploring the praries. It sounds like you and your husband really imerse yourself in the experience walking for 6 hours at a time. Isn't it great to spend that time with nature? It looks like a magical place to be in the now. Thank you for all the warm wishes on our pilgrimage, it was a great journey.

Juliet said...

Lovely photos as usual, Sherry - & it looks like you had a great time. I was also impressed by the size of those bison - you wouldn't want to get into an argument with one, would you?

I went looking for your moth, and I think it may be one of this family: Geometridae - maybe a Pale Beauty or a Confused Eusarca (isn't that a wonderful name?!).

Wendy said...

Those bison are majestic, aren't they? Big and rugged. We have some near our home - a bison farm, not quite the same as roaming free.

Your butterflies are exquisite. I love how you capture them to perfection.

The praries sound very peaceful and grounding. I think there are ancient memories to be found as you walk the grasses.
Happy autumn.

Dawn Fine said...

Awesome post Q..
This one I have to tweet out to my Birdie nature twitter friends..i know many would enjoy all they you see and enjoy!
Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and wonder of nature.

ChrisND said...

I like when you visit the prairies and share your photos and observations. It's interesting to know the history of the Bison -- they have played important roles in the prairie communities....Now I think I will try one last overnight hike before the really cold nights come.