Monday, July 23, 2012

Kankakee Sands BioBlitz 2012

This weekend was the Kankakee Sands BioBlitz 2012 in Newton County, Indiana. It was a wonderful opportunity to see the land, learn about the flora, and spend time with other biologists. The weather was good, sunny with a breeze; the ticks and other pests weren't too bad, and tons of flowers were blooming. I didn't take near as many pictures of some of the amazing flowers as I should have, but I spent a lot of time taking notes and trying to absorb it all. Of course, I did not force myself to stay focused on only plants.

Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata) was blooming abundantly in the wetter areas of the sand prairie at Unit D.

This Carrion Beetle (aka Burying Beetle or Sexton Beetle) caught my eye while walking through the sand prairie on Friday. These insects bury the carcasses of small animals. Apparently, they can release an awful smell when picked up, but I was not chosen. I did make sure it didn't crawl up my sleeve, though. This individual is possibly Nicrophorus marginatus.

Old Plainsmen (Hymenopappus scabiosaeus) was just about done blooming on the edge of the sand blow-out.

This strange little plant was something I had never seen before. Sand Jointweed (Polygonella articulata) was blooming in the sand blow-out.

I was taken aback when I spotted these Lark Sparrows Friday evening. Since these are prairie birds, I do not think of them in Indiana. I found out later from TNC staff that they breed on site.

We found a Fowler's Toad as we were heading in for the day on Friday.

I am pretty sure that this little fellow sitting in a willow clump is an immature Orchard Oriole.

The State Endangered Henslow's Sparrow welcomed everyone to the headquarters on US41. These birds serenaded us all day long, trying to get a song in edgewise with the Grasshopper Sparrows and Dickcissels.

Lobelia spicata confused us the first day when we found several plants in fruit, but not with flowers.

No comments: