I spent today conducting breeding bird atlas work in the hinterlands of west-central Ohio; probably the last day of the season for atlassing. At first light, there's lots of singing and I found many things, but activity tapers off rapidly as morning progresses.
Luckily for me, the area I am working on harbors several of the best remaining remnants of the formerly vast Darby Plains prairie. So as the heat of the day set in, I visited two of these sites and found numerous interesting things and made quite a few photos.
To me, visiting these prairie scraps brings mixed emotions. On the one hand, I revel in the explosion of biodiversity that erupts in these botanical hotspots; a complete counterpoint to the desolation of the surrounding corn and bean fields. On the other hand, I always am forced to reflect upon the near complete destruction of Ohio's - and much of the Midwest's - prairies. I'd say 99% + of Ohio's original prairie has been scrubbed off the map - lost to development and agriculture.
But we will focus on the positive.
A compelling reason to plant natives is because of the bugs that they attract. This is ecological ground zero, and native plants and bugs support the other life forms such as birds. And Prairie Coneflower attracts scores of insects.
The adult moth is a pretty thing; sort of faint emerald-green in color and the wings are striped with pale white lines. But like most moths, that of the Camouflaged Looper is nocturnal and hard to see.