Saturday, December 3, 2022

Two showy creatures at Kankakee Sands

A Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina) atop a particularly showy hunting perch. The beautiful predatory insect chose this equally beautiful flowering spike of Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) as a lookout from which to hunt game. This was at Kankakee Sands in Newton County, Indiana, last June 29, 2022.

Kankakee Sands is an epic prairie restoration owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy. This year's trip was my fourth visit, and each one has been interesting and highly productive. While my house in Worthington, Ohio, is less than 300 miles east of Kankakee Sands, the ecological difference is vast. Many true prairie species - flora and fauna - did not make it quite as far as Ohio, and Kankakee represents their eastern terminus.

So smitten with Kankakee Sands am I that I successfully cajoled the editor of BWD (formerly Bird Watcher's Digest) into letting me pen an article on the place in their upcoming January/February issue. While the article focuses mostly on birds, of which there are many, it also gives a thumbnail of the fascinating history of this region. BWD is well worth getting - learn more about the magazine RIGHT HERE.

I made this image on the same Kankakee trip. While Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea) are not rare, who cares? The extroverted little buntings are astonishing in appearance, and I never tire of looking at them. Within earshot of this chap's briar patch were Bell's Vireo, Grasshopper and Henslow's sparrows, Western Meadowlark (Eastern Meadowlarks, too), and TNC's fabulous, reintroduced herd of about 100 head of American Bison.

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