Spring creek, small animals


Saturday, 6 July, 2013

Jacky and Allison and I went to the Spring creek prairie Audubon center, where we found a number of interesting things. I posted some of the photos separately; here’s the remainder of the noteworthy ones.

The prairie is near Crete, Nebraska, windy hills with tall grass, a couple of ponds, and trees in the low places near the ponds. There are a few miles of trails that have been mown through the grass, more trails that have not been mown, and a lot of real estate that is not intersected by trails at all. Electric fences to control the theoretical cattle.


No sooner had we started off when a helicopter came along, a large camera capturing everything in sight. In the next day’s newspaper, we learned that it’s U.K. Skyworks, doing a Nebraska documentary, partly for their own entertainment, but also on behalf of the University of Nebraska, the parks people and who knows whom!


Very pretty, the little butterflies.



Also a little gross!


There are prairie birds around, perching wherever opportunity presents. Because of the wind and the extreme zoom required, I shot hundreds of photos in burst mode, then discarded about 95% of them.

Doris says these are dickcissels. I never heard of them before. Sounds vaguely obscene, doesn’t it!




And this is a gray catbird. Thanks, Doris.


I have been watching for brochymenas, my favorite little six-legged carnivores, and Allison was good enough to spot a plant that sponsored about a dozen of them.



Really cool! I love their armored structure.



Here (above) is the armored underside of a brochymena.


And of course, the insex are busy doing what comes naturally. We’re shocked, shocked!





Not all is beer and skittles, however. I accumulated four ticks. Pretty little guys, but I was happy to give them the brush-off.

I flushed a grouse from the tall grass. It ran ahead of me for some distance, then took to the air. It veered to the left and flew head-on into a nearby quonset building. Quick 180, and off it went in the other direction. Takes real talent to slam into one of the very few buildings anywhere around.


And finally, looking again at the tiny guys, we find an aphid colony. Some of everything.


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