Monday, July 20, 2009

On The Road Again

It's been a bit since my last entry; I think we've been too buried in work here to do a decent job of keeping current. I could make this entry a continuation of the last one...oh what a tangled web technology seems to weave...but let's not go there!

Summer is in full swing on the Tallgrass in our region now...even here on our prairie remnant things are looking pretty cool. I always hate to see some things finish up and disappear but others always take their places. The Bobolinks have left to their wandering now, from the pasture here and across the road. I enjoyed their "spink/spank/spink" calling through the late spring and early summer, but they've finished up their nesting and rearing and have headed off to wander the grasslands for the remainder of the summer.

Narrow-leaf Purple Coneflower

Our native Narrow-leaf Purple Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia) has been beautiful and held up pretty well over the past 3 weeks but is now waning...they'll stand sentry over the remnant north of the house - their drying stalks and seed heads will still be standing next spring.

We're off one project and on to another. This one has us visiting many sites in NW Iowa, to eventually add to the NW Iowa Watchable Wildlife web site. Its a real enjoyable project and one that makes me get out and away from the studio and the computer.

Along the trail in the Bertram Reservation

One location we visited last week was one I photographed on several years back, it's the Bertram Reservation east of Peterson, Iowa in Clay County. A Boy Scout camp 40 years or so ago, is now an area of remnant Bur Oak savannas and hillside prairie. The wooded trails and open vistas are a real treat. It's nice to find things again you forgot about!

Looking forward to more adventures this summer; hope you have some too!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Don't Get Me Started...

The road into our Prairie Hill Farm Studio is in much better shape than a couple weeks back. The county crews are a couple miles south of us now, doing more work yet. They aren't finished here on the ditches but hopefully will be some day!

There is so much happening here's a very busy time for the birds...the Robins are on 2nd and 3rd nestings, the House Wrens are in several houses around the acreage. The Red-headed Woodpeckers, Hairys, Downeys, and Red-bellieds are all raising families in the grove and beyond. The Baltimore Orioles are in their hanging "basket" about 14 feet above the driveway and the Eastern Bluebirds are in the box about 20 feet south of them!

The Killdeers are running amuck all over the 'New" gravel road...don't know how they've fared with new construction? And each day and night we hear the crazed squabbling over at the Great Blue Heron rookery across Waterman Creek.

The last blog led with a photo of our American Kestrels. I've been trying to watch for the adults feeding the young but have not been able to sit in a blind to keep track due to deadlines I've been facing. However, yesterday I set the camcorder up and just let it run on the nest box...then went about my work while it taped without me.

One of the youngsters has left the nest now and is sitting in the trees nearby, while it's sibling is still box bound and begging from there. During the 75 minutes I taped, the chick in the box was only fed can see how long the parent bird lingered - not long! It shoved a dragonfly into the chick's mouth and was off and running again. I sure hope they're catching more than one dragonfly every 75 minutes!!! I'm sure they are :)

Take a look at the sequence here and watch the little guy (gal?) gulp it down!

Ain't technology wonderful! It let me see this by doing something for me while I was doing something else!

I've also added this video to the NW Iowa Watchable Wildlife website's "Trips Afield" page at: - you can just click on the "American Kestrel" tab and watch it there as well.

On Monday I was finally able to deliver a computer kiosk with a fun educational touch screen program with over 50 videos. I've been working nearly non-stop on it since April. The kiosk's hard drive went south on Wednesday.

Ain't technology wonderful?!

Well, OK sometimes...but don't get me started!