Unidentified flying objects inhabit prairie

The prairie is a strange and wonderful place. Each time I visit, I discover wildlife from both the plant and insect kingdoms I’ve never seen before.

I’m not nearly as good at identifying the insects that inhabit the prairie as I am the plants, but as I explored the prairie this weekend, my eyes were drawn to the insects as much as to the plants because the air was a virtual O’Hare Airport of flying creatures.

It’s gratifying to see so many varieties of milkweed in the prairie and to see butterflies enjoy the blossoms. My prairie is only a patch, but I’m happy to do my part to encourage these insect beauties.

Here are a few insects I captured with my iPhone. Obviously, I need a camera with greater magnification (and either a steadier hand or insects that will sit still) to get better images.

Orange butterfly on Whorled Milkweed

Orange butterfly on whorled milkweed.

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The first time I’ve spotted this little black & white beauty. Less than an inch long.

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Monarch on butterfly milkweed. Finally one I can identify.

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A lovely black and yellow dragonfly. Look closely to see how big the wings really are.

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We never lack for bees or black-eyed Susans in the prairie.

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Two Japanese beetles do what they enjoy most on a purple coneflower.

Japanese beetles

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The second thing Japanese beetles do – make lace out of plant leaves.

Japanese beetles

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Two insects in this picture. Very tiny. Very fast. This is the closest I could get.

I'm sharing this Rattlesnake Master because I love the make, how weird the plant looks, and it's the first time I've seen it this year. No insects visible. here.

I share this Rattlesnake Master because I love the name and how alien the plant looks, plus it’s the first time I’ve seen it this year. No insects visible.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little visit to my prairie. If you can identify any of these unidentified flying objects, please leave the details in a comment. If you can’t identify them, leave a note anyway.

After the fire – Beauty

We burned our prairie this spring, and the fire my husband lit spread rapidly through the dried residue of the previous year’s grasses and flowers. Within minutes, we were left with nothing but a bare, black expanse.

The prairie was bare, but not barren. Within a few weeks, green began to show and now, only two month’s later, all evidence of the fire has disappeared. In its place are a multitude of flowers and grasses. After a burn, flowers are actually more plentiful. and we may see flowers we haven’t seen before. Here are a few prairie bright spots since the burn.

Fire moves rapidly through prairie residue.

Fire moves rapidly through prairie residue.

Spiderwort is one of the earliest flowers.

Spiderwort is one of the earliest flowers.

Butterfly milkweed is the only orange flower we see, and it's stunning.

Butterfly milkweed is the only orange flower we see, and it’s stunning.

This is the first year I've spotted whorled milkweed in our prairie.

This is the first year I’ve spotted whorled milkweed in our prairie.

A pale purple coneflower also made its first appearance.

A pale purple coneflower also made its first appearance.

Wild bergamot, butterfly milkweed, and common sunflower - beautiful in combination.

Wild bergamot, butterfly milkweed, and common sunflower – beautiful in combination.

A common milkweed blossom.

A common milkweed blossom.

Fire is a necessary element of a healthy prairie, and we burn ours every four years.

Have you walked in a prairie? If so, what was your experience? If you have not been yet, I encourage you to do so.  The prairie offers infinite beauty.

Language barrier? Don’t the Irish speak English?

Can you imagine farming on this landscape? Farmer and tour guide Shane Connolly told us how the Burren works.

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Clocks, stoves and life & death coincidences

Mom's stove served her faithfully.

As a child, I grew up singing a song about a clock that counted the seconds of a man’s life. “My Grandfather’s Clock” - Are you familiar with it? The refrain goes like this:“Ninety years without slumberingtick, tock, tick, tockHis life seconds … [Continue reading]

Murals fuel & memorialize Irish conflict

Some believe the British Army must be held accountable for the deaths they caused during The Troubles.

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How important is “place” in writing?

The distinctive tabletop mountain, Benbulbin, inspired Yates' poetry.

My recent trip to Ireland has me thinking again about the importance of place to a writer. Ireland has a rich written history, including literary greats James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and W.B. Yates. Those names were prominent as we toured the Emerald … [Continue reading]

How important is staying plugged in?

Ireland - Plugging into a new source of energy.

“Is it plugged in?” That was the first question tech support always asked back when computers were new and I called to find out why the alien on my desk wouldn’t work.Dutifully, I’d untangle my feet from the writhing morass of cords under my desk and … [Continue reading]

Courage – Would you have enough?

Hariett Tubman - abolitionist who freed more than 700 slaves.

Harriet Tubman. Oskar Shindler. Esther. People iconic for their courage and the bold actions they took to save the lives of others, actions that put their own lives at risk. Every time I hear a story about someone who stands up to society, their … [Continue reading]

You just never know

Fork in the road

If you just spent four years in college to become a teacher, would you take a secretarial position instead? I did and found myself on a path loaded with unexpected opportunities.After graduating in 1972 with a degree in speech & English … [Continue reading]

How important is the frame?

Framed for drama and impact. Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com

A few years ago, as I walked the Crystal Bridges Art Museum grounds, I spotted a single picture frame set on posts in the middle of a soccer-sized field. Intrigued, I walked out to look closer, reasoning that this frame must be quite important to … [Continue reading]