I took a short three day trip with my family to Michigan and Illinois and made an effort to visit a natural area called Midewin Tallgrass Prairie --- which is about 30-40 minutes south of Chicago.
Midewin has an interesting story - it was historically a large tall grass prairie, which was turned into farmland, then the military used the land for making and testing bombs. And most recently, it was turned back into a national tall grass prairie. The name Midewin is derived from a native word meaning "healing" or "recovering". Yes, the ecosystem could be recovering, but also the people that get to visit this wonderful habitat could be recovering and healing as well. Read more at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/midewin
My visit was essentially limited to a 1 hour walk at the iron bridge trailhead pathway. Lots of great plants were seen - Rattlesnake Master, Royal Catchfly, Prairie Blazingstar as well as countless yellow flowering plants such as cup plant, compass plant, and countless varieties of dark eyed susan type plants.
I was hoping for better butterfly diversity - and better luck with perching butterrlies: some seen were:
Silver Spotted Skipper
Red Spotted Purple
Clouded Sulphur (or Southern Dogface?)
Barn / Rough Winged Swallow
Overall - it was a brief visit to this park - but very nice. I was surprised to see Blue Grosbeaks. I was not expecting to see them there. I was also happy to find Henslows Sparrows- which I have only seen a handful of times at Point Pelee. I dipped on a few area specialties such as Eastern Meadowlark, Upland Sandpiper, Loggerhead Shrike and Bells Vireo.
Looks like you had a really nice time, albeit short, at this prairie. Reading your post brought back a lot of memories of visiting many great prairies in the mid-west over the years. And now you will be able to compare it to some extent with the prairie close to home!ReplyDelete