Sunday, August 14, 2022

Birding Midewin Tallgrass Prairie







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

PLANTS

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.





BUTTERFLIES

I was hoping for better butterfly diversity - and better luck with perching butterrlies: some seen were:

Buckeye

Northern Cresent

Silver Spotted Skipper

Red Spotted Purple

Cabbage Whites

Clouded Sulphur (or Southern Dogface?)


Birds

Dickcissel

Indigo Bunting

American Goldfinch

Barn / Rough Winged Swallow

Blue Grosbeak

Song Sparrow

Field Sparrow

Henslows Sparrow

Buteo Hawk

Chimney Swift



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. 

Good Birding,

Dwayne




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