Highly Modified Nature

Yesterday I did some photography along Saylorville Reservoir.  This is a flood-control reservoir on the Des Moines River.

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From an ecological standpoint, flood control reservoirs are a really bad idea.  They create environments that are highly modified by man.  Still, there is nature all around if you open your eyes to it.

 

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Viceroys were flying around in high numbers.  Their caterpillar host plants are willows which grow in profusion in the frequently flooded landscape.

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This male red-winged blackbird took exception to my presence in his territory, and took to the air to scold and threaten me.

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Damselflies and dragonflies were everywhere.  I was looking for a trio of butterflies–bronze coppers could not be found, nor could dainty sulfurs.  Little yellows were present, but I had to look around for them before I found them.  Viceroys, orange sulfurs, and common buckeyes could be found in large numbers.

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I especially liked this photo of an eastern amberwing on fleabane.

I walked past the boat loading ramps and had a brief conversation with a fisherman who was leaving before “all the crazies get here.”   I might have been one of the crazies he was talking about.

But I walked along the sand and found a little area that was damp.   There I saw a very tiny blue butterfly.

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I was fortunate enough to follow its flight as it darted around.  This is a butterfly I have seen once before, so I was happy that it let me take a number of pictures.7-9-160049

Reakirt’s blue is rarely seen in Iowa.  It is most often found in prairie areas with leadplant, which is its host plant.   I did not see the plant nearby, and I would have been surprised to find it in that habitat.  This area was not where I would have expected to find this butterfly at all.

I have seen this butterfly before, so it is not a “lifer.”  I haven’t seen it in over a decade, though, so it was a really good find.

 

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About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
This entry was posted in butterflies, Junonia coenia, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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