Kankakee Sands is a restoration area in Indiana on acres that once was covered with one of the largest lakes in the State, Beaver Lake. Around 100 years ago part of the lake was in Illinois and a businessman (from IL) who owned land on the lake decided to drain this huge body of water. And he did, effectively removing the migrating path for many water birds and did untold damage to the ecosystem as the land was turned into farmland.
The Nature Conservancy has purchased a large portion of this land and is working to return it to native prairie and marshland. They have also introduced a small herd of buffalo, which are a part of the natural prairie.
It is a beautiful work in progress. What amazed me the most were the amount of grasshoppers and crickets. Take a step and the “grass” for about two feet in front of your foot raises and flies. You can hear the wings. But the variety of butterflies and plants are amazing.
They flew all around us as if we were not even there, and seemed to have some fledglings down in the grasses. These fellas (at least 2 individuals by looking at their markings) sat within 2 yards of me, not a bit concerned.
Prophetstown State Park, Indiana
With the plethora of suitors hanging out in the woods this Spring, I am sure this sweet female had her pick of the lot and is now raising a family of little Redwing Blackbirds. Some of which will be sounding off in the top of the trees this time next year.
I am learning it is much harder than butterflies, funny enough. Mostly because they like to hide behind leaves and branches as they look you over (and scold). However, the thrill of seeing and identifying a new specie (new to me) gets in the blood.
One day I hope to be able to produce stunning photos, but half the fun is the learning and the sharing of the experience. The other half is in capturing that moment when I am eye to eye with nature, even if it is comes out fuzzy or not perfectly lit.