Saturday, March 14, 2009

Exploring Iowa

We decided to check out a nice patch of native sand prairie near Aubrey’s house in Butler County, IA. The site is about 90 acres in size and managed by The Nature Conservancy. The temps were in the high 30’s when we visited and the wetlands were still frozen but the site of native vegetation and continuity of upland and wetland habitats were a nice site compared to most of the managed Iowa countryside I’ve seen. I expected to find a few sparrows and other avian fauna but I only heard the familiar chatter of red-winged blackbirds in the distance. The few notable finds were a few carcasses of birds and an abundance of pushed up mounds from fossorial mammals (pocket gophers or ground squirrels?) in the more upland portion. I hope to return in the future when things are in full swing and examine the native grasses and wildflowers and search for creepy crawlies such as bullsnakes and eastern hognose snakes.

- Matt