Saturday, June 30, 2012

Nash Prairie

Halloween Pennant, Celithemis eponina, at Nash Prairie, June 2012

Nash Prairie Trip 06/24/2012
Imagine the Texas coastal landscape back in the time before Europeans arrived with plows and cattle.  That is the Nash Prairie Preserve today - a sparkling remnant of the Coastal Tallgrass Prairie that once swept from Corpus Christi, TX to Lafayette, LA.   This precious habitat is home to ancient, rare and previously-thought-to-be-extinct plants, along with their accompanying communities of insects and animals.  The Nash Prairie Preserve, managed by the Nature Conservancy, is an indispensable resource for seeds which are used in prairie restoration projects.

This was my first visit to the Nash Prairie. I was part of a seed-collecting team that departed from the Texas City Prairie Preserve.  On this hot June morning, the Rattlesnake Master, Eryngium yuccifolium was spectacular in full bloom; if the Nash Prairie were a giant cookie then the Rattlesnake Master was the white sugar coating the top!  What a marvelous sight.  Purple Liatris streaked throughout along with sprinkles of yellow Rosinweed.  Pimple Mounds, covered with yellow Coneflowers, stood out in brilliant relief.

Meadow Larks, Quail, Dicksisssels, and Red-winged Blackbirds sang while we gathered seeds of Prairie Parsley and Rosinweed.  Scores of the whimsically named Halloween Pennant Dragonflies skipped and gamboled over the tops of the grasses.  Butterflies, snails, and teal-green beetles – at every step there was another marvel and more to learn!
Rattlesnake Master blooming on Nash Prairie, June 2012

Snails in the Rattlesnake Master
Snail on Rattlesnake Master, Nash Prairie.
Empty Black Swallowtail Chrysalis on Rattlesnake Master

Rosinweed, Silphium

Coneflower, Rudbeckia texana, with Funereal Duskywing

Eastern Amberwing, Perithemis tenera

Gorgeous Golden-Headed Weevil, Compsus auricephalus, on Rattlesnake Master
Pretty Pink Inchworm on Rattlesnake Master

Nash Prairie, blooming Rattlesnake Master and Liatris, June 2012


newtune3 said...

Wow, What wonderful images and great commentary. Thanks for this insight into life before we tried to tame the land.

newtune3 said...

Sally, What a wonderful group of images and great commentary. I love hearing the history of this great area before mankind tried to tame the land.

Sally said...

Thank you, David!