Ida brought us a tiny bit of cooler weather, well relatively. So it was an opportunity to go to the grasslands. Hence, that is what we did early yesterday morning. Not to say, I did not get hot because by the end of the four hour outing my cheeks were flushed red.

As it gets later in the year, our start time gets later too. We now meet at 7:30am.

While I waited for my prairie explorer to join me, I found these eggs. They were about 1 mm across. At first glance, I thought it was a caterpillar.

On closer examination, it was plain to see they were eggs. I have seen them before on Eastern Red Cedar and they are of the Encyrtidae (Encyrtid Wasps).

First thing we looked at was the Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) flowers! Just gorgeous!

Purpletop grass (Tridens flavus) is a little more subtle with its dark flowers. Purpletop is having an excellent year.

The Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are not back yet for the winter, but they certainly have visited this tree in the past as evident from all the horizonal holes in the trunk. My calendar does not show them arriving until third week in October.

This was a happy find! And it was caught in the act of frassing. Nothing is private LOL. It is the Virginia Creeper Sphinx (Darapsa myron).

It is my new pet! And as its name implies, its host plant is Virginia Creeper but also Peppervine (Ampelopsis spp.)and grapes. By the markings, it looks to be in the third instar. BugGuide shows that the caterpillar’s color range from this green to orange to pinkish to brownish!

No not a mushroom! It is not uncommon to find golf balls on the grasslands.

As we headed down into the ravine/creek/ditch, this Purple Cliff-brake fern was left elevated up on this clump of dirt.

Here this shelf fungus seemed to be embedded in the soil. I assume that there must have been dead wood under the dirt because it is the normal place to find this kind of fungus.

Our first bolete of the day!

It sports beautiful yellow pores!

It stained blue which is always fascinating to see!

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


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