Troutbirder II

Troutbirder II
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where The Sky Began - Land of the Tall Grass Prairie

When Mr. Science (Gary Erickson of Nature Notes) (    http://fillmorenature.blogspot.com/)  recommends a book  to me I take it seriously.  He has enhanced my interest in several subjects including birding and native wildflowers.  The book was where the sky began – land of the tall grass prairie by John Madson. 

 

The tall grass prairie is probably  the least appreciated of North America's original landscapes.  Unlike its western neighbors, the mixed and shortgrass prairies, almost all tall grass prairie has been plowed over. What people see now in its place is millions of acres of corn and soybeans. In the upper Midwest, where I live, there are only a few tiny corners preserved and protected and some odd corners in old cemeteries and abandoned railroads right of way.

 Where the Sky Began vividly portrays the original landscape. Characterized by plain but impressive grasses, beautiful forbs, rich wildlife, and immense continental climate, the tall grass prairie possesses striking aspects that  are splendidly described by Madson. In addition to the land itself, Madson includes people, but only the European settlers, in his account. 

The interest that Madsons book and others  like it have sparked has led to a revival of prairie restoration. I see it in State Parks and Wildlife Management areas and on private landholdings like Mr. Sciences 2 acres of restoration. To see what your missing take a look at some random prairie pictures I taken over the years and then download the book on your Kindle or Nook.
Prairie photography and a cornfield
Mrs. T. and prairie smoke a native wildflower
Troutbirder pointing north with the aid of a Compass Plant
 
Birding on Hayden Prairie 300 acres of virgin prairie in northeastern Iowa.
 
Lots of flat land between here and the Rocky Mountains...
Baron and a patch of native "shooting stars."
A butterfly stops to check out a purple coneflower.
Native Purple Clover
Pucoon
 
And the Monarchs favorite plant The Butterfly Weed
Turks Cap Lilies
 
And tying it all together that most magnificent of tall grasses the Big Bluestem 
 

28 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the beautiful flowers.

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  2. Beautiful photos of the prairie area... I love walking in big, open fields like that when all of the wildflowers are in bloom.... That is Special!!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  3. Fabulous wild flowers. Isn't nature wonderful?

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  4. Gorgeous--and so vital to wildlife. Isn't it funny how man always feels a field of crops is better. Though we need food, we also greatly need these wild spaces. I consider them Mother Nature's bandages!

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  5. All those wildflowers - fantastic!!
    xo Catherine

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  6. The photos are marvelous, thank you for documenting the prairie lands for us. I think I would like to read this book. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  7. Wonderful post! We saw a special on PBS a long time ago about the "Tall Grass Prairie." Beautiful flowers too!

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  8. I agree about the prairies being the most under-appreciated of our landscapes. I enjoyed this post from an Earth Day sense - and I'm interested in reading that book!

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  9. Nice shots, have had some good times at Hayden. I started reclamation and restoration over two decades ago.

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  10. Beautiful photos. Certainly hope the restoration spreads.

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  11. Great photographs of the prairie. Love all the wildflowers.

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  12. The photographs of the flowers inspired me to get out there on the plains and do a bit of walking and shooting of the landscape. The book sounds really interesting.

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  13. I have never seen a tall grass prairie but would love to. Imagine the wild life it supports.
    I do love the butterfly weed but have yet to successfully grow it. It seem to prefer random ditches to my TLC.

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  14. "Splendor in the grass" indeed!

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  15. What a great post! Mr. Shady has this book and reads it every once-in-awhile! :-)

    Your header photo is also wonderful!!

    Happy Spring!!

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  16. We took a little tour through a prairie area in Winnipeg more than a decade ago. I wouldn't mind experiencing more of this ecosystem.

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  17. Some of these flowers grow in the fields around me too but, on the whole, agriculture has seen off a lot of nature’s bounty.

    There are efforts to reinstate some of it, but we are sheep country and sheep eat your land bare.

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  18. Just beautiful! I can't envision so much open space. Thanks for the book recommendation.

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  19. I love the tallgrass prairie - and am working slowly to restore 5 acres on our little homestead. I've heard of Madsden's book, but not read it before. I'd say I need to move it up on the pile "to be read"!

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  20. I enjoy what little patches of Tall Grass Prairie we have left up here. I enjoyed all your photos ! :)

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  21. I live in Tall Grass Prairie Country, too, and one of my favorite places to walk is a trail around a small prairie restoration area near here. Such a beautiful place! This sounds like a great book and one I would definitely enjoy. But if it has photos, I might just get the book itself rather than download the digital version.

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  22. These reminded me of little house on the prairie. Now I want to watch those again. My husband will no doubt thank you. :)

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  23. Beautiful shots of the native grasses and wildflowers. It's a shame that more lands are not devoted to natural landscapes.

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  24. The tall grass prairie is so different from where I live but I'd love to experience it. Lovely.

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  25. I will have to read this book. When I moved into my previous home in KY I let the surrounding acres of earth return to its natural habitat after being used for many years as pasture land. It was a wonderful experience to see mother nature take over the land again (without interference from me) -- returning to a natural place for both wildlife and wild plants. I have a difficult time understanding spraying lawns for "weeds" and mowing large sections of a home parcel instead of encouraging the beauty of the natural wild land. -- FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK

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  26. That is a great post, so true unless someone spotlights the beauty of wild places, folks might miss the many little ways they are significant.

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