It was a cooler day out in the meadow. The breeze would bend the heads of the grasses down but they would always resume their full upright attention. Clouds were blocking the sun making the temperate stay in the upper 60s. Wild bergamot is still in blossom but has begun to lose the life that it use to have. A woodchuck hole devoured my foot as I stepped into the grass covered field but I continued on to the edge of the meadow collecting my thoughts and adjusting my senses to the natural world.
On the way out to my meadow, I had an encounter with a flock of poults and the two parents trying to gather up their children. Three of the poults were cut off while I was walking, so the mother came back to get her children. I was afraid that the she was going to attack but she walked back and kept an eye on where I was. Soon the poults took off and flew into the trees, so I left them alone and thanking God for the new interaction that I had.
Yellow (Orange)-Collared Scape Moth (Cisseps fulvicollis)
While most moths are seen at night, drawn to the lights of porches, the scape moth can been seen during the day flying between flowering plants collecting their nectar. They are taking a risk flying during the day but predators are turned away because of their warning orange color, that make predators afraid of a potential toxicity.
It is no surprise seeing the moth here where their favorite plants of goldenrod and milkweed are abundant as well as their young love to feed on the grasses that are dominant in the meadow. The moth is black bodied and a black head but it has an orange (or yellow) neck. It is a common moth ranging over the Midwest and most of the U.S.
Arthropod Museum, Dept. of Entomology, University of Arkansas. (n.d.). Arthropod Museum, Dept. of Entomology, University of Arkansas. Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://www.uark.edu/ua/arthmuse/scape.html
Considered to be an invasive species to some, this grass is very common in old fields and ditches. It is a favorite to livestock that feed on it for its high protein content, maybe that is the reason it is found in this meadow, that may have had held livestock. But, it has taken over in many areas where other valued grasses are sought after.
The meadow is a great place for the Brome because it is in a cooler climate and able to live in different moisture levels. Smooth Brome was raised for grazing purposes, spreading outside of the field into exposed areas. While it can offer a lot of protection and potential food source, it has started to invade into other areas.
Bush, T. (2002, February 1). Plant Fact Sheet for Smooth Brome. . Retrieved July 24, 2014, from http://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_brin2.pdf
Crescentspots (Family Nymphalidae, Genus Phyciodes)
Most likely the butterfly that I spotted was the Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) because of its normal range but, it is very difficult in telling them apart. Adults feed on any type of nectar they can find but prefer asters and swamp milkweed. The young will feed on leafs of the true asters. This butterfly love my meadow because of the open field. They live almost anywhere in the U.S. even going into Canada. I found him flying in the middle of the meadow gathering nectar and enjoying the nice day.
Attributes of Phyciodes tharos. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Phyciodes-tharos
Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
I have to admit, I did not see them directly in the meadow but I saw them on my way to my spot and it would not be uncommon to see them in my meadow. My meadow also provides a lot of what the turkeys are looking for. They love open woodlands, that is what the meadow is turning into, as well as plenty of food of bugs and berries. Turkeys are one of the only domesticated native birds in the States. I thought the poults were following a female and a male but two females formed a group of their poults. Turkeys do fly! The young turkeys flew into the tree to hide from me but they will also roost in trees at night. The male court by gobbling and fan out his tail. After breeding, the male turkeys will from all-male flocks. They are important within the food system hunted by eagles, owls, large cats and they also make a great Thanksgiving Feast.
Wild Turkey. (n.d.). , Identification, All About Birds. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/wild_turkey/
The poult followed its parents’ tail
But I got to close, so it began to wail
I’ve never had turkey
That was made into jerky
But they had escaped down the trail
Question of the week?
The only way that I have been distinguishing a meadow and a prairie apart from themselves is that prairies have been maintained by fire while meadows continue through successions. The meadow is already showing the change between grasses and forbs to a forest. JR’s meadow is already well on its way to the forest that surrounds it with the woody bushes and trees in the middle of the meadow. Soon the field will be taking over by back-raspberry vines that love the sunlight with other shade-intolerant species (Oaks) that will start too dominant the canopy. More shrubs will grow as well as more tree saplings such as sassafras, till they are the dominant species. It will continue to change till the shade-tolerant species see their opportunity and take it. Animals will transport more and more seeds into the meadow and species A will be replaced by species B that is adapted to that situation, soon bringing it to the maple, hickory forest that is a sign of an old growth forest.Plant Succession. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://www.bethelcollege.edu/users/berkebj/Marian/plant%20succession%20lecture.pdf
Succession. (2013, October 14). Succession. Retrieved July 23, 2014, from http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/succession.htm