As summer and fall have been winding down, the prairies appear less vibrant but are no less full of life than they once were. Wintering birds, insects, and rodents hunker down in the thick insulation of the prairie plants. The trees paint the landscape with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows. Their colorful leaves coat the tree line, the under-story, and flow peacefully down Thompson Creek.
Most mornings a layer of morning frost dusts the landscape and glistens in the rising sun as if everything was coated in glitter.
The holiday soundtrack of the wildlands has shifted from summer tanagers, bob whites, and chirping insects to northern mockingbirds, cardinals, and rustling leaves. Although much of the growth associated with the prairies is over, there is still much to be studied and we intend to collect data throughout winter and document the phenological changes that occur within plant populations and species.
Game cameras also still running 24/7 and are monitored on a weekly basis as we collect data on the first and last sightings of our larger species such as mammals, rodents, and bird species. By documenting change overtime – no matter the weather, we can better recognize and understand environmental changes and species in our area.
– Brianna Bergamini, Southern 8ths Prairie Keeper