What a valuable resource for a research biologist!!
You made my day.
That's exactly why I'm trying to find everything, identify it, photograph it, etc. I may not have made it as a research biologist myself, but at least I can contribute something to the knowledge base.
I just finished reading 'Chameleons' in ARC format, I liked it a lot. (I work in a sf/f bookstore, so we get tons of ARCs.) Are you going to write more about Glia's chameleons in future? (I don't want to give any spoilers.)
Thank you for writing nice stuff.
I'm not sure. First I have to finish the books I'm working on. I discovered (fighting to get that story and another done last year) that these books do not want to be interrupted by something outside their universe, so I promised agent and editor that I would not commit to any short fiction for the duration.
Oh, and thank you. I'm delighted you liked it!
Me too. :) I'm looking forward to your new Paks-world books. I found the humods interesting, though, it would be nice to read more about them in a few years...
I linked to this on my blog too.
I've got a 2-acre yard that's managed for mutual human/wildlife enjoyment. It includes a prairie garden/butterfly meadow that we mow only occasionally to keep the thatch down. We have mucho wildlife.
Sounds lovely. Are you keeping a species list?
Not with photos and all, but I have sometimes listed things seen in the yard -- usually by type, so a list of birds, or mammals, or butterflies, etc. There must be dozens of grasses alone, and I'm probably not good enough to identify all of them precisely.
Grasses are hard. I'm not that good at them. We have books on grasses, but pictures of grasses, either drawn or photographed, don't always solve the problem. Depending on where you are, a county agent might be able to help with that. We have a few 'gems'--old natives, survived years of abusive management, and not the commonest of the natives. But we have way too much of the non-natives someone thought would improve the place: King Ranch bluestem and silky bluestem. The latter is a beautiful grass, in the aesthetic sense, esp. when blooming and seeding, but it's not native.
We have some lawn grasses that struggle to survive. But a lot of what we have is assorted prairie type grasses, with coarser leaves and taller habits. The butterfly meadow, if unmowed, has grasses that reach my shoulders or a little more, so approaching 5 feet at the seed heads.
You have at least midgrasses like Little Bluestem. Depending on your location/soil/climate/rainfall this year, Little Blue can be knee-to-hip high when seeding, or 4-5 feet. The true tallgrasses, like Big Bluestem, Switchgrass, and Indiangrass, if in the right soil with enough rain, are easily four-five feet of leaf (or more in some cases) with seedheads to 6-8 feet. You might have the tallgrasses if a) you're mowing at a season that keeps them down, or b) your rainfall is low enough that they're a little stunted.
Typical midgrass heights range from knee to mid-thigh, with seedheads to shoulder (and higher in a wet year.) Shortgrass prairie stays shorter (under knee-high usually) without mowing. Our shortgrasses include buffalograss, Texas grama, red grama, curly mesquite, purple three-awn, and something I'm forgetting...but basically, ankle-high at most, though the three-awn's awns would, if upright, stand taller. Our midgrasses include white tridens, Canada and Virginia wild rye, sideoats grama, fall witchgrass, silver bluestem, brownseed paspalum, and a bunch more. Little blue is considered one of the dominants of the prairie--both in tellgrass and mid-grass regions, because it can fill in and adapt to a wide range of soil moisture. It acts like a tallgrass if it's wet enough, and like a midgrass if it's not. Our tallgrass includes Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), big bluestem (Andropogaon gerardii), eastern gama, Lindheimer muhly, and the little bluestem(mid/tall). Tallgrass is at the margin of its range on our depleted soil, so the height varies a lot year to year.
Little bluestem can go that high in some climates/rainfall amounts. Depends on your rainfall and soil.
In a wet year, we've had Indiangrass and switch grass taller than I am (over five feet) with little blue's seed heads up to my shoulder; in the drought last year, little blue's seedheads barely reached my waist and big blue was barely shoulder-high.
I find the main prairie grass dominants much easier to ID than the "fill-in" grasses...and if you're on a transition zone (as we are--we have some tallgrass species, some midgrass species, and some shortgrass--with soil types varying all over the place) you have way more grasses to worry with. Do you have Maximilian sunflower in with your butterfly garden? Liatris? Frostweed? I've seen monarchs on all three of those in the fall.
We have Maximillian sunflowers, but not in the butterfly garden, they sprouted near one of the raspberry patches and made a swaying mass of yellow flowers for a couple weeks. I'm hoping to get them established in the butterfly garden. I'm not sure about liatris and haven't heard of frostweed. We have lots of thistle and burdock, plus milkweed, which butterflies love. We have red, yellow, and white clover. Lots of goldenrod and various other weeds. I planted some wildflowers, a few of which have bloomed; I'm hoping to get more next year.
I've posted some butterfly garden pictures in my LJ and some over on "Gaiatribe: Ideas for a Thinking Planet," both filed under Photography tags.
Ooo, pretty! Gayfeather grows in this area -- I've seen it along roadsides -- but I don't think there's any in our yard.
Here is a link to Gaiatribe's photography tag page:http://gaiatribe.geekuniversalis.com/tag/photography/
"The Cloud Garden Begins" and "Prairie Grasses" are all about the butterfly meadow going to seed. "See My Wildflowers" has pictures from other parts of the yard.
Those are lovely photos. I haven't been able to get outside and shoot this week, due to weather and writing deadlines. Eh, maybe tomorrow.
Today was the first day with some time free for me--and it wasn't really free, but I realized I could not finish "everything" by the time I leave on the trip, and the day was too beautiful (after several days of clouds and light rain) to ignore.
Tomorrow I might even get a shot of switchgrass to add to the others. I stopped by a patch of late-flowering thoroughwort and found several species of small butterflies--two different hairstreaks and one or two skippers. And it smelled good, which I don't remember from last year. I'll post the butterfly pictures sometime this weekend--need to check out the gayfeather for butterflies, too.