Monday, August 24, 2009

Road Trip Necedah

Last week Michelle and I made a pretty big change. We decided to take my truck in and buy a new car. This is kind of a big deal because I have been driving trucks for twenty some years and not owned a car, other then Michelle's cars, since my first vehicle, but I decided it was time to do more to help the environment and my truck was only getting 15 MPG so it was time to trade it in for something a bit more fuel efficient.
So I bought myself a Honda Insight hybrid. For day to day I do not drive all that much, between 30 to 40 miles to work and back, but since I like to go out to photograph nature in a variety of different habitats I do put on a few miles doing road trips. So this weekend I took the new car on its first road trip to Necedah NWR in Wisconsin. Everything went perfect, the weather was nice, there was a good amount of wildlife to photograph, and the new car, pictured next to the Necedah sign above, worked great. The trip was 384.4 miles round trip and I used 9.1 gallons of gas, which means that I got over 42 MPG.
Since this is a nature blog and not a car blog I also took some pictures of wildlife while I was there. I was excited to see a pair of endangered whooping cranes out in the field in front of the observation tower, unfortunately they were too far away to get any good pics.
I did get some better pics of the red headed woodpeckers. They are quite common in Necedah. This is probably due to all of the dead wood that the staff leaves in the refuge. Red headed woodpeckers thrive in habitats where there is a lot of dead wood around. They use cracks and crevices in the dead wood to cache their food, this would include seeds, nuts, and even live insects.
Eastern kingbirds are also pretty common in Necedah. They can usually be found hunting for flying insects in the open fields.
Gray catbirds are usually more secretive. You are much more likely to hear one then you are to see one as they typically stay in shrubs or brush piles repeating their distinctive call.
Necedah is also a great place to photograph butterflies. It is one of the best places in the world to find the endangered Karner blue butterfly. The Karner is a sub species of the Melissa blue that is found mostly in the Great Lakes region. The Karner blue caterpillar is very particular and will only eat the lupine plant. As the amount of lupine decreases, due to habitat destruction and fire suppression, so does the population of the Karner blue. They have already disappeared from many areas where they used to be quite common.
Monarchs, on the other hand are quite common. They are probably the most recognized butterfly in the world. They really love blazing star, which are blooming all around Necedah at this time. They need a lot of nectar because they will begin migrating south soon.
Another butterfly that was partaking of nectar from the wildflowers of Necedah was the eastern tiger swallowtail. The eastern tiger swallowtail is common though out most of the eastern United States. It can be confused with the Canadian tiger swallowtail, which is a bit smaller then the eastern tiger swallowtail but other then that they pretty much look the same, in the northern states where their ranges cross over.

18 comments:

Michelle Johnson said...

Congrats on your car. It looks like a nice one and I'm sure your trip to Necedah broke it in nicely. Some really nice bird and butterfly pictures too. Have a great day.

John Mikes said...

I did the cash for clunkers thing. Traded in the van (rated at 15 mpg by the EPA, but got 12 mpg in real life) for a Chevy Equinox (27 overall, 32 highway). Felt bad about the van; I bought it new in 1991 and it was kinda like abandoning a good friend for a complete stranger.

Janie said...

The mileage on your new car is impressive! Beautiful photos of the birds and butterflies.

James said...

Nice pictures. I love the red headed woodpecker!

Postcards from Wildwood said...

Your wildlife photography is wonderful. I love the red headed woodpecker.
Janice.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

EB: Neat story and those were some great captures at the park. I bet you miss the truck.

Esther Garvi said...

Congratulations on such a major change in your daily life! Hope you like it! The photography that follows is lovely!

Denise said...

That must have been bittersweet saying goodbye to your truck but that's a great car and as always I loved all your wildlife photos. Thanks!

Arija said...

Good move with the car, for what you save on gas, you can go for extra trips and show us even more of your beautiful wildlife shots.
The roads we like to travel here call for a 4x4 since a lot is on dirt tracks or desert of beach sand. Hope you have roads your new car loves to zip about on.
Love your bird photos.

Sally in WA said...

Congrats on the new car. After our past weekend's jaunt, a car definitely could not have gone where our truck did. :-)

Great pics from the NWR. You always have some great ones.

Vicki ~ FL said...

Nice car but incredible bird/butterfly photos.....Have a good day!

Jedediah said...

Gorgeous photos, I like the woodpecker in particular. Congrats on the new car :)

Kilauea Poetry said...

The java finches over here have nearly the same markings..your photos are wonderful-

eileeninmd said...

Just stopping by and had to say... Great picture of the Redheaded Woodpecker. Congrats on your new car.

Nicole Vickers said...

Well, congrats on the new car. Going on a road trip like that is a nice way to break them in, so to speak. A casual drive to places like that for photos is a great way to spend a day or two.

Clint Moore said...

Wow! These shots just got me raving to go on a nature-themed road trip. My friends and I always take to the streets with our cars every weekend. We love going to places and exploring. And after seeing these photos, I might suggest that next week we’ll go “NatGeo”. LOL! But of course, you will need a powerful camera that has a great Macro shot like yours, coz yours are simply stunning!

Rita McCall said...

That’s the wonder of long road trips—you’ll end up discovering nature’s gift to us! Those photos you’ve captured are worthy of a frame and a spot on your home’s walls. That hybrid car is so hot! The electronic feature is a big help since it consumes electricity at the start. That saves you a lot of bucks from gas refills. I assume you didn’t have any problems at all on your trip, did you?

Ellsworth Mciltrot said...

These photos are stunning! Yep, taking road trips like this lets you explore nature even further. Wow, you did save a lot with your new car. You definitely made a good choice with switching to a new car. :)