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.