As many of you know, I make treks to our western prairie preserve on a regular basis. Last week, I drove to Maddin for a quick overnight trip. The timing was pretty good. The weather was mild and sunny for both days, albeit windy (but that’s a prairie thing). I remembered the frigid field trip from last April. I think some of the Dallas visitors drove through ice to get there…
Thanks to the fall and winter rains, the wildflower display was about as amazing as I’ve ever seen. Also a change from last spring, which was very dry. There were fields of yellow all over the preserve—mostly Gordon’s bladderpod, Huisache daisy and tansy mustard. Mustard madness at Maddin! (For you road trippers, the bluebonnets are pretty spectacular from Austin along TX 71 through Llano to Brady right now. There were even some big patches around Robert Lee.)
The summer birds are starting to return as well. The Cassin’s sparrows were singing almost nonstop. I saw first-of-season scissor-tailed flycatchers, ash-throated flycatchers, a Swainson’s hawk, and at least two burrowing owls at the prairie dog town.
Wildflowers aside, I did spend some time fixing plumbing and hauling water to the wildlife trough and little pond. Keeping the water working seems to be an ongoing project. But providing wildlife water is one of our goals.
The next open preserve days will be around the weekend of May 18-19, when we conduct our breeding bird survey. We’ll also be treating mesquite around that time, if anyone is interested in tackling that project, talk to me! -Kirsti