Recent sightings
pronghorn fawn

The pronghorn fawns were born in June and are now large enough and strong enough to travel with mom and the rest of the nursery herds. The fawns are about a quarter to a third the size of mom and feed right alongside of her. Some of the nursery herds do have a buck with them, probably the sire of the fawns.

The bucks have been spotted in bachelor herds of as many as eleven. They will remain in these herds until September when they will start jostling for does as the mating season approaches.

On several of the wagon rides at Hops for Habitat, we were entertained by a dozen common nighthawks. They were hawking insects at twenty to a hundred feet above the prairie. They announced themselves with the peent call them make while hunting.

Once you hear them, nighthawks are easy to spot, often against a cloudy sky, by their erratic and bounding flight. The males also do a very distinctive display dive. They climb above the rest of the flock and then dive, almost straight down, pulling out just above the ground. The pullout is so severe that air rushing through the feathers on their wings gives an almost mechanical whooshing sound.

Nighthawks nest on the ground. They do not build nests but lay their eggs directly on the ground.

prairie late summer

The prairie has taken on the colors and vegitation of late summer. The grasses are still green because of all the rain we've had, but they have pushed up their seed stalks. Viewed from above, the grasses are green, but a view across the prairie, particularly when the sun is low in the sky, shows the straw color we associate with the prairie. We are seeing the seed stalks that rise above the lower bunch grasses.

The predominant flowers now are composites, daisies, sunflowers, and asters. Mullein is also starting to bloom with its multiflowered stalks showing yellow, starting from the top.

The sage is flowering with its silver-gray flower stalks. Prickly poppy, Rocky Mountain bee plant, and some fading Indian paintbrush either rise above the tall grasses or show their colors through them.


A peregrine falcon was seen briefly in the riparian area as it swooped through from a fast pass just above the grass. It climbed over the cottonwoods and then flew east, circling several times to show off its discinctive shape and plumage.

These falcons were once called duck hawks because of their skill in knocking down ducks in flight. Experts seem to disagree about how fast the peregrine can dive, but it has been clocked at over 180 mph. It often strikes its prey from a steep, almost vertical dive, either breaking the prey's neck or knocking it to the ground senseless.

These birds are expert fliers and we see them occasionally, along with prairie falcons, around the riparian area.

peregrine falcon
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