Monday, October 08, 2007

Sand prairies in fall

Sand prairies are really dynamic year round, but in the fall, they're truly spectacular places.

Splitbeard bluestem, the dominant grass in most sand prairies, sends out white, fluffy seedheads every October. Jointweed and partridge peas bloom once the cooler nights arrive. Dusky hognose snakes and scorpions bask on the warm sand. Turkeys and quail hide among the tall grasses.
After the colorful display is over, sand prairies are burned, removing all cover for wildlife on the open plain, sending every animal into the nearby stands of oaks and hickories on the savanna.
From my friend A.J.'s collection, southeast Missouri's sand prairies and a savanna during October.

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