Monday, October 27, 2014

Red Hills Reds

A panoramic of the beauty seen on top of Belvidere Hill overlooking this small hamlet and the Medicine River valley in Kiowa County.

The Red Hills are awash in beautiful colors this fall, especially the red hues.  How fitting too!  With a raucous appreciation for rains of summer, the grasses and wildflowers responded in glorious growth and display.  The tans of side-oats and reddish-orange blades of bluestems contrast on the prairie canvas like a great artist painting a mosaic masterpiece.  

Prairie and some Gyp Hills in the Red Hills region--from Red Rock Road looking west.

The crimson of smooth sumac sets off the green of cedars and the splash of yellow cottonwood leaves.

Crimson leaves of sumac accent a beautiful morning sky in the Red Hills.
The old red barn adds even more red to a very rosey landscape.  Brought to you totally by evening sunset.
Even the milo fields shout red with an evening sun.  These are actual colors--not a bit of monkeying with any hues or saturation.  Deluxe eye candy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Magical Monarchs

     The magic of fall has arrived in the Red Hills--a fabulous Monarch butterfly migration. The late summer final generational hatch of Monarchs are the ones which make as long as a 3,000 mile journey to overwintering sites in Oyamel fir forests in a very small area of mountain tops in central Mexico.  Come next spring, they will start returning northward.  They produce several generations on their way north with each new hatch going through metamorphosis from egg to larvae to adult and continuing to summer destinations throughout the mid-west and into Canada.  Populations are on an alarming downward trend with affects from GMO crops, pesticides and destruction of some of their over-wintering grounds in Mexico.  How sad would it be to someday realize there might no longer be such a fascinating and beautiful butterfly migration?   
A male Monarch rests with a friend on a catalpa leaf.  (The slightly enlarged spots on the interior rear veins on the hind wings say this is a male.)  They have a long journey in front of them.

Lisa and people throughout the southern plains get to enjoy the fascinating and beautiful fall Monarch migrations.
Hundreds and perhaps thousands of Monarchs spent a night at this roost site in a grove of catalpas in the Red Hills recently.

This map from Monarch Watch shows how far Monarchs migrate.  Discover a lot more fascinating information about Monarchs by googling Monarch Watch.