Entries to Win Afghan

Sign up to receive the Books Leaving Footprints Newsletter. Comes out occasionally. No spam. No list swapping. Just email me! jhyshark@gmail.com Previous gifts include a short story, a poem, and coupons. Add your name, and don't miss out!

Monday, July 25, 2022

Sheyenne National Grassland 2 - Day 237

  Today, I was in the eastern part of the Sheyenne National Grassland. What do you immediately notice is different?
Sheyenne National Grassland

Hills! You did notice that, right? And here's the next quiz. What else seems different?
Sheyenne National Grassland

Trees! There are a lot more trees in the eastern half. You may ask why. Did you ever think about the Dust Bowl? Where did all that dirt that blew around go? I had been told that the eastern Sheyenne was flat like the western section until the Dust Bowl. All those sand hills were created by blowing dirt. This is called aeolian formation. We met a man in 2002 who said he remembered when they were formed. Amazing! John the soil scientist confirmed this bit of trivia yesterday. So all of this landscape was created since the 1930s. It's hard to get your head around the idea that something that looks so permanent has been in place under 100 years.

The trees are primarily cottonwood, burr oak, quaking aspen, and smooth sumac.

And now for some other fun stuff for the day. Almost the first thing this morning, I was dive bombed by a common nighthawk. I've never had this happen before (and there were a lot of nighthawks where I spent the summer of 1993), but the males do indeed do this. Just as they reach the bottom of the dive the wind in their wingtips creates a loud sound that is described sometimes as buzzing, sometimes as booming. I can tell you it was strange! It was a very mechanical sound. He did it twice. Crummy picture, but enough for the ID.
common nighthawk

In other strange and fantastic sights, here is a blue wasp. I never even knew they existed. But there is a genus with 49 species. They are a type of mud dauber wasp. Very pretty, but I'll keep my distance. They catch spiders and wrap them in coccoon-like cells with their eggs. I suppose I don't have to worry about that fate.
blue wasp

This was nothing new, but I got some nice pictures. Red squirrel with a sumac fruit- so busy eating it let me stand there and take several pictures.
red squirrel

Later in the day, I crossed the only waterway in the Grasslands, Iron Spring Creek. The bridge was welcome. There was not one when I was here before.
Iron Spring Creek bridge

Miles today: 13.3. Total miles so far: 2863.9

See Sheyenne National Grassland 1


Ann said...

I think I would have been a little freaked out by a nighthawk dive bombing me.

The Oceanside Animals said...

Lulu: "Squirrel!!!"