This past week I went back to the Zumwalt to assist with more field work. I accompanied Katie for her last days of field work, in which we collected more bees with the hand nets. This week, however, proved to be a little more difficult than the first as much of the prairie had begun to turn brown. We also faced the challenge of high winds, storms, and grazing cattle at some of the sites. All these factors resulted in less bees, or at least less than favorable catching conditions. Regardless, it was still nice to be out in the field and take note of how the prairie was transitioning out of late spring to high summer.
The pre-established sites on the Zumwalt range from Old Prairie (cultivated at some point) or Native Prairie, and Graze (cattle approved), Burn, Both, and Control. During my first week back in June I noticed little difference in the amount of bees present from site to site, but this past week the differences were stark. For instance, in regards to bees present, I noticed the most difficultly on recently grazed sites. At first I thought this might be from the recently disturbed soil, but Katie stated that the soil compaction actually seems to have little effect on the ground nesting bees, so perhaps the flowers the bees favor are now absent. Many of the invasive annual grasses, like ventenata, where also becoming easier to see.
Our last site for the week proved to be the most fruitful though, we collected all the required specimens and then some in less time than it took to collect even a quarter of the amount at prior sites. Since this week was fairly similar to my first week on the prairie, I’ve decided to include a couple examples of the different forbs we frequently see on the Zumwalt. It’s been interesting to see the colors on Zumwalt shift from purple lupin and yellow cinquefoil to mostly white yarrow and pink fairy in such a short amount of time. I will continue to showcase a few each week, and will keep it simple by including the scientific name, family, common name and photograph. This next week I will be back in Hermiston pinning many more bees and assisting with data sheets. And, as an added bonus I added two beautiful insects that Jame’s found while hand netting.