On the way: Hwy 71 between Llano and Brady is particularly stunning right now.
At the beginning of June, Kirsti Harms, President of Native Prairies Association of Texas (NPAT) & Austin resident, took a quick trip to NPAT’s Maddin Prairie, a 1100 acre prairie in Mitchell County owned and managed by NPAT. This was her report dated June 8, 2014:
“One of our neighbors is interested in leasing
[Maddin Prairie] for short term grazing. I wanted to check out our fences. I’d like to discuss this option. It would help us fulfill our CRP terms for 2014–we need to burn, mow or graze.
[Note: CRP stands for Conservation Reserve Program. It’s a federal program that pays landowners to keep former cropland out of production, but it also requires some management practices. We need to burn, mow or graze some of our pastures this year. http://www.fsa.usda.gov/FSA/webapp?area=home&subject=copr&topic=crp
I thought it was supposed to be a sunny weekend in west Texas, but yesterday evening I noticed some dark looking clouds on the horizon.
By 4 a.m. the storm arrived with a second round at dawn. A weather radio or weather app would be very handy out there. It is so hard to get a reliable weather report for this area and these spring storms can get a bit scary. But I did get some really good sky shots and the temps were nice and cool…
Morning Sky at Maddin Prairie
Otherwise, they’ve recently had rain and it shows.Things are about as green as it gets out west. The creek is up a bit, but they’ll need a lot more rain to get it running again. Still lots of bird activity. Northern bobwhite quail were everywhere–running around wondering why I’m driving on their roads. Heard several scaled quail calling in the vicinity of the trailer.
I counted 30 prairie dogs when I approached the colony on foot. That’s the most I’ve been able to see at one time. They tend to run and hide when I get too close. A couple even stayed out and “barked” at me as I did a walk around the town.
On my way home, on Hwy 208 to San Angelo, a badger lumbered across the road! That’s my first badger sighting.”
NPAT’s Pat Merkord from Conroe plus Kirsti Harms and Phillip Quast from Austin make frequent trips to Maddin Prairie. Anyone wishing to visit this prairie or help maintain this prairie (especially Mitchell County residents or Texas Master Naturalists), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.