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*f,narune

Abundantwildlifeinhabits
the
oftheKatyPrairie
largeexpanse
I Birds, deer,
coyotes, beaver
and insects can
; be found there
By GARYCTARK
.. T I'UNDREDS of tlou-
* l-l sandsof geeseand
I Iducks gloriously
- decoratethe Katv Prairie
,'"during the winter, along
'' with large numbers of win-
. tering sparrows that dot
the fences and hedgerows.
. But I find the great
expanseof prairie west of
Houston is also a tfeasure NATUnALBEAUTY: andgayfeather
Gulffritillary blooms
; :trove of wildlife in August. area smalloartofthetreasure troveofnature
thatcanbe
On an early morning or foundontheKatyPrairie inthesummer.
late afternoon tour along
the back roads,a visitor is
'' likely to seedeer feeding
in the grasses,maybe a
beaver swimming quietly
in Cypress Creek, a coyote
gamboling acrossa field or
a bobcat patroling a ditch
for an unsuspecting rabbit.
Fields of flowers attract
an array of butterflies like
the gorgeousgulf fritillary
that's spangledbright or-
ange. I watch the fields for
butterflies like the South-
ern dogfacethat has the
shadowyprofile ofa dog's
head on the inner wing,
Then there's the sleepy
orange, a bright yellow and VARIETY: Common sreen
orange butterfly that zig- darnerdraeonflies
anda
zagsover the fields like the treasure
trdveofwildlifecan
'proverbial drunken sailor. befoundontheKatyPrairie
-
At ady small pond throughouttheyear. The Katy Prairie is a
or oool of water on the major thoroughfare for
T.PRATRTE
FnETs-
, The Katy prairie is bound as common green darners, brings in shorebirds such I
bv the B"razosniver oi---- eastern pondha"wks,blue as greater and lesser yel_
the southwest. oine clasnersano Halloween lowlegs, long_billed dow_
pennants. I also keep an itchers and.least sandpip_
f"r"ii, ii. iri.if, u"a
., rhe citv ""of Houston
the city Ftot'sr.r,lon
6l" ,he eye out for the
Lflesltsnr-
slight_bod_
oocl- ers to reed in the pfalne's
feed 11l prairie^,s
the :]r'-"""
leo -'
, and-neafly undetectable shallow pools. Songbirds
"""t- damselflies such as a blue_ such as scissor_tail;d flv_
r size32oo,0oo tippeddancer,
familiarbLu- .it"ir"i. irt", ,"*iJ!,iii l
acres. includingsome et and Rambur's forktail. mersonthe priirie beEin I
development I watch for the water- gathering on power lin"esin
birds, scoresofthem even inticipation of^migratingto
r History: Once a vast rn ratesummer,inctud_
;;i_;;;":;;i;;^:;.-". winter homesfrom south-
:::._:';-j,. H:*I-^XI _ ing wood ducks,mottled ern Mexico to panafla.
T?:""il:il ,?lr^?r", ducks,pied-billidgrebes arirrougr,
::l:_--,1'_"lYil11Y , andheronsard egrets urbanization ""cio""r,ing
is pavingoier
3:.9.T:;J::5"0s. galore.songbirdiarealso tt tr6".i"fa"-
vu, |,4,,Lrre dr ru olentiful - the handsome "'ranO-ittrand shop-ping
velopments
l:,t:l|iY.**"_tf^ Easternmeadowtarks,
red- centlrs.the raty erii?ie-
;;;,:;l t#l::l'^.:,:"- headedwoodpeckers
and Conservancy is workinsto
**f;I#:|;'f,iiri"d,.up_
5.,7iiJrd'.:'i;'fti5::" ;?:i"#::H:l*;";:$:
tors such ai rid-shoutOer6O inlaien can see
r Benefit3 The Drairie whar I
acts as sponge to hawks, S-wainson'shawks have seen.
SOakUp rainwater and anc mayDean uncommon
preveni downstream white-tailed hawk. Other To contact Lone Star
flooding. aerial birds will be-purple College uice president Cary
, marttns, most getting Clarh or photographer
,!_llll_1Tl-111", *** readyto congregate
in targe KathJ)
Aaamsata;k,
,Katypralrle.org roosts before migrating to uisit their websie qt www"
- . .'
South America. texasbirder.net.

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