Thirteen years ago for a blue grama BPotD entry I wrote: “I wanted more of the spikes set against the sky”. I didn’t remember that wish when I photographed this a few weeks ago, I was just attracted to the curled spike against the smoke-hazed sunset sky (due to the fires in British Columbia).
This image was taken in what surely must be one of Manitoba’s smallest provincial parks, Seton Provincial Park. It measures little more than 200m x 50m (0.1 hectares or .25 acres), with most of it dedicated to a rest stop and a plaque. The plaque honours naturalist, writer, and wildlife artist Ernest Thompson Seton. He spent several years observing nature in the region’s sand hills, including what would later become Spruce Woods Provincial Park.
As I noted in the previous entry, blue grama is native to much of North America. At one time, it was red-listed (almost equivalent to endangered) in British Columbia, but it has since been moved to the stable and common yellow-listed. In the instances where a species has a upward (positive) trend in its listed status, it is often due to undercollecting and hence insufficient data for the initial assessment. If this year’s record-setting fires in the province (beating last year’s record-setting fires) are an indication of expanding grasslands, it is likely that Bouteloua gracilis will become yet more common; fire seemingly favours the species, “generally increasing its occurrence, production, and percent cover”.