I hope you'll forgive a post with no point other than to share a few photos.
Yesterday I drove to Chicago in search of an ant I'd not yet photographed for an Ants of North America project. The ant is the charismatic Dolichoderus mariae, a species that isn't actually all that rare but seems to magically elude me every time I go looking for it. Other entomologists have recorded D. mariae from the area, so I figured I had a good shot at finding some.
The Middlefork reserve hosts a beautiful landscape of tallgrass savanna and restored prairie. While the insect fauna I encountered was indeed plentiful and diverse, my precious Dolichoderus stayed frustratingly out of sight. I was ultimately unsuccessful.
Still, the trip wasn't a complete wash. Below are a few non-target photos from the afternoon: