Sunday, November 18, 2012
The bottom part of the nest had fallen off and was on the ground beneath it. Not unusual, since woodpeckers, Chickadees, and other hungry animals rip holes in the nest to eat the wasp larvae and pupae that remain after the adult wasps die from cold and lack of flower nectar food.
But this piece of nest was different. In the middle of what had been the bottom of the nest was a pile of Flying Squirrel droppings, a few sprigs of moss, and Flying Squirrel hair.
Notice the droppings to lower left, hair to lower right, and moss at top.
Monday, October 29, 2012
This Nursery Web Spider, I think Dolomedes tenebrosus, has a leg span of about 3 inches, and moves faster than most of the nature center staff are comfortable with.
This is a female, and with little left to eat outside, and cold weather coming, will be lucky to find a warm place to stay with food to eat.
I photographed her on a wild sunflower seed head.
Look at the close up of the eyes in the pictures below.
Nursery Web Spiders have very good eyesight, and chase their prey down. Many can also run across water.
But they do have a serious problem with eyelashes, as can be seen in the picture below. But maybe I just found her on a bad hair day.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Her band was very worn and thin as can be seen in this picture and the picture below. A new band is next to her band below.
We have captured her 25 times in the last 14 years. Let's hope we catch her for a few more years and set a record for the oldest Hairy Woodpecker ever recorded.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Bull Snakes are Minnesota's largest native snake, and used to be common around Springbrook. Development has made most disappear, but this one was healthy and large at 60 inches long.
Bull Snakes are often called Gopher Snakes because of their habit of eating pocket gophers. Their nose is more pointed than most snakes to help push into gopher mounds and then down into their tunnels.
They are excellant at rodent control, so I hope this one can find a good place to overwinter, and then finds Springbrook to be a good home.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
In the pictures below there is the pale blue Prairie Aster before and immediately after the rising sun touched it. The second picture is what I call dew-frost. Not quite totally thawed but no longer all frost either.
The other two pictures are the tiny hairs on a grass seed head with delicate crystals of frost, and last the heavy edge frost crystals on an aspen leaf. Fall is here!
Monday, September 3, 2012
The two young ones are in front here with the larger mother behind.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
The jewelweed at sunrise is covered with jewel-like dew drops, until the yellow jacket wasp sneaks in and eats the night's nector, knocking off the dew drops as she leaves. She can just be seen here at the bottom of the flower.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
With wings folded, the male and female look identical, as can be seen with this mating pair. I took this picture last fall in Springbrook's west prairie.
This is the female to the left. I took this picture shortly after sunrise two days ago in the south prairie. It is rare to see them with their wings open like this. She was trying to warm up and had her wings facing directly at the sun. The females are supposed to be drab, but her colors seemed quite vivid to me.
These tiny but pretty butterflies are almost always around on any hike at Springbrook during the summer. But you have to be looking for them, or they will flash past you and into the tree tops unseen.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
I think the flower looks like something Georgia O'Keeffe would have painted.
As I took the picture of the bumblebee leaving the flower below, I was surprised later to notice the green tree frog in the upper right of the picture. I didn't see it when I was there!
Monday, August 6, 2012
I took these pictures this morning from Springbrook's long floating boardwalk. There were at least 25 of these herons hunting, preening, or noticing that a spot another heron had looked better, so let's fly over and check it out.
In the picture below all the primary and secondary wing feathers can be seen and counted as the heron comes in for a landing. All the new feathers have molted in and it is ready to migrate.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
There is some debate over what "it" is. Some feel it is normal molting, some think a skin mite, and others think a feather mite.
All I know for sure is that she can't get much more pathetic looking. And her ears are very noticable, the opening below and behind her eye. She should have her feathers back in a few weeks and look more like her old self in the picture to the left here.
Monday, July 2, 2012
Down below is a Blue Dasher sitting in the "obelisk" position. Some dragonflies point their abdoman directly at the sun to reduce their exposure and potential over-heating.
shadow means less exposure to the sun.
Dragonflies all hold their wings out flat all the time, while damselflies bring their wings together over their backs when at rest.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
The color changes in the wings, legs, eyes, jaws, head and thorax. The wings especially will grow enormously after it emerges, as can be seen in the pictures below.
Even at this point the pupae was very active and trying to bite with its jaws. It was difficult to get it to sit still long enough for the pictures.
The day after I took this picture someone brought a male into the nature center. Its photo is below. The big difference between the males and females is very obvious. The pincers on the male are huge, and he can use them effectively, drawing blood from a finger that is not protected when positioning him for a photo shoot!
I think they look like a baby Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars. They are very active squirming around. But remain on their back in the bed of their old skin. Several have made chambers down in the dirt an inch or two. Four came to the surface and molted while laying on the top of the dirt.
Stay tuned for the next stage of this insects life.