Clear Water

We are fortunate to live beside a lake with very clear water. Effectively capturing its clarity in a photo is difficult. Real estate ads for properties on lakes in the area with clear water commonly include photos like this, taken looking down on the water from our dock. Plants on the lake bottom, under about …

Bee Balm with Insects

During these last days of July our blooming bee balm plants (Monarda fistulosa) have been a hive of activity for insects and an occasional hummingbird. The hummingbirds were too skittish to capture in a photo, but the insects were too busy to notice my presence. Two-spotted Bumblebees When the sun is out two-spotted bumble bees …

Giant Mayfly

Yesterday there were huge numbers of the Giant Mayfly (Hexagenia limbata) covering building surfaces facing the shoreline of Leech Lake in Walker Minnesota. The images below were taken on Walker’s public dock. In the central image above, the Mayfly to the right is male and the one to the left is a female. Males typically …

Winter Survival; Insects

Remarkably, tiny insects survive weeks and months of sub-zero cold each year. This post provides brief descriptions of how three common bugs manage this; Woollybear Caterpillars, Mosquitos, and Ticks. Woollybear Caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella) The woollybear hatches in the fall and overwinters in its caterpillar form, when it nearly freezes solid. Their bodies produce glycerol, a …

Morning on the Lake

In the three images above a beaver can be seen swimming across the lake, then raising his tail to slap the water, and finally the resulting splash as he submerges. It seemed like this beaver was intentionally showing himself to me and then swimming away — maybe to draw me away from the beaver lodge? …

Milkweeds and Butterflies #2

Caterpillars In elementary school I remember bringing in these caterpillars with a few milkweed leaves for show-and-tell, hoping they’d turn into monarchs. Here is a similar show-and-tell. Today I’m showing the caterpillars on their Swamp Milkweeds; hoping to return later to capture the metamorphosis. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Described previously, but I got some better …

State Flower and More

Yesterday while biking around the area, I managed to get a few interesting photos The best find was this clump of Showy Lady Slippers (Cypripedium reginae), the state flower of Minnesota. Previously I had only seen blooming Lady Slippers in late June, so I was surprised and pleased by this fine display on July 8. …