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

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) The long narrow leaves of Swamp Milkweed distinguishes it from other milkweeds. Its beautiful flowers make it a desirable plant in the garden and attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. As expected from its name, Swamp Milkweed is typically found near water in the wild. However it can thrive in an average …

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. …

Loon Update #1

Below are a few better photos of our loon family — better mainly because I was able to borrow a real camera vs. just using an iphone. Maybe I should go shopping… The image above shows the family of three loons occupying our lake this year. Baby loons, called chicks, can swim nearly immediately after …

Evenings on the Lake with Loons

The lake was still and slight cloud cover made for dramatic skies In this image one of the lake’s islands is in the foreground A family of loons has made the lake their home this summer Two adult loons are commonly seen (and heard) in the evenings accompanied by a baby. We didn’t get a …

Kayak Excursion Big Bass Lake

Big Bass Lake is largely undeveloped, and was terrific to explore in kayaks on Sunday. In it areas of open water are connected by shallower channels. The shallow channels and the water edges are crowded with lily pads and other vegetation. Yellow Pond Lily (Nuphar variegata) In Big Bass Lake these Yellow Pond Lilies (a.k.a …