Monday, November 25, 2013

News from the park

Friday Nov. 22.
What are these black spots on the Mendota bridge abutment by the Minnesota river boat launch?

On closer inspection it is a horde of box elder bugs and one lady bug. They were alive, though they moved mighty slow. I went back today, Nov 25, to see how they were doing after those single degree nights we had and there was only a few I could get to move but that may not mean the others are dead. No lady bug this time. There were a lot of new raccoon prints in the mud and some scat also so maybe they are eating the bugs.

Interesting tree a beaver has been gnawing on by the bridge to Pike Island. Drops of sap were falling from the icicles. Didn't taste sweet, just like an icicle should.

And finally the barred owl was back in the woods across from that large gnarly cottonwood tree along the road just south of the fishing pier parking lot.

The swans are back also even though there isn't much if any open water left.


I see the posted otter pic, by Kristi, on the challenge page and I tell Mary. Mary says we need to find those Otters. Of course I did not pay attention to when the photo taken until today. But the animal gods were with us and we found a family of Otters right off the Picnic Island causeway on Sat. Go figure Dan

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why is this deer running around with velvet on it's antlers in Nov?  We may have an abnormality that bears further investigation here. Does anyone else have any photos of this animal? I found some facts that I posted on our blog at:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Two of the half dozen bucks that now are on Picnic. At this time of the year, Pre-rut, the bucks roam the area looking for does. The more dominant ones establish territories that they may have to defend from their rivals. The upper image is of Freeway, who at the moment is the major player and the other one is Zorro.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ancient Gathering

Two weeks ago Gene and I visited Crex Meadows.The gathering of Sandhill Crane's at sunset is unlike any other I have witnessed. It is a more subtle event than say snow geese which arrive  in massive clamorous flocks. Sandhill's arrive in a crescendoing ebb and flow of smaller groups of about 10-50 individuals. The scope and scale of the parade grows almost unnoticed until you scan the horizon and suddenly realize that the air and the fields below are filled with these most ancient birds.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I walked the Sand Creek trail in Frontenac State Park for the first time. This trail is also on the Mississippi flood plain. You see the same flora and fauna that is in Ft. Snelling State Park but with a few different features.  There is a board walk about 2 feet high that would leads you over a swamp and through a low flood if you go the right time of year.  The end of the trail is a fabulous sand beach.

While walking the trail one might think they were in Ft. Snelling, Cottonwood trees, nettles etc.  But it suddenly came to me what was the one thing that was really different from Ft. Snelling's flood plain along this peaceful path.  Silence.  No airplanes, no roar of the traffic on the highways or on the Mendota bridge, just Mother Nature’s bird sounds and the rustlings of vegetation.

Give this path a try and enjoy the silence.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Clam Lake Update; The warm weather has slowed the rut activity down for the Elk in Clam Lake, the bulls were hanging around with their young buddies, and a lot of cows were roaming around on their own. Normally, at this time the herd bulls gather the cows into harems and defend his group with a lot of gusto, this activity will increase as the weather cools. Photos taken 9/12

September Flowers



Maximillian Sunflower

False Aster

New England Aster

Heath Aster

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Daylight was fading, when Mary got these images of Big Head rubbing off his velvet on 9/2

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Winter's Coming

This 2 year old whitetail buck had just lost his velvet from his antlers. There are still a few red spots on the antlers where the blood has not dried brown yet. Also his red summer hair is gone and his winter brown fur is starting to grow.
The other bucks I saw this morning still had their velvet. Many of the deer are in the middle of shedding their redder summer coats.

 Sept 1  This guy paused for a grape leaf while scraping off his velvet in the vines and near by bushes.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Oak Apple Gall

While hiking along the trail that goes around Snelling Lake I found these small round balls on the trail under the oak trees. Very interesting life cycle of the wasp that causes these galls to form. In the early summer they are green with spots. The ones I found were red and juicy inside with a little larve in it. In the fall they will dry out and get brown and papery and there will be a little hole in them where the larve has crawled out. Krista identified them and provided this link or you can go to for more information. Doug Schurr

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fort Snelling buildings

Patti Deters sent: Here's an interesting article/video on the Fort Snelling buildings.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Even More Flowers Blooming at Ft Snelling St Park

Common Burdock and Friend

American Lotus

White Water Lily

Prairie Ironweed

Obedient Plant AKA False Dragonhead

Water Plantain


False Sunflower AKA Smooth Oxeye



Bur Cucumber
Wild Cucumber
 Sunflower ?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

More Flowers Currently Blooming in the Park

Queen Anne's Lace


Common Ragweed

Common Sunflower

White Snakeroot

Field Thistle

Wild Mint

Swamp Milkweed

Joe-pye Weed

Water Hemlock

Bee Balm AKA Monarda

Purple Coneflower

Tall Bellflower
Nodding Foxtail