Where The Wild Things Are- Dragon Flies

A post from June 14, 2017

A long week of weather. Hot, humid temps. Scouring winds. Downpours of rain. None of it very conducive to walking out in the woods and wetlands. I still managed to sneak in a hike or two, wet grass doesn't really matter when you are going into the bog. Surprisingly few mosquitos to bother me, which in turn makes me worry about the other birds and insects who rely on them for food. 

The dragonflies are out in swarms, four and twelve spotted skimmers, common whitetails, many other to fast for me. Dragon flies spend up to most of their lives in the water. They go from eggs to larva totally in the water in general spending two years growing in the larva state, shedding their exoskeleton several times. Then they climb up a stem, out of the water and after a short drying period, procede to molt one last time. Their skin splits open down the back and the compressed wings, legs, and part of the abdomen are forced out. After a short time of drying, the dragonfly then uses its newly hardened legs to pull its abdomen free. The wings unfurl as they fill with blood along those teeny veins you see. Then the blood is drawn back into the body and the wings dry for about another hour. Finally it is ready for flight. The rest of it's short adult life is spent eating, breeding, and laying eggs. Some are migratory, going south as winter comes, others survive the icy Minnesota winters only in egg or larval form, waiting for spring. 

The flowers are taking turns showing up. One plant that I have been watching develop has finally given me the clue I needed to ID it. It started off as a rosette of fuzzy leaves in the damp/wet ground. I knew it wasn't Mullien, but nothing beyond that. Then, as the weeks went on, a single stem rose up, 2-4 feet high. Another plant that you see and wonder how you have missed seeing it all this time. Finally an umbrel (Flowers that form the shape like an umbrella!) formed at the top. Small white flowers, not very impressive looking, decorated each umbrel. Micranthes pensylvanica...Swamp Saxifrage! Another question answered, another mystery to solve. This time it is small yellow flowers in the swamp, they look like lollypops. They seem to be fairly common out there, so I know it is nothing rare. I will id it in time. Besides that I found Bunchberry in abundance, far out under the tamaracks. The ferns have developed far enough that I have ID'd several, Northern Lady Fern, Crested Wood Fern, Ostrich fern, Sensitive Fern. The Lady-slippers had not opened as of Saturday, but I expect them soon. With the weather clearing, I expect to be back out there soon.