This week's phenology report is brought to you by Chloe, Adeline, Clare, Finn, Sam and the campers from Outdoor Explorers Camp.
During our week at Outdoor Explorers Camps at Long Lake Conservation Center we experienced the peak of summer with life bursting everywhere. Master Naturalists Ron and LeAnn Plinskey taught us all about dragonflies and damselflies. We netted, identified and released more than a dozen different varieties, including Twelve-Spotted Skimmers, Widow Skimmers, Bluet Damselflies, Common Whitetail Skimmers, Chalk-Fronted Corporals and a variety of Meadowhawks. We even handfed Deerflies to the Dragonflies. This was a first even for LeAnn and Ron.
The Loon chick is alive and growing. It’s nearly doubled in size since it hatched two weeks ago. We nearly had a Loon fight. What we suspect was a young male Loon landed on the lake, causing a huge ruckus with the mom and dad. It looked like the invading male was going to challenge the resident male for the territory. They both puffed up their chests and did a lot of loud calling. The invader thought the better of it and flew away.
We saw two families of turkeys. The poults in one family were almost fully grown, but the poults in the other family were still very small. The deer were active. A doe and fawn were spotted on the shore of Long Lake. The fawn is about half the size of mom with its spots still clearly visible. One of the naturalists reported seeing a buck with felt-covered antlers. He thought it was probably a six-pointer. The otters were out, about and playing. Good news! Long Lake now has THREE otters. Congratulations momma and poppa otter.
One of the highlights of the week was learning about bees from Roger Sorben from Sorben Honey. We visited Long Lake’s hives where we saw the queen, and a few of us held stingerless drones. All of us ate honey straight from the hive. VERY sweet. Speaking of eating, we found and feasted on plenty of wild blueberries and raspberries on the way to the bog. The bog is plush right now. Pitcher plants are flowering with one tall flower towering out of the cups below. We didn’t see any Sundews, but we ate Labrador Plant leaves and drank bog water. Oddly, we saw a garter snake in the bog. The naturalists say that’s very rare. None of them have ever seen a snake in the bog.
Our group also saw porcupines walking through campus, lots of garter snakes, a baby snapping turtle, a handful of painted turtles, leopard frogs, toads, a mouse, a variety of different spiders, a yellow finch, and an unidentified hawk. We noticed lots of new mushrooms starting to emerge. During Lake Bottom Organisms class, we found dragonfly nymphs and caught dozens of leaches that we used to catch mostly perch and bluegills. What a week in nature! It’s a great time to explore the world and we want to remind everyone to unplug, get outside and to LIVE CONNECTED.