NATURE NOTES

This first report of the week is brought to you by Dawson and students from Braham Elementary. 

During our trip to Long Lake Conservation Center the week of September 26, we enjoyed beautiful early fall weather. A gaggle of Canada Geese stopped at Long Lake on their journey south. A Belted Kingfisher and large group of Blue Jays also paid us a visit. In the morning the Bumblebees, Flower Flies and Soldier Beetles were on the remaining Golden Rod and Purple Aster. They didn’t move at all and we thought they were dead, but they were just very cold. When the sun came out and they warmed up, they resumed collecting nectar and pollen.

Our group found a Stinkhorn Mushroom. It’s a weird looking thing that smells like…well let’s just say it smells bad. The smell attracts flies. Stinkhorns are edible, but only when they are young and not slimy and smelly. No thanks. We found a lot of really cool stuff in the lake bottom, including Damselfly Nymphs, Water Boatman and Caddisfly nymphs. The Caddisfly nymphs were spotted scurrying around in the sand. They glue the sand together to make a shell that they use for protection. Pretty cool. We also found lots and lots of Dragonfly Larva. If this is any indication, next year’s hatch of Dragonflies should be a big one. The lots of trees are starting to turn colors and lose leaves, but our favorite is the Red Maple.  

This second report of the week is brought to you by Lilly on and students from Ramsey Elementary. 

During our trip to Long Lake Conservation Center the second half of the week of September 26, we saw a lot of interesting nature. Wooly Worms were out and moving in the woods and the paths. We call them Wooly Worms, but we learned they are actually Wooly Bear Caterpillars and are the larva of the Isabella Tiger Moth. This week is the first week they have been seen at Long Lake. Long Lake’s naturalists told us that people believe that the amount of orange on the caterpillar is an indication about how long winter will last. They say that’s not true, but if it were, it will be a short winter. Our group also saw Giant Leopard Moth Caterpillars, also a first for the season. They are big, black and a little spikey. In other nature sightings Steve, Adrian and Jamie saw deer, Landon found a Garter Snake, Taeclen found a dragonfly, Adrian and the yellow group spotted a Redbelly snake, Emma found a Blue Spotted Salamander, Elise and Ava found a wide variety of mushrooms (but none that were edible), Kanyin found a leopard frog, Erik saw a wood frog, McLadi spotted a Ladybug and a Spring Peeper was seen. One group found a moth that looked like a stick and camouflaged itself perfect in a fallen wood, we think it might be a Sweetheart Underwing Moth. It was very cool. This week was also notable for what we didn’t see. Our group did NOT see any deer flies or ticks, and we only had a report of ONE mosquito. This was nearly our first pest insect-free week!

Great job! Keep Exploring!

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Remember! Never miss a sunrise!