Sunday, August 26, 2007

Going buggy at Dodge Nature Center

Saturday the weather was sunny and beautiful. I had a dinner appointment later in the afternoon so I decided to do some birding close to home. So I took a trip to Dodge Nature Center in West St Paul, MN. I have not been to Dodge since I was a kid and it is really is a shame. The property has a diverse collection of ecosystems which includes grassland, wetland, and deciduous forest. They have a few ponds, a working farm, and mews for educational raptors. I really enjoyed the farm pond trail which is a boardwalk that takes you through the cattails and over the pond, with several stopping areas with sitting benches. During my trip I saw a few different birds, I will post those pictures in a later post, as well as reptiles and small mammals. There were also a lot of insects, I took a few pictures of some of the more interesting ones which I found.

There were quite a few cabbage white butterfly flying about near all of the flower gardens.

It is easy to distinguish between male and female in the cabbage white by counting the number of spots. Males have 1 spot, like the first one pictured, and females have 2 spots, like the one right above.

I found this pink-spotted lady beetle on a rock in the farm pond next to the boardwalk. I really like the contrast in color between her and the green algae around her. This would have been a better shot if I had my macro lens, which was in the car, instead I had to stand a ways back to get my 100-400mm lens to focus on such a tiny subject.

This female white-faced meadowhawk was flying around the farm pond.I was not quite sure that she was a white faced until she turned around.
Later on I found a white-faced meadowhawk male out in the fields. It is pretty easy to tell the difference between male and female by the color.There was quite a healthy population of grasshoppers. There were also plenty of mosquitoes but I am usually too busy swatting them to take their picture.

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