Monday, October 27, 2008

My World

Welcome to my submission for the second edition of that's My World and welcome to Wood Lake Nature Center.
Wood Lake is like a small oasis in the middle of a suburban metropolitan area. Located in Richfield, MN, which is a southern suburb of Minneapolis, the Wood Lake Nature Center sits on 150 acres of natural habitat.
At Wood Lake's Interpretive Center naturalist answer questions from the approximately 72,000 visitors that they get in a year. They also provide educational programs for both kids and adults.
Wood Lake also has many events through out the year. Many of these events are centered around a holiday or season. Outdoor events are often held at the small amphitheater that is located outside the Interpretive Center.
The main reason that I like to visit Wood Lake is because of the wildlife. I usually begin right outside the back of the Interpretive Center. This are is open and is filled with natural Minnesota plants and wild flowers.
This prairie type of habitat attracts many different types of insects such as grasshoppers and butterflies. This least skipper is drinking nectar from a wildflower.
It is also great habitat for dragonflies, like this common green darner. Dragonflies are predators and are always on the hunt for other insects.
All of the bugs that are around attract insect eating birds. Barn swallows, like the one above, frequently nest under the eves of the Interpretive Center. The vast number of insects around help them be more successful in raising their families. Tree swallows are also prevalent during the warm months but they prefer the larger open fields on the west side of the park.
The park is not all open field. There are wooded areas, with trails running through them, all around the Nature Center.
These wooded areas are good places to see warblers and other types of passerines that live in wooded habitat. Palm warblers, above, are usually found near the ground looking for insects.
Orange-crowned warblers find their prey higher up in the trees. I often see them scouring the branches for bugs living on them.
Yellow-rumped warblers are usually the most common warbler around. They frequently hunt by catching insects in the air.
Birds are not the only wildlife in the woods. I have seen squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, muskrat, fox and deer inside the park.
At the center of the Nature Center is Wood Lake. Wood Lake is a shallow lake that runs most of the length of the park. Several of the paths cross over the lake either by bridge or by boardwalk. This helps visitors to get a better look at this wetland habitat and all of the wildlife living in it.
Ducks are the most common wildlife on the lake. Wood duck boxes have been placed through out the park to promote nesting by these colorful ducks.
Hooded mergansers often compete with the wood ducks for the nesting boxes. Females are usually around through out the summer, often giving visitors a treat when they bring their young out on to the lake.
The male hoodies are usually only around during the breeding season. Once the females have legged the eggs the males head off and leave the females to incubate the eggs and care for the young.
There is also life living under the water, algae, and lilly pads. Fish swim in the lake as do many insects. Frogs and snakes live in the water and around the shore of the lake. Logs floating in the lake become islands where turtles go to sun themselves and increase their body temperature.
I hope that you enjoyed my virtual tour of Wood Lake Nature Center and that if you ever get the chance, you decide to pay them a visit. If you would like more information please check out their website.

26 comments:

Louise said...

Quite a nice Nature Center. It looks like the perfect place to go with or without kids. When kids need something to do, and when grown-ups just need some unwinding time! Absolutely WONDERFUL photos!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

This is a gorgeous place to visit! WOW! I really love it. I think I could spend many happy hours there. ;-)

kjpweb said...

I'd like to have a place like that nearby! Wonderful - so are the images you show! Bravo!
Cheers, Klaus

ewok1993 said...

This is a good place for both kids and adults. What gorgeous wildlife you have there.

fishing guy said...

That nature center is certainly filled with an abundance of photo opportunities. Thanks for sharing them.

Reader Wil said...

This is another part of the world that's new to me. It's beautiful! Thanks for showing!

Luiz Ramos said...

Great your World. Beautiful Nature.
Congratulations.

Susan said...

Oh, I want to go! The photos you took of the wildlife are splendid: a really beautiful post.

marcia@joyismygoal said...

Wow that is Beautiful esp the duck shots are GOOD

The Birdlady said...

I need to visit that park! All the photos are great, but the little baby mersanger is just my favorite!

WillThink4Wine said...

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip through the Nature Center. If I lived near a place like that I'd be spending a great deal of time there! Spectacular bird photos! And that trail looks very inviting!

imac said...

What a great post, lots of info and great photos.

Leedra said...

The birds are beautiful, but ohhhhh the ducks. We don't have much variety of ducks. Wish we did.

Maria said...

What an interesting Nature Center! And so many animals! I confess I love the ducks best :)
Great that you have such a place nearby!
Thanks for sharing!

Rose said...

What a great tour you gave us....I enjoyed it all.

babooshka said...

I absolutely loved walking round your world vurtually. I'm a big wildlife photographer, so this was perfect for me.

Wren said...

I love this photo essay. If I lived near there, I don't think I'd ever go anywhere else.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Looks like a wonderful peaceful place to enjoy nature. Love the bridge across the lake

Arija said...

That was a wonderful nature walk you took us on. Your photography is amazing with all those little bird so well captured.
Thank you indeed for taking us into your world.

Lawstude said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour. This 2nd week of meme really makes us appreciate the many places that we don't usually see or ever had a chance to visit like the one you showed me in this post. Hope you get to have time to check my world too. Another great job and more to come in the coming weeks.

Bobbie in Hawaii said...

I enjoyed your virtual tour very much. Wood lake looks like my kind of place. By the way, your warbler pictures are particularly nice.

TCKK said...

Beautiful pictures. Especially love the wildlife ones. Looks like a place I would love to visit. Thanks for sharing.

AphotoAday said...

Really great nature shots -- thanks for showing us your world...

Shellmo said...

This place looks like a slice of heaven to me! The possibility of seeing the wood ducks would definitely have me at this place constantly!

The Tile Lady said...

The Wood Lake Nature Center looks like an amazing place to visit! I would love to be there some time and see all the wonderful wildlife and insects and habitat that you have shared with us! I thoroughly enjoyed this Virtual Tour! Great post!
Marie

ChrisJ said...

Many, many years ago we visited Wood Lake Center -- I'm talking at least thirty years ago. Our sons, who are now in their early 40's, were barely in school back then. We LOVED our visit. I'm sure it has developed fabulously since we left St. Paul. I remember the wooden trails over the lake and the hands-on displays. I'm happy to say that both our sons turned out to be great outdoors people.