Monday, December 15, 2008

My World: Maplewood Nature Center

On this week's edition of My World we will be visiting the Maplewood Nature Center in Maplewood Minnesota.
I visited Maplewood Nature Center for the first time this summer. I found out about it through the Minnesota Odonata Survey Project, which advertised a dragonfly workshop at the center.
The main entrance into the nature center is through gates located next to the visitors center. Just inside the gate, and surrounding a couple sides of the visitors center, is a wonderful butterfly garden.
In late summer and early fall this was the best spot that I found for getting great monarch pics.
Monarchs were not the only butterfly that visited the center's garden. This was the only place that I got descent tiger swallowtail pics in 2008.
One of the things that I really enjoy about MNC is the serenity. Many of the other places that I bird I find people walking dogs, biking, or jogging the trails. These are all perfectly fine pursuits but they are not very productive to have around when you are trying to get that great warbler pic or when you are hoping that the raptor you just spotted stays perched long enough for you to get into position to get a shot.
A large portion of the nature center is covered by a shallow lake and several adjacent ponds. A boardwalk trail cuts across the lake letting people get a closer look at the lakes flora and fauna.
During the warm months I could always find ducks and mergansers on the lake. This included hooded mergansers, mallards, and wood ducks, like the one pictured above.
There was also a good population of green heron spending the summer here.
There were many other things to photograph out on the lake though. Dragonflies, like this dot-tailed whiteface, where abundant both near the water and in the surrounding fields.
Amphibians, such as frogs and turtles where also prevalent.
One of my favorite birding spots for the summer of 2008 was this small island in the lake in MNC.
The island always had a good variety of birds, like this olive-sided flycatcher. Many of the birds would sit out in the open, perhaps they felt more secure because they were on an island, making it very easy to photograph them from the boardwalk.
Although it is not as big as some of the other parks that I visit there were still plenty of trails through out many different types of habitat.
If you looked hard while you were on the trails you would find that the park was teeming with wildlife, especially birds. Although its call is easily recognized, the gray catbird is usually not very easy to spot.
Eastern phoebe, however, do not seem to be as leery of people. There was usually a few phoebes around hunting for flying insects in the woods and around the lake.

23 comments:

gina said...

what a wonderful place to visit. i would love the boardwalk and observing all the wildlife. your bird photos are fantastic. i never have that much luck capturing them...but i'll keep trying! :)

Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

It looks like a beautiful place to take a walk. I love all the pictures but I'm really fond of the Wood duck. I love it's colors.

Leedra said...

Love the wood duck photo, among all the other photos that are great.

Richard said...

Great pictures. The Wood Duck one is perfect.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Looks like a wonderful place to visit. My kind of place, in fact!

kjpweb said...

Excellent - what a great place! We need more of those all over the country!
Cheers, Klaus

ewok1993 said...

This is a fantastic place to visit. I would like to walk, look, and listen. Afterwards, I would snap and snap, hopefully without disturbing the wildlife.

Reader Wil said...

Excellent post!! It's so interesting! What a beautiful place!

fishing guy said...

EB: Wonderful captures at the wildlife nature center. That was a great place.

imac said...

Really love this post, the colours are fantastic

babooshka said...

I am truly envious of your world. I absolutely love wildlife,nature and birding and I would be right at home here.

SandyCarlson said...

That's a wonderful place. Those butterflies are gorgeous.

Arija said...

Yours is truly an enviable world. To be able to go to such splendid bird and nature sanctuaries as you do must be a great joy. Thank you for sharing your world and splendid photos.

Wren said...

I want to go visit there myself - thanks for sharing such a nice walk through your world.

All the photos are nice, but I particularly like the turtle with its reflection.

Stacey Huston said...

Whata wonderful place. thanks for sharing.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

I get a sense that the northern bloggers store up on summer photos like squirrels do nuts ... plus, they make great summer/winter comparisons.

2sweetnsaxy said...

I'm tempted to book a flight just to go visit this place. It sounds wonderful and I can so identify with trying to get that bird shot when someone goes running by. Your shots are wonderful!

Kathiesbirds said...

Wonderful My World Post. I would love to visit here. Love the shots of the Wood duck, the flycatcher and the phoebe!

ivars krafts said...

I'm so glad you mentioned this place; I'll be checking it out. Your pictures are a great lure.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Those are some fabulous photos

Leora said...

This place looks great. We have some similar environmental learning centers in New Jersey. Your post makes me want to go back and visit those. I especially love the walkways on the wetlands.

Shellmo said...

The turtle and the wood duck were my favorites - just beautiful!!! If you lived in my area ecobirder - I'd be bugging you for photography lessons!

ramblingwoods said...

Lovely photos to look at when it is cold and snowy here...Favorite would have to be the wood duck followed by the green heron...love them