Monday, September 13, 2010

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

Each summer I try and make at least one trip over to the Sherburne NWR which is located north west of the Twin Cities. Established in 1965 Sherburne has over 30,000 acres of habitat in the transition zone between the tallgrass prairie and deciduous forests.
I spent most of my time at Sherburne traveling the wildlife drive. Although the drive transitions through several different habits, including wetlands and forest, much of the land surrounding the road is open prairie. In the summer these fields provide a tapestry for nature to paint a masterpiece of color.
The bright colors of the wild flowers are a signal to butterflies, bees and other insects that the blossoms are ripe with nectar. The visiting insects pick up pollen as they feast. This pollen will fall from the insect while it is feeding at a flower in the future and it will pollinates the plant. In this way the flowers and insects depend on each other and work together in harmony.
Dragonflies are not so harmonious. As a predator, taking their prey is totally one sided. Do not judge them harshly though, for many things that they prey on, flies and mosquitoes for example, are considered pests.
Part of the original mission of the refuge was to protect and restore the habitats of the St Francis River Valley for the benefit of migratory birds. Each spring and fall thousands of waterfowl travel through this area. Areas like Sherburne provide valuable habitat where they can stop, eat and rest.
There are also some birds that use the refuge as a breeding ground. This killdeer nested right on the side of the wildlife drive. Refuge personnel put up markers to warn drivers so that they would be aware of the mother and her young chicks.


Dutchbaby said...

What a stunning place to visit. Your photos are inspiring and go a long way to fulfill the goal you posted on your sidebar!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Killdeer and young one is a very special treat always so sweet looking in their quest to protect and disguise. The colourful flower with Monarch and the macro of the dragonfly are wonderful~

Anonymous said...

What lovely shots! Love the wildflowers and lily pond.

Sylvia K said...

Such a gorgeous place! And your photos are superb as always! Love the Monarch and the dragonfly and the lovely lily pond! Have a great week!


Noel Morata said...


these are so beautiful scenes, i love all the wildflowers, to think this is still lovely at this tiime of the year...nice captures on the wildlife too :)

my tuesday tour of a hike to the lava on my sari blog.

Kay L. Davies said...

I liked the wildflowers and the water lilies best until I saw the killdeer chick. So precious. So wonderful of refuge personnel to warn drivers off.

Alberta, Canada

giorno26 ¸¸.•*¨*•. said...

Meravigliose queste foto naturalistiche degli animali del tuo favoloso mondo !
Buona serata.

ksdoolittle said...

What a great place! I'm glad efforts are being made to preserve what can be preserved before it's too late.

BraCom (Bram) said...

Thank you for sharing such a gorgeous place! And your photos are superb as always!

Have a nice week,
Greetings, Bram

My Word Tuesday post

Seen on My World Tuesday

Anonymous said...

Love it. Especially, the asclepias.