Monday, December 13, 2010

Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center

This summer I participated in several dragonfly survey events hosted by the Minnesota Odonata Survey Project. MOSP holds events around the state to increase peoples awareness of odonates, dragonfly and damselfly, and to increase the survey information of odonates in Minnesota. AT the end of July I participated in one of these events held at the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center.
The Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center is an interpretive/learning center on the Boulder Lake Management Area. The BLMA is located about 18 miles north of Duluth, MN. It is comprised of 8,250 acres of lake and wildlife habitat and is managed through a cooperative effort of Minnesota Power, the St Louis County Land Department and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Since it was getting a little late in the dragonfly season, by the beginning of August many species have already disappeared, we spotted mainly bluet damselflies and various meadowhawks but we did manage to catch a couple of blue darners, like this lake darner, for closer study.
We found other insects of interests also like this very colorful caterpillar. We were all fascinated by its array of colors. With this picture I was able to go back and check my "Moths and Caterpillar of the North Woods" book to identify it as a brown-bordered owlet moth caterpillar.The lakes were not only great habitat for dragons, there were also many reptiles and amphibians that made them their home. I was excited to get this nice shot of a mink frog because we do not often see mink frogs in the southern parts of Minnesota.
Much of the topography of Minnesota is the product of advancing and retreating glaciers. Around 18,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period (the Wisconsin glacial period) the Laurentide Ice Sheet began to retreat north. As the ice melted several massive glacial lakes were formed. Glacial Lake Duluth was formed in northeastern Minnesota and was much larger then its predecessor Lake Superior. The ice sheet blocked most of the flow to the north and east as it retreated allowing a few rivers in the south as the only outlet. Eventually the ice sheet moved further north and the water was able to flow through what is now the Great Lakes and out into the ocean. Over time the waters subsided. Glacial Lake Duluth shrank until the remainder became Lake Superior but in other locations, often where the pressure of the glacier had scraped and scored the earth beneath, the water remained and formed lakes like Boulder Lake.

9 comments:

EG Wow said...

I sure do miss the abundance of wildlife seen at warmer times of the year. :)

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I love your photos of little creatures I'll never get to see at all let alone this close up! Really superb! And what a gorgeous place! Love the reflections on the water, too! Hope you have a great week!

Sylvia

Joe Todd said...

Stunning photos.I hope all the snow isn't to hard on the wildlife

Gary said...

I posted some dragonfly photos earlier. I think they must be blue darners like yours. If you have time take a look. Great series of photos I enjoyed them. Boom & Gary of The Vermilon River.

Arija said...

Great macro shots of the denizens of the lake.

aka Penelope said...

These creatures look so beautiful when seen through the eye of your camera. Usually frogs and dragonflies flit by so quickly little of their true colors and patterns can be seen. Thanks for giving us a look at their interesting lives!

marcia@joyismygoal said...

WOW stunning is right the insects AWesome i am very impressed

lotusleaf said...

Stunning shots and lots of interesting information. I enjoyed reading your post.

ladyfi said...

What a fabulous part of the world!