Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Other interesting things that I found at Crex Meadows

On my last trip to Crex Meadows I photographed a few interesting things that were not birds. First I found this banded woolly bear caterpillar walking down the road. Woolly bear caterpillars hibernate over the winter. It is estimated that they can survive temperatures down to -90 degrees. They survive in extreme cold because of their bristly hair and because they produce a type of anti-freeze coating. At this time of the year they are probably looking for a good place to hibernate, usually under a log or a rock. In the spring time they wake up from hibernation, eat for a couple of weeks and then spin a cocoon. A few weeks later they emerges from the cocoon as an isabella tiger moth.

I also found a perched green darner dragonfly. You can tell that this one is a female because her abdomen is red. Males have a blue abdomen where females can have either a blue or red abdomen.It was a beautiful day so it was no surprise to find a few turtles out sunning themselves. You can almost always see them out on rocks, logs, or the shoreline on a sunny day.The highlight of this trip was spotting a river otter. I new that there were otters in the area but this is the first one that I have spotted in Crex. It is actually the first that I have spotted in this part of the country.Otters are very fun to watch. They are often curious and sometimes even playful. In the past I have photographed river otters in Yellowstone National Park and in Big Cypress National Preserve, down in Florida. I have photographed sea otters in Monterey Bay, CA and up in Alaska.

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