Monday, July 18, 2011

A Return to River Bend

Last year I participated in a number of MOSP (Minnesota Odonata Survey Project) around the state. One was held at the River Bend Nature Center located in Faribault, MN about 25 miles south of the Twin Cities. The nature center had a good variety of habitats so I decided to return there last weekend.

Although I was primarily looking for dragonflies and damselflies, River Bend Nature Center is one of those places where you can see a great variety of nature. This is why I like spending time in nature centers because while looking for dragonflies you might get lucky and find a cooperative belted kingfisher.
The nature center has several wetland areas as well as some hardwood forests and open prairie. Wild flowers are in bloom forming a colorful carpet through out most of the grounds. Many insects, such as this bronze copper, were dining on nectar from the flowers and in turn helping to pollinate them.
The River Bend Nature Center began back in 1970s as the realization of a dream of the Faribault Naturalist Club. In 1975 they convinced the Faribault City Council to purchase 487 acres of land from the state for the purpose of building a, "Nature and Agricultural Interpretive Center." The land was acquired in 1978 and in 1979 it was named the River Bend Nature Center, after the Great Bend in the Straight River which runs through the grounds. More land was acquired over time, the park is currently 743 acres, and 1991 a new interpretive center was opened, replacing the Trail Side Center which had been built back in 1980.

Down by the river there were many dragonflies and damselflies. Most of the damselflies that I saw down by the river where broadwinged damselflies, such as ebony jewelwings or the American rubyspot pictured above.
For dragons I saw quite a few skimmers flying around, including common whitetail, twelve-spotted skimmers, and meadowhawks, but I was hoping to find some clubtails. I was finally rewarded when I found this riverine clubtail. I have only seen this type of clubtail once before, during the Minnesota Dragonfly Gathering of 2010 in Morris, MN. So I was pretty excited to get a chance to get some good pics. I was going to try and net it, I was not sure if one of this species had ever been recorded in the county, unfortunately it took off over the trees before I could switch over to my net.


Sylvia K said...

Superb captures as always and a wonderful look at your world! I do love the butterfly and flowers! Have a great week!


FjÀllripan said...

Wonderful captures! I like them all :)

Reader Wil said...

Your photos are excellent and your knowledge about nature is great. I always wonder why birds in your country are so colourful compared to the north European birds. Our birds are mainly greyish brown with a hint of pink and light blue here and there!
Well have a great week!

ksdoolittle said...

Your posts never disappoint. Your images are incredible - clear, crisp. The photo of the American Rubyspot just blew me away. Isn't a photo documentation enough? When you 'net' a dragonfly, is it to keep? Or just to inspect more closely before letting it go? ~karen

LivingSoAbundantly said...

That is so exciting to get a nature surprise when you're looking for something else. The colors are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Exquisite shots! Love the kingfisher's hair-do.