Jumping Beetles and Bog Talk

Today I met with artist Meg Ojala, a St Olaf professor who has embarked on a study of bogs. Twice last year we visited a small local bog together. Now I was getting a first look at images of the many other bogs she’d visited, the bogs of northern Minnesota and the bogs of Finland. Photos of bogs, bog plants, and bog surroundings laid in stacks upon the floor, hung in groupings on the walls. We talked about her project and upcoming gallery shows and further travels. By the time I left I had a bad case of bog envy, wanderlust, and wetland withdrawal symptoms. The only remedy, of course, was to get outside and find some water as soon as possible.

So, a little later in the afternoon, I visited the Cowling Arboretum at Carleton for a short walk beside Spring Creek, the Cannon River, and catchment pond wetland near their junction. Cloudy and cool, but even still, plants were sending up first leaves and flowers were readying themselves for the next spate of sunshine and warm weather. Likewise, the sheer number of people passing me by on the trails indicated that many of the students and residents have turned the corner as well, crossed the threshold of belief, and seem convinced it is now spring—no matter what the actual weather. Or, I simply missed the sign announcing some kind of cross-country running event.

I get out of the way and wander off the main trails and have a look around. Parts of the forest floor are carpeted by the vibrant green leaves of the escaped cultivar, Siberian Squill. And some few of these plants are in bloom with handsome blue flowers. In addition to the squill, I find a single Hepatica flower, the first of the year for me. Soon there will hundreds more. Ahead of me in the woods, kicking among the leaf litter and the greening vegetation for something to eat, is a Song Sparrow, teaching me something about patience.

Earlier in the day, I photographed a small beetle brought home from yesterday’s walk. A number of these bright metallic beetles roamed up and down the side of tree along with a number of flies, probably all attracted to leaking sap. I’d seen these beetles on the very same tree the previous year and had tried but failed to photograph them due to the shiny reflections off the beetle wing cases, so I decided, this year, to bring one home and try to photograph it using a flash. Even this approach wasn’t as successful as I’d hoped, but the images were good enough to help identify the beetle as a Metallic Flea Beetle, genus Altica, a member of the leaf beetle family Chrysomelidae. There are numerous related and difficult to separate species in this genus, most being host specific and most are quite small in size. While photographing the beetle I discover a surprising thing, the beetle jumps, it actually springs off the ground just like a grasshopper. Which, obvious after the fact, must be why they are called flea beetles.

Publicado por scottking scottking, 06 de abril de 2017, 03:58 AM

Observações

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Abril 5, 2017 04:02 PM CDT

Descrição

Hepatica
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

What

Tico-Tico-Musical (Melospiza melodia)

Observador

scottking

Data

Abril 5, 2017 04:12 PM CDT

Descrição

Song Sparrow
Cowling Arboretum
Northfield, Minnesota

Fotos / Sons

Observador

scottking

Data

Abril 5, 2017 10:48 AM CDT

Descrição

Flea Beetle
St Olaf Natural Lands
Northfield, Minnesota

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