Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 11, 2017 - Green is the Word

What a fabulous weekend!  Kayakers, fishermen, waters skiers, hikers, motorcyclists - everyone was out enjoying all that the lakes and mountains of the Lakes Region have to offer.
Verdant hills and aqua blue water
Lake fun on a hot summer day

There was only one really wet day this week, but it was a doozey and the lake level went right back up again, so no loon nesting yet.  A few lake tours this week determined there are three loons on the lake and one of them is the long-term resident female, proven by a good look at her bands when she was preening.
The banded female loon on a house-hunting tour
Two bands on her left leg

They sure are limber birds, able to reach every inch of their bodies with their beak to pluck old feathers and spread oil to keep themselves waterproof.
The contortionist

Lots of rain followed by sun and heat means lots of green as vegetation grows fast and lush.  Ferns love this weather.
Cinnamon Fern

The pale green leaves of the alder are contrasted against chocolate brown cones.
Alder tree with female catkins

These cones are the female catkins of the alder, the male catkins are long, soft, and light.

Plants don't don't have a monopoly on the greens - check out this iridescent Six Spotted Green Tiger Beetle:
Six Spotted Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)

That one has a pretty easy name to remember, although all six spots can be hard to see.  The tiger beetle is harmless, unless you're a caterpillar, ant, spider, or some similar small insect on which they feed - not a bad neighbor to have.

Here's another green bug, also with a catchy name.
Assassin Bug (Zelus luridus)
This beetle looked somewhat familiar;  when I checked pictures from other sightings I found why it looked different:  it must have just emerged from its nymph phase as it had little tiny wings still developing.  Compare it to the mature insect.

I wrote about this interesting bug a few years ago, how it injects its prey with a poisonous enzyme that liquefies the insides of its victim so it can suck out the nutrients with its proboscis.

On that pleasant note, lets look at a non-green species, but one in a family that also thrives in wet conditions - mushrooms.
Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria)

This fungi has hallucinogenic properties - it contains the psychoactive compound muscimol - but it's also considered poisonous, so let's not try it out.  There will be many more mushrooms emerging in the coming weeks.

Now that spring has moved aside and summer is finally here it's time to enjoy the green that is all around us.
Even the hummingbirds are wearing green

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