my favorite

I think the Astrid Lake Trail is fast becoming my “trail du jour”, at least its my favorite for now.

Pitcher Plant Flower

The Pitcher Plant’s flowers are maturing. The flowers dry up and stay on the plant sometimes all the way into winter.

Pitcher Plant

I had just read a NY Times article about the Big Bog Recreation Area, that’s located about 75 miles west of here, and I learned that the Pitcher Plant has the red veins in its leaves to imitate blood veins. It’s intent is to attract flys.

Spider in Pitcher Plant

Look closely at this photo, I wonder if this spider is trapped or if he is taking advantage of a situation (?)

This boggy area is really special. As I walked into the forest of predominantly Black Spruce with a few Tamarack mixed in, the only other creature that had recently walked the trail was a big Moose! The tracks were imbedded in the muddy trail. I sincerely hoped that I wouldn’t see a huge bulk of an animal while I was there.

I was alone, but the woods were alive with a chattering twitter, I was in the midst of a White-winged Crossbill feeding frenzy. They were everywhere in the very tops of the spruce trees.

Along with the White-winged Crossbills were a few Juncos. I thought, no it’s not winter yet what are the Juncos doing here? But accordingly the Juncos can stay around northeastern MN for the summer where they are uncommon and local and they are considered a rare breeder in the Superior National Forest.

I saw a flock of 20 White-winged Crossbills and there were many more chattering away further away in the forest. These unique finches are known “wanderers”. They will show up anywhere there is a good cone crop. They use their crossed bill to extract seeds from cones. This bird looks similar to the Pine Grosbeak with their white wing bars, but their smaller size differentiate them.

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