(and many other fascinating ecosystems)

  1. I also found a little aspen growing on the railway bridge. Aspens are actually the most populus tree in Minnesota~ (haha that was actually a pun, since Aspen’s genus is Populus). Anyways they are found most commonly up north, and they grow particularly well in dry poor and usually disturbed soil (land that has been logged/cleared for example). They also have been invading prairies unfortunately…
I have actually never seen an aspen along the river bank- they are definitely NOT floodplain trees, they can’t tolerate much water. Finding one in such a random place far from others of its kind is just testament to how robust and relentless they are! (also their seeds are wind spread)!

    I also found a little aspen growing on the railway bridge. Aspens are actually the most populus tree in Minnesota~ (haha that was actually a pun, since Aspen’s genus is Populus). Anyways they are found most commonly up north, and they grow particularly well in dry poor and usually disturbed soil (land that has been logged/cleared for example). They also have been invading prairies unfortunately…

    I have actually never seen an aspen along the river bank- they are definitely NOT floodplain trees, they can’t tolerate much water. Finding one in such a random place far from others of its kind is just testament to how robust and relentless they are! (also their seeds are wind spread)!

    (Source: mildly-lively)

    6
  2. On an abandoned railway bridge along the Minnesota River I found a couple little trees attempting to grow. Its so cool when plants grow in impossible places…This one was a cottonwood- reasonable since the entire riverbank is covered with them. You can see how the cottonwoods are growing practically in the water, they have a very high tolerance for inundation, and judging by the small one, poor soils (wood?) as well. : ) 

    (Source: mildly-lively)

    8
  3. "Animals are here with us, not for us."

    (unsure of source, possibly and probably Jenny Brown)  (via undiscoveredstory)

    (via garama)

    57762
  4. I just wanted to share a cool identification trick that you can sometimes use on google maps. This is part of the river valley I explore a lot and when examining the area here I noticed its a perfect image showing which main tree species dominate certain areas! Of course its only possible because this picture was taken in spring- since I know ash trees are the last to leaf out in spring and because I know the area, it’s easy to tell that all of the bare brown trees are ashes. The green trees that are mostly along the water’s edge are silver maples and cottonwoods. 
It’s a great example of how different species will colonize certain areas of floodplains. The ashes are on slightly higher ground, so won’t get as flooded as the areas that cottonwoods and silver maples prefer (they have a higher tolerance for flooding). Soon I’ll get some photos up that show how different these two areas look…

On a last note, it’s interesting to see what the meadows look like from above. I still need to study into what role meadows play in floodplains. Why is it that they exist at all? Is it because those are the areas that get flooded so much trees can’t gain a foothold? That seems odd though, the meadows are quite dry whenever I pass through…if anyone knows why they’re there, let me know! 

    I just wanted to share a cool identification trick that you can sometimes use on google maps. This is part of the river valley I explore a lot and when examining the area here I noticed its a perfect image showing which main tree species dominate certain areas!

    Read More

  5. Minnesota has six species of herons, including this one, called a green heron. They’re gorgeous, (and freaky when they extend their necks- google it!). I spotted this heron at Wood Lake Nature Centre and it was so calm even though my friend and I were only about a metre away from it. We watched it for like 5 minutes, and even saw it catch a fish! (which can be seen in the bottom corner of the 2nd photo) A fun fact about green herons is that they often use bait like worms or twigs to catch fish~ 

  6. Gray tree frogs also have gorgeous yellow legs! So lucky he posed for me… (Same frog, different hosta). : )

    Gray tree frogs also have gorgeous yellow legs! So lucky he posed for me… (Same frog, different hosta). : )

    (Source: mildly-lively)

    30
  7. The Gray tree frog is one of the most common tree frogs in MN.They live near wooded and wet areas and people who live near those areas probably see them quite a lot sticking to their windows, where they wait to feed on insects attracted by the light. 
I found this one hiding in the shade of a hosta leaf. I was actually digging up and transplanting that hosta, and I had been jostling it around quite a bit to get it up out of the ground so this guy had been going for quite a ride before I noticed it. XD Didn’t seem too bothered though. 

    The Gray tree frog is one of the most common tree frogs in MN.They live near wooded and wet areas and people who live near those areas probably see them quite a lot sticking to their windows, where they wait to feed on insects attracted by the light. 

    I found this one hiding in the shade of a hosta leaf. I was actually digging up and transplanting that hosta, and I had been jostling it around quite a bit to get it up out of the ground so this guy had been going for quite a ride before I noticed it. XD Didn’t seem too bothered though. 

    (Source: mildly-lively)

    12