My field trip report

I haven’t been to Estabrook yet this morning, but don’t worry, I’ll get there soon enough. In the meantime, I’d like to show you some pictures from my first excursion out of Milwaukee County since March. As I mentioned yesterday, Anne and I drove up to Kohler-Andrae State Park to visit with her family from a safe distance.

So let’s get right to the main attraction: sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis). I spotted several, both in the marsh on the west side and on the sand hills (aka dunes) on the east side. In the marsh, it seems, the red-winged blackbirds take quite an exception to their presence, although this one appeared to pay them no mind.

The best part for me, however, is that as I was busy taking these exciting action shots, I almost missed the main attraction! It sometimes pays to be slow at my craft.

That’s right. There was a little chick (which some folks adamantly call colts) standing just knee-high to its mom and running to keep up with her as she majestically sauntered along.

Meanwhile, up on the dunes, this pair seemed to be having a much more relaxing time.

The marsh was also full of noisy marsh wrens (Cistothorus palustris), of which I failed to get a presentable picture. Instead, let me distract you with some pretty flowers, which were much more accommodating. First up is this aptly-named yellow water-lily (Nuphar lutea), a striking alternative to the white ones we have on the Milwaukee River.

Also, a big hit with the pollinators was this marsh cinquefoil or purple cinquefoil (Comarum palustre). That must be some good nectar and/or pollen because even the picture in the Pedia of Wik includes a honeybee.

Finally, these members of the bluebell family, maybe tall lungwort, tall bluebells, or northern bluebells (Mertensia paniculata), which are available in blue or white and are supposed to be native to the Great Lakes Region, were a huge hit with the bumble bees.

Lastly, I laughed out loud when I looked up this large bug crawling on some milkweed only to discover that it is officially called the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus). It’s nice to see some truth in advertising, eh? Speaking of which, its coloration is thought to be no coincidence, but instead is an example of Müllerian mimicry. (Anne tells me that I should tell you to go ahead and click on that blue, underlined text for a full and fascinating explanation. It’s quick, easy, and 100% safe, I guarantee.)

Oh, and I included yet one more monarch picture because 1. to illustrate said mimicry, 2. there were a lot about, 3. who doesn’t like a monarch picture, and 4. I just couldn’t help myself. She appears to be a female, btw, because we can’t see those little extra black spots on her hind wings.

Okay, okay. Time to put this edition to bed and head on over to Estabrook to find something to show you tomorrow.

Shoot! I forgot to wish you Happy 4th of July! Darn it.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

3 thoughts on “My field trip report

  1. Those are some mighty fine pictures today, Andy!

    Also, I just discovered that from this page, after I leave a comment the pictures are side by side instead of stacked. Go figure.


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