June: Mosquitoes and Wildflowers

June in northern Minnesota brings a variety of beautiful wildflowers and also a variety of bugs. I pretty much get swarmed by mosquitoes and blackflies every day. Ticks have also been getting to me, although they aren’t nearly as bad here by Lake Superior as they are on the inside of the state. Still, I’ve been wearing tall boots with my socks tucked in, zipping myself up in my bug shirt, and also wearing my “bug gloves,” which is something I “made” myself – just leather gloves that I cut some of the fingertips off of so I can still operate the tablet. It works out! Really the only time I get bit is when I’m just outside recreating in my off-time, when I don’t feel like covering my body head-to-toe, but oh, well, you gotta live a little. 

Pink Lady Slipper
My daily outfit this season
Bunchberry

This has been another month of doing seasonal pond inventory. Seasonal ponds are formed in depressions typically in the spring when snow melt and rain fill them up with water. They are important for the ecosystem because they provide a habitat for insects, frogs, and salamanders to lay their eggs. We are making a mapped inventory of them so that the loggers can properly protect them when harvesting timber. Our Forest Plan says that they need at least a 200 ft. buffer in the northern hardwood forest type. Basically, we’re trying to prevent what happened in the picture below on the right. 

Example of an healthy seasonal pond
Example of a seasonal pond disturbed by logging
Bird banding with the wildlife biologists
Taking out the fisheries canoe

A fun thing I got to participate in this month was bird banding with the wildlife biologists. I had the get up at 3 am to go do this, but it was worth it and really cool. They set nets up in the woods and check them every 45 mins for any birds that got caught. We took caught birds back to a tent and they close a tiny metal band around their ankle for identification and record information about them, such as size, sex, age. I tagged along on the net checks and also helped record the info. 

We also recently got to use our canoe and boat for the first time this year. I’m learning how to use both of those things, which I haven’t had much experience doing before, so that’s exciting. Canoeing is hard work! Way harder than I thought. I need to build up my paddling muscles.

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