Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lake Kelso's Tiny Treasures

Yesterday I had the good fortune of being a speaker for the Geauga County Park District at  West Woods.  Northeast Ohio has some wonderfully diverse parks, well worth the visit.

The Geauga Park District has the classiest signs! The combined logo of the Sugar Maple leaf and the Red-headed Woodpecker tell you a lot about the habitat.

After my program on "Homegrown Butterflies" we high-tailed  it over to Burton Wetlands to see what was flying about.  Lake Kelso, a kettle hole bog, is the centerpiece of this park.  It is the remnant from the last glacier that rolled through.

 We were lucky enough to have some experts along!  Lisa Rainsong and Linda Gilbert along to help with identifying all manner of insect life. We also enjoyed the calls of Alder Flycatcher, Veery and numerous Catbirds. This glacial relic has fascinating botany too.

 It was most entertaining watching the honeybees "bumble" around in the water lotus.  Lake Kelso has a lovely display of the Fragrant Water-lilies, Nymphaea odorata.

We found several Pink Lady Beetles, Coleomegilla maculata- Since they were pink, it is a pretty good name and easy to remember.  These are one of our native Lady Beetles which are in decline, possibly due to the competetion of the non-native Multi-color Asian Lady Beetle.  
The tiny larva are also Pink Lady Beetle larva.  To learn more of Ohio Lady's beetles you can go here.

 We spent a good bit of time examining exuva, or sheddings from the larva of dragonflies.  Linda Gilbert may well be the best expert in the state on that topic, as she has raised many odonates through the larva stage, right up to the time they eclose (or shed) into a dragonfly.

 Many dragons were flying, including this Slaty Skimmer, Eastern Pond hawks, Blue Dashers and Dot-tailed White-face.

While sorting through photos, I notice this larva looks as though it has not yet eclosed.  The exuva is much darker, as it is still being occupied!  Had I realized, it would have been fun to hang around and watch it develop into an adult dragonfly.

Each dragonfly species has a unique larval form, and an expert can recognize them even at this stage.  To see many types of dragonfly exuva go here.

Thanks to all the folks who attended my program and to my friends that visited Lake Kelso afterward.  By the way, Lake Kelso is one of the spots you will want to visit for a photograph to enter TNC and Honda's competition for a new car.  Go here for details and visit some Natural Treasures this summer!

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