On a warm, sunny winter day, take a look at the base of a tree where the snow may have melted down to expose some leaves, or where the snow is shallow or hollowed out just a bit. There you'll find a sprinkling of what looks like "pepper" or "ashes" on the surface of the snow. Each speck you see is a snow flea. Once you find them, watch closely and see what they're up to. Snow fleas are actually tiny insects which come out on warm, sunny days to eat decayed plant material or sap oozing from the tree. They hop around acting like fleas and that's where they get their name, snow "fleas." They're not fleas though, but actually an arthropod called Collembola (kol-LEM-bo-la) or commonly called springtails which measure about 1/8 inch (2mm) long. They have a very unique catapult system to get around. Two "tails" on their back end are tucked up underneath their belly, held in place by tiny "hooks." When the springtail wants to move, they just release the spring-loaded "tails," called furcula, which hit the snow and send them flying into the air. Since snow fleas can't conrol their flight or direction, they frequently land in the same spot or only a few inches away.
i sighted several mosquitos that were without there fur coats last monday, just hike into the nearest brush and give it a shake your bound to find one or more.
On Wednesday, May 23 several Monarch butterflies were seen flying along Cty Rd 42. Confirmed that they are not Viceroy butterflies. Welcome back!
American Three-toed Woodpecker.
The Wood Lily (Lilium andinum) are blooming on the Magnetic Rock Trail, on the Gunflint Trail. Hike into the first area of prescribed burn (the burn was several years ago) and look for the orange blooms.
A total of 117 species were seen during the June 2-4, 2006 Boreal Birding Festival. If you would like a copy of the list of birds seen, let me know by email.