Nature Notes

For 40 years I have watched for and expected to see the first dark-eyed juncos, also called snowbirds, on or close to Sept. 25. The first ones have never failed to appear at this time. It’s reassuring to see them, each year, appear at the end of September even if they signal the end of [...]

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By Jim Gilbert When young spiders emerge from their eggs they already are adults in miniature. The mother spider cares for her eggs and watches over her newly hatched young with as much diligence as the more sophisticated mammals. It might appear that there are more spiders in August than in early summer because they [...]

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By Jim Gilbert The first wide open giant sunflower blossom was seen in our area on July 25. Examining a sunflower closely we see it is not a single flower but a whole bouquet. We can see many, hundreds or a thousand plus small flowers packed together in a structure known as a head. The [...]

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By Jim Gilbert Unfortunately for quite a few farmers in Carver County, due to the late spring and then heavy rains, many cornfields were never planted this year. The corn that is in and developing has begun showing tassels, the male structures located up on top. In Minnesota, corn an annual is usually planted in [...]

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By Jim Gilbert During the last couple of years we have noticed a big decline in the numbers of monarch butterflies, the official Minnesota state butterfly since 2000. There are several reasons for this but one is the decrease in numbers of milkweed plants that are the feeding and growing places for their caterpillars. Since [...]

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By Jim Gilbert Fireflies in Carver County have been on the wing since June 10 this year. The common names firefly and lightningbug are used for insects that communicate with pulsating “taillights” – segments at the ends of their abdomens with which these small animals are able to produce light by a chemical reaction controlled [...]

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