Happy Father's Day to my dad and all the other dads out there! This Father's Day was a perfect, almost-summer day for us here in SE Minnesota. Most of my day was spent outside and in the backyard, the baby robins are fledging. Here's a little one that made it as far as Mr. Johnson's trailer. I love its little downy feather "halo."
As has become our family tradition, Father's Day was celebrated at Forestville State Park near where my parents live in Fillmore County. We didn't know whether we'd be able to have our celebration here this year as there was lots of flooding in the park during this past week. However, the floodwaters have receded and things were looking pretty good. Here's a picture of my brother Dave walking over to look at the river (just past him you can see the far riverbank and a little bit of the river).You can see how the vegetation has been pushed almost flat by the force of the water. As near as we could tell, the water was probably at least 8-10 feet above the normal water level and we could see that there had been probably 2 feet of water in the picnic shelter (which is about 50 yards away from the river).
However, there were still lots of beautiful sights to enjoy and I was able to take plenty of pictures to share with you.
Last year at this picnic shelter, we found a phoebe nest right near the entrance. It was the first thing I looked for again this year and sure enough, she had a nest in almost the same location.It was pretty high, but thanks to my sissy's sturdy cooler, I was able to reach inside and count 5 little eggs.
Here's Mrs. Phoebe perched on the light near her nest.
And Mrs. Phoebe on the nest incubating her eggs. She was very quiet and didn't seem at all alarmed by our presence. I hope she's able to raise her little family without incident.
On the outside of the picnic shelter (right up under the eaves), I found this little brown bat taking a nap. I know a lot of people don't like bats, but isn't this just the cutest little face?
There were so many butterflies out today. I got to see my first Red Spotted Purple! What a gorgeous butterfly! Its colors were so brilliant, I wondered if it was newly hatched from the cocoon.
There were also some Giant Swallowtails flying around. Brother Dave had to tell me what this butterfly was and I managed to "almost" get a decent picture. I can see I still have lots of work to do on my butterfly ID skills.
The Solomon's Seal were blooming all over along one of the trails we explored.
We spotted this sweet little female American Redstart on the old bridge leading to the historic buildings at this park.She wasn't fearful of humans at all and appeared to be concentrating on trying to collect spider webs and little bits of flood debris still hanging on the bridge. Does anyone know if Redstarts use spiderwebs as part of their nests?
Along one of the trails near the river, we also spotted this Ebony Jewelwing (watching me watch her). The white spots in the wing indicate she's a female.
Here's a beautiful little beetle we saw on the sidewalk to the picnic shelter.It looks like the Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle in my Kaufman insect field guide, but I can't see any spots. I think Brother Dave told me the name of this beetle, but as usual, I forgot.
So those are the highlights of my day and once again, I've run out of day before I got everything done. It's going to be a long and busy week at work and I've got to get this post finished up soon and get to bed. Hope you all have a great week and get a chance to enjoy some nature in your backyard and beyond.