Journal archives for June 2017

June 17, 2017

Emerald Spreadwing

Posted on June 17, 2017 18:01 by scottking scottking | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 21, 2017

Florida: Day Four

Posted on June 21, 2017 23:11 by scottking scottking | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 19, 2017

Florida: Day One

Posted on June 19, 2017 01:10 by scottking scottking | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Florida: Day Two

Posted on June 19, 2017 21:06 by scottking scottking | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 05, 2017

Pineapple Weed

Posted on June 05, 2017 03:04 by scottking scottking | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 06, 2017

A Gomphidae Quartet

It had been eight days since I last visited this sight, looking for clubtails.

Posted on June 06, 2017 05:00 by scottking scottking | 8 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 16, 2017

McKnight Prairie

A windy day on the prairie. The sun and the sound, the calm fury of the place, forced my hand to write this small poem.


The prairie
what's left of it
whispers and sighs in opposition
to the surrounding fields and lawns
planned and managed
rectilinear and regimented
where the drift of poisonous
thought applied strictly
threatens taproots and deep water
with runoff and erosion
and lawn mowers
with cash flow.

The prairie
a slim reserve
a resistance alive with beetles and bees
writes a letter to the editor
against simplification
starts a petition for flowers
and antlions and for the time being
an accord with the lancing plows
allows a kind of silence to persist
a solace a sigh
a lingering whisper in the grass's going to be all right.

Posted on June 16, 2017 04:17 by scottking scottking | 12 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

June 04, 2017

Buprestid Blues

Lisa and I took a morning stroll through North Valley Park in Inver Grove Heights while Lida practiced sand volleyball. We saw quite a few frisbee golf players and a fair number of dragonflies---Twelve-spotted Skimmers, Common Whitetails, and a single Horned Clubtail. We also saw a couple of skipper butterflies and a ringlet.

Leaving the park, a shiny, blue-metallic beetle on a leaf caught my eye. This was a buprestid beetle (family Buprestidae), also known as jewel beetles. The size and shape, that is being small and narrow, suggests it belongs to the speciose genus Agrilus, a genus that includes something near to two hundred species in North America. The blue coloration further suggests it is the adventive species Agrilus cyanescens, introduced to North America in the early 1900s and associated with honeysuckle.

While some few species of buprestid beetles are considered pests, the real buprestid blues began with the introduction of the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis). This small, bright-metallic-green beetle was first observed near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002, just fifteen years ago, and has since spread into more than fifteen states. Because it kills ash trees, great efforts have been made to impede its march across the continent and to monitor known populations. One of the interesting programs associated with the Emerald Ash Borer is the biosurveillance program undertaken by the University of Minnesota which watches populations of the buprestid-hunting wasp Cerceris fummipennis to see what beetles it's capturing. Having seen this blue beetle this morning, I now know it's time to start looking for wasp nests.

A while after our walk in the park, I had a chance to read a few poems by the Norwegian poet, Olav Hauge and came across these lines which made me smile: "There is so much to ponder in this world / that one life is not enough. / After you're done with your tasks, / you can fry up some bacon / and read Chinese poetry." My introduction to this poet came many years ago through the translations of Robert Bly, then some years later the translations of Robert Hedin. Being from rural Minnesota and a farm kid, I took an immediate liking to Hauge's spare, rustic, taciturn poetic utterances. Then, only a few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting and sharing some Russian piano music with Hauge's widow, the artist Bodil Cappelen, during her stay at the Anderson Center. So it's wonderful to have such a substantial newly translated collection of poems and journal entries as Luminous Spaces (White Pine Press, 2016; translated by Olav Grinde).

Posted on June 04, 2017 03:56 by scottking scottking | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 02, 2017

St Louis County Day Two

Posted on June 02, 2017 02:15 by scottking scottking | 42 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 08, 2017

Mississippi Watersnake

To Inver Grove Heights. While Lida practiced beach volleyball, I explored the nearby Mississippi River, visiting the Rock Island Swing Bridge city park. What's left of the bridge for which the park is named resembles an ocean pier more than a bridge. It no longer spans the entire river but extends nearly to the center and provides an excellent view.

I'd hoped to see more clubtail dragonflies, perhaps even a species or two not found along the Cannon River. However, during the hour at the park, I found only two dragonflies: the first a teneral that flew from the water's edge and was immediately captured out of the air by a bird; the second was a Cobra Clubtail near the edge of the parking lot.

Unexpectedly, the most interesting encounters were with a snake and a frog. The snake was a young Northern Watersnake swimming in the water at the edge of the river. When I approached for a closer photo the snake dove to the bottom and entangled itself at the base of a weed. The frog, found at a safe distance down the shore from the snake, was a Blanchard's Cricket Frog. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lists this species as endangered in Minnesota and mentions only two currently known breeding populations, so this was an exciting find.

Posted on June 08, 2017 02:17 by scottking scottking | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment