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August 30th, 2009 - Louisville Swamp, Revisited

Finally having a look at some pictures I took during our "Swamp Thing - An Evening Photo Hike" at the Refuge event back on August 22nd.
This trek was at the Louisville Swamp Unit in Shakopee, actually near Jordan, and just down the access road from the Renaissance Festival, which had started that same day.
Not sure if it was the influx of large, slow mammals into the area, or the sizable rains we had up to that point, but the mosquitoes were in a class by themselves. We dosed up with jungle juice (which I hate, sometimes I'd rather be stung) while doing the mosquito dance in the parking lot and then headed off down the trail, a hearty, motley, yet sincere crew.

Once you got the Zen of putting the clouds of mosquitoes out of your mind, it became a pretty beautiful place. Many of the late summer wildflowers were still blooming, and the wee toads were hopping everywhere. You had to watch your step.
The colors of the sumac and Brown-eyed Susan's were striking in the summer evening light. The low rays would light up colors and textures from the flowers and the foxtail grasses, then be gone by the time you turned around and tried to set up a shot.
Just as we rolled back up to the parking lot the sunset was coming on in full force, and the vistas of the wet prairie and bottomlands started taking on a new glow. We said our goodbyes between scratches and packed up our gear.
Nice place that Louisville Swamp. I've only been there a couple times now, but it has been drastically different each time. We definitely need to go back for a fall installment and note the differences.


buthidae said...

Very nice. I particularly like the grass (?) seed head

dignature said...

Yeah, it makes for a nice picture, but it's actually a problem species. Most grasses with seed heads such as this are called "foxtails," of which there are many species, and most are problem children. These are I think "Green Foxtail" or possibly "Swamp Foxtail.
The Green has held the honors as the number one year-round problem weed in North Dakota from 1978 - 2000, if not longer.
The big problem is they get into the fur, then possibly skin, nostrils, and membranes of long-haired mammals and drill themselves in, regardless of whether the plant is live or dead, causing infection. For short-haired organisms, everything's cool, they usually drop out and plant themselves somewhere down the trail and everything works as it should.
That said, I still like their symmetry. They light up and sway in the breeze in an animated fashion. I'll probably change my tune when one gets jammed up my nostril however.