Today was a day of invasive species. Bridget and I headed out early to search the trails for purple loosestrife. We didn’t find any loosestrife on Ogemash Trail, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t see anything.
We saw a lot of deer flies up close and personal, and this broad-winged hawk skulking through the forest. Most birds are going through an annual molt at this time of the year to renew all of their worn feathers. This one’s head looked like it had a bad haircut.
After getting off of the trail and heading east on county road 143, we found the culprit we were looking for… purple loosestrife. It’s not too prevalent on the refuge yet, so we documented its exact location so it could be eliminated.
Then it was time to check out Egg Lake Trail. Again, we found no loosestrife. That’s a good thing. We did find one of my favorite wildflowers though. Jewel Weed has a gorgeous orange and yellow blossom that just makes you think that hummingbirds would love it. What I like best about it is its seed pods. Once the blooms are done, a seed pod emerges that looks like a miniature pea pod. If you touch one of those pods, the pod explodes and blasts its seeds into the air. Very cool! It’s a little too early for pods, but I’ll be watching for them.
Last week as we were coming off of the Chippewa Trail, a man came up to the truck and asked me if I’d seen any buffalo. I thought he was joking or a little nuts, but it turned out he owns land bordering the refuge and raises bison. He told me a couple of them got loose, and he thought they may have gone onto the refuge. They’ve been wandering around for a week now, and there are more than just a couple of them.
As we made out way down the River Road Trail, we were stopped by a bison jam. It made me think maybe I was in Yellowstone or Theodore Roosevelt Nat’l Park, but certainly not in Minnesota. All I could think of was the movie “Dances with Wolves”. Ta-Tonka Ta-Tonka!! The owner and the Federal Wildlife Officer were there trying to get them to cross a bridge over the Otter Tail River. As you can see, the bison thought better of that idea, and made a hasty retreat. They aren’t exactly docile cows that you can lead to where you want them to go.
The attempt to get them off of the refuge was unsuccessful today, and they’ll try again tomorrow. Bison certainly weren’t on our list of ‘exotic species’ that we thought we’d see today. You just never know. I hope the bison go where they’re supposed to tomorrow. Otherwise, the outcome may not be very pleasant.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy