Sunday, April 27, 2014


Skunk Cabbage in Forestville State Park.  The Skunk Cabbage is a unique plant that is found in very moist forest soils,  floodplains and muddy spring seeps.  Its large leaves resemble tobacco leaves. It is one of the very first wildflowers to bloom each spring.

Looking into the center of the blooming Skunk Cabbage.  As the flower ages and rots it begins to earn its name.

Bloodroot are just beginning to bloom in the woodlands of S.E. Minnesota.

Deer wondering what we are doing in its world.

Great Egret fishing the Mississippi backwaters.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Hepatica.  The first of the spring woodland wildflowers are just beginning to bloom.  The south facing slopes of the hillsides in Forestville provide a warmth that allows the first of the Hepatica to push through the leaf litter. A very few Skunk Cabbage have also just peeked through. If the weather ever breaks a small army of wildflowers will soon be blooming.   We will try to post them as they put on thier spring show.

Trumpeter Swan in Whitewater Wildlife Management Area north of St. Charles, Mn. April 7.

Shoveler(male).  The Shovelers are up in good numbers.

Saw our first Painted Turtles April 7.

Club Moss (1/2 inch) in height has come to life already.

Hepatica as a white flower.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I have just published my second book, The Geology of Bluff Country.  Last year I published Nature A Beginner's Guide, which is a nature field guide for the S.E. Minnesota area.  I have also produced these books as PDF files and Bobbie and I wish to share the PDF files FOR FREE with anyone who wants them.  I cannot get the PDF's onto this blog site. But The Bluff Country Reader has done an article about the books and has a link available to download the PDF files for free.  The best way to get there is to go to Gary Erickson facebook page and there you will find the article, (SEE THE APRIL 9 BLUFF COUNTRY NEWS LINK ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE), about the books and a link to download.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Mated pair of Sandhill Cranes in western Fillmore County.  About five years ago Sandhills began to nest in the Geothite Wildlife Management Area in western Fillmore County.  Cranes mate for life and this pair seems to be setting up for nesting.  They are easily distrubed and we keep our distance from them.  This pair just happened to fly over the road and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. They then proceeded to set their wings for landing. The landing sequence is shown below.  They were calling to each other-once you hear their loud rattling call you will never forget it.  We hear cranes more often than we see them.

As they flew they got closer to each other and both were loudly calling to each other.

They are in almost perfect formation and they have their long legs closer together for landing.  One is still calling.

They manage to come in for a soft landing. Note the color under their wings.

Once down they seemed to be looking for food.  They eat insects, frogs, corn, some roots, and seem to prefer wet grasslands.