Cape May Warbler (Setophaga tigrina) is a small perching bird but a medium-sized New World Warbler. Its breeds in Canada from Nova Scotia to the Northwest Territories, and in the United States in northern New England and the Upper Midwest. It builds its nest in a mature forest near the top of a tall spruce or balsam fir tree usually near the trunk. In Minnesota it breeds in Arrowhead region. It winters in the West Indies. It is an uncommon migrant in most of the state in May and from early August through October. It is rare in the west. It feeds on insects, especially spruce budworm, and on flower nectar and fruit juices.
Cape May Warbler adult is about 5″ in length and has a wingspan of about 8″. On the breeding male, the upper parts are dark olive green, the chin, sides of the neck (“collar”), and rump are yellow. There is a large chestnut-brown ear patch and a dark eye line. The bill is thin, dark, and slightly curved downward. The breast and flanks are yellow with dark stripes that converge on the throat. The undertail coverts are white. On each wing there is a distinct white patch. The tail is short. The female is paler overall and has two thin white wing patches. The crown is olive-gray and there is a grayish cheek patch.
Coppery leafhopper (Jikradia olitoria) is a common, medium-sized, slender leafhopper. It occurs throughout the eastern half of the United States and in adjacent Canadian provinces. In Minnesota it has been recorded only in the southeast quarter of the state. Little is known of the biology of leafhoppers in the subfamily Coelidiinae. Coppery leafhopper is said to feed on woody species. In 1975 it was suggested that the subspecies Jikradia olitoria floridana was a vector of strawberry pallidosis. This was later rejected when in 2006 the greenhouse whitefly Trialeurodes vaporariorum was discovered to be the true vector of the disease.
Coppery leafhopper adults are about ¼″ long and variable in color. They are usually light brownish-gray to medium brownish-black, sometimes dark and bluish, sometimes entirely light brownish-yellow. Females always have pale wing bands. Males are always dark brown or rusty brown and have no pale bands.
Least chipmunk (Neotamias minimus) is the most widespread and also the smallest of the North American chipmunks. In Canada it occurs from Ontario to Yukon Territory. In the United States it occurs west of the Great Plains and in the upper Great Lakes region. In Minnesota it occurs in the Arrowhead and north-central regions. It is found at the edges and in the openings, clearcuts, and disturbed areas of coniferous and mixed forests. It eats seeds, nuts, fruits, acorns, snails, insect eggs and larvae, and small birds and mammals. It nests under stumps, logs, and rocks. It winters in a burrow it digs that reaches up to one meter underground. When running it holds its tail erect.
The adult is 7¼″ to 8¾″ long. It weighs about half as much as an eastern chipmunk. The coat (pelage) on the sides is reddish-brown in the front, grayish brown in the rear. The rump is grayish-brown. There are five dark brown or black stripes on the back separated by white or cream-colored stripes. The middle stripe stretches from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. On each side of the face there are three dark brown stripes separated by two white or cream-colored stripes. The facial stripes are well defined and highly visible. The tail is orangish-brown, and bushy.
Japanese hedge parsley (Torilis japonica) is native to Europe, Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. It was introduced in North America in 1917 and is now naturalized. In the United States it is widespread but sporadic in the east and in the Pacific Northwest. It is found in natural areas, including open woodlands, woodland edges, savannas, and thickets; and in disturbed sites, including pastures, roadsides, and railroads. It grows under partial sun to full shade, sometimes under full sun, in dry to moderately moist soil. It is considered an aggressively invasive weed here, where it can out-compete native species. Wisconsin lists it as Prohibited/Restricted Invasive – Eradicate! (their emphasis). In Minnesota it is not listed but there is a program to eradicate it in Dakota County parks.
Japanese hedge parsley can be 8″ to 48″ tall, but in Minnesota flowering plants are usually no more than 24″ in height. In Minnesota it is a biennial, taking two years to complete its life cycle. In more southerly regions it is an annual. The stems are erect, grooved, and hairy, The leaves are fern-like, divided into three or five sections then divided again. They are covered with hairs both above and below. Tiny white flowers appear in a loose umbrella-like cluster at the end of the stem and the branches. The fruit is a small brown seed covered with hooked hairs that will stubbornly cling to any fabric.
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) is a medium-sized sandpiper. It nests in meadows and open woodlands from Alaska to Quebec, and winters mostly in South America. It is a common to locally abundant migrant throughout Minnesota from late March to early June and from July to October. In Minnesota it is found in marshes, wet meadows, mudflats, and flooded agricultural fields, and on the shores of lakes and ponds. It eats mostly flies, beetles, and other insects, but also spiders, small fish, snails, crustaceans, worms, and seeds.
The population of Lesser Yellowlegs is declining due to habitat loss in part the result of climate change. However, the species range is extremely large and the species is not considered vulnerable.
A Lesser Yellowlegs looks similar to a Greater Yellowlegs but is smaller. The adult is 10″ to 11″ in length and has a wingspan of 24″. It is a slender shorebird with a small head, a thin bill, and long, bright yellow legs. The nonbreeding plumage is uniformly gray on the upper side with fine, dark streaking. The underparts are white with small gray spots. There is a dark line from the bill to the eye. The bill is straight, thin, entirely black, and about the same length as the head.
Inland serviceberry (Amelanchier interior) is usually a large deciduous shrub, sometimes a small tree. It occurs only in a narrow range in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and Maine, east to southern Ontario and Minnesota, and south to northern Illinois and Ohio. It is found in dry forests, fields, and thickets, and on hillsides, bluffs, and stream banks. It is sometimes also found in bogs. It grows under full or partial sun in moist to dry, sandy or sandy-loamy soil.
Inland serviceberry is somewhat variable in appearance, having characteristics intermediate between other serviceberries, and having a large range of lengths of flower stalks, floral leaves (sepals), and petals. What is now defined as inland serviceberry may be hybrid swarm involving smooth serviceberry, low serviceberry, and/or roundleaf serviceberry.
Inland serviceberry is identified by the leaves, which are densely hairy below in the spring and become nearly hairless at maturity; the margins of the larger leaves, which have at least 27 teeth per side; and the ovary, which is densely hairy at the top.
Taschenberg’s long-necked ant (Dolichoderus taschenbergi) is a small odorous ant. It occurs in the United States from Maine to North Dakota, south to Georgia and Louisiana, and in Canada from Nova Scotia to Manitoba. It is uncommon throughout its range but is most abundant in the north. It is found in open areas including old fields, woodland edges, and bogs. It forms huge colonies, often with multiple queens and more than 10,000 workers. It constructs igloo-shaped dome nests, 2″ to 8″ in height, using grasses, sphagnum mosses, spruce and pine needles, and other shredded vegetation. It the spring it can sometimes be found massed aboveground warming in the sun.
Workers are uniformly colored. The overall color is sometimes interpreted as “dark brownish-black”, sometimes as “all black”, sometimes as “jet black”. The head and front part of the body are dull, the rear of the body is shiny. The last segment of the front part of the body (propodeum) is an important identifying feature. When viewed from above, the propodeum is squarish, about as long as wide. When viewed from the side, the propodeum is distinctly concave and has the appearance of a bottle opener.
Round-lobed hepatica (Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa) is one of the first wildflowers to appear in Minnesota woodlands in the spring. In early April it can be identified by the rounded, purple, three-lobed leaves laying flat on the ground. These are leaves that have overwintered from the previous year. The name hepatica is Latin for liver, and refers to the shape and color of the leaves, which resemble the human liver.
By the time the flowers appear the overwintered leaves are dying back. The flowers have from 5 to 12 white, pale pink, or pale blue petal-like sepals (usually 6), up to 30 white stamens, and a green center.
After the flowers have bloomed new green leaves emerge from the base on densely hairy stalks. The leaves are divided into 3 lobes shallowly cut to near the middle of the blade. The lobes are rounded at the tip. When young they are densely hairy with long, soft, shaggy hairs. As they age they become hairless or almost hairless.
Leatherleaf (Chamaedaphne calyculata) is common and abundant shrub of northern wetlands. It occurs throughout northern Europe and Asia and northern North America. In Minnesota it occurs in the north-central and northeast regions south to the Metro region. It is found in open areas in bogs, marshes, swamps, and floodplains, and on riverbanks and lakeshores. It grows under full sun in acidic, nutrient-poor soils. It is the dominant shrub of dwarf shrub wetland communities.
Leatherleaf is a perennial, evergreen, dwarf shrub. It can be 8″ to 60″ tall but is usually no more than 40″ in height. It often forms dense thickets. The stems have many stiff, wiry branches. The leaves often point upward from the stem. The leaf underside is densely covered with white or rust-colored scales. The inflorescence is an unbranched cluster of up to 20 small flowers hanging downward at the end of the stem and branches. The white, urn-shaped flowers appear from early May through mid-June. Flattened globe-shaped fruits ripen in the fall and remain on the plant through the winter.
Northern purple pitcherplant (Sarracenia purpurea ssp. purpurea) is an easily recognized, long-lived, carnivorous plant. There are no other plants in Minnesota that even vaguely resemble it. It occurs in the United States from Maine to New Jersey west to Minnesota, in Washington State, and throughout southern Canada. It is found in bogs, fens, swamps and peatlands. It grows under full sun in sphagnum moss or in soil that has both peat and sand. It obtains most of its nutrients from captured insects. The soil it grows in is nutrient-poor and usually acidic, and cannot support many other plants. Individual plants can live up to 50 years in favorable conditions. However, its population has been declining due to habitat loss and possibly to nitrogen deposition from air pollution.
Northern purple pitcherplant rises on a radiating rosette of 6 to 10 leaves and a single flowering stem. It often forms dense clumps, sometimes floating masses at the edges of bog ponds and lakes. The leaves are modified into pitchers with an erect hood at the top and an orifice that is open to the sky, allowing it to collect rainwater. The inner surface of the hood is covered with numerous, stiff, downward-pointing hairs. The solitary flower is purplish-red and droops at the end of a long leafless stalk.