I was sitting out on the back deck a couple weeks ago (coincidentally with a guest who works for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) and we noticed these fluttering things hanging around the flowers that looked like hummingbirds. But, they were a little different than a hummingbird. I snapped a few photos but they flutter around and are hard to catch with my smart phone camera.
They seem to like some little white flowers we had at the time, but also other flowers. They are almost exactly the same size as a hummingbird, curious critters.
It turns out they are technically a “White-lined sphinx moth” (Hyles lineata), a species of hawk moth. The caterpillars feed on morning glory plants, elm, apple, 4 o’clocks, and several less well known plants. The moths pollinate just like hummingbirds and defend their nectar sources. They are interesting moths indeed.
A few days before the torrential rains of last week showed up and washed out part of Welch (which is why the Cannon Valley Trail is only open to Welch at the moment), I stopped on the bike and snapped a couple photos of this dedication and a shot of the Welch Station. The dedication has the map of the trail but also some very cool pottery style art. If you zoom in you can see quite a bit of detail went into this. The names of the people and organizations that have donated significantly to the trail are also listed toward the top on the left end. If you have never biked the Cannon Valley Trail, I highly recommend it, it is a really nice trail.
Once the trail gets back to normal operations, they will resume the events they have started to do in the early afternoon on Saturdays. The day I was there they had cantina music and fresh cut watermelon.
I expect this kind of thing will be going again by next weekend.