Once every three years, my mother’s side of the family gathers at a lake resort in Minnesota for a big family reunion. While Minnesota isn’t known as an exotic vacation destination, we so look forward to this trip. Thunderstorms, lightning bugs, fishing, late night campfires, tons and tons of cousins!
I’ve spent time looking for birds on these vacations before. Minnesota is great for birding as it contains the eastern/western range limits (or near enough) for lots of species. During this visit, the only birding I did was to chase down one gray catbird in a thicket. I enjoyed the calls of blue jays and cardinals which don’t live where I do, and loved hearing the lonely eery call of a common loon in the middle of the night.
Catching up with cousins, watching my kids reconnect with theirs and aunts and uncles too — that’s what it’s about. I only paid a little more attention to trees during this visit than I had in the past. We were spoiled by cool temps in the 70’s, so we didn’t even have to hurry around moving our gatherings into shade.
But before trees, what you need to see of summer in Minnesota is the sky.
You get the idea.
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes (actually 11,842), chances are you haven’t heard of Lake Koronis, our destination for the last 4 reunions. I enjoy observing trees around the lake, if only because they are different than what I see in the Pacific Northwest. Photos below and my best guess ID with help from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
I’ve seen bur oak, Quercus macrocarpa, planted in Portland. It’s one of the most common trees in Minnesota.
Here are the large, irregularly lobed leaves.
And the fringed acorn cups.
Ironwood or eastern hophornbeam, Ostrya virginiana
Boxelder, Acer negundo
Northern white cedar, Thuja occidentalis (yes, aroborvitae)
Silver maple, Acer saccharinum, difficult to capture the leaves always dancing in the wind.
I love the shaggy bark.
Ash, Fraxinus sp. Green? White? Black? I haven’t a clue…
American basswood (linden), Tilia americana
Cottonwood, Populus deltoides, var. occidentalis
A tree tour of Minnesota can’t overlook these at the Mall of America.