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A December afternoon in Minnesota?

This afternoon I took a short hike through some woods on my parent's property while visiting. Though it has been its typical cold self, this Minnesota winter has had a tough time keeping snow on the ground (however, according to the usually incorrect weatherman, this is about to change). Although I did take over 250 photos on my brief walk, I managed to quickly pick a couple that I like.

Minnehaha Falls

On the edge of the Minneapolis city limits is a famous park known as "Minnehaha Park" which is home to Minnehaha Creek and the iconic falls. The Creek runs from Lake Minnetonka until it merges with the Mississippi River 22 miles later. The word "Minnehaha" translates to "laughing water" in the Dakota language.
The 193-acre park is located near where the Creek joins the Mississippi, with the falls being the main visitor attraction.
This final photo was taking facing downriver on the peninsula between where the Mississippi and  Minnehaha meet.

Shore Crabs

Several days ago I posted how on a recent trip to Washington State I traveled out to Whidbey Island, which is several miles off the coast, near Seattle. In that post I showed you some photos of a baby seal that I had come across, however that wasn't the only animal inhabiting these rocky beaches.
There are several species of small shore crabs in the area, and watching them scurry around the beach is very entertaining. Photographing them posed to be somewhat of a challenge as they don't sit still for very long . Though there are some larger species of crabs living along the coast of the Pacific Northwest these little crustaceans are my personal favorite due to their unique behaviors and "attitudes".

New Layout

Hey everyone! If you've been following WP Nature Photography you'll notice the new layout that I have. With that said, not everything looks 100% "normal" on it yet (the right hand side of the images in my posts are cut off, along with all sorts of problems on the sidebar). However in the next couple of days I'll be working on it and adjusting it so that it will look better then ever! Just thought I'd fill you guys in!

Nonetheless this is a nature photography blog, so here is a picture of a North American River Otter that was swimming around in his exhibit at a zoo that I recently visited.


The Babysitter that always gets murdered

This Sphinx Moth caterpillar obviously has quite the burden on its shoulders - unwanted baby wasps. This gruesome tale all starts when a female parasitic wasp (from the wasp family "Braconidae") uses a syringe-like tool to lay her eggs beneath the surface of a caterpillar's skin. The eggs will eventually hatch and the baby wasps will eat their way out of the caterpillar's body. Once they have emerged from the caterpillar's innards they form white cocoons (shown in the picture above) where they will stay until they finish developing into little wasps. When ready, they will break open the tops of the cocoons and fly away. Bad news for the victim caterpillars however, as they perish in the process.

I found this guy munching on some leaves a couple of summers ago and was intrigued to photograph something so unique. Though it may seem sad from the Sphinx Moth's point of view, it is almost impossible to not be fascinated by the wasps and their strange way of hatching and growing.