A crowd of nearly thirty gathered this morning to walk the Lakefront path in search of birds and witty humor. Fortunately, both were in good supply. A Caspian Tern performed as if on cue and our guide, Bill Thompson III, was able to correctly identify all those Great Blue Herons and Ring-billed Gulls which are so easy to confuse.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
- Sunday June 28, 1:00 PM: Seven vehicles roll out of the Lowe-Volk Park of Crawford County, with a mixed assemblage of park and Greater Mohican Audubon members. We are in pursuit of flora.
Prairie Fringed Orchid, Platanthera leucophaea, a bird's-eye view reveals individual flowers look a bit like an doll wearing a large prairie bonnet.
- This Federally Endangered species resides at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area under the management of ODNR- remember to purchase a Wildlife Conservation license plate to help support them, as our legislature is hacking their funds to balance a budget. My wildlife diversity plate says: Shovler.
Here is our group, at least the not-shy ones, we were 17 in total. Warren Uxley was the leader of this flora foray, and a knowledgeable fellow to have about. This photo was from our second stop- the 'weed portion of the tour: Castalia Resthaven Prairie Wildlife Area.
Male Bobolink singing, photo by Brian Zwiebel
The most sought-after stars of the day were the Bobolinks, but Eastern Meadowlarks and Savannah Sparrows were also welcomed.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Featured in the Richland County Enviro-garden, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentillia fruiticosa, is a plant found in fens like Cedar Bog, and one of the few natives the plant nurseries have picked up on. It thrives in the most hostile environment- like homes with 3 or more teenagers- or wet or dry conditions. This is one of the most adaptable plants I know. No wonder it is found in every McDonald's landscape in America, but don't hold that against this beautiful, showy shrub.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A prickly looking beasty, isn't it? Sometimes those "stingers" pack a wallop- so my policy is not to touch the scary looking ones. Get Janet to do it!
The best guide for sorting caterpillars is Wagner's, if you don't have it- get it. Even a novice can sort "cats" by these incredible photos. Once you have a little experience you'll know which group to head for, straight away. And learn to rely on the botanical hints in the back of the book. Your caterpillar is on Milkweed? Could be a Monarch or a Tussock Moth.
Our botany, which appeared to be a mint, did not provide a very good clue. Since this caterpillar was quite large- probably last instar- he could be on the walkabout many take just prior to metamorphosis. Don't jump to hasty conclusions, chrysalises are often found on something other than the host plant.
Our mystery solved: The caterpillar's appearance, along with the host plant in the area, plus its preferred location of a swampy area next to a steam, all add up to this beautiful creature.
Photo by John Howard
Look closely- this is not a Pearl Crescent, but rather a Silvery Checkerspot. Sightly larger than the crescent, look for that "open" white spot on the lower wing. This Southern Ohio specialty is being seen more frequently towards the north, and it makes me appreciate the common host plant Wingstem, Verbesina alternafolia just a little bit more!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Did you get it? Kenn Kaufman just had a great article in Birdwatcher's Digest about fledgling birds and their bizarre plumage...hint, hint. OK, give up?
It is a baby Bobolink, making short work of a little lepidopteran snack. We hope to see tons of them next Saturday, June 27th at the Bobolinks and Butterflies at Byers Woods event. You can read the schedule at the GMAS website or follow the Bobolink photo on the sidebar of this blog. But either way, don't miss this chance to support our on-going conservation efforts in Ashland County and a lot of fun too. We'll have the standard 9:00 am GMAS Bird walk and a special set-up of spotting scopes at 11:00 am- so the public can really get a good view of the Bobolinks and other grassland birds. Bring the kiddies out to see our famous migrant from Argentina!
And check out our new sign! Thanks to an Audubon mini-grant, folks can learn all about these special birds. The Ashland Park District folks will be grilling up the hot-dogs and Don Beam of Stucker Meadow will be presenting info on Butterflies and plants- with a great selection of HARD TO FIND native Ohio plants for sale. And now the butterfly fanatics are angling to have an informal butterfly foray at 1:30 pm. Milbert's Tortoiseshells and Harvesters have been seen on this weekend in the past.
We have come a long way from that first seminar in 2007 with Jim McCormac's phenomenal Grassland Birds program and Dr. Stoffer's Butterflies of Byer's Woods. So do the good thing- support conservation and come have a great time! Hope to see you there.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Painting Rocks has always been a favorite rainy-day past-time for Lakeside's youth. This is a true "Rock Garden" -one to be appreciated on many levels: the color, the durability, the lack of maintenance and the pure whimsy.
Lakeside- gathering eccentrics together for over 125 years! It is good to come home.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Grass Pink, Calopogon puchellus an exquisite orchid. Puchellus is Latin for beautiful.
and a Five-line Skink. Check out the blue tail!
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The native plant, Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, host to the life pageant of the small.
All these amazing photos are the property of John Howard, many thanks to him. Double click on any of them to see them in unbelievable detail.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Supply equals demand: a basic tenet of economics, and it is true in landscape too. If people ASK for native plants at the local nurseries, they will have to start carrying them.
So ASK for serviceberry, elderberry, redbuds, wild cherry, river birch, Ohio native viburnums and dogwoods! And tell those good people working at your local stores about the Wild Ones and our mission to spread the good news according to St. Fiacre, the patron saint of gardeners everywhere!
I made a foray to the local plant-yards in Richland county, and the sales people were surprisingly clueless as to actual native plants, or why folks would want them.
Now I know I am preaching to the choir, but let's get out there and ask for these plants that host the moths, beetles and butterflies of Ohio- 'cause the birds of Ohio want to eat them!
And if you aren't sure which plants we are talking about- go to the Wild Ones link above and sign right up for the Midwest Native Plant Conference. I will look forward to seeing you there!
Monday, June 8, 2009
A Killdeer sits patiently on her nest as I walk by each day.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Click on the blue link to watch an exciting film clip from 2007's Ohio Dragonfly Conference. Be sure to watch the footage of Dr Dennis Paulson, Bob Glotzhober, Larry Rosche, Jim McCormac and others.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
How could Home Depot improve upon this? A burst of light in the form of a water flower, it is about as close to perfection as a plant gets. Add to its beauty a subtle fragrance and it becomes clear, non-native plants cannot offer any more than the native plants already in our natural areas.
Non-natives bought at stores often escape and create a nightmare in our wetlands. Purple Loosestrife and Flowering-rush are two imports that probably seemed like a good idea at the time, but something went terribly astray. In fact, the plants went astray and have been creating havoc and costing big $$$ in order to eradicate them from native wetlands.
Please- buy responsibly- purchase native plants for your water gardens and leave the invasives where they belong, stuck in a big-box store.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
River Jewelwing photo by Dennis Paulson (used with permission.)
Odonates, damsel and dragonflies, are bio indicators for water quality and interesting insects in their own right. Our featured damselfly is known for the unusual courtship flight by the males, and the mind-blowing underwater egg laying feat accomplished by the females.
Why should we botany types care about insects? There is still much we can learn from studying insects and their adaptations, both physical and chemical. Many have a special relationship with a host plant, and knowing botany can increase our odds of searching out these rare species. Just focus the search in the location of the host plants, i.e. milkweed plants and monarch butterflies.
River Jewelwings are said to lay their eggs on Eel Grass, Vallisneria americana. So if there are other River Jewelwings to be found in Ohio- we might be well to put a botanist on the job. Better yet, a botanist who knows their insects will have a distinct advantage!
For more information about these and other odonates found in Ohio, you'll want to get a copy of the very fine guide, Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio which was produced by the folks at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.