Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marblehead Quarry: Marsh Wrens and Orchids

When you send a Weedpicker out to take photos at a Birding conference, the truth is: you are gonna end up with botany shots. "I yam what I yam," said the sweet potato...

In the midst of Marblehead quarry is the Lakeside Daisy Preserve, home to some of the rarest plants in Ohio. The Slender Foxglove, Agalinis tenuifolia was in the final days of its late summer bloom. This miniature Scrophulariaceae (think Snap-dragon family) is right at home on the limestone pavement of the quarry floor.

Sunrise peaks over the edge of the quarry, highlighting the Red-cedar, Juniperus virginiana trees (another lime-lover) and the low growing, purplish stems of the afore mentioned Slender Foxglove. The colors were breath-taking and I had the good fortune of sharing this morning with good friends.

Orchid Alert! The Great Plains Ladies'-tresses, Spiranthes magnicamporum, seemed to be everywhere this year! This finger-sized plant is just about to open, and each orchid bloom will spiral as it goes. Careful where you step- that "grass" is the foreground is actually the leaves to one of Ohio's rarest plants: Lakeside Daisy, Hymenoxys herbacea. You must visit Marblehead in May ( same as IMB Day) to get the full effect of this little beauty. It covers the quarry floor with a blush of yellow. Go here for a photo...

Every party has a crasher, and Greg and Leslie Cornett wandered off to the far back edge of the preserve to peer into the Giant Reed, Phragmites australis- the invasive plant that has become the uninvited guest in so many of Ohio's wetlands.

............................................... photo by: Greg Cornett
Ah, at least this invasive plant provided a resting spot for a lovely Marsh Wren... our token bird for this trip!
Thanks friends, for sharing the day and the whole Midwest Birding Weekend- let's do it again in 2011.


  1. I love all of your MBS posts. I'll be sure to head over to the Lakeside Daisy Preserve when I go up in spring. I almost made it here, but time ran out. Since, I've been reading a lot about the place. It's fun seeing all the different posts coming out of the symposium. It was a wonderful event. Sounds like you put a LOT of work into it! Thank you!

  2. Hey Kelly-
    It was so nice to meet you in person! We should have set a time for all the bloggers to gather at the Big Sit for a round of introductions!

    See you in 2011- if not before! cheryl

  3. Boy-o! Did Greg get a great photo or what! And it's even from behind...

  4. You sure Yam what u Yam...and we wouldnt want to change that!
    nice flower sightings!

  5. Nice photos of a wonderful site! I went there with some people two of the mornings at MBS, and we had a great time birding and botanizing. I wonder if that purple foxglove might be Agalinis tenuifolia, the Slender Foxglove, with the flowers held on elongate pedicels...?


  6. AH- I have been punked out! :) And this is the difference between a Weedpicker and a Botanist.

    Thanks Jim, for keeping me honest- we do want the correct labels on the plants, and I appreciate your help. Cheryl

  7. I have to give credit to Dave Helm for locating and sharing the marsh wren. This was my first set of marsh wren photos thanks to Dave H. !