Thursday, May 13, 2010

On a Lark at Oak Openings

The most botanically diverse location in Ohio is the Oak Openings. And along with botanical diversity, comes interesting animal and avian life. So it is no surprise the Oak Openings is a favorite place to visit, and I easily agreed to be the bus driver for one of BSBO's field trips to the "Oaks."

While strolling along Wilkins Rd. looking for warblers, we were smitten with these Cinnamon ferns, Osmunda cinnamomea in full glory. The fertile fronds of these woodland beauties look like a cinnamon sticks, hence the name. I am generally fern-impaired, but this is one is fairly obvious!

Warbler neck. Yup, most of my friends have it this time of year, and one of our guides, Elliot Tramer did his best to show our friend Mary how to properly achieve the stabbing pains that accompany watching for birds high up in the trees.
"Warblering" is a bit more fun at Magee Marsh, where they are more likely to be at eye-level. So, we moved on to see the "rare in Ohio" birds the Oaks are known for: Lark Sparrows.
The Oak Openings are the remains of a post-glacial sand beach. The only modern day shifting sand dunes in Ohio are perfect habitat for this ground nesting western species! A sign warns folks to stay out of this area during their breeding season. Click here (Dave Lewis' photo of Lark Sparrow, taken on last year's OOS trip to the Oaks) to see one of Ohio's most attractive sparrows.

Here is the habitat: scrubby oaks, sand dunes, rare plants= rare birds!

A little closer look at those wild Blue Lupine, Lupinus perennis- the host plant for those rare Karner Blue butterflies. For more info on the rare plants and animal of the Oaks, visit Blue Weekend 2010.

Tell 'em the Weedpicker sent you!


  1. Cheryl- You know that I've never visited the Oak Openings when the lupines were actually in bloom? I'm typically there in the mid to late summer- I really should get up there this weekend, shouldn't I? But then I've got to get to Magee Marsh too! So much to see, so much to do in May.

  2. don't ya just love those lupine blooms? gosh, we've had so much rain that they must look out of this world! such a sight!! So exciting.. better get to Blue Weekend tomorrow at Kitty Todd and get your fill!

  3. I was over at Our Little Acre. Always looking for Ohio bloggers to follow. Yours is definitely a keeper. Have fun with the camera and beware of the ticks and mosquitos.

  4. Hi All-
    Glad you are enjoying the lupine photos- the only thing better is seeing them in person! Friend Jackie tells me the Karners are not out yet- but we will keep you posted when they make their appearance!

  5. Way to go Weed-picker!! All of these places need witnesses, people to go look,listen, appreciate, and then tell others what they saw. You and your cohorts play an essential role in keeping these places open and ,ultimately on mission. So, I'm greatful to those who give money or fight and lobby to protect these places,as many of you do, but those who do nothing more than go there and bear witness are playing an important role too.