Friday, April 29, 2011
Silvery Blue- LUCK shot by Greg Miller
Many of my butterfly friends have gathered to join Jaret Daniels for 2 days on the back roads of Scioto and Adams Counties. And as early as Thursday we were all prescouting for a Silvery Blue- a rarity - no bigger than our Spring Azures.
So how do you tell the difference? First off, the host plant. You must have Carolina Vetch. Check.
Second- the underside of the wing has relatively evenly rounded black circles. The top side has a gossamer blue with black-edging. But no one I know has ever seen or photographed the top side! Until now, leave it to "Miller Luck." Greg photographed this rare skulker, and then asked me- "So what is this? " Ahhhh!
How can that be? A beautiful photo of a super lucky find? It seems only fair that I might get some avian rarity as payback! Wish me luck at Flora-Quest.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Squirrel Corn, Dicentra canadensis is a little less common than its relative Dutchman's Breeches. The flowers are all white, and more heart-shaped than the pant-like shapes of that other springtime favorite. But once you smell the sweet fragrance of squirrel corn, you will understand why it is so highly prized.
Monday, April 25, 2011
They are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame, and you can follow the story ripped straight out of the headlines of the Columbus Dispatch.
Four more days until Flora-Quest... and yes, I am keeping busy!
Thursday, April 21, 2011
The host opens his yard or farm up to a variety of bird obsessed folks, and a whole new perspective of birding begins to form.
Bullock's Oriole in Woodsfield, Ohio photo by C. Harner
Currently (as of 4/21/11) a western bird, Bullock's Oriole is being seen in eastern Ohio. The gracious hosts, Bob and Martie welcomed people into their lives... and gained an unusual perspective on birding. Martie wrote a wonderful story, and I told her I would be proud to host it. So to read Martie's Oriole story- click on the tab, "Hosting the Bullock's Oriole" at the top of this page (and enjoy her clever wit.)
A what do rare birds have to do with botany?
Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) and Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), at the Yoder Farm.
Yesterday, being a "weedpicker" paid off. While looking to re-located a Varied Thrush on Andy Yoder's family's farm... of course, I was looking down.... at wildflowers. I did stop to give every "Robin" the once over.
... Varied Thrush Photo by Minette Layne
I had no more arrived at the property when I can across the female Varied Thrush foraging through wet leaves a short distance in front of me. Utterly stunned- I froze. I even forgot to reach for my camera in my excitement! I tried to motion to the others without creating TOO big a scene, and by the time I turned back I had lost my opportunity for a photo.
And so, today many eyes are searching the wet woods in hope of catching a glimpse of this lovely thrush. My advice, keep your eyes on the ground! I am sure it will be re-found.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Kentucky Spring Salamander- one species you might expect to find in say- Kentucky? Or perhaps West Virginia and the southern parts of Ohio.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Fire is added to the landscape at Daughmer Savannah, our state newest- and 135th State Nature Preserve. Managed by Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, now under the Ohio State Parks.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Red-spotted Newts have a perplexing life cycle. Eggs are laid in the water, and 3-4 months after hatching, the juvenile crawl onto shore to begin a terrestrial phase of life as a brightly colored Red-Eft. Their bold coloration is a warning: TOXIC personality! Since they are poisonous, they fear no predators and can occasionally be found on rainy days as they boldly cross woodland trails.
After 3-7 years they return to the water, changing to a mature coloration of olive green and - you guessed it- red spots! Their tail flattens and becomes keeled for this aquatic stage of life. Although their appearance changes, they keep their toxicity into adulthood.
Ah, a handsome fellow! But how do we know it is a fellow?
The males acquire this dark patches of rough skin on their hind legs and toes during mating season.
These "nuptial pads" are best compared to those sticky black mats you may use on your dash board to keep sunglasses and cellphones within reach.
"Nuptial pads" photo by John Howard
With true Salamanders, the mating season involves much snout rubbing and tail waving... and let's just say, these pads come in useful. They disappear after the mating season.
The life-cycle of the RSN is a bit more complicated than other salamanders, and are certainly the most toxic. If you do have an opportunity to handle one of these beasts- be sure to wash your hands well afterward.
And don't lick the Newt.
A very special thanks to Mr. John Howard for his amazing photos. He and Janet Creamer will be leading Quest 7, "Streamside" for Flora-Quest. Call me if you want in (419-683-8952), there are only 2 places left!
Monday, April 4, 2011
The "Father of American Botany," Benjamin Smith Barton named Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, to honor Thomas Jefferson. It was not his political prowess or scientific accomplishments, but rather Barton cited "his knowledge of natural history."
Jefferson was a man of great curiosity, and it is fitting that this curious flower is his namesake. It is the only plant in this genus, and oddly enough- one of its relatives is Barberry.
The subtle white flowers are short lived, often lasting but a day. The corolla resembles that of a Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, however the similarity end there. This flower was conspicuously present on the Twinleaf Trail at Whipple, and although the flower will be past, it is still well worth seeking out the plant.
The Twinleaf is well named, easily recognizable by the paired leaves (two leaf + diphylla.) Is it any wonder these plants with delicate butterfly-like "wings" would capture my imagination? This was a plant I have dreamed of seeing in flower, since my childhood. It is not everyday one fulfills childhood dreams. Let's protect them in our Natural Areas and Preserves for future children of great curiosity.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Photo from previous year...