Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ohio River: the way we roll-

While attending to several engagements in southern Ohio, I also spent an enjoyable afternoon along the river.

What could be better than a second story porch view of the Ohio River? Doo doo doo, looking out my backdoor at River Haven. This charming Bed and Breakfast is but a mile away from Manchester Island, part of the National Wildlife Refuge.

Birding and botanizing the river bluff couldn't be easier. While scaning from my roost, I found one of my favorite plants- False Indigo, Amorpha fruticosa. It is the host plant for both the Southern Dogface butterfly- a butterfly with a 'dog face' pattern on the wings- and the amazing Amorpha Borer! That alone would be a good start for a backyard bio-blitz.

Just below the porch are the groundskeepers. Goat's make outstanding botany browsers and invasive plant control. They are increasingly popular for invasive vegetation mitigation. But please- don't let them eat the Amorpha!

A bit further to the west on Rt. 52, lies another historic Ohio River town, Ripley. Their waterfront area has a beautiful walkway, reminiscent of ones found in Charleston, South Carolina.

On down the street is the Parker House, complete with a placard telling of the black man who bought his way to freedom, and of Ripley's own John Rankin, an active member of of the underground railroad movement to free slaves in the mid 1800's. The Rankin name rang a bell for me, as Lexington Ohio also boasts of a Rankin underground railroad house of it own. Must have been a family business.

The next couple of days will be packed with birds (and a little botany) from Adams and Scioto County. It has certainly been warm here in southern Ohio, but we pay it no heed, just like Old Man River- we keeps on rolling along.

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