Spring teased us with a sneak preview this past weekend, before snow slapped us back to the realities of April. But even a couple inches of snow and near freezing temps can't diminishing my joy.
|A Red Admiral butterfly basks in the sun.|
This Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) butterfly is collecting sun rays in order to start the day. Butterflies, like many insects and reptiles, are exothermic. Most butterflies will not start flying until it is near 50 degrees outside. Frequently, you can find them warming their wings in this fashion on cooler mornings. They gather heat from the sun.
|Trout Lily in full bloom|
The Trout-lilies (Erythronium americanum) were in full bloom at the Highlands of Ohio Sanctuary near Bainbridge, Ohio. Our spring display of ephemeral flora is generally short lived, and this year will probably be shorter than ever, due a long lasting winter.
|Look closely! Not all pollinators are bees.|
* It turns out these beetles are Red-necked False Blister Beetles, Asclera fuficollis. It is more likely they are feeding upon the pollen. Maybe they do some "collateral pollination" in the process!
|Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers like insects too.|
Dolomite outcroppings festooned with flora.
If you are into outrageous displays of spring ephemerals and rock-covered flowers are your thing, you simply must go here: http://arcofappalachia.org/events/wildflower.html All spring-starved eyes will be sated in the preserves set aside by the Arc of Appalachia. If you are not already otherwise engaged this Easter weekend, you may still be able to register for their Wildflower Pilgrimage by calling ahead. Don't miss the trip to Barret's Rim!
|Look deep into the "eye" of this trillium.|
Please notice there is much more in our forests than "trees." A healthy forest ecosystem is filled with biodiversity. Forests include everything from salamanders to butterflies, and all the creepy-crawly, buzzing, bumbling pollinators that service our flowers, shrubs and trees. Where would we be without them?
Too often our state and national forests are "managed" for the benefit of one species or another; the losers are often the innocent and very essential forces that make life in the forests bloom. Birds and small mammals feed on caterpillars and countless moths, gnats and beetles round out the Masterpiece Theatre of everyday life and death struggles in the forest. Generally they don't need us to intercede in their ecosystems. They have been at this a long, long time.
If you have not done so ready, please read my last blog post and consider signing the Sierra Club's form encouraging the state to stop spraying in our forest. Our much needed pollinators are trying to make a living out there!