Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ottawa N.W.R. Auto Tour

There are all sorts of drive-thru opportunities in this fast paced world: hamburgers, banking and pharmacies are just a few. My favorite takes a bit longer, but is well worth the trip.

Crane Creek, as seen from the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge auto tour.

In a short hour and a half (or longer if you choose) birders can get their birding "fix" on the go. Zoom, zoom. Common Gallinule, Red-necked Phalarope, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs and a host of birds in between can be seen from the comfort of your car. OK, I admit we had to get out and really look for the phalarope, but it was so worth it!

And it is not only birds! A short walk along these dikes provides ample opportunity for excellent botanizing.
Whorled Milkweed, Asclepias verticillata

Looking rather bland and unassuming to the untrained eye, this plant was one of the highlights of my trip. It is not everyday we find this milkweed, in fact- I am not sure I can name one other place I could consistently find it closer than Adams County.

The narrow leaves might not indicate "milkweed" to most people, but a close-up look at the flower tells the tale. Besides, the monarch butterfly caterpillars can use it as a host plant, and you can't fool the monarchs!

Another huge surprise we found on today's tour, a brightly colored plover. Holy Mackeral!!! It is a Rose-breasted Plover!? What rarity can this be? Some folks were getting pretty excited.

But a few of us remembered a recent post on the Ohio Birding network List-serv. These folded nets also reminded us of the important banding work that goes on at Ottawa NWR. I have attached the notice below. It is a pretty good explanation of the rose-breasted plover.

SPECIAL THANKS: To the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge for allowing birders some additional days to tour the refuge. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to learn more about the birds, plants and even the insects that are found in our Lake Erie marshes. Thank you again, from of all Ohio's nature lovers.

PS: Birders, don't forget to buy your "Duck Stamp" which helps support the purchase and maintenance of wetland habitats.

1 comment:

  1. Cool Plover..ha..guess it had a few people excited..I will keep my eyes out for one..A green one would be cool..hee hee