Sunday, April 26, 2009

Looking for Something to Do Next Weekend????

There are some great events coming up next weekend. Your blogger plans to be at both. Yes, I am a bit crazy, if you haven't figured that out already. Plus, the weather is predicted to be bee-yoo-tee-full!

This FREE family friendly event is held at the Hueston Woods Nature Center and surrounding area near Oxford, OH Saturday May 16th and Sunday May 17th. Adult bird walks start at 7am Saturday morning. I will be leading a few of the bird walks and possibly assisting with banding on Sunday. For more info go here.

Open to the public, the event features:
Hourly bird walks
Numerous activities for children
Bird banding demonstrations on Sunday
Canoe Excursion
Raptor Show
Seminars on: Young Birders Club, Basic Birding, Landscaping for Birds, and more
Variety of food and merchandise vendors
Live music

Next up, the Ohio Ornithological Society's Annual Conference and Meeting is Saturday May 16th. This year it is situated near the Oak Openings, an area near Toledo that is chock full of rare plants and animals.

Three great speakers are lined up. Kim Kaufman from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Jim Berry from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and Jim McCormac, birder/botanist/author/blogger and President of the Ohio Ornithological Society. Come hear some great speakers on Saturday, then spend Sunday in the field enjoying the amazing biodiversity of the region. One should be able to see Karner Blue butterflies, Wild Lupine and other incredible botanical treasures, including many rare plants, and of course don't forget the birds! Warblers should be still moving through in good numbers. For more info go here .

What a great way to enjoy the weekend. Hope I see some of you there!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Few New Arrivals...

My friend John Howard has taken some great warbler pictures this month and here are a few of the newer arrivals to Ohio and Indiana.

Louisiana Waterthrush. I was able to watch one for quite a while in Southern Ohio last weekend at Cave Lake. They have such a beautiful song with three loud distinct notes followed by a melodic jumble. Such sleek birds, you can find them secretively poking around the waters edge.
Yellow Warbler. Who could not like this bird? Bright yellow with red pinstriping, it is one of our more common warblers. A very cheerful song of see-see-see titi see. I usually find them in areas with lots of small trees or large shrubs.

Like animals? Visit this site for more Camera Critters.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Skywatch Friday-Southeastway Park, Indianapolis

This morning I noticed how beautiful the pink blossoms of the Redbud trees looked against the bright blue sky.

For more beautiful skies all over the world, please visit the Skywatch Friday site.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Rattlesnake Request

Lisa at Greenbow commented that she would like to see pics of the Timber Rattlesnake. My encounter was very brief, so I didn't get any photos, but my friend John Howard shared with me some amazing ones. These are all of of juvenile Timber Rattlesnakes, which by judging from the thickness of the snake, is like the one I encountered.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Crossvine and the Critter

On Saturday, I had a work day at Cave Lake YMCA camp near Latham, OH. It was a great day and I had all kinds of cool encounters that I will cover in another post. Since I was so close to Shawnee and the Crossvine, Bignonia capreolata, was not in bloom yet a couple weekends ago on the Wild Ones trip, I shot down there afterwards hoping to get a few pics and see this amazing flower. I was not disappointed.

I got to the cliff face where the Crossvine was located. I scanned the wall and found a lovely patch blooming not too far up. I took a few pics and realized-hey, if I step there and climb up a bit here, I could get a really good view.
I am a bit of a clutz. One of my nicknames is "Grace" because of my awkwardness, so I was being very careful. I have broken a few ribs, a finger and have sprained ankles on past forays. I did not want that to happen. So I cautious stepped to make sure I had secure footing, then up I went slow and easy.
The blossoms were even more breath-taking close up. I was standing there cheesing like a Cheshire cat. I had asked my brother to come along, but he was pooped from the work day. So it was just me and the flowers and I was taking it all in. Then I heard a rustling noise...

Just where I had stepped, I noticed a tan snake with a dark-brown block shaped pattern disappear into the cliff face. My heart went into my throat. Yes, boys and girls. A Timber Rattler. Right where I had just stepped in my Keen sandals moments before.

Oh, but did that stop me. Oh, no! I had been wishing to see a wild Timber Rattlesnake for quite a while. I will willingly pick up most non-venomous ones, to the shock of some of my friends. And, I needed a few more pics. So, I figured I was going to make sure Mr. Snake had a chance to go his way, before I stepped back down. Click, click, click...

So I got my Crossvine and a Timber Rattler to boot! What a nice way to end the day! I called my friend, John Howard, and he let me know that Timber Rattlesnakes here in Ohio are fairly docile. Good information to know!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shawnee State Forest-Henry's Elfin

This past weekend I went butterfly watching with my friend Jim Davidson and a few others from the Ohio Lepidopterist Society Butterfly Observers Group. What fun! A gorgeous day and great company is always welcome.

We were in search of a small butterfly called Henry's Elfin. In Ohio, Henry's Elfin caterpillar feeds on the host plant Redbud, Cercis canadensis. The adults also like to nectar from it, as well. We walked along a horse trail off of Forest Road 5 and found 50-60 of these little wonders. It was amazing!

Redbud blossoms

I took quite a few pics of the minute beauties. They are masters of camouflage. See if you can spot the Henry's Elfin in the pic below.

Can you see it? I know where it is at, and I still lose track!

Camouflaged to look like a dead leaf, here is a closer look.

Still can't find it? How about now...?

Perched on the light colored stick in the middle of the pic. Perfectly camouflaged.

Here is another Henry's Elfin, also camouflaged, sitting on the rocks along the road. If you don't keep your eye on them when they fly, they virtually disappear.

Nature never ceases to amaze!