Thursday, June 25, 2009

Siebenthaler Fen

Last Sunday, I visited Siebenthaler Fen near Beaver Creek, Ohio. This is another one of the field trip options for the Midwest Native Plants Conference. I had a great visit with lots of great finds.

I was greeted by this friendly critter-a Northern Pearly Eye. It buzzed my head a few times, begging me to chase after it. It finally landed on a leaf and cooperated so I could snap its pic.
I also saw my first ever Baltimore Checkerspot. I was so excited and was so engrossed in studying the intricate pattern, I completely forgot to take its picture! So here is one from Wikipedia.
Delicate and lacey, the elderberry was in full bloom. It had a pleasant yet somewhat strange scent. Many insects were attracted to the flowers.

Sedges are often underappreciated and there were many to admire at Siebenthaler. This one is Carex davisii, Davis' sedge. I love the golden seedheads that gracefully dangle from the stem. I will cover more sedges in my next post.

Wild Sweetwilliam, Phlox maculata, brightened the path along the boardwalk. Maculata means "spotted" and there are tiny purple spots all along the stem.

I was excited to find one Michigan Lily blooming. How beautiful! Michigan Lily has whorled leaves surrounding the stem. I have only seen this plant one time prior.

Huge cabbage-like leaves of Skunk Cabbage was all along the boardwalk. If you crush the leaf, you will soon know why it is called skunk cabbage. This plant has an interesting flower that emerges in late Feb and early March.

Swamp Rose, Rosa palustris, was prevalent along the boardwalk. It will be in peak bloom very soon.

Sensitive Fern was a welcome find. Its name comes from the fact that it is very sensitive to frost.

The oval shaped leaves of Canada Burnet. It will have a pretty white spike of blossoms in mid-July.

Queen-of-the-prairie has a beautiful pink plume that reminds me of cotton candy. It is in the rose family and has a wonderful rose-like scent.

I am always glad to see Common Milkweed because there are always plenty of interesting bugs around. Here is a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth, Hemaris thysbe. The thysbe name comes from the deep red color on the moth and is in reference to the Greek tradgedy Pyramis and Thisbe. You can read more about it at my other blog here.

This is the Ailanthus Webworm Moth, Atteva punctella. I love its complex orange and yellow pattern. Look at the beautiful Common Milkweed blossom. I have no idea why this plant is not sold in garden stores. It smells fantastic and its round pink blossoms are just gorgeous.
Hope to see you at the Midwest Native Plants conference!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wildflowers and Wildlife at Cedar Bog

On Saturday, my sister and I went to see the orchids at Cedar Bog. We were not disappointed. Cedar Bog is one of the field trip options for the Midwest Native Plant Conference and is chock full of fascinating wildflowers and wildlife.

We were greeted by a Yellow-breasted Chat, chattering away in a nearby tree. I tried to coax him out with no luck, so here is a Wikipedia shot.

The Showy Lady's Slippers were almost past bloom, but there were still a few hanging on. What beautiful blossoms, like delicate Cinderella slippers.
Grass-pink Orchids peppered the area. My camera does not do these flowers justice. They are a gorgeous fuschia pink.

Another shot just because I really like them that much : )

I never knew that sundews lived in Ohio until last year. I had always thought they lived farther south, since the first ones I encountered were in Alabama. This one is Round-leaved Sundew. They can be found near the boardwalk, but can be easily missed if you are not carefully looking for them.

Sundews are carnivorous plants that attract tiny insects to their small sticky droplets of liquid you can see in the photo above. The insect is trapped and soon dies of exhaustion from struggling or asphyxiation from the mucilage covering their spiracles from which they breathe. Not a great way to go! The plant then secretes digestive juices and the leaves absorbs the nutrients that are released. Mmmmmm, bug guts!

We soon encountered a moth that reminds me of a paper airplane. This one is LeConte's Haploa Moth, Haploa lecontei.

We looked in vain for the Spotted Turtle, an rare inhabitant of Cedar Bog. So here is a pic from Wikipedia.

Large patches of this beauty, Fringed Loosestrife, was prevalent. Such a cheerful, sunny flower!

Great Angelica towered over the boardwalk six to seven feet high. Not really a "pretty" wildflower, Angelica can be appreciated for its interesting round inflorescences.

My sister did not know it, but I was looking for this critter, a Massassauga Rattlesnake, hoping we would see one. No luck. Thanks, Wikipedia, for the image.
This is not a bumble bee, but a robber fly imitating a bumble bee. This one is in the genus Laphria. By mimicking the bee, the robber fly can evade predators who have had an unfortunate experience with a bee in the past. The predator will take one look at the robber fly and avoid contact.
And, lastly, the Horned Bladderwort. I know, terrible pic, but it is still diagnostic. You can see the "horn" hanging below. This bladderwort has its leaves and bladders under the soil. It catches tiny organisms within the bladders and digests them. I did a previous post on the Common Bladderwort, that lives in our pond.
Such a wonderful place to visit. I hope you check out Cedar Bog sometime soon!
Check out other posts at ABC Wednesdays.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cave Lake Ohio Heritage Naturalist Hike

Cave Lake is located in Pike County near Latham, OH. We were visiting there as part of the Ohio Heritage Naturalist hikes put on by our fearless leader Rick Gardner. We had a great day and saw a plethera of good plants and spectacular scenery. And, ahem, I am the volunteer naturalist for the place. It helps that my Big Brother, Charlie is on the board... : )
One of our first plants Smooth Phlox, Phlox glaberrima, is somewhat of a rarity and is only listed in seven counties of Ohio on USDA Plants. Such a cheery, pretty little plant. I couldn't resist taking lots of pictures of it.

Upper leaves of Virginia Snakeroot

The flower of Virginia Snakeroot can be viewed once you push the leaf litter away

Another interesting find was Virginia Snakeroot, Aristolochia serpentaria. You have to dig under the leaf litter to find the flower on this one. The reddish flowers are designed to mimic carrion and are believed to be pollinated by flies.The flowers have an interesting pollination method. The tube of the flower is lined with hairs that point inward. This allows entry, but no exit. Once inside, the fly is trapped. The flower will shed pollen onto the insect and then the hairs will wilt giving the fly its freedom so it can do it all over again. Weird... Fascinating, but weird. Virginia Snakeroot is a cousin to Pipevine, and is one of the larval food plants for Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly.

Sullivantia has an interesting story to go along with it. And since I am lazy, I will just send you to Jim McCormac's blog to find out more. Anyway, it has delicate flowers similar to baby's breath in mid-June. At Cave Lake, Sullivantia grows on the walls of Frost Cave, a cave that houses the rare Frost Cave Isopod, Caecidotea rotunda.

A beautiful waterfall is located near the dam at Cave Lake. We climbed up a nearby cliff and looked down upon the waterfall. WOW! My friend Tom Arbour is the tiny person in the center of the pic below. Heelllloooooooo, Tom!

And, of course, one of my favorites from the trip. The Firepinks. They were everywhere. Its cousin, Wherry's Catchfly, another rarity, also resides at Cave Lake.
The brilliant scarlet star-shaped flowers of Fire Pinks always make me smile.

All day we hadn't seen a reptile until the very end. Tom Arbour spotted this big Fence Lizard. At first he thought it was a rat. It scurried up the tree and I had to use my zoom to get a pic. You can tell it was finding plenty to eat, little porky!

Such an awesome place to visit. I hope I can get back there again this summer and share some more pics with you!