Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cave Lake Ohio Heritage Naturalist Foray

On May 14th, the Ohio Heritage Naturalists had a foray at YMCA Cave Lake's 700 acres near Latham, Ohio. This place is full of botanical goodies and fascinating fauna, including the rare Frost Cave Isopod. 

As we were waiting for the group to assemble, Kathy McDonald found this interesting moth in the restroom. This is a Small-eyed Sphinx, Paonias myops. We, at first, thought it was a Huckleberry Sphinx, but this is its darker cousin. Many times, outdoor restrooms are a great place to find moths. The lighting inside the restrooms attract the moths at night and they remain perched on the walls during the day. John Howard is my hand model. :)

I found a Lily-leaved Twayblade orchid, Liparis liliifolia. I love the pale pink transparent flowers that contrast with its bright green foliage. I also love the name. It sounds like an insult from a cowboy-"Them are fightin' words, you lily-leaved twayblade."

Marjie Becus found this amazing Oven Bird nest. I had never seen one, so I was quite intrigued. So very camouflaged, Marjie did not see it until she almost stepped on it and the female bird flushed.
Chris Staron flipped over a rock and underneath was this gorgeous Slimy Salamander, Plethodon glutinosus. We found six more, seven total, in the area! Their name comes from the mucus they expel when disturbed. This helps them escape from predators.

In the same area we found the salamanders, we found Goldie's Fern, Dryopteris goldiana, an uncommon fern for Ohio.

We found quite a few Puttyroot Orchids, Aplectrum hyemale, in bloom. I love its yellow blossoms tinged with deep red edging.

We found this huge Black Gum tree, Nyssa sylvatica. Brian Riley measured the circumference and it was a whopping 37 inches. The inside was hollow, with room enough for Chris Staron to climb inside. They have a characteristic rough blocky bark which reminded me of alligator hide. This tree is gorgeous in the fall with striking red leaves.

Such a great day out to an awesome place. Cave Lake is available for monthly camping. More information is available here.

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