Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Erie Marsh Walk

     Dan humored me last Saturday and accompanied me on a Nature Conservancy walk at their Erie Marsh in Erie, Michigan.  The property originally belonged to the Erie Shooting Club.  The members continue to hunt there and their service hours help to stretch the dollars used to restore the marsh.

     The wind made it a little difficult to see the variety of birds we were all hoping for, but James Cole (the Nature Conservancy Lake Erie birding expert) kept things interesting by giving us tidbits about name origins, nesting habits, songs, and the biology of the species we did see (Baltimore oriole, Blue-winged Teal, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Dunlin, Spotted Sandpiper, Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron, King Bird, Cliff Swallow, Tree Swallow, Purple Martin, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Parula, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart, among others).

     I don't try to compete with photographers who use huge lenses to capture song birds, but my tiny plant-photographing camera did a fair job of getting this Fox snake resting in a tree.  Our non-bird count included American Toad, Eastern Cottontail, Raccoon (dozing in a tree, as well), Muskrat, Woodchuck, and an unidentified turtle.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Cecropia Moth

     Hudson and I came across this beautiful creature on the side of the road while coming back from our morning walk. The wingspan is 6 to 7 inches across and the body is at least two inches long.  It took some coaxing to get him onto a stick and out of harms way.
     Before I had a chance to do my own research, I checked in on Jim McCormick's blog and, to my surprise, his post today is on this moth.  He's more of an expert than I, so please read his posting for more details - and photos that better capture the intense coloration.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Viola lanceolata

     I am happy to have any excuse to visit a place in Oak Openings we plant monitors call Butterfly Meadow.  It is a beautiful field that holds many of my favorite plants.  
     We were there today to count this little fellow, the Lance-leaved violet.  Since it is listed as only a potentially threatened species in Ohio, we don't count it every year.  It is found in moist, sunny areas.  The leaves are the thicker of the two types seen in the photo.

            The flower measures approximately 1 cm. across.  The bloom is over in a few short weeks.  By then the surrounding plants have grown so tall, it is impossible to find.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Flood Plain Walk

     Not too long after I learned from the Blue Jay Barrens blog that Tree Swallows will nest in Blue Bird boxes, I noticed this pair on the flood plain in our neighborhood.  The photo isn't the best, but I couldn't resist trying.  The Swallows seemed patient, but it's difficult to keep Hudson still long enough to get a good shot.  He learned long ago not to spend too much time on birds, especially when there is a better game afoot....

    ...such as may be found in a Woodchuck burrow.  He disappeared into the hole right after I took this photo and I had to reel him in - or out.