Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Friday, October 19, 2012

American Chestnut

     This is the third and most recently discovered seed producing American Chestnut tree in the Oak Openings Metropark.  American Chestnut trees are now rare.  Most have been killed by an asian bark fungus introduced from Japan to New York sometime prior to 1904.  Until around 1930 this tree was an important source of wood and both animals and humans enjoyed the seeds.  This specimen is small compared to the former average of 100 feet, but is larger enough for us to know it is not likely infected.  Infected trees sprout from roots and remain as an understory shrub.  
     The three trees are isolated from each other by almost a mile.  It is difficult to know how isolated they are from the nearest infected Chestnuts. 
     Several organizations are experimenting with hybrids resistant to the fungus.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Monitoring Perks

Our duty as plant monitors for the Metroparks of the Toledo Area is to record the location and numbers of endangered and threatened plant species in the park system.  While traipsing around the park, we often come across other interesting natural phenomena.

This is an ant mound photographed this spring in one of the meadows we visit.

We found this badger hole last week.  

The footprint is fairly distinctive and means this is an active den.

These shells left from turtle hatchlings were found on an open dune. 

This "bowl and doily" spider web is commonly seen strung between stems in meadows.  The web is only 2 or 3 inches wide and is beautiful in the morning dew.  Read more about this spider here.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Glass Half Full

     I made the mistake the other day of remarking that Hudson has been sleeping in lately (a relative term; for Hudson, this means not getting up until 6am).  The last few nights he has resumed his old habit, and because he did, I was able to enjoy this brief, but beautiful sunrise.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Northern Leopard Frog

     Last Friday while monitoring at a wet meadow, we came across this Northern Leopard Frog - otherwise known as a Meadow Frog because they spend much of their time in meadows.  He really is quite a handsome fellow.   

  Leopard Frogs can have a background color of either green or brown, but in my experience are more commonly green.  I was unable to find out if the same individual can change color over time, which would be a definite advantage.  This one certainly was well suited to hiding in the fall landscape  (he's in the center of the photo above).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Inadequate Camera

     Two mornings ago I saw what I never remember seeing before - a complete rainbow.  It appeared ahead of a storm front. Each end had a double rainbow.  Unfortunately, neither phenomena was captured by my phone!