Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chestnuts … Popping Up

Last Friday Eric Durban - resident orchid guru - guided a few of us monitors to a site in Maumee State Forest where Putty Root orchid (Aplectrum hyemale) grows.  You can just make out three green leaves and two dried stalks with their seed pods.

Each plant sends out one leaf each fall.  The leaf, conspicuous atop the fallen leaf litter, gathers energy all winter.  A single flower stalk appears in the spring, after the leaf has withered.  One of my favorite bloggers, Jim McCormick, has a great post on this orchid.
We made a mental note to revisit the site next May and see the flowers.

On the way back we stopped by one of the old Chestnut trees in the area.  When I last visited this site, the tree was difficult to find in the overgrown woods, but seemingly healthy.  It has since developed symptoms of Chestnut blight.

The Metroparks cleared the area around the old Chestnut and volunteers planted saplings grown from seeds.  Each white tube covers a sapling.  If you look closely you can see this years copious fruit.  
Perhaps by the time these saplings are as large as the parent tree there will be a cure for the blight.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

23 Morning Doves

Spent the day putting up Christmas decorations.  I used to have nine of these globes and put three in each weeping crab apple tree out front.  This year three were out of commission, so I decided to put some out on the patio instead.

When I checked to see if the timer was working, I found the doves lined up looking at the river and pecking around in the beds.  Though difficult to tell in this image, there were 23 in all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hoping the Woollly Bears Are Right

We are in the middle of an unseasonable cold snap.  I've sorted through my coats, hats and mittens and brought out the warmest.  The Farmers Almanac is predicting a bad winter.

I prefer to hope the Woolly Bears are right.  
The theory is that the brown stripes correlate to mild winter weather.  The greater the number of brown segments, the milder the winter.  
This year the Woolly Bears have a large number of brown segments, but they are shifted toward the back of the caterpillar.  I'll take colder weather now if it means warmer weather in January!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Witch Hazel

Now that monitoring is over, Ruta, Diane and I were able to enjoy a leisurely walk in the woods this morning.   
The understory was full of blooming Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel is unique in blooming this time of year.  

Hazelnut and Serviceberry are the other common understory trees at Oak Openings.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

End of Monitoring

The last day of the season out with the plant monitors yesterday was cold and wet.  We went to the Bumpus property as well as the property at the southwest corner of Dorr and Irwin to collect seeds.  The Metroparks use them to repopulate park land that has been cleared.

Last week the frost was on the seedpods of Swamp milkweed.

This photo was taken at the corner of Dorr and Irwin back in September - when the cardinal flower was blooming.

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Yesterday was a family fun day at Elizabeth Scott Community where my Mom now lives.  Children related to both residents and staff dressed up to do some indoor trick or treating.

Mom is wearing her favorite purple polka dotted shirt.  
She was smiling the whole time.

The kids kept coming for about 30 minutes.  
After going through several other buildings they enjoyed donuts and cider and crafts.
I'm hoping to get my own donut at the Halloween party for the residents this coming Friday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Spoiling Our Neices

My brother got a new job in Minneapolis last month.  My sister and our husbands volunteered to hang out with our nieces so his wife could meet him to look at houses.  

We had a nice outing to The Strip District. The girls are in a donut rut.  It took a little looking, but we finally found their favorite donut shop.

Mmm...Maple Bacon donuts!  That's Katie on the left and Sarah on the right.

Another day we visited the National Aviary.  Aunt Deb and Sarah were being silly in the penguin exhibit.

My brother and sister-in-law weren't able to find a house, but they did pin down the neighborhood - and we all had a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ash Tree Attractants

The dead Ash tree by the river continues to be a favorite perch for raptors.  There are two immature Bald Eagles who use it to rest and preen.  
Earlier in the week one used it for a breakfast table.  
The fish was at least two feet long.

You'll have to take my word for it until I get my big SLR camera fixed - or replaced!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Campbell Prairie

Yesterday we monitored at Campbell Prairie.  It is an area that is off limits during the Karner Blue butterfly season.  This is the first place they were re-introduced several years ago, but the population is not considered established well enough to allow any more disturbance than is necessary.

It was a foggy morning.  
The normally invisible spider webs were outlined in dew.

There are three subpopulations of Soapwort Gentian there.  Two were doing very well.  We'll have to keep an eye on the third.
The flowers stay tightly closed and the bees have to force their way inside to collect the nectar.  There are few other flowers available at this time of year, though - a good motivation for them to work hard.  Winter is approaching all too quickly.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Moving Mom

My sister and I have been sorting through things at my Mom's apartment in preparation for her move to assisted living.  It seems a much more pleasant task when we work together.

Today we found several boxes that must have come from her Mother's house.  Many photographs I had never seen before.
Here she is on her third birthday.

She doesn't look much older here.  Her parents had a cottage on Nettle Lake. Perhaps this photograph was taken there.

Her cousins, Bill and Vernon Fauble are standing behind her.  
Her older sister, and only sibling Betty is to her left.

Their father, Bill Keyes was a farmer most of his life. 

When Grandpa wasn't farming, they lived in Swanton.  He was employed at the hardware store and would also do carpentry work.

These girls were in her class when they lived in Ai (pronounced A, I).

Mom was in the band at Swanton High School.
My older sister Deb played the same trumpet, all the way through college.

Friday, August 29, 2014

More Monitoring

We monitored at a corridor site we call Gentian meadow this morning.  The park system has been working on clearing out buckthorn and we stopped by to see how the Fringed Gentian is faring.  The answer is very well, thank you.  We counted well over a hundred on less than two acres.  
This was the only plant in full bloom. My guess is the rest will bloom by Labor Day.  I'm hoping to return and record the show. 
Paul is our self described butterfly nut and amateur photographer.  This is how he spends most of his time.

Here is a pollinator caught in the act.  You can just see the bumble bee's back legs coated in pollen. 

Across the road is the corridor site known as Bumpus.  We spent the remainder of our morning there.
Denise verified that this is the aptly named Tall (or Giant) Sunflower.

Close up of Tall Sunflower

Common Chicory - not native, but I can't resist that beautiful blue color

There were at least one hundred of these small orchids (Spiranthes species) in bloom around the Bumpus pond.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back to Monitoring

I was happy to get back out in the fields and monitor this past Friday.  We concentrated on Scaly blazing star.  It is a relative of the domesticated Dense blazing star, known also as Gay Feather, but is much smaller and the flowers are "interrupted" in comparison. 
Rough blazing star is starting to bud, but has not bloomed, so our timing was perfect.  They can be difficult to tell apart. 

  The population is booming.  If it continues to do as well next year, we may need to estimate the numbers.

Another of my favorites was blooming as well - Flowering spurge.  The flowers are delicate and seem to float among the grasses.

Near the woods we came upon these funny fellows - Milkweed tussock moths.  They were less than an inch long.
I've never seen so many together.
The adult moth has dull gray wings and isn't much to look at.  A peak below the wings, however, reveals a similarly brightly colored body.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Portland Wedding

My nephew Andrew was married last Saturday in Portland, Oregon.

We flew out a week earlier and visited Seattle for a few days.

 Pike Street Market

Fresh Fish!

                             Chihuly exhibit at the Botanical Garden

Snuggly, sleepy sea otter at the Seattle Aquarium

Wine touring in the Willamette Valley with Deb and Dan

Multnomah Falls (along the Columbia River)

Mossy trees in forest surrounding the falls

Lunch overlooking the Columbia River in Hood River, OR

Pittsburgh McRury Clan at Cannon Beach 

View of the Pacific - on our way to Tillamook

The Event
Best wishes to Maya and Andrew for a healthy, happy future!