Friday Jerry, Larry, Alexa and I monitored Cow Wheat. The species we were after, Melampyrum lineare, is endangered in Ohio. It grows in pine forests, which are not native to Ohio. Oak Openings is full of them, however.
The pines were planted by the first park rangers with a thought of harvesting them to pay for salaries. Many of the remaining pines have been cut down in the past few years to restore the original Oak Savanah. I am assuming the ones sheltering unusual plants will be left.
Larry kept up a continuous and corny commentary about the origin for the name. If you'd like the not-so-corny reason, click here.
Cow Wheat likes the edges of the pine wood, where it adjoins a meadow. That is also the perfect place to find young fawns and we flushed three during our traipsing. This is a photo from our yard a week or so ago, but the size and beautiful white spotting are about the same. It is amazing how well the camouflage works. We almost stepped on one of them.
Someone mentioned that friends were worried this past winter's cull in Oak Openings Metropark was too large (over 130). These were not the first fawns we've seen this season and there is plenty of deer browse, so I don't think there is anything to worry about, especially when you consider the park is over 4,000 acres.
I hadn't seen a fly like this before.
According to bug guide (bugguide.net) it is a robber fly (species unknown).