Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Friday, May 27, 2016

Girdham Road Dunes

Another blowout, this time in the Girdham Road Dunes.  We were monitoring Sand Cherry and, once again, Lyre-leaved Rockcress.   
The Lark Sparrows are nesting, so we had to watch where we stepped.

The Canada Frostweed was blooming.

Jerry found a female Box Turtle.  
We take photographs of the top and bottom of the shell and send those to local turtle researchers.
Hopefully she is on her way to lay eggs in the dunes.

Just south of the dunes is a Black Oak/Lupine Barren.

This is where the Mountain Phlox blooms.  
We spent the remainder of our time monitoring this rare species.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Ostrich Barrens

Yesterday we monitored a big Oak Savannah east of Ostrich Lane.  
I do not know how that road came to be named, but I do know this is one of my favorite sites.

Cinnamon Fern

An unidentified spider

We were there to count Lyre-leaved Rockcress and Birdsfoot Violet, but the Lupine stole the show.
The woods seen behind the large Oak are unmanaged - a significant contrast to the Oak Savannah in the foreground.
Fire is the main method of management.

The Lupine and the Plains Puccoon do not always bloom together.  
It is such a treat when they do.

Sand from an ancient lake underlies the Oak Savannah.  It is visible in areas we call "blow outs".  The edges of the blow outs are where some of the rarest plants in the state grow.  
The areas between the old dunes are often wet from the high water table - hosting plants such as Cinnamon Fern, above.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Birds in the Ash

The last two days have been cold and wet, but Friday evening was nice enough to sit on the back porch and watch the busy birds in the yard.  
The House Wrens were busy at the wren house in the wildflower garden.  
The Tufted Titmice were busy at their nest in the Shagbark Hickory.
The Baltimore Orioles and Goldfinches were busy coming and going to the feeders.
The Great Blue Heron was busy fishing on the shore.

And a beautiful Eastern Kingbird was busy catching flying insects. 

It rested between flights on the branches of the dying daughter Ash tree.

The large dead Ash tree by the river has been shedding hefty branches for the last year or so.  
A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers decided it was a good place to excavate a nest.
The female is leaving the cavity.

The male is about to enter

Just his tail is showing

After a few minutes, he appears with a mouthful of chipped wood...

....which he promptly spits out.

They continued excavating yesterday. 
I'm looking forward to seeing how they do this summer.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

We Were Correct

We did correctly identify Lyre-leaved Rock Cress last week.  
We monitored an area of Oak Openings yesterday referred to as the Monclova Sand Pits, which is an open meadow.  The Lyre-leaved Rock Cress was much larger compared to what we found last week in a wooded area and much easier to identify.
It was a beautiful day.  
The Lupine and Plains Puccoon were beginning to bloom.

So were the Dwarf Dandelion, the diminutive native cousin of the Dandelion that grows in our lawns.  
Birdsfoot Violet is in the background.

The birds were singing, including several Towhees. 
The Blueberries were blooming.  
The blossoms attracted many insects, including this Duskywing who is nectaring upside down.  

I am not sure of the species.

On the way back we stopped in another wooded area to check on the Gaywings.  They rise only an inch or two above the forest floor, but are so brightly colored they are easy to find when in bloom.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Monitoring Again

We started monitoring again at Oak Openings on April 29.
Without Ruta it will be more difficult to identify some of the plants - such as this Lyre-leaved Rock Cress.  
At least that's what we think this is (above and below).
It is in the mustard family.  Unfortunately, they look quite similar and there are several common ones blooming now.

Here is a plant none of us needs help recognizing.  It is Bird Foot Violet and a favorite of us all.  The leaves look like birds feet.  It likes disturbed sandy soils and is doing well this year.

We don't monitor Wild Oats, but they were growing near the Bird Foot Violet.  I don't remember seeing them there before.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Goll Woods

Dan and I decided to head out to Goll Woods today despite the cool, wet weather and see what spring ephemerals were blooming.   
There was a walk organized by the Toledo Naturalists Association, the Ohio DNR and Wild Ones.  It was well attended and so moved slowly.  
We soon found ourselves getting restless and forged ahead on our own.

Toadshade trillium.

Wild Ginger

There were many vernal pools.  Although most frogs had mated weeks ago, we heard Spring Peepers and Chorus frogs singing.

Wild Blue Phlox

Large-flowered Bellwort
(I think.  Had we stayed with the group we would have known for sure.)

Nodding Trillium

Wild Geranium

Large Flowered Trillium

                             The forest floor was carpeted with flowers.

Dan looking for the Turkeys that we heard.

A poor photograph of a black Fox Squirrel  
I have often seen melanistic variants of Gray Squirrels, but never of a Fox Squirrel.  We saw yet another further down the path.

Dutchman's Breeches

One of several Red Headed Woodpeckers.  They made quite a racket.  
We never did find those Turkeys we heard.