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Showing posts from January, 2008

Green Lawn Cemetery beasts

Precious little time to blog of late. Getting ready to head off to Costa Rica on Tuesday, and trying to wrap up a number of odds and ends prior to that, provision for the trip, and STUDY!

Cheryl Harner and Jason Larson went around thestate the other day, bird-seeking. Jason is attempting to reach 100 species for January, and helping him reach that milestone was part of the mission.
They saw some interesting sights at Columbus's Green Lawn Cemetery, and Cheryl snapped some photos that she was good enough to pass along. Green Lawn (not Greenlawn) is a legendary Ohio birding locale, and has been for a long time. Founded in 1848, it is one of the oldest big cemeteries in the state, and the second largest at 360 acres. Only Cincinnati's Spring Grove Cemetery is larger.
A true urban oasis, the green grounds, huge trees, and miscellaneous brushy habitats of Green Lawn support a surprising array of wildlife, considering its location. Birders have been going there for many decades, and th…

Ohio Natural History Conference Take II

More info has come in regarding the lineup for this year's Ohio Natural History Conference. Short presentations will cover ants; the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas; Emerald Ash Borer; Painted Turtles; crickets, grasshoppers, and katydids in Adams County; Lark Sparrows; and advanced leaf-out in woodlands. Whew - that's a lot of ground to cover, but that's why the conference is titled as it is. I know a number of the presenters and the talks are sure to be interesting.

There are also a number of intriguing poster presentations. You'll certainly want to check the one on Diastata repleta. These fascinating, miniscule insects are noteworthy for their consumption of feces. Other poster topics include caves; isopods; logging impacts on mosses; Prairie-dock systematics; and a survey of invertebrates at Dike 14 (famed Cleveland birding locale).

February 16 is the date, and the magnificent Ohio Historical Society building in Columbus is the venue. For additional information and to regis…

The Wilds

Yesterday the Ohio Ornithological Society hosted a rather massive field trip to the Wilds of Muskingum County. We originally had 135 people signed on, and about 120 folks made it over and endured cool temps and blustery winds. It was cold, but after watching the New York Giants rout the Packers in Green Bay - it hit -4 with -24 windchills there- yesterday didn't seem so bad.
First and foremost, I want to thank those people that made this safari possible. Top of the list is Marc Nolls and Cheryl Harner, who really put a lot of thought and planning into this event. Their hard work showed, as everything came off flawlessly. Getting seven different trips launched simultaneously from the same parking lot with everyone organized into their assigned group is no easy feat. Yet, they pulled this off and people were good to go and leaving for the field within ten minutes or so of the rendezvous time. Kudos to Marc and Cheryl. Also, we really appreciate the Wilds making their buildings availab…

Wooster Christmas Bird Count

Like distant ships at sea, the various parties on Christmas Bird Counts seldom meet. We might come together in port briefly, usually a Bob Evans, McDonald's, or some other purveyor of artery-clogging grease-spackled chunks of meat or fried flour patties. This usually happens in the early am, prior to debarking. Words of encouragement are offered, hope for great things is uttered ("watch for those Pine Grosbeaks!), and off we go on our separate ways.

In fact, you'd be wise to avoid meeting your fellow counters in the field. They might be miffed, regarding you as "poachers" on their turf, if that's where you stray. Like ornithological pirates, CBC birding teams found in foreign waters are often looked on unfavorably and with some distrust. Stay where the compiler puts you, that's my advice. If you are caught invading other turf, plead ignorance. "Oh, I thought I was still in my area" (even if it's five miles away). Or, "I'm just passi…

Ohio Botanical Symposium

Mark your calendars for March 19th, all ye plant enthusiasts. That's the date of the 8th annual Ohio Botanical Symposium. This event has become a must-do for Ohio plant afficionados, and is an outstanding way to kick off the botanical season. From its humble beginnings in a classroom at OSU with some 35 attendees, the symposium has grown like a Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana, in your garden. Last year, they filled OSU's Fawcett Center, so you'll want to get on the stick and register soon.

This year's keynote address is by the author of Orchids of Indiana, Mike Homoya. A nicer and more knowledgeable bloke couldn't be dug up, and Mike's orchid images are nothing short of dazzling. Mike will talk about this one - Large Yellow Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens. We've got 'em here in Ohio, too. If you wanna see this stunner, go here.


Another outrageous orchid, the Pink Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium acaule. You can also see these at Fl…

Red-shouldered Hawk

In my estimation, the Red-shouldered Hawk is the best-looking raptor in eastern North America. Adults are stunning, with their underparts barred with rich reddish-orange, bold tail alternated with prominent bands of black and white, and multi-toned wings with their namesake reddish shoulder patches.
This is also a hawk on the upswing; good news in a world all too full of stories of declines in the avian world. A century ago, ornithologists viewed Buteo lineatus as the most common hawk in Ohio. By the early 1900's declines were already being noted, though, and through much of the 20th century Red-shouldereds plummeted in numbers in many areas. Red-shouldered Hawk distribution, from the first Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas (1982-87)

Red-shouldered Hawk data gathered during the 2006 and 2007 breeding seasons, courtesy of Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II. Although this represents but two years - there are three more atlas seasons to go - things are looking decidedly rosier for Red-shouldereds than …

Ohio Natural History Conference

Come mid-February, we're all ready for a dose of spring. It won't have quite arrived by February 16, but the Ohio Natural History Conference will. This is the 5th annual conference, and as in year's past it will be held at the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus. Jointly hosted by the Ohio Biological Survey and the Ohio Division of Wildlife, it will feature a variety of papers on many facets of Ohio's natural history. Anyone interested in the outdoors would enjoy the conference, and learn a lot. As with all these types of events, it's a great way to meet other like-minded people and network, too.

For more details and registration, go right here.

I hope this doesn't fall into the realm of shameless self-promotion - something bloggers are often noted for :-) - but I was flattered when organizers invited me to provide the keynote program. But I was more thrilled to be able to talk about some of the greatest remaining natural areas in Ohio. Legendary Cleveland-area p…