Skip to main content

From Wet to Dry

This was the scene last Thursday in West Virginia, at Cranberry Glades. These high-elevation montane forests are the cloud forests of the great eastern deciduous forest, bathed nearly daily in misty fumaroles. All of this moisture makes these habitats rich and diverse, although the weather can be a bit challenging for the observer.

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Texas.
Right now, I'm sitting at Port Columbus airport in Ohio, awaiting my flight to Houston, Texas, with a connector to Corpus Christi. I'll spend the next few days in sea level habitats about as different as the mountains of West Virginia as is possible, without leaving the country. I'm going to catch the tail end of the American Birding Association's annual conference, then shoot on down to the Rio Grande Valley along the Mexican border.
Should be lots of great birds, butterflies, dragonflies, plants, etc - and probably no rain whatsoever. I'll report back sooner or later.


Tom said…

Congrats on the LG Award. Enjoy Texas.
Jeff Gyr said…
Hey Jim--

Hope you see lots of great stuff in Texas. It was nice seeing you for a few days here. My Mom had a great time on the Cranberry Glades with you.
Jana said…
The Cranberry Glades look fantastic, if a bit wet.

What's an LG Award?
dAwN said…
Have a great time in Texas..bring your air conditioner..
Keith said…
Jim, Congrats on your award. It is always great to hang with you. see you soon.
New River Birding and nature festival
Jana said…
I know what the award is now (thanks Janet).

Jim McCormac said…
Hi all,

Thanks for the comments, everyone. Keith, always a pleasure to lead trips with you, and you are getting crazy field skills! ID'ing the call notes of Blackburnian Warblers!

I really enjoyed having your mom along on the Cranberry field trip, Jeff, and I think she got a few "life plants".

We missed you at the end of the Festival, Jim!
Congrats on the award!

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.

So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…