Circumstances found me in the immediate vicinity of Mohican State Forest last Saturday, and I had a few hours to explore the woodlands. Mohican, for those of you who don't know it, is one of Ohio's richest forests, characterized mainly by the steep hemlock-cloaked Clear Fork Gorge that bisects the area. Providing the sound track on my foray were the likes of Veery, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Green, Kentucky, Hooded warblers, and many more.
But the flora is incredible, too, and I saw many interesting plants. Chief among them was the above; a diminutive little beauty that almost defies description. It is Shinleaf, Pyrola elliptica. While widespread and scattered throughout eastern Ohio, this species is not usually numerous and always a treat to stumble across. Such are its looks that many a gardener would probably kill and maim to have it growing in captivity, but I suspect that this is not a plant that lends itself well to being corraled.
Vireo nests are obvious enough, once you know they're there. But from afar or with just a careless glance, they look a lot like a clump of dead leaves and plant detritus caught up in the foliage.
What to do. Red-eyed Vireos are a valuable part of the forest community and these little birds make an arduous trek all the way from the tropics to summer with us, feast on caterpillars, and contribute their cheery phrases to the symphony of the forest. And red-eyes are heavily hit by cowbirds.
I left them.