Skip to main content

Daughmer Savanna excursion

Daughmer Savanna, a place that I've written about before, such as HERE, and HERE. The conservation of this magnificent oak savanna was the greatest event in Ohio conservation in calendar year 2010. It may only be 34 acres, but Daughmer is a living museum of Ohio's prairie past; an irreplaceable museum of natural history.

The Crawford County Park District, which oversees Daughmer Savanna, and I have been trying to put together a field trip to the site for over a year, and finally last Saturday was the day. Following is a brief sketch of our foray.

Photo: Cheryl Harner

We were quite surprised when 42 people showed up to explore the savanna! Their attendant vehicles taxed the limits of the available parking, and a bit of parking control was required. Fortunately, other experts were on hand to help, including Cheryl Harner, who made this image and was instrumental in the protection of Daughmer. She just wrote a nice post about the savanna, HERE.

Josh Dyer and Bill Fisher of Crawford County Parks were also on hand, and we were able to spread ourselves through the line and pass along useful info. I think everyone had a pretty good time and saw lots of interesting things. It took us about 2.5 hours to traverse the relatively short loop trail, and I don't think anyone bailed out early!

In addition to piles of cool plants - including towering 250 year old oaks - we saw lots of bugs. Such as this Black Swallowtail, Papilio polyxenes. Some of these critters became the focus of an army of camera-equipped paparazzi, including this swallowtail. Scores of photos were made of the beautiful butterfly. I only clicked off a handful of images during the trip, as it's hard to engage in photography when working with a large group. Nonetheless, I rather liked the way this underview of the swallowtail emerged. It is nectaring on abundant Virginia Mountain Mint, Pycnanthemum virginianum, which also attracts scores of other pollinators.

At one point, I spotted some funny-looking wings sticking out from under a leaf, and it turned out they belonged to this gem, a Primrose Moth, Schinia florida. Pink and yellow flying objects always pique people's interest, and once again the crowd bristled with cameras and produced a sea of clicks. I would venture to say that this unsuspecting little moth may be the world's most photographed Primrose Moth.

Josh Dyer - hat, hand in air - holds the group's interest with a discussion about prairie savanna management techniques. It is one thing to hear a talk about such topics indoors somewhere, but quite another (and vastly better) to hear a professional discuss such things in the very spot in which the management takes place.

Photo: Cheryl Harner

Your blogger is flanked by (front) Bill Fisher, Director of the Crawford County Park District, and Josh Dyer, naturalist with CCPD and an essential and irreplaceable component of the organization. If you click the pic to expand it, you can see that tiny little Primrose Moth riding on my upper arm. It proved to be quite tame and came along for the ride.

Last year, the voting citizenry of Crawford County did a great thing for the county and its residents, both present and future, by passing the park district's first levy. That funding helped make the protection and stewardship of Daughmer Savanna a reality, and let the district continue and expand its excellent programming. Most of the people on this trip were residents of Crawford County, and I got to speak to a number of them. It was gratifying to hear all of the positive comments about the Crawford County Park District and the outstanding work that Bill, Josh and the other employees do.


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…

Snowy owl photography tactics - and things NOT to do

A gorgeous juvenile female snowy owl briefly catches your narrator with its piercing gaze. It's doing its Linda Blair/Exorcist trick - twisting its head 180 degrees to look straight behind. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae - double our number - which allows them such flexibility.

These visitors from the high arctic have irrupted big time into Ohio and adjacent regions, with new birds coming to light nearly every day. Probably 80 or so have thus far been reported in the state, and some of them have stuck around favored spots and become local celebrities.

I went to visit one of these birds this morning - the animal above, which was found last Friday by Doug Overacker and Julie Karlson at C.J. Brown Reservoir near Springfield. In the four days since its discovery, many people have visited as is nearly always the case when one of these white wonders appears near a large population center or is otherwise very accessible.

And as is always the case, people want to photograph the owls. And th…