A botanical highlight of last weekend's foray into the depths of Adams County was catching peak bloom of the Stiff Gentian, Gentianella quinquefolia. This species has a spotty, localized distribution in Ohio, and prefers rather barren openings. There's a ton of it along the start of the trail to Buzzard's Roost Rock, which is one of the Buckeye State's essential hikes.
The curious bluish-purple flowers look as if they're made out of paper, and the pointed petals often cover the mouth of the corolla.
Most wildflowers are dependent upon the physical transfer of pollen to another plant, and this usually involves the assistance of insects. In the case of gentians, bumblebees are often the dispersal agent. These big brutish bees are perhaps Nature's ultimate pollinating machine. Their size and strength allows them to forcefully push into semi-closed flowers - like gentians - and access pollen that is off limits to lesser insects. It didn't take long before I saw a bumblebee busily making the rounds of the Stiff Gentians, and I set out after it to try to capture some pollination pictures.
The bumblebee has located a flower that has piqued its interest. The color of the corolla and its striped nectar guides are irresistible and the bee is drawn in like a moth to a flame.
After a bit of fumbling about, the animal manages to force its face into the maw of the flower.
A few wriggles and buzzes, and the bumblebee is swallowed up by the gentian flower, eagerly harvesting the nectar at the base of the bloom. Its fuzzy body will get doused with pollen, and then it's off to another flower, thus serving as an effective agent of cross-pollination.
I am a lifelong Ohioan who has made a study of natural history since the age of eight or so - longer than I can remember! A fascination with birds has grown into an amazement with all of nature, and an insatiable curiosity to learn more. One of my major ambitions is to get more people interested in nature. The more of us who care, the more likely that our natural world will survive.
All photographs on these web pages are the exclusive property of Jim McCormac, and are protected under United States and International copyright laws. The photographs may not be copied, reproduced, stored, distributed or manipulated without written permission. All rights are reserved.
If you contact me requesting free photos, the reply may be long in coming :-)
I've been taking photographs for a few decades, but never became fully interested and engaged in photography until 2003. That's when I got my first digital camera. Since then, photography has become a passion and a steadily growing addiction. If you delve back far enough into this blog, you will see photos that were made with a variety of Panasonic point & shoot bridge cameras. Then came a Canon Rebel DSLR, followed by a Nikon D7000. I've since returned to Canon, and use their gear almost exclusively. My camera bodies are a Canon 5D Mark III, which is an awesome full-frame sensor camera, and a Canon 7D Mark II. The latter is a 1.6 crop factor camera, and I use it almost exclusively for birds and distant wildlife.
The lens bag includes the following Canon lenses: 100mm f/2.8L-macro; the sensational but bizarre MP-E 65 mega-macro; a 180mm f/3.5 macro; a 16-35mm f/4L wide-angle; a 50mm f/1.4; a 100-400 f4.5/5.6 II; and a 500mm f/4L II, sometimes used with a 1.4 extender (which makes it a 700mm). I've also got a Tamron 70-200mm and Sigma 24mm Art (great lenses!). I do lots of macro, and my typical flash gear is the Canon Twin-Lite setup. If the gear needs three-legged stabilization, it is mounted on an Induro tripod, attached to an Induro Gimbal head. Finally, I've got a GoPro Hero, which is fully waterproof and can be used for underwater work. Sometimes I even use the camera or video feature on my iPhone 5S smartphone - it's amazing how good phone cameras have become.
Speaking, guiding gigs 2016
NOTE: Click on listed events for details (inmost cases).
January 16, 2016 - Ohio Ornithological Society's annual winter raptor day at the Wilds, Muskingum County, Ohio. Leading field trip.
January 20, 2016 - Little Garden Club. Urban Prairie Spikes Biodiversity (talk). Columbus, Ohio.
January 24, 2016 - Aullwood Audubon Center. Wood-warblers: The Rest of the Story (talk). Dayton, Ohio.
February 2, 2016 - Tri-Moraine Audubon. Birding Ohio's North Coast (talk). Lima, Ohio.
February 28, 2016 - Mohican Native Plant Society. Lichens: Crusty Treasure Troves of Biodiversity (talk). The Wilderness Center, Wilmot, Ohio.
March 1, 2016 - Ohio Tree Care Conference. Trees Grow More Than Leaves: The Startling Importance of Caterpillars (talk). Sandusky, Ohio.