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Lily, and Waterthrush

I made a much needed photographic/birding/botanizing expedition to southern Ohio last Saturday, where signs of spring abound. My route took me near the legendary Rocky Fork drainage and its isolated population of the stunning Goldenstar lily, Erythronium rostratum.It would have been a botanical sin not to stop and admire the plants, especially as I was within their very narrow window of blooming.

Sure as the sun rises, the little lemony starlike flowers dotted the leaf-strewn forest floor, their beauty conspicuous to a kneeling admirer, but hidden from casual passersby. The famous Ohio botanist Emma Lucy Braun found this disjunct population back in 1964; the only occurrence north of the Ohio River. Since then, only one other Goldenstar locale has been found in Ohio, and it's not very far from this site.

About the time that the Goldenstar erupts into flower, the little creeks of Scioto County run high, their channels fueled by spring rains. And just as sure as the appearance of the first spring wildflowers, there is an avian harbinger of spring that must be sought in such haunts.

And there he was - the Louisiana Waterthrush. Many of the creeks had a male in residence, newly arrived from Central America, or perhaps the Caribbean. These unwarblerlike warblers were belting out their rich rollicking songs, staking claims to suitable stretches of stream. The waterthrush is the first of the long haul Neotropical warblers to appear, and its arrival heralds the impending invasion of many other migrant songbirds.


Anonymous said…
There are all sorts of signs of spring in NE Ohio. No flowers yet except for the skunk cabbage. The birds are much more vocal in the woods. Some early migrants are being sighted. I saw a phoebe recently.

I watch raptor nests for the Cleveland Metroparks. I am seeing some red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks incubating already. Some Coops are just pairing up and building nests. The broad-winged hawks should be arriving in this area in less than a week.

Ken Andrews
Maple Heights, Ohio
Dave Lewis said…
Excellent shot Jim! Now you just need another from behind...
Anonymous said…
Our home a couple years ago had these flowers all over in the back yard. In North Ridgeville.

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