Skip to main content

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.

Comments

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.

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…