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Showing posts from September, 2016

Macro-photography workshop: October 5

A Black-horned Tree Cricket, one of myriad common macro-photography subjects.
Stratford Ecological Center
Evening Macrophotography Workshop (free) Wednesday, October 5, 7pm – 9 pm

Please RSVP if you plan to attend. Email LisaKreischer at: Stratford Ecological Center is located about 20 minutes north of Columbus, in southern Delaware County. More information RIGHT HERE. The following is their description of the event: We are very fortunate to have Jim McCormac share his photography and botanical knowledge with us for an evening of learning and photographing.  He recently presented a program to our Stratford volunteers and received rave reviews about his knowledge and presentation style.  This is an evening program, so perhaps those of you on our list who cannot make our daytime meetings can attend.  The evening time will bring out some small critters (bugs) allowing us to practice what we learned. 

Program Description
The world abounds with fascina…

A hodgepodge of flora and fauna

I've been busier than usual, with travels to nearly all corners of this great state of Ohio in recent weeks. Following is a smattering of stuff from the past week or so, from the shores of Lake Erie to the banks of the Ohio River.

Blinded Sphinx caterpillar, Paonias excaecata. Adams County, Ohio.
A larger perspective of the previous photo.
White-banded Crab Spider, Misumenoides formosipes, ready to pounce. Adams County, Ohio.
A Rough Greensnake, Opheodrys aestivus, peeks from the pawpaws. Adams County, Ohio.
Up close with a Dot-lined White Moth, Artace cribaria. Adams County, Ohio.
The stegosaurus-like caterpillar of the Double-toothed Prominent moth, Nerice bidentata. Adams County, Ohio.
Tiny blooms of Elephant's-foot, Elephantopus carolinianus. Note the compliment of insects (at least four species). Adams County, Ohio.

A Hummingbird Clearwing Moth caterpillar, Hemaris thysbe, just prior to pupation. Adams County, Ohio.
Brown-hooded Owlet moth caterpillar, Cucullia convexipen…

Marblehead Lighthouse

Ohio's famous Marblehead Lighthouse, along the rocky shoreline of Lake Erie at the tip of the Marblehead Peninsula. As seen yesterday morning, just before sunrise.

A too full agenda of late has kept me from posting as much as I'd like; hopefully that will change soon.

Ohio sighting of swallow-tailed kite draws birders

A swallow-tailed kite is a study in black and white
Columbus Dispatch September 18, 2016
Jim McCormac

People who seek rare birds are called “chasers” or “listers” in the United States and “twitchers” overseas. To some people, such an avocation might seem silly, especially if the quarry is an obscure sandpiper or sparrow.

One look at a swallow-tailed kite, though, and anyone can understand why a bird-watcher might go out of his or her way to see it.

This graceful raptor is Rudolf Nureyev on wings, a sleek aerialist that would turn the Blue Angels blue with envy.

A swallow-tailed kite is a study in black and white. The dark tail and outer wings contrast strikingly with the snowy-white underparts and head. From stem to stern, the kite measures almost 2 feet, and its long slender wings span just over 4 feet.

Although the kite is as large as a red-tailed hawk, it weighs less than half as much. Its lightness lends a buoyancy and agility that makes most other raptors look clumsy in compa…

American Birding Expo II

This weekend marks the 2nd annual American Birding Expo, which once again will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at the conveniently located Grange Insurance Audubon Center. The expo takes place this coming weekend, September 16-18, and every last detail can be found RIGHT HERE.

Last year's extravaganza drew over 2,000 people, lured by dozens of vendors and exhibitors hawking everything from binoculars and scopes to exotic tours to nearly every piece of merchandise imaginable for the birder and/or outdoor enthusiast. You won't want to miss it.

Again, see the entire agenda and all of the expo's offerings RIGHT HERE.

Two supremely cool spiders: Arachnids one seldom sees

Ohio Brush Creek, as seen early on a misty morning, last Sunday, September 4. This stream is the epicenter of the sprawling Edge of Appalachia Preserve, owned and managed by the Ohio Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Cincinnati Museum Center. The preserve's 16,000+ acres in Adams County contain some of the richest biodiversity in the Midwestern United States.

Last Saturday, I joined spider expert Richard Bradley, along with John Howard and Laura and David Hughes, for an epic natural history excursion. We were after a rare beetle (got it, check), and a couple of rare spiders. Along the way, we found scads of interesting flora and fauna, but I will confine this post to two supremely cool spiders, both of which were brand new to me.

Shortly after we entered a sun-baked prairie opening, sharp-eyed Laura Hughes spotted this barely discernable aberration in the soil. It's the circular cap in the exact center of this image, sort of like an earthen manhole co…

Ohio's orchid species can grab attention, but many species are threatened

Yellow-fringed orchid, Platanthera ciliaris
Columbus Dispatch September 4, 2016
Jim McCormac

For the orchidophile, a trip to Colombia’s tropical forests would be living a dream. The country harbors several thousand species. Orchids new to science are routinely discovered.

In the world of flowering plants (angiosperms), the orchid family might be the most diverse: An estimated 24,000 species exist worldwide. The only rival is the sunflower family, which has about the same number of species.

For Ohio orchid hunters, prey is far scarcer than in Colombia. Nonetheless, 46 native species are found in the state. There is probably at least one species in every county.

The range of Ohio’s small suite of indigenous orchids represents an artist’s palette of color. Pink, orange, ivory, emerald, purple and other colors paint a fantastic diversity of flower structures.

Among our showiest orchids are those in the genus Platanthera. There are (or were) 12 Ohio species, and most are big and spec…

A pictorial talk on the sunflower family: Cedar Bog, 9/10!

Fen Indian-plantain, Arnoglossum plantagineum, dots a wet meadow at Cedar Bog. This is one of our stranger, and rarer, members of the sunflower family (Asteraceae).

On Saturday, September 10, I am giving a talk on the always interesting sunflower family, at the aforementioned Cedar Bog.