Skip to main content


Showing posts from October, 2016

Hawk attempts to punk bigger hawk

Gorgeous fall foliage along the long entrance drive to Triangle Lake Bog State Nature Preserve, Portage County, Ohio.

Last Saturday evening, I was the invited speaker for the The Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio's annual soiree, which was held at the Pine Lake Trout Club near Chagrin Falls. That was a great time and I appreciate the group's hospitality.

Not one to miss an opportunity, I headed up that way a bit early, and arrived at the aforementioned preserve near Ravenna well before the sun rose.

A 1/2 mile or so of planking makes access to the bog easy. And I can tell you, were it not for this boardwalk, one would truly be bog-stomping. The place is essentially a massive sponge, and the possibility of stepping through the mat and into water much deeper than expected would be an ever-present risk.

Years ago, Greg Schneider and I waded all through this place, seeking a tiny aquatic carnivorous plant known as Two-scaped Bladderwort, Utricularia geminiscapa. It had ne…

The cliffs of Vermilion

Soaring shale bluffs tower over the scenic Vermilion River in western Lorain County. I found myself in this area last Saturday, and could not resist a stop to admire the big cliffs, and attempt some photographs.
This spot is within Lorain County Metroparks' Vermilion River Reservation. The park is subdivided into Mill Hollow on the river's west side, and Bacon Woods on the east. I took this shot from the Mill Hollow side, and it's an easy little hike back to this part of the stream.
One more shot for the road. Fall foliage was fairly crisp on this nippy, blustery day, and massive puffy clouds blocked the sun far more than they allowed its exposure. I waited some time to get these images, for the very few brief interludes in which the sun popped out and cast its glow on the river's corridor.
For photography buffs: These are High Dynamic Range (HDR) photos. Each is a composite of five images made in immediate succession, from a tripod and using a remote shutter release t…

The Most Famous Bear in the World Belongs to Us

Next Monday evening, October 24, Thomas Mangelsen and Todd Wilkinson will present a program on Yellowstone's Grizzly Bears at Ohio State University's Ohio Union. Registrants already number over 900, but it's a big room and if you wish to go, CLICK HERE for details.

Wilkinson penned the following piece about these bears, and after reading it I asked David Hanselmann, the event organizer, if he could secure permission for me to run it here. Thanks to Todd Wilkinson for agreeing, and David for working things out. Read on...

The Most Famous Bear In The World Belongs To Us By Todd Wilkinson

In Bozeman, Montana, I live directly across the street from a pair of proud Ohioans, one of whom is a man counted among the greatest science writers in America. David Quammen, who grew up in Cincinnati, wrote the entire May 2016 edition of National Geographic magazine about Yellowstone National Park and why it matters for all citizens in this great country of ours.
I was asked to write captio…

A quick trip to Goose Pond

I made a whirlwind trip to the Hoosier State last weekend, primarily to speak at the Hendricks County Master Gardeners' annual Adventures in Gardening conference just west of Indianapolis. That was a great time, a very well organized and run event, and an excellent turnout of 140 or so people. Thanks to Theresa Mathieson and crew for having me out.

As good fortune would have it, the conference venue was a short hour and a half drive away from an Indiana natural treasure, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area. I'd only been here once, last March, when David FitzSimmons and I teamed to teach a photography workshop there in conjunction with Roberts Camera of Indianapolis.

I was totally impressed by my inaugural Goose Pond foray, so after the conference I hopped in the car and headed down to Linton, which sits on the edge of the sprawling wildlife area.

I arrived with just a few hours of daylight on Saturday evening, and spent most of my time casing out honey holes; places I wanted t…

Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels!

A rural Madison County, Ohio cemetery on a picture-perfect fall day. I was down hunting sparrows (photographically) around Deer Creek Reservoir last Monday, which is not too far from this place. As I knew there is a thriving colony of one of our most interesting mammals in the cemetery, I stopped by in the afternoon to visit.

I was hardly through the gates when a Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus tridecemlineatus, scampered off the road's edge. After patrolling a bit, I found an area where multiple squirrels were in evidence, parked the car, and geared up for some ground squirrel photography.

Shooting these highly alert and wary little beasts is not as easy as you may think. I have seen some in northern Michigan that have become quite habituated to humans and are readily approachable, but that's not the case with this colony. The squirrels are vigilant against potential threats, and your narrator apparently falls in this category.

As soon as I got out of the car, b…

Grizzly Bear program!!

On October 24 at 7 pm at OSU’s Ohio Union, Thomas Mangelsen and Todd Wilkinson will present a fascinating account of grizzly bear conservation in Yellowstone National Park. The program will be liberally illustrated with Mangelsen’s stunning photography. The program is free but please preregister RIGHT HERE. Sponsored by the Environmental Professionals Network.

Bait scent, fishing-line device allow spider to reel in moths

A toadlike bolas spider holds her silken weapon: a sticky ball she dangles and flings at approaching moths.
Columbus Dispatch October 2, 2016
NATURE Jim McCormac
A gaucho is a cowboy of the South American pampas. Gauchos are skilled horsemen and effective wielders of an odd weapon known as a bolas. The bolas is a stout cord to which they affix a heavy ball or balls. When hurled accurately, the bolas ensnares the legs of quarry and trips it up.

A group of spiders has been flinging bolas lines far longer than the gauchos.

The bolas spiders comprise a group of about 50 species, all of which occur in the Americas. Thirteen species are found north of Mexico, and four occur in Ohio.

Finding a bolas spider is always a big deal. They’re rare and easily overlooked. It wasn’t until Sept. 3 that I finally clapped eyes on one of these bizarre spiders.

I and others were conducting nocturnal field work in The Nature Conservancy’s sprawling Edge of Appalachia Preserve in Adams County. Suddenly, a roar …