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Showing posts from July, 2016

Pollinator Workshop: August 13, Caesar Creek

An Obedient-plant, Physostegia virginiana, fairly bristles with native pollinating bees. An air traffic controller is practically required to keep the bees from colliding. I made this image this morning at Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County. There is a sizable colony of this plant there, and they were swarming with pollinators.

I have been remiss in remembering to plug what will be a fantastic event. On August 13, the Midwest Native Plant Society is sponsoring a pollinator workshop, featuring a start-studded cast of speakers. Following the talks, we head afield to nearby native plant-filled habitats that should be bristling with pollinators. The venue is the roomy visitor's center at Caesar Creek in Wayne County. It's sure to be a fun and informative day. For all of the details, and registration info, CLICK HERE.

A trip through Boch Hollow

A stunning piece of scenery, even by Hocking Hills standards. I'd had a visit to Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve on the to-do list for a long time, and finally, last Saturday, the trip materialized. Boch is at the extreme northern edge of the Hocking Hills, in northern Hocking County, and it's a relatively recent acquisition by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, or at least parts of it are.

Boch Hollow encompasses about 570 acres, and all of it is interesting, but the scenic crown jewel is the gorge above. PLEASE NOTE: This section of the preserve is permit only. A permit is available through the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. I'd long known of the magical falls in these first two photos, and this was my main photographic quarry on this mission. I was there soon after sunrise, and made a series of images before moving into the larger, publicly accessible part of the preserve.

A tighter view of the mini box canyon, which is now known as Robinson …

A trip through Boch Hollow

A stunning piece of scenery, even by Hocking Hills standards. I'd had a visit to Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve on the to-do list for a long time, and finally, last Saturday, the trip materialized. Boch is at the extreme northern edge of the Hocking Hills, in northern Hocking County, and it's a relatively recent acquisition by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, or at least parts of it are.

Boch Hollow encompasses about 570 acres, and all of it is interesting, but the scenic crown jewel is the gorge above. PLEASE NOTE: This section of the preserve is permit only. A permit is available through the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. I'd long known of the magical falls in these first two photos, and this was my main photographic quarry on this mission. I was there soon after sunrise, and made a series of images before moving into the larger, publicly accessible part of the preserve.

A tighter view of the mini box canyon, which is now known as Robinson …

Exploding seeds, or the magic of ballistochory

The beautiful lemony flower of a Pale Jewelweed, Impatiens pallida, dangles beneath the succulent foliage. We have one other native species in this genus (in Ohio), the Spotted Jewelweed, I. capensis, which has orange flowers. Both are very common in moist woods, often in semi-deep shade. Bumblebees are major pollinators, and hummingbirds are also smitten with the flowers.

Once successfully pollinated and seeds have developed, the trick is to find a way to disperse those seeds reasonably far from the parent. That's how plants maintain and/or expand their populations, and they've got a big bag of tricks to abet their migrations. Some plants have sticky fruit, and mammals unwittingly move them about. Other fruits float, and are readily dispersed by water. Yet others are windborn. Ants and other insects cart away seeds. There are many other mechanisms of seed dispersal, but we're going to talk about ballistochory.

It's not hard to see where the common name "jewelwee…

Huffman Prairie, catchflys, and hummingbirds

Sunrise over Huffman Prairie, as seen last Friday. This 100(ish) acre prairie patch is located at the south end of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

Dave Nolin, recently retired Director of Conservation for Five Rivers Metroparks, sent me a few photos of the prairie last week. It looked so spectacular, just nearing peak bloom, that I couldn't wait to go see it in person. So, I took Friday off and was there before daybreak. So amazing was the place that I went back for an encore on Sunday morning. Some photos from these excursions follow.

Major kudos go to the management of the giant air force base for their support of Huffman Prairie, which sits on their property. Double kudos to Dave Nolin, who spent the better part of three decades working with the base to provide the best possible management for the prairie. All that long hard work is bearing major fruit today, as we shall see. Even though Dave has left the helm at Five Rivers Metroparks, the staff there conti…

Mostly small things, in limited areas

bi·o·di·ver·si·ty: the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem
I spent much of last weekend with friends and fellow explorers of the natural world John Howard, and Laura and Dave Hughes. Elisabeth and Nate Rothschild were able to join us for a while on Saturday.
We visited only a handful of sites in Adams County, Ohio, and within each of those sites we probably never traveled more than a hundred yards or so. It's not that we couldn't have covered much more ground - all of us easily could. The biodiversity kept stopping us in our tracks.
A primary reason why I spend so much time in this region is because of the amazing diversity of flora and fauna. Homo sapiens has managed to eliminate or greatly reduce animal and plant diversity in most parts of Ohio, and now I suspect the overwhelming majority of people have no idea what they/we are missing. Shades of Louv's NATURE DEFICIT DISORDER coupled with E.O. Wilson's warnings of a vanishing planet …