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A few odds and ends from recent days

I've been away more than home of late, and often busy with necessary work when I am home, so here's a quick and easy post. A hodgepodge of various flora and fauna from recent travels around Ohio, in no particular order.

One of our most striking warblers, a male Common Yellowthroat tees up on a favorite singing perch. Cedar Bog, Champaign County.

A flowerfly in the family Syrphidae grasps the style of a meadow parsnip flower, Pastinaca sativa, and laps pollen from the stigma. Many species in this family, like this one, are excellent bee mimics. Castalia Prairie, Erie County.

Rearing up and displaying its osmeteria is a Black Swallowtail caterpillar. The orange horns emit a foul-smelling chemical and are used to ward off would-be predators. The cat was eating the foliage of poison-hemlock, Conium maculatum, a very toxic plant. Woodman Fen, Montgomery County.

Tiny but beautiful is this Orange Wing Moth, Mellilla xanthometata. It was one of many moths that were lured by light sheets set up by entomologist Jim Lemon at Cedar Bog in Champaign County.

A large wolf spider (species unknown, to me) carries several dozen of her spiderlings on her back. Many small predators would think thrice about messing with this eight-legged mom. Cedar Bog, Champaign County.

One of our showier orchids, the Grass-pink, Calopogon tuberosus. This plant can easily be seen from the boardwalk at Cedar Bog, Champaign County.

Fading fast but still looking good last Saturday was Cedar Bog's most famous botanical resident, the Showy Lady's-slipper, Cypripedium reginae. Champaign County.

As a photographic footnote, I made both of the preceding orchid images with a big telephoto lens, Canon's remarkable 500mm f/4 II. While normally a bird lens, it works very well on larger plants, and provides beautiful background compression. As its working range is considerable, using it allows one to remain on the boardwalk in this case, and not trample into Cedar Bog's rarity-filled sedge meadows.

An especially cooperative Common Baskettail, Epitheca cynosura, poses nicely at Castalia Prairie, Erie County.

The largest genus of plants in Ohio is Carex, a diverse group of over 160 species of sedges, This is one of the more distinctive species, Short's Sedge, Carex shortiana. Germantown Metropark, Montgomery County.

Finally, one of our stranger flies, perched on the pedicel of Dudley's rush, Juncus dudleyi, in a wet prairie. It is a marsh fly (probably a species in the genus Antichaeta). These flies parasitize various freshwater snails. Castalia Prairie, Erie County.

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