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Showing posts from July, 2018

Rare flowering plant finds safe haven in southern Ohio

Sullivant's coolwort was discovered in 1839 in Highland County
Columbus Dispatch July 29, 2018
NATURE Jim McCormac
In 1795, Lucas Sullivant was contracted by the Commonwealth of Virginia to survey land along the Scioto River in what’s now Franklin County and vicinity. Following that task, he took a hiatus in Kentucky but returned in 1797 and platted out Franklinton.Sullivant’s settlement would become Columbus, and his name is immortalized by the busy West Side avenue that bears his name. Lucas and his wife Sarah had the first of their four children on Jan. 15, 1803 — just a month before President Thomas Jefferson signed papers recognizing Ohio’s constitution and boundaries. Their first child was William Starling Sullivant, and he would go on to achieve great things in the natural sciences.

William was born into a still wild frontier, at a time when new species of plants regularly turned up. He turned into quite the botanist, avidly exploring various habitats around his central Ohio h…

The Gannets of Bonaventure Island

The village of Percé, on Québec's Gaspé Peninsula, as seen from the mountains above town. The large rock monolith arising from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, just right of the largest spruce tree, is Percé Rock. Laying low on the horizon, shrouded in fog, is Bonaventure Island. Tens of thousands of seabirds nest on these massive rocks, most notably enormous numbers of northern gannets.

To get to Bonaventure Island, one takes a boat that leaves on multiple times each day from the main pier in Percé. It isn't a long ride, but you'll see scores of birds, a number of seals (harbor and gray), and possibly minke whales. The birds steal the show, though. Fast-flying squadrons of alcids constantly rocket past: razorbills, common murres, and black guillemots. Get lucky and you might see one of the few Atlantic puffins that breeds on Bonaventure. Scads of black-legged kittiwakes waft by, and occasionally flocks of large chunky common eiders pass by low over the waves. Huge great black-b…

Remember, dragonfly records needed!

A male eastern pondhawk, Erythemis simplicicollis, rests on a lilypad in a Logan County, Ohio wetland, last Tuesday. This common, beautiful dragonfly is found in wetlands statewide.

As I've written about before, the Ohio Dragonfly Survey is in full swing. This project, in its second year (of three years), is designed to provide the most comprehensive data on Ohio's dragonflies and damselflies ever assembled. We welcome ALL records of ANY dragonfly or damselfly, including very common species such as the pondhawk above.

The survey is a great way to put your digital photography skills to work for science. Dragonflies make for outstanding photo subjects, so they're a lot of fun to shoot. As an increasing number of people use cameras, especially to shoot natural history subjects, the potential pool of contributors to the Ohio Dragonfly Survey is enormous. Indeed, we've already received tens of thousands of photographic records, and hope to add scores of thousands more befo…

Golden-winged Skimmer in Ohio

Hard to keep current with the blog of late, due to travels and too many commitments. I'm not wanting for subject matter, though - many of my excursions, if not specifically photographic in nature, at least allow for some pictorial exploration.
Last Saturday involved work and play. Debbie DiCarlo and I were scouting a few spots in advance of our "Prairies at their Peak" photo workshop the following day, and stopped by a wonderful fen in west-central Ohio to see how things looked. Of course, we had cameras in tow and were creating imagery along the way.
ASIDE: The workshop mentioned above was full with twelve people, and we had a great time. Lots of images of everything from tiny macro insects to sweeping prairie landscapes. Scores of great images were made, and I think we all advanced our knowledge of picture-taking, and natural history. Our next workshop will immerse the group into a deluge of biodiversity and fascinating subjects, as we'll be visiting southern Ohio&…

The Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec

A gorgeous sunset paints the skies over the Chic-Choc Mountains of Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula.
I just returned from a long-awaited trip to the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, one of the most scenic areas in the northeastern maritime region of southern Canada and the northeastern U.S. There were stops in the Adirondacks of upstate New York along the way, and all told it was two weeks on the road.
Following is a random smattering of photos from the trip. I have MUCH more, and hope to share some other images and information about certain locations later. These images were lifted from posts I made to Facebook during the trip - if you're on Facebook (and who isn't?), you can follow me HERE.
The cold gravelly shores of the Gaspe Peninsula, which is surrounded on three sides by the icy waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, hosts some interesting plants. This one is common: silverweed, Argentina anserina.

I was excited to get the opportunity to photograph the common ringlet, Coenonympha tu…

Common Merganser, with babies

A hen common merganser, Mergus merganser, steams along with eleven babies in tow. The little ones cling tightly to her, and as many as possible will clamber aboard her back.

I've been up on the Gaspe Peninsula of Quebec, and it's been quite an adventure. Scores of photos of lots of interesting flora and fauna, and beautiful landscapes. More to follow.