Anyone who has checked in with this blog on any sort of regular basis over the years (1,811 posts over nearly a decade, thus far!) has probably noticed two recurring names: Adams County, and John Howard.
Adams County, Ohio, is an Ohio River county lying between Cincinnati and Portsmouth. It is also one of the most biologically rich regions in the entire midwestern United States, which is why I've reported on finds from that area so often, and make so many trips there.
John Howard is a friend who has lived in Adams County for decades, a superb naturalist, and few if any know the natural history of Adams County and vicinity as well as he does. Flora or fauna, it doesn't matter - John knows hidden nooks and crannies and where to find the coolest of the cool like no one else.
Last year, John and his wife Tina set about constructing what would become the Ohio Star Retreat Center just outside West Union, the county seat of Adams County. The building can lodge up to a dozen or so people, and is perfectly set up for the study of natural history. And it's in close proximity to some of the richest habitats in this part of the world. Last weekend, John organized what will hopefully become the first of many Ohio Star-based natural history forays. I could not attend the entire weekend, but was able to tag along on Saturday. It was a great time full of interesting sightings. And that's without even leaving the grounds of the retreat. The first bird that I heard upon getting out of my vehicle was a blue grosbeak, then another one began singing on the other side of the property and eventually teed up on a nearby dead snag.
There were about ten of us, and John had a large van so that everyone could travel together. On Saturday, we visited a few spots and were inundated with interesting finds. I'd suggest, in addition to checking in with the center's main website, following the Facebook page for the Ohio Star Retreat Center. Anyone interested in natural history and photography would be well served by attending future outings. The retreat is also an ideal place to stay for those venturing to Adams County on their own.
Following are just a few of last Saturday's finds.
THIS AMAZING VIDEO by Mark Berman. Then the fly larvae would either feed on the wasp grub, or its caterpillar meal.
As you can see, we not only find lots of notable things and get exposed to lots of interesting photo ops on these forays. we also learn lots about natural history. If you're thinking of planning an Adams County excursion, you might check on with John at the Ohio Star Retreat Center page, or its Facebook page.