Magee Marsh during the “Biggest Week in American Birding” 2015

Last week we went to Magee Marsh to check out the action at the Biggest Week in American Birding. This was the second time we made an appearance (the first time is described here). This event is set up to celebrate and observe the migration of warblers in their colorful breeding plumage. Many species are on their way north, but their trip is delayed by Lake Erie. Before these small birds attempt to fly over the lake, they stop on Lake Erie’s southern shore to fatten up on bugs, so they’ll have the fuel they need to make it across.

A Canada warbler stopping by Magee Marsh before heading across the lake to Canada.

A Canada warbler on his way to Canada.

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Caesar Creek State Park: Horseshoe Falls, Crawdad Falls, and Suspension Bridge

In April we drove to Caesar Creek State Park to visit a new pedestrian suspension bridge and two waterfalls. Our hikes consisted of two segments on the southern portion of the Perimeter Loop Trail. The yellow-blazed Perimeter Loop Trail is an 11.5 mile loop trail on either side of Caesar Creek Lake. The northern and southern routes are connected by a bridge on one end and Caesar Creek Dam on the other.

Deb in front of Horseshoe Falls

Deb in front of Horseshoe Falls

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The Luna Moth: Male and Female

While hiking at Tar Hollow this past weekend, we spotted a Luna moth perched on a burnt tree trunk. After studying its photo I realized that we now had photos of both the male and female Luna moth, so I thought I would share with you how to tell the difference between the two genders, plus provide a little background information on this moth. However when I showed the photo to some other people, they were soon telling me that the moth looked like it was about two feet wide. So before going on, try clicking on the photo below to behold its immense size.

Female Luna Moth (Actias luna)

Female Luna Moth (Actias luna)

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Pine Hill Park: Crall Woods

Crall Woods is a 97-acre woodland that’s one of two tracts of land making up Pine Hill Park in Ashland County. It was named as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service in 1974. According to a sign in the park’s kiosk, there are three nature trails at Crall Wood with a total length of 2.45 miles. However, we saw two unlisted trails (one under construction and the other complete) that were not listed on the kiosk. All the trails were wide and well-maintained.

In a recent comment to our site Amanda Kiplinger pointed out that Crall Woods is a good site for viewing spring wildflowers, so we arranged to visit the park on a sunny day in mid-April.

Trail

Trail with footbridge.

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Ten More Great Hikes in Ohio

A while back I wrote an article entitled Ten Great Hikes in Ohio. As a follow-up I’d like to recommend another ten great hikes. Some may be familiar, some more obscure, but if you like spending time in the outdoors amidst interesting scenery, you’ll enjoy these excursions.

Two Loop Hikes at Burr Oak State Park

Burr Oak State Park straddles Athens and Morgan County. It has camp sites, cottages to rent, and a recently renovated lodge. It has 30 miles of hiking trails and even more hiking in the surrounding Wayne National Forest.

Bob on the trail on a steep hillside.

Hiking along a hillside on the upper loop trail.

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Dennis Profant: 1956 – 2015

I was saddened to learn that Dennis Profant has passed away. Dennis Profant was a well respected natural resources professor at Hocking College. He was also part of the community of Ohio nature bloggers. He authored the blog, Field Biology in Southwest Ohio.

Some of his fellow, Ohio nature bloggers have published their own tributes:

He will be greatly missed. “The life of the dead is retained in the memory of the living” – Cicero

Fallsville Wildlife Area – Waterfall

This past weekend we visited the Fallsville Wildlife Area in Highland County. The wildlife area contains a stream valley with a large waterfall. After recent rains it was running quite well. The wildlife area and the falls are named after the town of Fallsville, OH. The town is long gone, but the name lives on.

Fallsville Falls

Fallsville Falls in the Fallsville Wildlife Area

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Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve

Fowler Woods is a 187-acre, state nature preserve located in Richland Coundy in northeast Ohio. Originally the preserve featured a handicap-accessible, 1 ¼-mile boardwalk, but in 2014 much of the boardwalk was closed to the public due to safety concerns.  The boardwalk passes through mature forest, buttonbush swamps, and an area that was once farmland, but is now reverting to forest. Sadly the lower, wetland region within this area that is now barred to the public.  The preserve used to be one of the best sites in Ohio for viewing spring wildflowers, but since only a fraction of the boardwalk is now accessible to the public, many species of wildflower are no longer within sight.

This part of the boardwalk passes through a buttonbush swamp.

This part of the boardwalk passes through a buttonbush swamp; this area is now off-limits.

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