National Center for Nature Photography at Secor Metropark
On our recent trip to northwest Ohio, we visited the National Center for Nature Photography. The center is located in Secor Metropark near Toledo. The center features exhibits of the works of nature photographers and occasionally offers classes on nature photography. The center is a small building in the middle of the metropark. It generally shows the works of one artist with the exhibit changing every few months. Admission is free and open to the public.
Biggest Week in American Birding 2016
The Biggest Week in American Birding is an annual event held in northwestern Ohio. This year it is being held from May 6 to May 15, 2016. Every spring many species of small birds in the warbler family migrate from South America to Canada. In order to store up energy for the flight across Lake Erie, the birds spend some time on the southwestern shore of Lake Erie fattening up on insects. While the birds look for insects, the people look for the birds. We’ve participated in two previous Biggest Weeks toward the tail end of the event. This year we decided to see what it was like at the beginning of the Biggest Week. We joined other birders on the 7th and 8th at Magee Marsh, the Ottawa Wildlife Refuge, and the Toussaint Wildlife Area.
Early Spring Wildflowers 2016
Here a sampling of the wildflowers that I saw in March and April of this year. With each photo below, I’ve identified the flower and indicated when and where it was photographed. I’m leading off with a flower called Pride of Ohio out of Buckeye pride. 🙂 It is also known as Shooting Star.
Indian Mound Reserve
Indian Mound Reserve is a 169-acre park that’s managed by the Greene County park district. We were very favorably impressed by the park’s historic and natural features. Among the historic features are:
- Williamson Mound: a Native American, earthen mound constructed by the Adena culture between 500 B.C. and 100 A.D.
- Pollock Works: a Native American, earthen wall constructed by the Hopewell culture between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D.
- A historic log cabin that’s currently being renovated
- A dam created that formerly powered a couple of historic mills; both are now long gone — the water cascading over the dam is known as Cedar Cliff Falls
Natural features include Massie Creek Gorge, cliffs, slump blocks, white cedar, wildflowers, ferns, and a small wetland. The park includes about four miles of hiking trails with a number of footbridges and stairs.
Beach City Wildlife Area: Dundee Falls
A few weeks ago on a warm winter weekend, we visited Dundee Falls. The waterfall is located in the Beach City Wildlife Area near the town of Dundee, OH. We parked in a dirt and gravel parking area off of Dundee Wilmot Road. An unmarked path at one end of the parking lot led to a stream valley. We turned right and continued down the path a short ways till we heard the sound of falling water.
The path leads to the top of the falls. On the right side of the falls (same side as the parking area) a somewhat muddy and precarious path leads downhill providing a nice view of the falls. The falls is roughly 12-15 ft in height. We thought the falls were best viewed from the same side of the creek as the parking lot.
Mohican State Park in Winter
Although we normally aren’t free on a weekday, we happened to be at Mohican State Park on Friday, March 4th. We were staying at the lodge for Bob’s birthday. Snow had fallen the previous night, so we had our first opportunity to see what Mohican looked like in winter. What a beautiful sight!
Malabar Farm Maple Syrup Festival – 2016
We attended the 40th Annual Malabar Farm Maple Syrup Festival on Saturday March 5th. From the parking area participants queued for a ride by horse drawn wagon to the festival which was centered around the Malabar Farm sugar shack. There were a variety of wagons available for transporting visitors, some with benches and others with hay bales for seating. The wagons were 2HP – each being drawn by two large draft horses. The horses and wagons were provided by volunteers from the Central Ohio Draft Horse Association. Passengers were taken to Malabar Farm’s sugar shack where tree sap is boiled down until it becomes maple syrup. Nearby the sugar shack where historical reenactors, a place to purchase food and drink, and of course locally-made syrup for sale.
Great Seal State Park in Late Winter
My daughter doesn’t like hiking this time of year when there’s no snow on the ground and the forests are devoid of greenery. As she puts it, “The forests look like a nuclear wasteland.” Although I see her point, there are some advantages to hiking now. If you are considering hiking to some destination where there is no trail (like Trimmer Arch in the Paint Creek Wildlife Area) then going at this time of year means that you will have to contend with the least amount of undergrowth of the year. Similarly there are a number of waterfalls that are partially obscured by vegetation, but if you go before the trees begin to leaf out, you can get a much better view. We found that to be the case with Fallsville Falls in the Fallsville Wildlife Area. However if you like hiking hills as we do, this is also a great time to check them out. Unlike the greener months, it is a much easier to get the lay of the land. From hilltops you can see neighboring hills and the valleys beneath you. With that in mind we recently decided to go hiking at Great Seal State Park. During a previous visit we had wanted to hike the Rocky Knob Trail, but it turns out we had started too late in the day to complete the hike before dusk. So on our return trip to Great Seal Park we made our priority the Rocky Knob.