I decided to set up a bird feeder a few years back because there was just so much snow that year that I felt bad for the little creatures.
Butterflies with elegant projections extending from their hind wings are known as “swallowtails”; the swallowtails can be seen clearly below. However as a butterfly ages, the outer edges of its wings start to wear away. The thin, little swallowtails are usually the first to go. So you may find yourself looking at a swallowtail species without seeing any swallowtails at all. The “tiger” part of this butterfly’s name comes from the four black stripes that start at the outer, front edge of its wings
Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
It’s easy to distinguish between the male and female butterflies belonging to the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail species. The above photo is a female representative of the species as viewed from the top. The underside of a female’s wings can be seen below.
Falls Run after a drought-stricken summer.
We visited Boord nature preserve on a rainy afternoon in early September. Boord is a small 127 acre preserve in Washington county. The preserve is a few miles down a gravel one lane township road (TR-69). A brown sign identifies it as “Boord State Nature Preserve” and there is a small gravel parking lot and kiosk adjacent to the road.
Casting a line from the shore of Turkey Creek Lake
The forested hills of Shawnee State Park are located at Ohio’s southernmost tip. The park is large at 1,095 acres, but it’s dwarfed by the surrounding Shawnee State Forest. At 63,000 acres, Shawnee State Forest is Ohio’s largest state forest. The combined park and forest have 72 miles of trails including the 60 mile Shawnee State Forest backpack trail. The area also features more than 75 miles of bridle trails.
The open blossoms of a beechdrop (Epifagus americana).
Most plants are green because of their chlorophyll which both tints their leaves and allows them to manufacture their own nutrition. However there are plants without chlorophyll; these plants aren’t green, nor do they have leaves. So they turn to other living things to meet their nutritional needs. There are two categories of plants without chlorophyll depending on whether the plant directly gets its nutrition from another plant, or indirectly via a fungus which in turn gets its food from a plant. Those plants that directly “feed” off other plants are parasites. The beechdrops pictured above are examples of such parasitic plants. Beechdrops get their food by tapping into the roots of their host plant, the American Beech tree.
“Battleship Rock” immediately ahead on this side of the creek
“The Three Sisters” are three slump blocks that lie beyond it on the other of the creek.
In early September we visited Highlands Nature Sanctuary near Bainbridge, Ohio. The sanctuary is operated by the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System. The sanctuary consists of over 2000 acres of land between Rocky Fork State Park and Paint Creek State Park. The main location contains a museum, three hiking trails, and several cabins that visitors can rent. We stayed at a cabin perched on a ledge overlooking the Rocky Creek gorge.
Riders and horses just inside the entrance of Chapel Cave.
Chapel Cave is a large chapel-shaped, recess cave located off a bridle trail in the Hocking State Forest. The cave is also known as Twenty One Horses Cave because it is reputed to be big enough to hold 21 horses (with their riders).
A climber gets ready to rappel down the cliff
On our visit to Balanced Rock we accidentally ended up in the Rock Climbing and Rappelling Area of Hocking State Forest. This 99-acre region of the Hocking State Forest contains a mile long escarpment of Blackhand sandstone varying in height, topping out at 100 feet. It is the only place on state land in Hocking County that is available for use by rock climbers and rappellers.
Leaf and duckweed floating on water.
Last updated: October 17, 2012
Autumn is my favorite season, and I’m already cheered to see some signs that fall is on its way. While hiking this summer I’ve been making mental notes of prospective sites for taking in the fall color. However you don’t have to go to all that trouble; you don’t even need to go hiking. I’d like to bring to your attention the fall color guide published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR):
Naturalist showing off an Eastern ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
While visiting Shawnee State Park, we decided to stop off at the park’s nature center, and we’re glad that we did. It turns out that this is the only nature center operated by our state government where the public can touch or hold the local wildlife. The wildlife that was present during our visit consisted of various reptiles and amphibians. In the topmost photo, the park’s naturalist lifted an Eastern ratsnake from the terrarium and held it so that visitors could touch it’s skin. If a guest was interested, there was also an opportunity to hold the snake yourself. I decided to give it a try. I was told not to grasp the snake too firmly, or I might alarm it. Nor did I want to hold it so loosely that it fell to the floor.