After a walk at Wahkeena Nature Preserve, Bob and I stopped to chat with Robyn. Robyn is one of the naturalists at Wahkeena, and she’s the author of the Wahkeena Nature Preserve blog. Robyn asked us how our walk went. I mentioned that I had seen lots of amphibian eggs in pools of water, but I didn’t know how to tell the difference between frog eggs and salamander eggs. She offered then and there to show us the difference.
We went to a little pool and Robyn lifted up two groups of eggs from the water.
These are frog eggs, specifically those of a wood frog.
A view of the Nature Center from the boardwalk
Cedar Bog is a state nature preserve that’s managed by the Ohio Historical Society due to its historical significance… or should I say prehistorical significance? There are a number of plants and animals in the preserve that were common in this region at the close of the last Ice Age, but which are now found in cooler, North American climates. Because it is such a unique habitat, in 1941 it was the first nature preserve designated by Ohio. Today it is one of Ohio’s 25 National Natural Landmarks.
Posted in Nature, Southwestern Ohio
Tagged "Cedar Bog", "Champaign County", "Ohio Historical Society", "Wheelchair Accessible", Frogs, Lizards, Park Review, State Nature Preserve, wetland, wildflowers
I had no idea how to tell whether a green frog was male or female, but now I do. And if you check out this post, you'll know too. :-)
Whenever I’m at Inniswood Metro Gardens, I stop by to see what’s happening in this tiny, municipal wetland. And right now, tadpoles are what’s happening.
These tadpoles were really big.
I decided to write this after visiting Jackson Bog State Nature Preserve and reading all the informative signs there… except they weren’t all that informative for me because I didn’t know my swamps from my bogs. So when I came home I decided to learn a few wetland basics.
Let’s start with the easy stuff. In North America a wetland that has trees growing in it is called a swamp. That’s why Dawes Arboretum referred to the following grove of trees as “Cypress Swamp”.
Posted in Nature
Tagged "Jackson Bog", "nature profile", "Stark County", bog, Dawes Arboretum, fen, Frogs, habitats, marsh, moss, swamp, vocabulary, wetland
Most of Ohio was deforested for agricultural purposes during the 18th and 19th centuries. However there are a handful of virgin forests that were left alone, and one of these is found within the confines of Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve (previously known as Graber Woods). Although I usually don’t get off the freeway when I’m traveling between central and northeast Ohio, I decided it was worth making a side trip to see this primeval forest.
There are trees in Johnson Woods that are over 400 years old. The largest of these old growth trees are primarily red and white oak, as well as hickories. Some are as tall as 120 feet. However, these trees are reaching the end of their natural life cycle, so many of the big trees are falling. When I learned this I asked myself, “Hey, won’t they be replaced by the 350 year old oak and hickory trees?” Well, it turns out they won’t be. Oak and hickory saplings are not shade-tolerant enough to flourish under the canopy of these great, old trees. So Johnson Woods 2.0 will be largely sugar maples and American beech trees.
As you can see below, you tour the forest via a boardwalk.
My daughter was nice enough to stand next to one of the fallen trees so you could get some idea of the tree’s diameter.
An article entitled, Ohio’s Frog and Toad Species, states that there are 15 species in our state. To help me to learn to identify these species, I wanted to see photos of all 15 on one page. I selected a representative photo for each species from Flickr.
Keep in mind that a single species may vary a lot in color. Below each photo, I note the range of colors that are possible for that species.
The “True” Toads
Eastern American Toad (Bufo americanus americanus)
Eastern American Toad;
Photographed by me at Inniswood Metro Park
The Eastern American toad does vary in color. It may be reddish, gray, or tan.
Fowler’s Toad (Bufo fowleri)
Photographed by me at Earl H. Barnhart Buzzards’ Roost Nature Preserve in Ross County
The Fowler’s toad may be brown, tan, gray, or light green. Note that the warts on the Eastern American Toad are very pronounced, while the warts on the Fowler’s toad are smoother looking. This is especially true of the warts on the hind portion of the two species of toads.
I always associated the bald-cypress pictured above with the bayous of the deep south. Imagine my surprise to learn that we have some growing in Central Ohio. It turns out that the mature bald-cypress (Taxodium distichum) is actually cold tolerant. You may be wondering why we aren’t seeing them all over the place. Well, they can’t reproduce naturally in this climate because the immature seedlings are susceptible to ice damage. But if you nurture the little seedlings in a greenhouse, then transplant them outdoors when they’re older, they’ll survive and flourish here. Now I’m thinking of transplanting one into a wet spot in our backyard.