From late February and through the end of March salamanders migrate to their breeding sites. Many amphibian species only breed in vernal pools. Such pools form during the winter, remain throughout the spring, then dry up in the summer. Since the water does not remain in the pool year-long, fish cannot live in them. This means that amphibian eggs, larvae, and/or tadpoles will not be eaten up by fish.
On February 23rd we attended an evening event at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield Read more ➜
Earlier this week we stopped by the Hoover Mudflats Boardwalk to view the osprey nesting platforms. We had been checking the platforms on and off for a few weeks, and they had been completely bare. But to our delight when we went to the boardwalk this week, both platforms had nests.
We weren't there long when the osprey on the nesting platform began calling to its mate. And soon after we spotted its mate flying back toward the nest with a fish in its talons.
We watched with Read more ➜
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 Read more ➜
This past Saturday was cold and the ground had a thick cover of snow. Perfect weather to go see polar bears in central Ohio.
We were at the Columbus Zoo which features a polar bear exhibit. It has a large open area for the bears and a fish stocked pool (chilled in the summer) with an underwater observation room for visitors. The two female bears were snoozing and the male was calmly surveying the terrain.
Many of the zoo's animals are indoors for the season, but several of Read more ➜
On New Year's Day we went on our first hike of the year: a birding hike at Blacklick Woods Metro Park. About twenty people joined a park naturalist, Colleen, for the two-mile hike. If you're beginning birders like us, it's really helpful to join up with a group such as this. On a number of occasions the naturalist or other members of the group pointed out birds that I'm sure I would have missed otherwise. We also learned some of the places that certain species of bird like to frequent, so when we Read more ➜
Once again, a mated pair of osprey is nesting on one of the platforms at the northern end of Hoover reservoir. We observed one osprey on the perch above the nesting platform. The second osprey was in the nest doing something with the eggs or perhaps newly hatched youngsters. Periodically we would see its head or tail stick up above the nest as it moved around. But because the sides of the nests are so tall, most of the time we couldn't see it.
Photographing the osprey was a challenge Read more ➜
The same day we visited Clifton Gorge, we drove 40 minutes south to Spring Valley Wildlife Area. It was a gorgeous sunny, but cool day. A perfect day for a walk around the lake and marsh at Spring Valley.
Spring Valley is an 842 acre state wildlife area on the border of Greene and Warren counties. It features an archery range, as well as shotgun, rifle and pistol ranges. It also includes a 150 acre lake and marsh with a 2.5 mile trail around it, and an extensive boardwalk leading Read more ➜
Last month in Delaware County, naturalist Kim Banks held a special program on great blue herons. Mated pairs of these herons nest very close to one another in what's called a heronry. Participants then drove from Deer Haven Preserve (one of the county parks) to a nearby Liberty Township preserve known as Smith Preserve at Olentangy Falls. It turns out that there is a sizable heronry there. I returned just last week to see how things were developing.
Smith Preserve offers no trails Read more ➜
Duck species are typically divided into dabblers and divers. Dabblers feed on vegetation and invertebrates that are on or near the surface of the water, while divers swim beneath the water in pursuit of invertebrates and fish.
Photo courtesy of Joanna Lee Osborn, license: CC BY 2.0
This male mallard is dabbling bottoms up.
Dabblers also differ from divers with respect to the location of their legs. A dabbler's legs are positioned in the middle of the duck's underside. Read more ➜
In an earlier post on poison ivy, we noted that birds are untroubled by poison ivy. In fact the vine's berries are an important food source during the cold, winter months. According to an article by Penn State University (linked at the end of this post), over 60 species of bird have been observed eating poison ivy berries. While out for a walk I recently noticed a northern cardinal feasting on them.
I'm seeing a lot of poison ivy berries this time of year. You might not recognize Read more ➜