"Blooms" Update

Thanks to a phone call and a curious visitor, I realized there were quite a few things in bloom that may prove interesting to you. Although we are still in that “green and white” period, there is a splash of color here and there.

Venus’s Looking-Glass
Smooth Penstemon
Green Dragon
Sweet-scented Water Lily
Mock Orange
Deptford Pink

Just for fun, here’s a pic of Lake Odonata in the summer.

It never rains, but pours…

I know it’s been a while since the last post, but for some time, there wasn’t really anything happening. It got pretty wet and rainy, and I couldn’t think of anything remotely exciting to tell you about! But, then the sun came back out and the temperatures warmed up again, and now there is lots to tell. Here goes…

Our next native orchid is in bloom right now, the Lily-leaved Twayblade Orchid. This one is my personal favorites out of all the orchids that I have had the privilege to see. The flower is so unlike anything else that I know, and I also really like the transparent purple color of the lower lip. I think this orchid looks like a flower that could be used as an alien plant on Star Trek! We’ve discovered a new fern species! We’re still not sure which species it is, but I can tell you that it is one of the moonworts (Botrychium). It is so tiny! At first we only saw one, but then as we broadened our gaze there were many plants in this particular area. I have pictures but I’ll have to post them later as they are on my personal camera and not the work camera.

Speaking of plants, the Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium) is blooming. This plant is in the Arum family which includes Jack-in-the-Pulpit and Skunk Cabbage. There are several nice big plants in the shade garden at the back of the nature center. Green Dragon can be found throughout Ohio.

For those of you who have been out before, you know we have the observation bee hive in the nature center and an outside hive. For the past couple of years we have not had been in the outside hive. A few weeks ago we noticed some activity around the hive and we speculated that the inside bees were robbing the outside hive. Just last week we finally found some time to suit up and open up the outside hive. It turns out that a new colony of bees had moved in. There was lots of nice brood comb and many bees. Tom went out a couple days later and replaced part of the hive that had been invaded by mice and cleaned up the vegetation around the hive. I’m looking forward to going back out there to see their progress.

I’ll have some pics soon!

More Blooms and a Special Bird

Although we are coming to the end of the colorful spring wildflowers and moving into the month of green and white (June), there are still many beautiful flowers to see. I’m a touch behind on the list, but here it is…

Flame Azalea
Yellow Iris
Sweet Cicely
Wild Anise
Indian Cucumber Root
Common Cinquefoil
Unknown species of Day Lilly
Ohio Spiderwort
Maple-leaf Viburnum
Highbush Cranberry (cultivated)
Soloman’s Plume
Two-lined Cynthia
Rattlesnake Weed
Hawkweed spp.
Arrowwood Viburnum
Rubus spp.

Also we have some exciting news on the bird front. A Summer Tanager is here! He has been visiting his reflection in the windows near the feeders, just like the Yellow-throated Warbler. What a treat to see this bird so up close without binoculars!

International Migratory Bird Weekend

Last weekend was International Mirgratory Bird Weekend. Here is a list of the birds we heard and saw on our bird walk and throughout the day.

Turkey Vulture
Red-shouldered Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Pileated Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Wood Pewee
Blue Jay
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
American Robin
Wood Thrush
White-eyed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Black and White Warbler
Northern Parula
Cape May Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Hooded Warbler
American Redstart
Common Grackle
Scarlet Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
American Goldfinch
Eastern Towhee
Song Sparrow

Orchids, Rumors, Minks, and Snapper John

I think this post will exemplify the randomness that we here at Wahkeena experience on a weekly basis. No complaints, it makes life very interesting!

The long awaited time is here, the first of several orchids are in bloom. The Showy Orchis is in full bloom and can be seen along the Cassa Burro Trail. There are two spots to view the Pink Lady’s Slipper from the trail, and those flowers are in various stages of development. They range from tight green buds to flowers that haven’t quite gotten their color yet. Off trail, on the ridge top, there are PLS in full bloom – but they get quite a bit more sunlight up there. So, there should be plenty of opportunities for viewing the orchids.

Other flowers that are now in bloom are:
Pink Azalea
Mountain Azalea
Foam Flower
Canada Mayflower
Soloman’s Seal
Violet Wood Sorrel
Fire Pink
Dwarf Crested Iris

A lot of what we do here at the Nature Center for visitors is myth busting about animals. We often hear common but very false rumors, usually regarding bears and snakes. There other day though, we heard a new one. The rumor was that “they” were releasing cougars around the Toledo area to eat coyotes. First we asked, who is “they”. As with most rumors of this kind the “they” always remains a mystery. Anyway, after discussing the various reasons why this rumor didn’t make sense (wrong habitat, wrong food source, too many people around, etc.) we called a contact at ODNR Division of Wildlife. We confirmed that this rumor is 100% false.

Over the past few years it seems as if every intern had the exciting event of seeing a mink. It has been frustrating for me because I want to see one too! Our intern this spring of course saw a mink. Then he saw it again! I felt doomed to never get to see one. Well, finally my luck changed. Tom and I were returning from an errand and our intern flags us down. “The mink is out!” he exclaims, and he had the good sense to have grabbed the camera. So, I finally got to see the mink, and it put on quite a show for us. It kept running back and forth across the driveway. We got quite close to it too, as you can see by the pictures.

Snapper John:
Our intern this spring is way into reptiles. He knows way more that you would ever want to know about snakes, lizards, and turtles. He seems to have a special place in his heart for Snapping Turtles. We have been seeing a couple of very large snappers in the big pond. One day, John and I see one and before I know what’s happening, John’s shoes and socks are on the trail and he’s wading into the pond to get the snapper! He was successful, as you can see, and the turtle was really quite large. The shell measured 15 inches by 16 inches and she weighed about 15 pounds!

Where are the April Showers?

Well, it doesn’t seem to matter too much, because there are more flowers in bloom to report.
Here they are:
Large-flowered Trillium
Wild Blue Phlox
Greek Valerian
Spring Cress
Dog Violet
Crabapple (white and pink)
Sweet Woodruff
Swamp Buttercup
Northern White Violet
Creeping Phlox

Blooms and Birds

This warm weather has made the wildflowers explode. Some things are pretty early. We haven’t had much of a chance to do any serious birding, but I’ve included what we know of so far.

Common Blue Violet
Yellow Violet
Celendine Poppy
Confederate Violet
Spring Beauties
Dutchman’s Breeches
Squirrel Corn
Rue Anemone
Virginia Bluebells
Twin Leaf (done)
Bishop’s Cap
Toad Trillium
Large-flowered Bellwort
Cut-leaved Toothwort
Marsh Marigold
Yellow Trout Lilly
Long-spur Violet
Pale Violet
Pussy Toes
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (not actually blooming, but up)
Mayapple (same as the Jacks)
Blue Cohosh
Golden Ragwort
Three-lobed Violet

Birds – I’m only listing returning birds, not year-round residents.
Red-eyed Vireo
Black-throated green Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Pine Warbler

Spring is springing!

What a treat it has been having all this warm weather! Things are greening up and popping out every which way you look. Bloodroot has been out for over a week now, and there are Cut-leaved Toothwort blooms out on the Cassa Burro trail. Spring Beauties are out of course, and there should be Rue Anemone in bloom soon. All the daffodils we have are really looking good. There is also another cultivated bulb called Glory of the Snow in bloom. It has got to be one of my favorites.

Turtles have been out sunning themselves, and today we have been hearing toads trilling! There are lots of salamander egg masses in the frog ponds, and the wood frog egg masses have already hatched! The Louisiana Waterthrush is back. There will be more to come, but so far I’ve only heard the one.

Just in case the warm weather has melted away your winter memories, here is a picture of where we were just a few short weeks ago!

Great News!

We have really wonderful news to tell you about. Our admission fee has been lowered to $5.00! So tell your family and friends!

Mistakes and Mysteries

Ack! I know that the previous post said the off-trail hike was in April. That was not right! It’s in March of course, spring starts in March. I have fixed that. Also, I am aware that the calendar is not at the bottom of the blog anymore. I don’t know what has happened. And, I can’t figure out how to put it back, but I am working on it. I don’t have my paper calendar in front of me at the moment, but I will get the dates of the walks and such written out in the next post. If you need to know before than, just call.

Here is a tid-bit that may help the spring fever. I was coming home from my folk’s place in Delaware county today. I was coming off the Lancaster by-pass and there are a couple of grassy areas around that confluence. It is well known to some of us that live and work around there that there is a Red-tail hawk who hunts these grassy areas. Well, today instead of one hawk there were two! Better than that, one swooped down in front of me (while driving) and appeared to try and lock talons with another who was already on the ground! Possible mating stuff going on? It such a shame that there wasn’t a safe way to get stopped to watch what happened next.

Ah well, the signs of spring are out there if you look closely! Happy March everyone!