Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary...Spring is Here...April 23, 2018

On Monday,  Tom and I met our friends, Max and Pat, for lunch.  It has been months since the four of us have met so we talked non-stop for an hour and a half.  Afterward Max headed home in his truck and Pat, in her sedan,  followed us to Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary.  It was her first visit to Garbry this year.

When we arrived in the parking lot, Tom had some bad news for us.  Rain was on the way. He opted to stay in the van because he didn't want to risk getting the van door and power chair electronics wet.

Pat and I decided to take a walk to the first bench which is probably a hundred yards into the sanctuary.  We didn't walk far enough to find the Dutchmen's Breeches but we saw a lot of flowers anyway.  Every five minutes I checked my cell phone weather app.  One of those times it was handy to have the phone.

Spring beauties were sprinkled everywhere.

The Cutleaf toothwort has grown tall, at least tall for a spring ephemeral.

And then we saw the yellow of the Trout lilies (also known as Adder's tongue or Dogtooth violets.)  Tom and I were here last week and we saw the leaves and the stems emerging but no buds.

And then, I found a Rue Anemone. I didn't even see the leaves of Rue Anemone last week.

Also, first time blooms for me to see this week were those of the Sessile Trillium.  Last week the buds were swelling.

We looked hard and found a few Purple Cress.

First Pat, and then I started seeing Bloodroot.  She said she has been looking for them in other woods but hadn't found any.  Some plants were blooming.  Others were past blooming and had dropped their petals.

Throughout the woods, leaves were opening on the Ohio Buckeye saplings and trees.

We were both surprised to see Large-flowered Trillium with white showing at the tips of their buds.  Usually, they bloom a little later than the earliest ephemerals.   The blooming patterns are a little different this year.  We had cold spells later then usual this year and all the flowers are coming in quick succession.

Mayapples were in various stages of emerging.

By then we had reached the first bench.  The Radar on the Weather App looked ominous.  We could feel rain in the air.  We decided we had pushed our luck far enough.

We started back, at first walking a little faster but then we had to stop.  Pat said, "What is that yellow out there?"

Aha!.. The Bellworts have begun blooming.

And then she found something else interesting.  I like to walk with Pat.  She has eyes that see quicker than mine do.  I doubt that I would have seen these Blue Cohosh blooms if she had not been with me.

I did find the next flower.  A bright Blue phlox is a lot easier to see than the Blue Cohosh.  Also we had been watching for a bloom because we were seeing lots of Blue Phlox  plants with buds still closed.

The wind was stronger as we emerged from the woods.

As we walked back toward the van, we saw a plant and neither of us knew what it was.

I labeled it as What Is It.  (I have discovered our software doesn't accept a question mark as part of a photo label.)  Anyway, I posted it on Ohio Wildflowers and asked if someone could help  with the ID.  There were other members who didn't know what it was either but there were some who did know.  Its common name is Hairy Bittercress. (Cardamine hirsuta).  It can be an invasive species in lawns because its ripe pods  shoot out the seeds which means it spreads easily. Since it seems to like sunny areas the woods should be safe .

We walked about forty minutes which turned out to be a good thing.  Tom had driven only a few miles toward home when rain began to fall.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April 11, 2018...Flowers at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary

This was the first nice day for looking at wildflowers in over a week.  Spring is coming reluctantly this year...a day of snow...a day without snow...another day of snow.  Tom was eager to try out his new camera body.  

This computer needs to see the doctor so this post is being written quickly.  We are taking the computer in for a checkup this afternoon.

By the time we arrived at Garbry the temperature had reached sixty degrees Fahrenheit.  This turned out to be our first day of seeing wildflowers throughout the woods.  Most of them were smaller than usual.  I don't know if that was because we have had a long hard winter or the flowers are just beginning to show themselves.


Spring Beauties

Purple Cress

One of the Waterleafs

The other Waterleaf

Cutleaf Toothwort

There was still a smattering of Harbinger of Spring but some were beginning to fade.

But there were Hepatica sprinkled abundantly throughout the  woods.

The Sessile Trillium were in bud but none of the buds were showing any sign of opening.  The plants are very small this year

Tom nearly ran over a gartersnake.  He was looking at flowers, not at the boardwalk he was driving on.

As he sat there, more gartersnakes slithered out from under the boardwalk.  I wonder if they had spent the winter curled up together under it.  We saw at  five gartersnakes all at the same time.  We suspect that we saw more than that.  They kept slithering under and back out of the boardwalk and some took off through the leaf cover.

The Dutchmen's Breeches were showing buds.  Tom took one photo showing a flower open.  I am not using his photos because I would have to search for them on the computer and it is nearly time to drive this computer to the doctor.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Spring Is Slow in Arriving This Year, April 8, 2018

 Jeanne and I went walking at Charleston Falls  on April 7.  Last year we saw flowers.  This year we saw snow.

Finally on the trail that is behind the falls we found a few flowers.  They were bluebells...not very tall and just beginning to show buds.

The wildflowers are here.  Just under the snow today.  I walked on Wednesday March 28 and found the flowers below.


Leaves of Trout Lilies ( also called Adder's Tongue and Dogtooth Violet)

Waterleaf...not sure which species...

Spring Beauty

The Bluebells were showing blue buds then, too.

There was more water dropping over the falls on March 28. We had had rain the previous day...all day long...sometimes just a mist, sometimes torrential downpours.

I am still working on my Self-challenge...sketches from photos I've collected over the years.  My grandson posted 104 days in a row.  I am not doing that well.  Sometimes I work on a sketch on and off for two or three days before I am satisfied with it.  I plan to continue the self-challenge until I have done a 100 sketches.  By then I hope to be doing some of them in watercolors.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, March 19, 2018

When Tom and I opened the van doors we heard the frogs calling for mates, another sign that spring is on its way.

Tom found the first flowers...Harbingers-of-spring.  He didn't come out with me last week when I saw the Harbingers so this was the first time he has seen them this season.  When I searched for them last week, I searched and searched before finding the first one.  Today they were sprinkled throughout the woods.  In another week there will be even more of them.  But, because each little cluster is a quarter inch or less in diameter, they still won't be easy to find unless a person is looking for them.

Just beyond the first water seep, Tom spotted a Purple Cress.  One flower was open wide.

Further on we, found a few more Purple Cress.  Most of them were still in bud but we found this one with multiple flowers.

I saw a few of one variety of Waterleaf.  The leaves were still as small as the ones I found last week.

The most noticeable flowers were the Hepatica.  Even a casual observer would see them.  There will be more and bigger clusters soon.

The pollinators were busy.  See the tiny beetle in the hepatica on the right?

Tom was surprised when he looked at the following photo.  He hadn't realized there was a honeybee in the picture, too.

As we returned to the parking lot, a bird was singing and flitting about in the trees.  Neither of us recognized its song.  Time to get out the bird song CDs.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trip to Lake Erie, Monday, March 12, 2018

All of the photos in this blog were taken by Tom, either on Monday or on other trips we've taken to Lake Erie.

The day was overcast when we started out and never improved.  Before we left Lake Erie we drove through mist and light rain.  As we headed home Tom drove through two nasty snow squalls.  fortunately, neither one lasted long.  Nevertheless, we had a good birding day.  Ducks aren't bothered by the weather and we birded from the van.

At Magee Marsh we were pleased to see that at least one eagle pair had returned to their nest of previous years.  One eagle was on the nest.  The other was nearby.

Tom offered to drop me off at the boardwalk.  He said he would read if I wanted to walk.  I told him, "No."  There was a mist falling and the temperature was 31 degrees.

There were ducks along the causeway and the red-winged blackbirds were back. 

Northern Shoveler

Red-winged Blackbird

There were ducks at Metzger, too.  We were pleased to see a few Northern Pintails.  We don't see them every year.  Usually we are too late.

Tom decided he would like to go to East Harbor which is about a half hour to the east.  We never have gone to the state park because we didn't want to waste time driving when we could be birding.  however, Tom has been following the Ohio bird sightings on EBird and he said there had been a lot of birds sighted there.

This is what we saw...birds from one shore to the other.  We will go back to East Harbor again.