Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our Laugh of the Day

Tom and I stopped at Lowe's to buy Masonite so he could replace some rotting panels in our thirty-five year old garage door.  We noticed a red-vested employee coming out.  She gathered up a couple carts,  but she kept glancing down along the building and gleefully smiling.  She went back in with the carts.  Almost immediately, another employee came out, also gathered up a couple carts, glanced to the left down along the building and grinned as she returned with the carts.

Here is a close-up of what they were grinning about.  Click on the photo and you will grin, too, if you are familiar with the name on the truck.


September 30, 2013
Update for those of you from places other than Ohio...Lowe's and Menard's are competing "big box" lumber  and building supply stores.  Lowe's, at this time, does not offer a truck rental service though there are rumors that they may soon offer one.  

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Brukner Butterfly Transit on September 14

We had family visiting so I didn't walk the transit but I have pictures from Jim and Phil.

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona) Wingspan 1.25-1.90 inches  (3.2-4.8 cm)

I would have liked to have seen this one.  I have never identified a Meadow Fritillary on my own.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus) Wingspan 3.5-4.0 inches (8.9-10.2 cm)

This female Monarch is another butterfly I would have liked to have seen.  If this were a male there would be a black scent patch on one of the black lines in the wing.

Normally, I see lots of Monarchs but this year I have seen very few.  Ruth says that because of new farming practices, there are fewer Common Milkweed, the preferred food plant of Monarch larvae.

Photo by Phil Shafer
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Wingspan 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6-1 cm)

It is always nice to see the Painted Ladies.  They visit us during the summers but the freezing winter temperatures are more than they can handle.  Often they overwinter in Mexico.  The numbers that visit us vary a lot from year to year.

Photo by Phil Shafer
Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) Wingspan 1-6-2.4 inches (4.1-6.1 cm)

Orange Sulphurs are Ohio residents.  The ones that emerge from their chrysalises during  the warmer summer months are generally larger and brighter than the ones that emerge in the cool spring and fall months.

Photo by Phil Shafer

This is a beautiful close up of this butterfly's underside.I didn't realize this butterfly had blue in its wings.  I wasn't sure what it was until I saw Jim Bowell's photo of the entire butterfly.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) Wingspan 1.75-2.50 inches (4.4-6.4 cm)

Jim's photo shows the red band in the upper wing and the faint red of the red band along the bottom of the lower wing, faint because the photo shows the wing from the bottom.  Viewed from the top this band would be as red and bright as the one in the upper wing.

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) Wingspan 1.25-1.60 inches (3.2-4.1 cm)

These are the butterflies I often see on grassy park trails.

Photo by Phil shafer
Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) Wingspan 1.5-2.0 inches (3.8-5-1 cm)

The cabbage white was accidentally introduced from Europe around 1860 and quickly spread across much of the United States.  It is one of the very few butterflies which are considered serious agricultural pests.

Photo by Phil Shafer
Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) Wingspan 0.75-1.00 inches (1.9-2.5 cm)

These little butterflies are hard to photograph.  First of all, they are very small.  Second, they never sit for long.

Photo by Phil Shafer
Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)  Wingspan 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)

Thank goodness there is one easy to identify skipper.

Skipper (possibly Fiery)  

If I hear that there was a positive identification I will add more information about it.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Play Day at Brukner, Spotted Salamanders and Io Caterpillar

This is the reason I continue to volunteer a Brukner Nature Center.  It's fun for me and fun for those I teach.  I was teaching Reptiles and Amphibians.  We were on our way to Investigate a Rotting Log when we made a brief stop at the creek.

The girls in the middle of the photo are looking for the frog another of the students found the moment before.  I'm glad someone spotted the frog.  It was the only one we found on our excursion.

But that was all right.  The students were here for the third day in a row.  Earlier in the week they had seen frogs at the pond.  They had also found turtles so the reptile family had been seen.

They never did see a snake in the wild which is unusual since they had been in all the Brukner habitats during the three days they had been exploring,  I was glad showing  and letting them touch one of our Wild Life Ambassadors, a corn snake, was part of the Reptiles and Amphibians Session.

The soil and leaves under the rotting logs at the bottom of the hill where we normally look for amphibians and reptiles  were dry because we have had very little rain in September.

One of the Wildlife Educators employed by Brukner suggested I take the children to the floodplain instead.  Normally, this is too muddy to walk on.  But yesterday, the ground was only damp.

The students looked under logs in two areas and found living treasures in both areas.

The most exciting to find were the young Eastern Spotted Salamanders.  All were small, some smaller than others.

Earlier in the week, the students had spent a session learning about insects and insect relatives.  They found a variety of these in and around the logs.  This is one I had never seen before.

I took a photo of it which I showed to a Brukner intern when the group and I returned to the center.  She told me it was an Io moth caterpillar.

A great day.  I played and I learned something new.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Butterfly Transit at Brukner, Sept. 7

Thanks to Phil and Jim, I have photos to show you of what the group found on September 7.

Ruth sent a summary of what the group saw...ten species.  One that I have never seen was on the list...Southern Dogface.  No one sent me a photo of that species to share with you.

However, a Painted Lady was accommodating.  We have seen a few others this summer, but usually they have flitted off before anyone caught a good picture.

Photo by Phil Shafer, Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) Wingspan 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)

Photo by Phil Shafer,  Painted Lady

This is a good example of how different the underside of a Painted Lady looks from its upper surface.  To me, this underside has a subtle beauty of its own.

Photo by Jim Bowell,  Painted Lady

They also saw Pearl Crescents but not has many as we have seen earlier in the summer.

Photo by Phil Shafer, Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) Wingspan 1.25-1.60 inches (3.2-4.1 cm)

Ruth said the Pearl Crescent below stayed on her shoe for a long time, even after she began walking.  This Pearl Crescent was behaving like a Hackberry Butterfly.(Asterocampa celtis) Wingspan 2.0-2.6 inches (5.1-6.6 cm)

Photo by Phil Shafer, Pearl Crescent

The group saw six Orange Sulphurs.  The orange spot identifies it.

Photo by Phil Shafer, Orange Sulphur (Colias eurytheme) Wingspan 1.6-2.4 inches (4.1-6.6cm)

Usually we see many Eastern Tailed Blues but on the seventh, only one was spotted.  Does this mean they are finishing their life cycles?  Usually, they are here until the end of October.

Photo by Phil Shafer, Eastern Tailed-Blue, (Everes comyntas) Wingspan 0.75-1.00 inches (1.9-2.5 cm)

Two easy to identify Silver-Spotted Skippers were sighted.

Photo by Phil Shafer, Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) Wingspan 1.75-2.40 inches (4.4-6.1 cm)

But there was an unknown skipper, also.  The photo has been sent off to the experts.

Photo by Jim Bowell, Unknown Skipper

We have another question which we have had for about six weeks.  What are these?  We found them on Stinging Nettle along the Brukner drive.  They come in different sizes.  Sometimes there are fifteen or twenty on one leaf.  Over time, most of them have disappeared.  Do they leave holes where they have been attached?  I'm not sure.

Three photos above by Phil Shafer

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Walk at Charleston Falls, August 31, 2013

While Jeanne, her dogs, and I were walking and talking at Charleston Falls, Tom was looking.  He took about fifty photos.  These are a some of the ones he saved.

Jeanne and I walked to the falls so Tom took the other path and walked/rode to Cedar Pond.

Beyond Cedar Pond is a planted prairie.

The Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii Vitman)  is showy and full of color.  It grows from 3 to nearly 10 feet tall. (1-3 metres)

Because of the shape of its seed heads, it is sometimes called Turkeyfoot.

There are many varieties  of yellow daisy-like or sunflower-like flowers.   Here is Prairie Dock, (Silphium terebinthinaceum).  It grows 4-10 feet tall.  Gernerally, it is taller than the surrounding Big Bluestem. The leaves may be two feet across.  One of the children I took on a hike told me the huge leaves feel like her dad's chin in the morning.

Closer photos of the flowers.

Below is another yellow flower.  Notice that the yellow petals are arranged differently and the center is also different.  This is Tall Coreopsis.  Coreopsis tripteris grows 3-9 feet tall, and looks deceptively delicate.

The complement of yellow, purple,  is also in the prairie.  This is Ironweed ( Vernonia) which also tends to be tall. (4-10 feet tall.)

Some of the flowers are a bit past their prime but the overall effect is beautiul.

Tom took these photos as he neared the end of the maintenance trail.  He set his camera to take one photo at the setting the camera automatically chose and also a photo one stop lighter and a photo one stop darker.  I like all three.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MetroParks Prairie Seed Nursery

Tom and I had another commitment so we didn't go to the Germantown Prairie Seed Nursery with the Butterfly Transit Walkers and other area naturalists.  Thanks to Phil, I have these photos to show you.

Tom and I visited the nursery several times in the 1990's which was when the nursery was established.  At that time we were attending the Ohio Prairie Conferences.  The Ohio Prairie Conference was a fairly new group at the time.  This group is interested in preserving Ohio's remnant prairies.

Because Ohio has been heavily populated over the years, most of the prairies were destroyed for one reason or another.  The only natural prairies are those which are inaccessible to industry, or unusable for farmland.

In the 1990's, native prairie seeds were difficult to obtain so the Prairie Seed Nursery was established to fulfill that need. Now seeds are more readily available.  According to the people who went to the nursery, much of the seed now produced is distributed throughout the Five Rivers MetroParks to reseed likely prairie sites.

Here, the group is walking out to the seedbeds.  Each wide row contains a particular prairie species.  The woman is the red shirt is a volunteer guide who, Phil said, gave the group a lot of interesting information about the nursery and the plants in it.

In this row, a lot of seed heads are nearing the time for harvesting.

The group visited the building where the seeds are dried.

Their guide explained the process to them.  I wish I had been there to learn how this was being done.  I'm sure the process has evolved over the years.  Back in the years when Tom and I visited, the beds were still in the process of being established so not much seed was being harvested.