Monday, April 28, 2014

White Trout Lily, Ephemeral of the Moist Woods

Jeanne and I walked at Charleston Falls on April 19, the day before Easter.  We saw hundreds, maybe even thousands of of White Trout Lily leaves. (Some people know these wild flowers as Adder's Tongues and others call them Dogtooth Violets.)   Whole hillsides were covered with the leaves.  There were lots of buds, even a flower or two whose petals were spreading just a bit.  Nowhere did we see a plant with a wide-open bloom.

White Trout Lilies are true ephemerals, short-lived spring flowers of moist Ohio woodlands.  Chances were overwhelming that when Jeanne and I walked the following Saturday the flowers would be past blooming.  I talked Tom into coming out to Charleston Falls with me on Monday.  I didn't want him to miss the hundreds of White Trout Lilies.  And I didn't want to miss them, either.

Photo by Tom Persing, White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

Photo by Tom Persing, White Trout Lily

I walked further along the trail because I wanted to see a big patch.

Most of the tiny white teardrop shapes are Trout Lily blossoms.  There are a few other wild flowers scattered among them.  Click on the photo to see the flowers larger.  There is a fully open lily toward the center front.

Sure enough, when Jeanne and I walked on Saturday, April, 26, this is how most of the Trout Lilies looked.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Walk at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary, April 14, 2014

Rain was threatening when we arrived at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary but we decided to take a chance.  This is the first walk we have taken this spring at Garbry.  We have been spending a lot of time looking at birds rather than wildflowers.

I was hoping to find a few Harbinger-of-Spring still blooming.

The first flowers we noticed were the Sessile Trillium and the Spring Beauties.  We had seen Spring Beauties at Charleston Falls on Saturday but the blooming Sessile Trillium were the first we've  seen this year.

We saw lots of Bloodroot past their prime but there were still plenty blooming.

Sheltered by the roots of a tree we saw a yellow Troutlily (also called Adder's Tongue or Dogtooth Violet).   Lots of other Troutlily buds were closed tighter than this one.

Both of us were surprised to see the wide open umbrella leaves of the Mayapples.  On Saturday, the Mayapples at Brukner were just beginning to unfurl.

This Mayapple is showing a  bud between the two leaves.

Purple Cress were blooming beside the swallow wet depression  under the boardwalk.  The depression is part of a usually wet area that meanders across the woods.

A bit further along the boardwalk we came across a Redcap mushroom near a single leaf of Wild Leek (also called Ramps).  To the right is one of the Waterleaf species that grow in this wet woods.

We came across a smattering of open Troutlilies as well as many that were still in bud.

I was surprised to see a Blue Cohosh flower.  The Waterleaf in this picture is the other type that grows in this woods.

Some of the Dutchmen's Breeches were blooming and the Large-flowered Trillium were in bud.  Here and there a bud was showed a bit of white.  The one on the right in this photo is not that far along.

Tom pointed out this Rue Anemone.  There were a few others as well...not many.  We saw less than a dozen.     The three lily-like leaves belong to a Wild Leek.                            


I was still looking for the elusive Harbinger-of-Spring.  Finally, I found what might have been the last two tiny bouquets of the season.

The rain didn't arrive until we were pulling into our driveway.  Good timing.

And the visit to Garbry was well-timed, too.  Below is what we woke up to the next morning.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring is Here

Jeanne and I knew Spring had arrived when we walked at Charleston Falls on April 5 even though the temperature was only 36 degrees Fahrenheit.

There was still an icy layer on the heap of rocks behind the falling water of the falls.


Jeanne spotted the first wild flower we have seen this year at Charleston falls, a purple cress blooming in the shelter of an ash tree stump.

The Ohio Buckeye buds were swollen, close to opening.

And there were buds dangling on the flower stems of the Dutchmen's Breeches.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Birthday, Samantha

This is Samantha in September of last year.

And here she is when she was five.

Back then, she and I played lots of games of Max.

This is the second game I bought from Family Pastimes. (The first one was Mountaineering which I bought at a nature conference.)

Since Samantha was often the only grandchild at our house, she didn't have other children to play with. I was her playmate.

I never liked most of the beginning games my children played because the losers were always upset.  In co-operative games there are no losers.

It was Max, the cat, or the little animals he was hunting who were the winners or losers.  Samantha and I took turns rolling the dice.  Black meant Max moved, green meant the little animals moved.

The goal was for all the little animals to make it safely to their homes in the tree.  Samantha and I could distract Max and send him back home by putting a treat on the porch...kibble or milk or cheese or catnip.

Samantha loved the game.

Later, I learned something about certain eight year old grandsons.  They liked to play the game to HELP Max catch the little animals.  Nevertheless, this is a game I highly recommend for young children.

For more information about this game and others, see Family Pastimes.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Butterfly Monitoring Workshop, March 29, 2014

I was glad Tom and I decided to come to the workshop even though rain was pouring down and we had to park in Aullwood's overflow parking lot which is a field.

The morning session  was Introduction to Moths by Mothman, Dave Horn.  He even has Mothman as his license plate.  He is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University.  Recently he put together a pamphlet of common moths in Ohio for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  He was asked to choose about seventy which was a problem because he says there are about six hundred common species.

 Dave is an entertaining as well as knowledgeable speaker.  One of his slides was a a brief overview of moths.  It looked a little like this.

Moths...Usually cryptic  
             Mostly nocturnal
             Highly variable
             Much more diverse than butterflies (20 moths for every 1 butterfly)
             Often tiny
            Not so well understood as birds and butterflies

And then he entertained us by describing some of the moths that didn't fit this list.

The  Hummingbird Clearwing, (Hemaris thysbe),  in the photo above is one of the exceptions.  It flies during the day and nectars at flowers.  (The first time I saw one, I actually thought it was a hummingbird for a moment and wondered why it was so small. )

Most of us "know" that moths fly at night and come to lights  but in addition to the moths that come to lights at night, there are others like the Hummingbird Moth that fly during the day  and also moths that  come only to ultraviolet or black light.  Still others come to rotting fruit ( or bait made with a homemade mix of ingredients which includes beer.)

We didn't stay for the afternoon session, partly because when we left for the lunch break, the rain had turned to a mixture of sleet and snow.  Guess what the overflow parking lot was like.  Our van ended up stuck in the mud up to the frame. We finally had to give up and call Triple A. ( American Automobile Association ) The  towtruck driver braved the mud, sleet, snow and wind and pulled our van out using a cable attached to the truck.  Still can't believe how pleasant he was.