Sunday, February 19, 2017

Looking for Spring on St. Valentine's Day

We've been having a lot of warm days.  On Tuesday afternoon, the temperature reached 53 degrees Fahrenheit. Tom, three friends and I met at Garbry Big Woods Sanctuary.

My main goal was to find Harbinger of Spring in bloom.  We found  leaves from a number of different plants  but despite all our looking none of us could find a flower or even a bud of the Harbinger of Spring.

We are fairly sure that the leaves below are Harbinger of Spring leaves.  It often grows close to the boardwalk.

We did find the leaves of Puttyroot, an Ohio Orchid.  The leaves are much easier to find than the blooming plants.  By late April when the flowers are blooming the leaves are gone.  The ten inch tall plants are hard to find among the other undergrowth.  We noted landmarks where there were a lot of leaves so we would know where to look later in the spring.

Before we left the parking lot, we discussed other special flowers that a person has to search to find.  Then the topic switched to birds, again, the special ones that a person has to search for.  

Suddenly, Tom pointed,  "Look!".  A magnificant mature American Bald Eagle soared overhead.

We didn't find Spring but we did see a beautiful sight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Friday Afternoon, Saturday Morning...Changes Overnight at the Falls

 It was about 35 degrees F (1.66 C) late on Friday afternoon when I walked at Charleston Falls.  I was surprised to see long icicles at the falls.  The icicles had to be the results of the last two  nights in the 20s. (6.66 C)  Before that, we had had a string of warm days...forties(4.44 C), fifties (10 C), even a sixty degree day (15.55 C).  I thought it would take more than two cold nights to produce such a sight.

I was in for an even bigger surprise on Saturday morning.  It was 46 degrees (7.77 C) when Jeanne and I walked and when we arrived at the falls this is what we saw.

Obviously, we had not had cold temperatures overnight.

The falls have been interesting to watch this winter.  There has been a lot of change from day to day because our weather has been yoyoing up and down.  We rarely have as many warm days as we have had this year.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Great Weekend with Steve, February 4, 5, 2017

When Tom and I were talking about the four American Bald Eagles we saw a few days ago at Eastwood Lake, Steve said, "I've never seen a bald eagle."  He meant out in the wild because he has seen caged eagles at sancturaries and zoos.

Tom decided we would all go to Eastwood Lake and see if we could find an eagle.  We didn't but we did  see a Brown Creeper working its way up the trunk of a tree. The Brown Creeper was a "Life Bird" for Steve, the first one he had ever seen.

Because we didn't find the eagles, Tom decided to drive to the little county park across from the entrance to C. J. Brown Reservoir.  There are always birds there.

Tom took photos of some of them.  So did Steve with his new ipad.

These are Tom's photos.

Mute Swan
Black Vultures
Ring-billed Gulls standing on ice.

We saw other birds as well.  It turned out to be a fine day for us birdwatchers.


On Sunday morning Steve and I walked down Shortstep Hill and  across the floodplain  to the swamp at Brukner Nature Center.  We wanted to see if the Skunk Cabbage was blooming.

This Red Fox lives at the top of Shortstep Hill.  For some reason that I don't know he would not be able to live on his own in the wild.

Steve found a blooming Skunk Cabbage.

I showed him these Hepatica leaves and he went on a Hepatica leaves hunt.  There were plenty to be found.

"Look," said Steve.  "These leaves look like gold when the sun shines on them."  (American Beech)

These Common Mullein leaves were as soft as a fleece jacket.