Thursday, March 30, 2017

Butterfly Transect at Brukner Nature Center...Some Results from the 2016 Season

The 2017 Ohio Butterfly Transect Monitoring begins, weather permitting, on April first.  I have been seeing butterflies on warm days so I know they are on the move.

Last year we saw a greater number of species than we saw in previous years.  I like to think it is because our eyes are sharper now that they are practiced at finding butterflies.

We saw 38 species in 2016. The species we saw most often was the Silver-spotted Skipper.  2016 was a bumper year for Silver-spotted Skippers.  Officially, we saw 424 which was 44% of all butterflies we saw.  By comparison, in 2015 we saw only 54 which was 9% of all the butterflies we saw.

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

The Cabbage White was the second most often seen.  Most years, it is the most common seen.  A non-native, it thrives in our area.

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae)

Coming in third in numbers seen in 2016 were the Pearl Crescents. They are one of our common butterflies though not always in the top three.

Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

In 2016, we didn't see any butterflies that have never been sighted in Miami County but we saw eight that we had never seen before on the Brukner Nature Center Butterfly Transect.

Harvester (Feniseca tarquinius)

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

Pipevine Swallowtail (Battus philenor)

Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)
Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus)

The others, for which I don't have labeled photos were Zebra Swallowtail, Common Sootywing and Tawny-edged Skipper.

If the temperature is warm enough, the minimum being 60 degrees and almost full sun, we will start the 2017 season this weekend.

I hope you are seeing butterflies wherever you are.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Trumpeter Swans Everywhere, A Vist to Lake Erie Shore to Bird Watch...March 19, 2017

Tom and I made a day trip to the Black Swamp area of Ohio on Sunday, March 19. Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Metzger Marsh are part of the remaining Black Swamp which once covered thousands of acres. Most of it has been drained and is now used for farming. 

Photo by Tom Persing

We expected to see a variety of ducks.  We did. Tom counted sixteen species of ducks.  We could see them through our binoculars and spotting scope but only a few were close enough to photograph like these male Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata).

Photo by Tom Persing

What we did see in abundance were Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator).  They are the United States's biggest native waterfowl.

Three photos of Swans by Tom Persing

In 1935, the total number of known individual Trumpeter Swans was 69.  They had been  hunted nearly to extinction for meat, skins, and feathers.  There were none breeding in Ohio until they were reintroduced in 1996.  Trumpeter Swans are still listed as Threatened in Ohio.

Trumpeter Swans have been a classic conservation success story although they are still listed as Threatened in Ohio. According to an article from the Cornell Lab of  Ornithology..."between 2000 and 2005 a continentwide survey found that Trumpeter Swan numbers had more than tripled, from 11,156 to 34,803."

The swans breed on wetlands in Alaska, Canada and the northwestern United States.  Most of the swans we saw are on their way to Canada.  We hope a few stay to breed in Ohio.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Drama Workshop Production of The Odd Couple by Neil Simon

I have been hearing about Felix and Oscar for years and years and years but the first time I actually saw them was February 26, 2017 when Tom and I went to Cheviot to see the play directed and produced by our son, Ray Persing.  Assistant Producer was his wife, Gretchen Gantner.

The play was a great introduction to the classic characters. Oscar Madison, the slovenly, easygoing Sportswriter was played by Chris Bishop.  Felix Unger, the neat freak, uptight and hypochondriac news-writer, was played by Eric Thomas.

Developing the characters of the four cardplaying friends of Oscar and Felix was essential to keeping the audience's interest in the first act. All of them are wondering where Felix is, why he hasn't shown up at the card game.  It turns out that Felix has a major problem which his friends learn when Oscar calls  Felix's wife.  When Felix finally appears each friend has ideas for solving the problem.

Above: Surrounding Felix Unger (Eric Thomas) who is seated on the chair and wearing a a suit are his cardplaying friends.  Left to right they are Roy ( Adam Drake), Murray (Mark Waldfogle), Speed (BJ Simpson), and Vinnie (Scott Unes).  Each friend has decided opinions and ideas.  (Photo by Elaine Volker)

After the friends leave, Oscar is left with Felix who is still devastated. 

Photo by Elaine Vocker
Photo by Elaine Volker
Finally, out of options, Oscar tells Felix he can move in.  This turns out to be a difficult situation for both of them.  The rest of the play is about solving this situation.

Two English women are involved in the solution.  I don't have a picture of them but Tom noted immediately after the play, that they had remarkable abilities to titter girlishly and convincingly for extended periods of time.  The Pigeon sisters were played by Kristen Vincenty (Gwendolyn) and Meagan L. Blasch (Cecily).

After the play run, Ray posted on Facebook.  He thanked everyone involved and announced that The Odd Couple was the fourth most attended show in The Drama Workshop history.

Below are listed addtional members of the Creative Team... Stage Manager, Scenic Designer, Set Decor, Master Carpenter, Construction and Painting Crew, Costume Design, Light Design, Light Execution, Lighting Crew, Sound Design, Sound Execution, Properties, Dialect Coach-NewYork, Dialect Coach-British, Running Crew, Hair and Makeup, Program, Original Show Art, Lobby Display, Lobby Photography, Box Office, Usher Coordinator, House/Hospitality, Publicity, and Poster Distribution.  Click on the photo to see an enlarged version so you can read all the names.

I listed the Team Titles to give you an idea of the multitude of expertises needed to produce a play.  Anyone with any kind of skill can find something to do in Community Theater.  It certainly helps to work well with others and have a cheerful attitude when things are hectic.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Troy Civic Theatre Presents Rumors by Neil Simon

If you are really tired of all the problems of the world and just want to laugh, see Rumors.  It is close to a laugh a minute. Lots of doors opening and closing, lots of misinterpretations.  And if you happen to feel like thinking, the play makes a pointed comment about rumors.

If you live near Troy, you are in luck.  There is one more performance Saturday evening.

It is at this Anniversary Party where the Rumors fly.

Ken and Chris Gorman are the first arrivals at the Anniversary party but the couple celebrating the anniversary are nowhere to be found. Why? Where are they?

Ken Gorman is played by Alain Alejandro and Chris by Corie Schweser.

Next to arrive are Claire (Jessica Suba)  and Lenny Ganz (Scott Atkinson).

They are followed by Ernie and Cookie Cusack played by G. Michael Robinson and Julie Zalar.

   And the last to arrive are the Coopers... Gage Emerson as Glenn  and Bonnie Littlejohn as Cassie.

Finally, things become so strange that the police, played by Michelle Robinson and Jessica Echols arrive.  Even the police are stunned by the situation.

What has become of Charley and Myra??

Niccole Sue-Ann Wallace directs and Jennifer Kaufman is Stage Manager.

As always, the people named in this article are supported by many others.

Often the Production Crew is never seen.  But Jennifer Kaufman snapped this photo of two of the usually unseen Production Crew as they watched a rehearsal.

Barrie Van Kirk's contribution was applying make-up and styling hair.  Gerri Nichols was responsible for Costume Design.

Jennifer kindly let me use her photos for this blog.  The only one that I took was the first one of the Anniversary Invitation.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wildflowers at Brukner on March 1, 2017...Spring is here.

Not only is this plant blooming.  Dozens of them are blooming.  The Hepatica are not yet carpeting the woodland floor but they are off to a good start.

The day was windy, gusts up to forty miles per hour earlier in the day. I could hear dead branches falling from the trees. I decided to cut my hike short.

I had really hoped to find a Snow Trillium.

The Hepatica are blooming where I usually find the Snow Trillium. But this winter and early spring have been unusually warm.  I wonder...Do Snow Trillium respond to the length of the days and Hepatica to the warmth of the weather?  

Anyway, I was pleased to see the Hepatica. As I headed back up toward the parking lot, I kept looking.  There is a hillside along the return trail where more and more Snow Trillium have been showing up in recent years and there I found a bud.  I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't been searching.

A little further up the trail, I found the Purple Cress I had found on February 24, the last day I had hiked this trail.  Its buds were still tightly closed.

I just happened to glance on the other side of the trail.  In a spot of sunlight, I found this.

Purple Cress is blooming.  Hooray!