Monday, September 6, 2010

A Hike at "The Edge": Part 1

The Nature Conservancy's Edge of Appalachia Preserve system protects over 14,000 acres of rugged southern Ohio hill country. On a recent trip we visited just a couple of noteworthy natural areas there - Lynx Prairie and Buzzardroost Rock:

Lynx prairie is a series of small and isolated prairie remnants that persist (due to site conditions that to some extent limit forest succession) amongst a region dominated by eastern hardwood forest.

From the trail guide we also learned that we might cross paths with a new-to-us milkweed: Matelea obliqua or Climbing Milkvine. We did indeed fine this great plant, with the help of another familiar friend - milkweed bugs (who were congregating on the heart-shaped leaves of the Climbing Milkvine):

The seed pods of Climbing Milkvine are distinctively quite prickly:

Jennifer enjoying the native prairie grasses:

A view of a prairie remnant amidst forest:

Nature's food packaging is impressive!

A nice assemblage of prairie grasses and forbs:

Very interesting spider trying to be inconspicuous:

A Clearwing Moth (see lower left) enjoying nectar from a Blazingstar (Liatris sp.) plant:

Another new-to-us milkweed: Asclepias verticillata or Whorled Milkweed

Buzzardroost Rock is a rocky bluff from which can be had a great view of the Brush Creek Valley

It's a pretty good hike up here but the views are well worth it:

Good thing we brought snacks with us! Jennifer eating a rare apple variety known as "Darn Near as Big As Your Head":

We took one last look at a spectacular scene and then turned to leave but our attention was capture by...

...some particularly large frass (caterpillar scat). Hmmm.....caterpillars - a good subject for: A Hike at "The Edge": Part 2...

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